Currently being transformed by town planners into a vast, sprawling new city, Tuy Hoa is a somewhat soulless place characterised by the requisite vast plaza and multilaned boulevards. It’s a possible overnight stop to break up a longer journey, especially for cyclists brave enough to tackle Hwy 1, but most visitors are just passing through.
The few sights the town has are all on hilltops visible from the main highway. There’s a huge seated Buddha that greets you if you’re approaching from the north. To the south of town the Nhan Cham Tower is an impressive sight, particularly when illuminated at night. The climb to the tower takes you through a small botanic garden and is rewarded with great views. On the same hill is a massive white war memorial, designed with sails that are vaguely reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House.
The best dining is to be had on the beach, where a stretch of seafood shacks and bia hoi (draught beer) joints serve fresh seafood. Many charge by the kilogram, so be sure to agree on prices to avoid an expensive surprise.
( 057-382 2424; www.nhietdoihotel.com; 216 Nguyen Hue; r 190,000-350,000d) Modern minihotel with great-value rooms with attractive furnishings and comfortable beds. Staff speak little English but will help with motorbike rentals. Tasty meals (30,000d to 50,000d) are available.
( 057-381 8818; www.cendeluxehotel.com; Ð Hai Duong; r/ste from US$55/121) This towering landmark dominates the city’s skyline and claims most of the business trade as it’s the most luxurious address in town. Rooms are very well equipped and spacious, and the pool area, spa, sky lounge and dining options are all excellent.
Vietnam Airlines ( 057-382 6508; www.vietnamairlines.com; 353 Ð Tran Hung Dao) has five flights weekly to Hanoi (from 1,575,000d) and daily flights to HCMC (from 1,610,000d). The airport is 8km south of town.
Tuy Hoa Train Station ( 057-382 3672; Ð Le Trung Kien) is on the road parallel to the highway, north of the main street. Destinations include Danang (eight hours) and Nha Trang (2½ hours).
Celebrated as Vietnam’s most easterly point on the mainland, Vung Ro Bay is also famed for its beautiful and isolated bays, which hide some unspoilt beaches. It is also one of the deepest water ports in this part of Vietnam and hit the headlines back in February 1965 when a US helicopter detected the movement of a North Vietnamese supply ship in the area. Vung Ro was part of the alternative Ho Chi Minh Sea Trail and was being used to smuggle arms into South Vietnam for Viet Cong forces. The discovery of a sea supply route from north to south confirmed US suspicions and was used as justification to ramp up US involvement in the war. The small town of Vung Ro lies about 33km southeast of Tuy Hoa and can be reached by motorbike or car.