Vung Ro Bay and Bai Mon Beach, Phu Yen, Vietnam

Vung Ro Bay & Bai Mon Beach

Last updated March 2024 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle

Tom, Vietnam Coracle

Tom Divers is the founder and creator of Vietnam Coracle. He’s lived, travelled and worked in Vietnam since 2005. Born in London, he travelled from an early age, visiting over 40 countries (he first visited Vietnam in 1999). Now, whenever he has the opportunity to make a trip, he rarely looks beyond Vietnam’s borders and his trusty motorbike, Stavros. Read more about Tom on the About Page, Vietnam Times and ASE Podcast.

With calm, clear waters, rocky escarpments, hidden coves, beaches squeezed between jungle-clad bluffs, remote fishing villages and good road access, Vũng Rô Bay and Bãi Môn Beach should be well-known coastal destinations. But, despite several huge development proposals for the area over the last decade, there has so far been no implementation whatsoever, leaving this achingly beautiful promontory on Vietnam’s south-central coast almost entirely empty and untouched by mass tourism. For now, at least, Vũng Rô Bay and Bãi Môn Beach remain an ideal destination for independent travellers, especially those on two wheels. Great as a day-night trip from Nha Trang or as a stop on a longer coastal itinerary, this rugged, green and enchanting cape was formed, according to legend, by a magical bird that flew down from the north and descended upon the area to become a mountainous headland.

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Vung Ro Bay and Bai Mon Beach, Phu Yen, Vietnam
Bãi Môn Beach & Vũng Rô Bay are part of a gorgeous coastal region

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Selected Resources What’s this?


A Gorgeous Coastal Region Ideal for Exploration

In this guide, I’ve written a description of Vũng Rô Bay and Bãi Môn Beach, including a few things to see, do and eat, as well as an annotated map of the area and lots of photos. Weather is best between March and September. The nearest decent accommodation is on Đại Lãnh Beach (15km southwest) or Tuy Hòa City (35km north). The latter also has an airport and train station, as does Nha Trang (130km south). However, Vũng Rô Bay and Bãi Môn Beach are best visited as part of a longer coastal road trip (by motorbike, bicycle or car), such as the Beach Bum route or the Coast Road. Getting to Vũng Rô Bay and Bãi Môn Beach is part of the fun of visiting. Access from the west is via a steep spur road (QL29) from the top of the Cả Pass, and from the north via a beautiful, empty coast road from Tuy Hòa (also QL29). This road weaves along the waterfront linking both Bãi Môn Beach and Vũng Rô Bay. (There are several others beaches and activities in the area: see Related Guides.)



Vũng Rô Bay

Bãi Môn Beach

Related Guides

Vung Ro Bay and Bai Mon Beach, Phu Yen, Vietnam
Vũng Rô Bay & Bãi Môn Beach are connected by a beautiful coast road


Vũng Rô Bay & Bãi Môn Beach

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Vũng Rô Bay: 

Vũng Rô Bay is formed by a tongue of rugged land that spreads southwest into the ocean, sheltering the shoreline from the winds and weather coming off the East Sea. The large bay is dotted with hundreds of floating homes, fish farms and wooden fishing boats which appear to hover above the cobalt-blue water. A dramatic backdrop is created by craggy, jungle-covered mountains culminating in an 80m-high, free-standing boulder atop the highest peak in the region, known as Núi Đá Bia – ‘Stele Mountain’ – which bears down on the bay and can be climbed independently.

Selected Resources What’s this?

Standing at the provincial border of Khánh Hòa and Phú Yên, Vũng Rô Bay is bounded on all sides: to the west by the Cả Pass, to the north by Núi Đá Bia Mountain, to the east by Mũi Điện Cape, and to the south by the craggy islet Hòn Nưa, which acts as a sort of natural guard post at the entrance to the bay. As such, Vũng Rô is not only a highly scenic area but also an ideal natural harbour. Indeed, Vũng Rô has long been slated for major port and tourism development, but as yet none of the ambitious plans have come to fruition.

