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
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.