Quy Nhon is a provincial capital in the South Central Coast region of Vietnam. I was last in Quy Nhon in 2018, and a 2020 visit wasn’t on my travel radar until I visited the beaches of Phu Yen to the south. After visiting Phu Yen it made more sense to go to Quy Nhon than to back track to Tuy Hoa.
Two years is a long time for coastal cities in Vietnam, and sure enough Quy Nhon has seen some changes since I was last here. I write different travel reports for two sites (here and at Living In Asia), so it made sense to drop in on Quy Nhon again. I compiled a 2020 construction report for Living In Asia, and for Nomadic Notes I wanted to see how Quy Nhon is emerging as a place to live.
Similar to Nha Trang and Da Nang, Quy Nhon is a provincial capital that has a municipal beach. It’s a real city with a proper beach. I’ve been watching the progress of Da Nang as it becomes more international, and now Quy Nhon is showing similar signs of Da Nang.
The most notable physical change in Quy Nhon is the Pullman Hotel tower on the city beach. You can see this tower from Bai Xep, and when it opens it might be a contender for the best roof top bar in Vietnam. Pullman have been building new hotels all over Vietnam, and this one looks twice the size of the one in Saigon.
I was pondering how good the Pullman roof top bar will be while sitting at what might be the best urban beach bar in Vietnam. Even though Danang has a better city beach than Quy Nhon, I’ve not found a beach bar/cafe as good as Surf Bar 1 and Surf Bar 2 in Quy Nhon.
The seats and tables are on the sand, so it can literally claim to be a beach bar, unlike other bars that have beach in their name but are only figuratively-speaking beach bars.
I was there in the middle of the day when it was too hot for most people, but by late afternoon it gets busier.
Another notable change has been the arrival of the Highlands Coffee chain. I remarked in my 2018 post that they were conspicuous in their absence. They are a large cafe chain from Vietnam, and their presence in a city is like a prosperity index.
I went to Highlands to get an espresso fix, not knowing that a new third wave cafe had opened up since my last visit. I was walking along Nguyen Hue street and found Adiuvat Coffee Roasters.
[Adiuvat Coffee Roasters, 57A Nguyen Hue, Quy Nhon.]
The cafe has its own roastery, and the coffee here is as good as any big city hipster cafe.
Another thing that wasn’t a thing when I was last here was Bamboo Airways. This new Vietnamese airline began services in January 2019, in what was a boom year for aviation in Vietnam. With the 2020 global calamity in the travel industry, it might be a decade before we get back to 2019 traffic levels.
Bamboo Airways are owned by the FLC group, who have hotels and resorts in Quy Nhon. The airlines head office is in Hanoi, while its home base airport is Quy Nhon’s Phu Cat airport. They are one of the factors behind Quy Nhon’s growth, and they were all set to schedule international flights from Quy Nhon until 2020 ruined everything. One of the new landmark buildings of Quy Nhon is the FLC Sea Tower, but it remains unfinished while the pandemic has halted international tourism.
[FLC Sea Tower as viewed from the beach park.]
I’ve been asked what it would be like to base here as a digital nomad. I don’t make recommendations as everyone has different tastes. Some people like how laid back Quy Nhon is, while for others it might be just a bit too provincial. I’m curious to see how the city evolves, and what international connections begin now that the airport has been upgraded to international. Town planning seems more considered here as well. Some hotels were ordered to be demolished for blocking views, and there is a park that separates the beach from the first row of buildings.
I’ve been visiting smaller beach spots along the coast of Vietnam, so I may end up back in Quy Nhon soon enough to visit the beaches between Quy Nhon and Da Nang.