Road QL29 skirts along the northern shore of the bay, passing Vũng Rô port and village where there are a few snack vendors and cafes. But the best dining is actually out on the bay itself at one of the dozens of floating seafood restaurants (bè nổi hải sản). Reached via short boat taxis, these restaurants serve fresh treats from the sea, such as lobster, giant shrimp, fish and oysters, much of which is farmed in the bay and freshly caught to order. Dining out on the bay at lunchtime is a major draw for domestic visitors. Look for signs on the road saying bè nổi hải sản and follow the pathways down to the boat jetties to be ferried out to the restaurants. Prices are quite reasonable.

Despite its natural beauty and tourism potential, Vũng Rô Bay is still best known – in Vietnam and the United States – for an incident that occurred here during the ‘American War’, in February 1965. The bay was once an unofficial port on the Maritime Ho Chi Minh Trail which supplied the National Liberation Front for South Vietnam (Viet Cong) soldiers in the south with arms by way of nameless ghost ships that attempted to sail down from the north undetected carrying Soviet and Chinese war material. Between 1964 and 1965, several ‘ghost ships’ landed successfully at Vũng Rô Bay with thousands of tons of weaponry.

The event known as the Vũng Rô Bay Incident was sparked when a US helicopter flew over the bay and noticed a large camouflaged vessel perpendicular to the shore. The pilot alerted the South Vietnamese base in Nha Trang who subsequently sent planes to bomb the area. Several skirmishes ensued and, depending of which side’s account you read, the ship was either blown up by National Liberation Front soldiers to prevent it coming into South Vietnamese and US hands, or it was blown up by South Vietnamese planes. Either way, the event signaled the end of the Maritime Ho Chi Minh Trail and confirmed US suspicions of a secret sea route from the north supplying soldiers in the south. Some dozens of lives were lost in the incident and after it the US built a military supply port in the bay. Today there’s a monument, memorial and small museum to commemorate the incident (called Tàu Không Số – Ship With No Number) at the water’s edge near where it occurred.

Vung Ro Bay, Phu Yen, Vietnam
Vũng Rô Bay seen from the Cả Pass

Vung Ro Bay, Phu Yen, Vietnam
Floating fish farms & restaurants in Vũng Rô Bay

Vung Ro Bay, Phu Yen, Vietnam
Monument to Tàu Không Số – The Ship With No Name

Vung Ro Bay, Phu Yen, Vietnam
Vũng Rô Bay seen from the road

Vung Ro Bay, Phu Yen, Vietnam
View over Vũng Rô Bay

Vung Ro Bay, Phu Yen, Vietnam
The coast road to Vũng Rô Bay, from the north

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Bãi Môn Beach:

Just a few kilometres due north of Vũng Rô Bay on the coast road (QL29), Bãi Môn is a perfect V-shaped inlet filled with golden sand and enclosed on two sides by rocky cliffs, the southern one topped with an elegant lighthouse. The beach – one of the best in Vietnam – is a fabulous sight, especially seen from the many viewpoints along the coast road just north of it. Entrance and parking is 30,000vnd at a ticket kiosk. Several well-maintained pathways lead around the area: one goes straight down to the beach; another leads up along the side of the cliff to the lighthouse, after which it continues to a wild and windy cape (Mũi Điện) which is the second most easterly point on mainland Vietnam. The last pathway is a steep staircase ascending directly from the beach to the lighthouse.

Bãi Môn beach is great for swimming, although it is very exposed during the day (there are no trees) and there’s sometimes a strong current, so be careful. The short hike up to the lighthouse is well worth it. Originally constructed in 1890 during French colonial times, the lighthouse was totally destroyed by bombs in 1965 (the same time as the Vũng Rô Bay Incident – see above), but was eventually rebuilt in 1995 and has been fully operational since 1997. The lighthouse was one of the first ever to be constructed in Vietnam and led to the area becoming known as Mũi Điện – Electric Cape – a name which persists to this day. The lighthouse is 26m high and visitors can go inside and climb the rickety spiral stairwell leading to the light itself, which can be seen as far as 40km out at sea. From the top, the panoramic views of the bay are superb.

