Walk south along the Tuy Hoa beach and you will eventually reach the mouth of the river (about 1 km from the Cong Doan Hotel). The harbour is slightly upstream on the river's left bank. There are warehouses where the very large tuna are cut up for transport. Return either along the beach or take the road back.
If you continue up along the river towards the first bridge, you will come to an area where sharks are often landed. As you will see, the primary purpose is to obtain the raw material for shark's fin soup...
The Cham Tower is easy to visit and gives fine views over the river and city. The Cham Tower was built in the 14th century. You can drive to the top or walk up.
The island across the river can also be visited on foot; it is a pleasant stroll (you can do something of a loop).
The beach is deserted during the day, but heavily used from 5.00 am to 6.00 am and again from 5.30 pm till around 7.00 pm. A swim at 5.00 am is a great way to enjoy the sunrise. The beach is thriving with people bathing, exercising and playing ball games. In the afternoon, there are shelters on the beach where you can purchase food and drinks.
Going north from along the beach from the Cong Doan Hotel there are over 100 restaurants and cafes. The cafes furthest north cater to local couples that require some privacy and to various dodgy activities.
I have tried all of the first 25 restaurants or so; and they are all good and inexpensive. The restaurant diagonally across from the hotel (the Phi Long) is the only one with an English menu. Well, not quite, but the menu’s first page gives a selection of dishes in English!
Meals come to $3 to $5 all inclusive. I have never been cheated in any of the restaurants... If you are worried about costs, keep to low cost items such as squid dishes.
Favorite Dish: Seafood!!!
The Cendeluxe Hotel 17th floor bar is great for coffee and a night view over Tuy Hoa. The entertainment complex across the street offers live singing, coffee and the like in an outdoor setting.
It is a five star hotel with good coffee and cakes. The ice cream is of questionable quality.
Dress Code: Beware: The air-con is run at full blast in the bar!
The main goal is an ascent of Tombstone Mountain, though I must right away admit to a slight distortion of facts: The peak tends to be described as “Tombstone Mountain” in English texts but the name “Da Bia” is more correctly translated as “Writing Tablet.” Legend has it that Emperors hiked the peak to make inscriptions in the rock. Anyhow, as the pictures below indicate, the name "tombstone" seems fitting.
To get there, arm yourself with a map. Maps can be purchased from a stationary shop directly across from the central market for 8,000 Dong. The shop's address is 259 Tran Hung Dao Street.
I have gone by borrowed motorcycle. You can also hire a motorcycle with driver; I normally pay 2,000 Dong per km using the odometer (the driver will happily wait for several hours while you hike, etc.). Go south past the western side of the airport and continue to a bridge across an estuary east of Tombstone Mountain. Along the way there are fish ponds, several enclosed harbours, one scenic war memorial and quiet villages. Continue south along the coast, where there a quaint beaches, capes, a lighthouse and eventually some poor fishing villages and finally a larger harbour. You can eat lunch along the way. Eventually you will have to go inland and join Highway # 1. Go north on Highway # 1 till you are at the foot of Tombstone Mountain.
The hike is pretty much an unrelenting overgrown staircase and it takes about 2 hours to get to the top – so bring lots of water! There may even be a drink stand at the top! Return the way you came. The adjacent entertainment complex (it looks like a temple complex) is not interesting, but they do sell water at the gate if you need some.
Return to Tuy Hoa by Highway # 1. The total distance is an 80 to 90 km loop.
The official name is misleading, as it is a basalt cape that is visited. It is 35 - 40 km north of Tuy Hoa. The cape features hexagonal pillars that were formed by flowing lava from volcanic eruptions which solidified when it cooled.
To get there arm yourself with a map (you will have to ask directions!) or at least have the name in writing in Vietnamese (Da Dai Reef). Maps can be purchased from a stationary shop directly across from the central market for 8,000 Dong. The shop's address is 259 Tran Hung Dao street.
I have gone by hired motorcycle with driver where I paid 2,000 Dong per km using the odometer (he happily waited for several hours while I hiked and swam). I have also gone using a borrowed motorcycle. Go north along the coast (map useful!), cross a toll bridge (5,000 Dong) and continue north. The last 5 km have a number of forks in the road...
Stop at the top of the cape (a sometimes guarded parking). If the lady is there buy water! Visit the cape. Hereafter you can continue south along the beach to the next cape. On the way you will pass an open temple and a village. The beach is superb for swimming. At low tide you will see a coral reef in the rocks off the second cape, there is even a 1 meter diameter brain coral visible under the water! On the way back you can cut inland at the village and return through the fields on small paths.