In Lăng Cô, we “splurged” and stayed at a government-owned resort. The price is very reasonable $30/night for a large room right by the pool. Government facilities are well-known for their lack of service, but we didn’t need much and found the place nice and quiet (except for when a large group of Vietnamese got dropped off at night and made quite a commotion in the lobby, and except for the lawn mowing at 7 in the morning right outside of our door).

It was still drizzling by the time we checked in at 6p.m. The pool was surprisingly warm. I insisted on going for a swim so as not a waste any chance to enjoy the place.

Dinner was at a floating seafood restaurant, at the end of a dark alley opposite the resort. On a lagoon, it’s connected to land by 2 nicely lit-up bridges. Rather limited options, and cheap, though not as cheap as I’d expected. There’s a strange dragon boat extension to one side of the restaurant.

Lang Co floating seafood restaurant, Hue, Vietnam

Lang Co floating seafood restaurant, Hue, Vietnam

For my birthday, the weather cleared up nicely. We went down to swim right in front of the resort. It was quite empty as Lăng Cô receives mostly Vietnamese tourists and vacationers and Vietnamese don’t like swimming during the day. The small town and the limited development definitely helped the water quality. And the backdrop of Bach Ma national park mountains was gorgeous.

Lang Co empty beach, Hue, Vietnam

After about an hour, we left for another beach, Cảnh Dương – I had read that it was even nicer than Lăng Cô. I had high hopes as it is close to a high end resort – the Banyan Tree and Angsana. In the short distance of 7 kms, we passed a handful of once-hopeful developments, including a abandoned resort the Nirvana, and a few empty staked out lots with weathered boards announcing loud names like Mediterranean Dreams. This area was obviously slated for a fancy future. And I could see why. I would even say that it would pick up in 5 years and boom in 10 years. The location is ideal for a stop between Hue and Da Nang/Hoi An, or for a weekend get-away from big cities. But I hope it won’t and that the peaceful beauty stays unspoiled as it is now.

The beach of Cảnh Dương let us down. Smacked right in a fishing village, it boasts a long strip of economic-looking seafood restaurants. The beach is too sheltered in a bay so water is not that clean. We walked to the beach, took a couple of photos, and left right away.

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On the way out, we stumbled across what we came for. The ocean is not visible from the road, but we noticed a path between the sand dunes and decided to hike in. A short walk brought us to a completely empty beach. I quickly stripped down. Skinny dipping on a “private beach” in Vietnam. I could never have imagined. What more could I have asked for on my birthday?

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