To the right, after passing the ticket kiosk there’s a small structure called Chú Mười which can prepare meals and even offer basic accommodation for the night. It’s also potentially possible to camp on Bãi Môn beach, but you must ask permission first. There are some snacks and drinks vendors and a souvenir shop near the entrance, but not much else, although that’s bound to change in the near future. If you continue due north on the coast road (QL29) there’s another good beach (Bãi Tiên) and several roadside cafes with views over the sands. If you have time, spend at least half a day exploring this area, because there’s lots more to see and discover.

Bai Mon Beach, Phu Yen, Vietnam
Bãi Môn Beach & Mũi Điện Lighthouse seen from the road

Bai Mon Beach, Phu Yen, Vietnam
Bãi Môn is one of the best beaches in Vietnam

Bai Mon Beach, Phu Yen, Vietnam
The lighthouse was originally built in 1890

Bai Mon Beach, Phu Yen, Vietnam
View from the top of the lighthouse

Vung Ro Bay, Phu Yen, Vietnam
The beautiful coast road just north of Bãi Môn Beach

Bai Mon Beach, Phu Yen, Vietnam
Bãi Môn Beach is yet to see any major tourist development

*Disclosure: I never receive payment for anything I write: my content is always free and independent. I’ve written this guide because I want to: I like this beach & bay and I want my readers to know about them. For more details, see my Disclosure & Disclaimer statements and my About Page


Leave a Comment

Questions, updates and trip reports are all welcome. However, please keep comments polite and on-topic. See commenting etiquette for details.

  1. Paul J Brooke says:
    March 17, 2024 at 6:56 AM

    We better hurry. The innocence is about to disappear. Yên Thi, please take note

    1. Tom says:
      March 19, 2024 at 1:24 AM

      Hi Paul,

      Yes, the development project that you’re referring to (we can’t publish outside links in the comments) has been on the table for over a decade and hardly anything has happened on the ground so far. Ultimately, I’m sure this project – or one like it – will eventually be implemented. But, for now, independent travellers can still enjoy this area, so let’s enjoy it while it last.

      As for ‘innocence’, I know what you mean, but I think it’s worth bearing in mind that this bay and beach were fought over and bombed multiple times during the wars of the 20th century – many people were killed here and much of the landscape and environment were destroyed, as mentioned in the article above.



      1. Paul Brooke says:
        March 19, 2024 at 11:59 AM

        It certainly is pictured as a grandiose project! One that seems like it could take forever to implement. And yes, I read about the battles that were fought here. Nature did extraordinary well in repairing itself. I rented one of Danny Pearce’s XR150’s and explored the north a year ago. The next time I’ll head south and enjoy the coast roads and beaches. Thanks so much for all the information and interesting articles.

        1. Tom says:
          March 20, 2024 at 1:04 AM

          Thanks, Paul. Good to hear you rented from Danny, and I hope you enjoy your next trip too.



  2. Yên Thi says:
    April 11, 2023 at 5:12 AM

    Can you give me detailed information about the Vung Ro Bay project attached with landscape architectural drawings? I’m a student of University of Architecture Ho Chi Minh city doing a graduation project in this area. Thank you

    1. Tom says:
      April 11, 2023 at 7:22 AM

      Hi Yên,

      I don’t have access to detailed information about the Vung Ro Bay project with landscape architectural drawings. Perhaps you can try contacting the developers to ask for more information about it. Also, the project may have stalled because I don’t think there’s been much construction so far.



      1. Yên Thi says:
        April 12, 2023 at 4:42 AM

        Thank you so much for responding to me

  3. hal hewitt says:
    October 24, 2020 at 10:40 PM

    Our squad opened the road to from RT 1 to to the bay.Lost 1 man in accident Batt. comander killed by sniper.

