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The province of Phu Yen is blessed with dozens of stunning bays and beaches. The vast majority are still undeveloped and completely empty of tourists. One of dozens of strikingly beautiful beaches, Long Thủy is a small fishing village at the northern end of a long, sweeping, sandy bay, just north of Tuy Hoa, Phu Yen’s capital city. Long Thủy is notable not only for its white sand beach and glistening sea, but also for its charming narrow backstreets, lined with crumbling homes, small temples, and cowsheds. Wandering through Long Thủy’s network of tight alleyways is like stepping back several generations; before the tide of Đổi Mới (economic liberalization) that now defines the character and drive of most Vietnamese towns and cities.
GUIDE: LONG THUY BEACH
This is a very brief guide to Long Thủy beach and village. It’s only a small place and can be visited as a short stop on the Coast Road or the Beach Bum route for a couple of hours of exploring. Alternatively, spending a day and a night in Long Thủy, in one of the few mini-hotels here, is a pleasant off-the-beaten-path experience, which will give you a sense of life in a Vietnamese fishing hamlet.
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Long Thuy Beach, Phu Yen Province
Located 10km north of Tuy Hoa city, Long Thủy is well-known to locals (who flock here on weekends and holidays), but generally left alone by travellers in favour of the more famous of Phu Yen’s beaches, such as Bãi Xép and Đá Đĩa. Admittedly, Long Thủy is nothing like as spectacular as nearby Vũng Rô Bay, nor as sumptuous as some of the other beaches and bays that you’ll pass on the Coast Road as you head northwards between Tuy Hoa and Quy Nhon. However, just like another favourite little bay of mine in Phu Yen Province, called Bãi Rạng, Long Thủy has local life and local character (as well as a lovely sandy beach). That’s why, in my opinion, it’s worth dropping by to have a swim, wander the narrow back-alleys, and soak up the sleepy atmosphere of this little beach village. (Although Long Thủy, and indeed many of the beaches in Phu Yen Province, is generally pretty clean, trash along the sand is becoming a problem, as is the case with so many of Vietnam’s beaches, whether touristy or not.)
SEE & DO:
Apart from trying to charter a boat out to the little islets of Hòn Dứa (Pineapple Island) and Hòn Chùa (Pagoda Island) just off shore, there’s aren’t any ‘sights’ as such. Rather, your itinerary in Long Thủy should be something like this: take a lazy stroll through the tangled back-streets, ducking into a tiny temple or two; stop for tea in the shade of a coconut palm whilst chatting to a charming, toothless, leather-skinned local fisherman; walk barefoot through the hot sand on the beach, seeking out a vendor serving iced sugar cane juice (nước mía); order a seafood feast at one of the informal waterfront restaurants, before disrobing for a pre-lunch swim in the shimmering sea to work up an appetite. Get a room in a local hotel and sleep off the lunch and the hottest hours of the day. Late afternoon, hit the alleyways again, searching (sniffing the air) for a bánh xèo (fried savoury pancakes) stall, all the while waving and shouting ‘Hello!’ to the local schoolkids as they flood the streets after class. Find a coffee shop to people-watch from as Long Thủy winds down for the day, and the cicadas (and karaoke machines) fill the night. Early next morning, walk along the beach to the fish market, where the night’s catch is being hauled off the boats and onto the stalls. (You can ask about boats to the islets at the hotels, seafront restaurants, and at the beach).
There are only a couple of accommodation options in or nearby Long Thủy. In the village itself, Violet Hotel (0573 793 477) and Trung Hào Hotel (0573 793 216) are a stone’s throw from the beach, both offering decent rooms at reasonable prices (200,000-400,000vnd), some with balconies looking out to sea. Just behind Long Thủy, VietStar Resort & Spa is a lush, calm oasis, set back from the ocean for a peaceful (but pricier) night. Alternatively, for a wider range of sleeping options, head back to Tuy Hoa city and beach where there are many hotels to choose from.
EAT & DRINK
During mealtimes (5-8am, 10.30am-12noon, 5-7pm), Long Thủy has a spattering of street food stalls and casual restaurants. In particular, check out the seafood restaurants near the beach (try Hoàng Yến and Hương Biển), and try to find (or ask a local) a bánh xèo stall serving delicious, crispy, fried rice-batter pancakes with squid, wrapped in herbs. Also on the streets, you’ll find the odd juice vendor (including fresh coconut water [nước dừa] and sugar cane juice [nước mía]) and coffee shops. There’s a fish market and a dry goods market, both of which are best visited in the mornings.
Long Thủy is just east of Le Duan Street as it passes between Highway QL1A and the East Sea, about 10km north of Tuy Hoa city and its long beach. I assume that most people who choose to visit Long Thủy will do so as part of an independent motorbike road trip along the coast. This is very easy to do if you’re on a motorbike, especially as a short break on the Coast Road or Beach Bum route. However, if you don’t have your own wheels, you can get a taxi to Long Thủy from Tuy Hoa city (10-15 minutes). Tuy Hoa is connected to all major coastal cities via the Saigon-Hanoi railway. There are also daily flights to Tuy Hoa from Hanoi and Saigon. You can search & book transportation to/from Tuy Hoa below:
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