Thuan An Beach

Thuan An village, about 13km from Hue, lies beside Hue’s only beach of note. It’s within easy reach – if you feel energetic, it’s a pleasant cycle ride. The road runs alongside the river past several interesting pagodas and commune houses, and a local market at No village. From there, you cross a bridge to the long sand spit and lagoon where the Perfume River finally enters the sea.

The signs will direct you to the busy part of the beach. Unless you want to eat in one of the many dozens of seafood restaurants, this area is best avoided. It’s very popular with Vietnamese people – on public holidays, in particular, a sizeable part of Hue’s population heads for Thuan An. The beach disappears under the seething mass of people, and the sea boils with flotillas of ‘swimmers’ buoyed up by inflated vehicle inner tubes. The sand is dirty, and there’s no shade apart from that offered by the restaurants.

A new road and bridge link to is under construction, and is bound to increase the number of visitors to Thuan An.

If you’re in Hue, and fancy a dip in the sea, the best idea is to turn off the left before the road that leads to the main beach. Until quite recently, this led to what was then the main beach. In 1999, a violent storm drove the sea inland, overwhelming the beach. On the left are the remains of a small hotel reduced to a ruin by the waves. As a result, the local people decided the beach was unlucky and, together with the seafood restaurateurs, decamped to another beach site a couple of kilometres to the south.

Today, most Vietnamese visitors avoid the original beach. Apart from a couple of hardy restaurateurs willing to risk another invasion by the sea, it’s virtually empty. A band of feathery pine trees along the top of the beach provides some shade, but if you want to laze on the sand, buy a cheap sunshade in Hue in advance.

An alternative would be to head for the main beach, and then trudge southwards until you find a quieter part of the beach.

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