  4. Naomi says:
    January 30, 2020 at 2:47 PM

    Hi Tom,
    Thanks for all of your amazing content. I’m referring to parts of it to help my running route from Hanoi to Saigon.
    I will be passing Mon bay this weekend/monday. Do you know if the camping is open at this time of year please? I have a hammock I can swing up, but a tent would be ideal! Thanks. Naomi

    1. Tom says:
      January 31, 2020 at 12:49 PM

      Hi Naomi,

      I’m not 100% sure if tents are a available at the moment, but I think they should be. Either way I’m sure the people there will be able to fix something up for you – especially after a long run 🙂

      Good luck,


    2. Bruce says:
      January 31, 2020 at 1:53 PM

      Hey Naomi, it’s Bruce…from Ninh Hai!!! 🙂 How’s the run going???

  5. Bruce says:
    January 29, 2020 at 3:09 PM

    Any word on the current state of this place?

    1. Tom says:
      January 31, 2020 at 1:11 AM

      Hi Bruce,

      Yes, it’s still very nice.


      1. Bruce says:
        January 31, 2020 at 1:55 PM

        good to hear..thanks Tom..for everything :))

  6. Nga says:
    February 14, 2019 at 6:32 AM

    Hi Tom,

    I just made my visit to Mon Beach in Phu Yen during Lunar New Year. I was tempted to swim there, but our tour guide strongly advised that we should not. It is dangerous with the wave and uneven sand; and they put up a sign “No Swimming” too. I am seeing here that you mentioned it is great for swimming, so just want to ask whether you swam there in person or just your idea. Thanks

    Your photos look great! 🙂

    1. Tom says:
      February 14, 2019 at 6:50 AM

      Hi Nga,

      It must be something to do with the winds at that time of year, because whenever I’ve visited Vung Ro Bay and Bai Mon Beach, the sea has been perfect for swimming: calm, clear, and with no undercurrent. I would suggest another visit between April and October – hopefully then the conditions will be suitable for swimming.


  7. John Wiese says:
    March 27, 2018 at 6:06 AM

    I also was statione there in 1968 with Miuws 11 and operated a 26 foot LCPL. Went through TET Ok but 7 reliefs killed a month after I shipped out.

    1. Tom says:
      March 27, 2018 at 8:39 AM

      Hi John,

      Thanks for sharing that.


  8. Rollingstone says:
    March 18, 2018 at 6:16 AM

    Very nice post and travel blog that I have followed you for a while. As Vietnamese solo biker for years I still find it best way to explore my country on 2 wheels and the travel stories to be told on road trips seems never ending. Every time I hop on my bike touring the same places that I’ve been to, I am still wowed by something. I am currently in Whale island and deading to Vung Ro bay tomorrow. I can’t wait to meet Mr. Muoi and get to know his local life by the beach. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm about Vietnam. Cheers !

    1. Tom says:
      March 18, 2018 at 6:51 AM

      Hi Tran,

      Thanks. It’s great to hear you enjoy riding around Vietnam on your bike and that you’ve been enjoying my site.

      I hope you get a chance to meet Mr Muoi.


  9. mark gwyther says:
    March 8, 2018 at 9:08 AM

    I think I commented on this before, but the oil refinery/port was a land grab by the government to get the fishing families out of the bay. I’d guess a tourism project will be scheduled soon, though.

    1. Tom says:
      March 8, 2018 at 9:24 AM

      Hi Mark,

      Yes, thanks, I saw that article too. But according to people I asked in the area, there are plans afoot for a large scale resort/living complex, but of course you never know what’s ‘really’ going to happen. Not that I’m complaining: I like it how it is right now 🙂


  10. Joe Acanfora says:
    February 1, 2018 at 6:46 AM

    hi Tom ~ Hai and I (Eating Saigon!) are back in Saigon for a bit and thinking of spending a few days in Nha Trang area next week. Do you know whether the “massive construction” around Tung Ro Bay has begun??? We might want to run up there from Nha Trang for a day or 2, but would hate to encounter giant bulldozers!

