I’m currently in Bai Xep, Vietnam, a tiny finishing village just south of Quy Nhon that barely registers a blip in the guidebooks. As I’m writing, I hear waves lapping on the beach and have a view of clear, turquoise-blue ocean in front of me. This morning I walked a few meters away from my hostel and had an entire stretch of soft yellow sand all to myself. I know it’s a cliché, but I’ll say it anyway: this feels like paradise (scroll down for photos; you'll see what I mean).
I was in a pretty bleak mood when I arrived here yesterday from Hoi An. Although Hoi An is adorably charming, the pushy saleswomen, hoards of tourists, and superficiality of the town were starting to grate on my nerves after four days there. At the same time, though, I was sad to leave my new friends that I’d met in Hanoi and had traveled with over the past 16 days. I'd been so lucky to meet up with a few amazing women, and I knew I would miss them.
The bus ride from Hoi An to Quy Nhon was long, bumpy, and crowded. Our driver swerved around cars, trucks, and motorbikes, going far more quickly than I was comfortable with, honking his horn every few seconds. As usual, I didn’t know how long it would take or whether we would get a restroom break. In the end, it took about four and a half hours, and we did stop after about 3 hours. After arriving in Quy Nhon and a quick negotiation over the fee, I hopped on with a motorbike driver for a breakneck-speed but short ride to Bai Xep.
The moment I got off the bike, rubber-legged and happy to have arrived in one piece, I looked up to see an incredible view in front of me: the ocean, local children playing on the beach, and a few fishing boats. I breathed in deeply and relaxed.
I plan to leave tomorrow—I would stay longer but I want to get to Da Lat soon. There’s not much to do other than chilling out on the beach, and the wifi doesn’t really work, so it’s a good excuse to relax and do nothing for about 48 hours. Just perfect.
If you go…
I booked a bus ride through my guest house in Hoi An for around 230,000 dong (about $10.50). I might have overpaid slightly, but I didn’t have the energy to shop around. If I were to do it again, I probably would have take the train from Hoi An to Dieu Tri and then a taxi from Dieu Tri to Bai Xep, as the trains in Vietnam are more comfortable and enjoyable than the bus ride, which is cramped and stops along the way to pick up and drop off passengers. Update: I decided to take the train for my next journey in Vietnam, going from nearby Quy Nhon to Nha Trang; you can read all the details here!
When I traveled to Bai Xep there weren’t many places to stay on the beach in Bai Xep so I’d recommend booking ahead! Big Tree Backpackers where I stayed doesn’t seem to be open any more, but Life’s a Beach right next door looked like a great choice; you can book a private room, a villa, or a bed in a dorm room. Note that most rooms and bathrooms in Vietnam are very basic and have no AC so can get pretty hot; also, the wifi and power are a bit unreliable. So just be prepared to be a laid-back traveler! Note that the link above is an affiliate link to Booking.com so if you do end up booking a place, I might earn a little money, which I will gratefully use to keep this blog running.
I’d also recommend looking for a place on Airbnb; which will let you stay at the hostels as well as private homes in Bai Xep. Pro-tip: if you are new to Airbnb and use my referral link above, you’ll get a discount!
For food, there aren’t many options within walking distance, so be aware that you’ll be constrained to the restaurants at your hostel. That’s ok for a few days and the food was quite good, if a little pricier than I'd gotten used to. I walked down the street into the village and had some delicious local banh xeo, but didn’t see any other options. If I were to stay longer, I’d probably rent a motorbike and go into Quy Nhon for more choices.
Be warned: at the time I wrote this article there were no ATMs in Bai Xep—bring cash with you!
What to read next?
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