    Hope you’re well … still loving your blog as “the best.” Joe (and Hai)

    1. Tom says:
      February 1, 2018 at 7:21 AM

      Hi Joe & Hai,

      Great to hear from you both!

      I was in Vung Ro Bay about 3 months ago and there was no sign of construction starting any time soon, so I hope it’s still like that now. However, a couple of readers have written over the last two months to say that construction has started to transform the nearby Dai Lanh Beach, after the opening of the tunnels.

      If you’re on two wheels, check out Hon Gom Sandbar too if you get the time.

      I hope you have a great time, and please do let me know any updates if you go.


  11. Erik Christensen says:
    August 20, 2017 at 8:20 AM

    I like the place and have probably been there 4-5 times a year during the last 5 years, where I enjoy a coffee a walk around taking photos of the local activities. Main production is fishing and on land making lobster/crab cages. Only negative thins imho is the far too many cages out the the bay, which spoils part of the view, however, I also understand that making a living for the local people is more important than the view for us tourists.

    1. Tom says:
      August 20, 2017 at 8:23 AM

      Hi Erik,

      Glad you enjoy visiting the bay.

      Yes, there are a lot of cages (and other fishing related vessels) in the bay but, as you say, this is a working bay still, not a tourist bay…yet 🙂


  12. Victor (Tony) morell says:
    July 20, 2017 at 2:42 PM

    I was at Vung Ro Bay from 1967 to 1968 I left in April and was happy to be heading back home. We use to pump fuel from the merchant marine tankers and from our pumps we pumped.the fuel to Tuy Hoa, walked the pipe lines and repaired as needed. The Koreans protected us and we also hitch rides to Tuy. Hoa when we had the opportunity to get away Thank God we never had any problems while we were there especially when we walked the pipe line for eleven miles I am hoping that someone from my unit reads this and emails me Maybe we can even get together. Thank God we made it back save and I continue to pray for those that didn’t

    1. Tom says:
      July 20, 2017 at 2:53 PM

      Hi Victor,

      That’s interesting. Very different times, of course. Vung Ro is a beautiful spot these days, and probably on the cusp of big development.

      I hope some one from your unit gets in touch with you.


    2. Doug Donald says:
      July 1, 2018 at 9:08 AM

      Tony, I arrived at Vung Ro with the Army, 124 Transportation Battalion in May 1968, to run truck convoys to Tuy Hoa and Cam Rahn.
      You obviously were not there the tragic night of 6 June, 1968 when we got overrun by VC and lost 5 men KIA and several Navy men.

  13. Connor says:
    July 14, 2016 at 3:37 PM

    This is an amazing place. Rode from Quy Nhon to Nha Trang and stopped here to relax during the afternoon heat. This is the most beautiful and interesting section of coastline I’ve seen in Vietnam so far. No sign of construction (or tourists) and the “deep natural harbor” is still home to a vibrant and very active fishing community.

    1. Tom says:
      July 15, 2016 at 4:59 AM

      Hi Connor,

      Great to hear that you enjoyed the bay and that no construction has started. I’ve heard from some people over the last few months that it may not go ahead at all! 🙂


  14. Ryan says:
    February 8, 2016 at 1:18 PM


    First of all thank you for the informative article and blog.
    Does anyone know if any construction has started in Vung-ro? I plan to visit this month

    1. Tom says:
      February 8, 2016 at 2:43 PM

      Hi Ryan,

      According to one reader who visited last month, there’s no sign of construction having started yet – it’s still a beautiful place to visit.

      I hope you enjoy it.


  15. Joseph Murphy says:
    January 15, 2016 at 7:32 PM

    I was in Vung Ro with the navy Miuws 11 in late 60’s. Stayed there with a Army unit. mostly truck drivers. There was a place for oil tanker ships to unload.

    1. Tom says:
      January 15, 2016 at 11:53 PM

      Hi Joseph,

      Yes, there is still a pier for oil tankers to dock in Vung Ro Bay today.


  16. Sara says:
    January 15, 2016 at 4:09 AM

    Hi tom me again:))) just staying in a secluded place close to Nha trang and thinking of visiting this place. Do you know if any building has begun yet? Looks gorgeous!! Happy new year by the way:)))

    1. Tom says:
      January 15, 2016 at 5:26 AM

      Hi Sara,

      It is a lovely place. I was there last year and no building had started yet, but you never know. I would say it’s worth a trip anyway 🙂



      1. Sara says:
        January 15, 2016 at 6:08 AM

        Thx for always replying so promptly:))

  17. Butch Cornell says:
    September 22, 2015 at 3:29 AM

    Back in 1968 I was stationed with Jim Ellis (Navy) and others at Vung Ro. Spent six months there and eventually was stationed at Qui Nhon. Looking into getting a passport and return to Vung Ro. Understand that there has been some development in Vung Ro. Is it still feasible for a return trip sometime in 2016 or has the build up limited out ability to enjoy the beaches after the passage of 47 years. Enjoy this site. Many thanks for the updates. Butch C.

    1. Tom says:
      September 22, 2015 at 8:10 AM

      Hi Butch,

      So far the development has been nothing but talk and planning. The one major development has been the improvement of roads to Vung Ro Bay – this, of course, makes it much easier to access, either from Quy Nhon/Tuy Hoa from the north or Nha Trang from the south. Unless major works start in the next few months then I don’t see any problem for you visiting this area and enjoying the beaches and bays in 2016. I certainly hope the development projects stall as long as possible so that everyone can enjoy this bay.


  18. Juha-Matti Viitanen says:
    August 30, 2015 at 4:39 PM

    Thank you for the great site, it has helped me a lot. Is the Vung Ro Bay still accessible or has the building started yet? I am going to Vietnam little over a month and it would be nice to visit Vung Ro Bay.

    1. Tom says:
      August 31, 2015 at 1:26 AM

      Hi Juha,
      I was last at Vung Ro Bay 6 months ago and no building work had started. People have commented that perhaps it won’t go ahead at all. So I think it should be OK to visit when you are in Vietnam 🙂

  19. Martin says:
    December 26, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    I planned a trip there but because of heavy rains I had to abandon it and stayed in Dai Lanh for two nights. Then I took a train (the only one) to Tuy Hua and took aglipse of the VungRo Bay from the train window. It is a real beauty! I also noticed one thing – a row of tanker cars on the road and a small, but not exactly newly looking rafinery down there….

    1. Tom says:
      December 29, 2014 at 1:04 AM

      Hi Martin,
      That’s a shame about the weather. That oil refinery has been there for years, but there’s a new refinery planned. No sign of it at my last visit in October 2014 though.

  20. Roy Hornsby says:
    April 23, 2014 at 8:06 AM

    Thanks for the article Tom. I’ve lived in Viet Nam now for over ten years and hadn’t heard of Vung Ro until today. Shows what a sheltered life I lead I guess 🙂
    While it would be great to think that an unspoiled place like this could remain as it is, it’s obviously unrealistic. Hopefully they’ll delay beginning construction long enough for me to pay a visit.


    1. Tom says:
      April 23, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      Hi Roy,
      Yes, I suppose it’s inevitable that places like Vung Ro will eventually be developed – we’re lucky to see some of them before that happens! I hope you find the time to visit soon.

    2. Jim Ellis says:
      October 12, 2014 at 4:18 AM

      My unit was stationed here.Inshore undersea Undersea Warfare Group (IUWG 1 Unit 5. We were overrun during TET 68. Lost 25. We left a marble memorial but understand it has been since destroyed.

      1. Tom says:
        October 12, 2014 at 1:20 PM

        Thanks, Jim. That’s very interesting. I haven’t seen or heard of the marble memorial. I’ll have a look next time I go there.

        1. Jim Ellis says:
          October 12, 2014 at 11:34 PM

          Thanks Tom. It was on top of the first point after you enter the harbor. First point past the main pier going towards the ocean or inner hsrbor.