The ocean and the simplicity of life in fishing villages are just what urbanites need to recover after being frazzled in the city.
Return to Mother Sea at Phu Yen’s Fishing Villages
An Hai fishing village in Tuy An District.

In the fishing villages of Phu Yen Province, central Vietnam, the dull grayness of concrete buildings and cement roads, the cacophony of horns and the overwhelming odor of gasoline are replaced by beautiful views of trees and the sea, the mesmeric sound of waves gently crashing into the sandy shore and the cool salty ocean wind on the skin.

Our first stop is An Hai. It is a small fishing village some 25 km north of Tuy Hoa Town in An Hai Commune, Tuy An District. From here, one can easily go to other popular attractions in Phu Yen such as Da Dia Reef (Ganh Da Dia) around 15 km away and Xep Beach (Bai Xep) around 8 km away, making it a great base.

Life always starts early in An Hai fishing village. As the sun comes up, from 5:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. is when the fishermen return from the sea with their catches and sell them right on the beach.

Since most of the people buying here are locals, there isn’t a big crowd. That's the best thing about An Hai: the beach has more or less retained its tranquility.

Since the seafood is sold soon after it is caught, it is as fresh as can be. Locals usually cook and eat it with fish sauce mixed with lime and chili.

After discovering the attractions near Tuy Hoa, the next stop is Xuan Hai fishing village in Song Cau District in the northernmost part of the province. Nestling amid mountains, Xuan Hai is described by some as one of the most beautiful fishing villages in south central Vietnam.

Its houses are built right next to each other underneath tall palm trees. There are small winding roads leading deep into the village, most of them covered with white sand brought in by the wind and people’s feet.

What makes the beach at Xuan Hai village unique is the sight of hundreds of plastic coracles lined up on the beach after the fishermen return to shore after a long night at sea. Since they are all of similar size and color, their owners usually write their name and phone number on the side of their boat for easy identification. The beach is also known as Ben Thung (Basket Boat Dock).

Xuan Hai fishing village in Song Cau District is a hidden gem in Phu Yen

Xuan Hai fishing village in Song Cau District. Photo by Shutterstock/Huy Thoai.

For the locals the working day starts as the sun disappears below the horizon. The fishermen from the village get into their boats and set out to sea. They work through the night and until sunrise. As the first rays of the sun appear, they return to shore, proudly showcasing their catch to the buyers waiting on the beach. The market usually opens very early in the morning at around 4:00 a.m.

Like most of the beaches in Phu Yen, both An Hai and Xuan Hai have beautiful soft sand and water so clear that people can watch colorful shoals of fish swimming and seaweeds dancing in the waves below the surface.

For locals, the vast blue ocean is a second home. They live in harmony with it from the day they are born. Kids spend their childhood playing, flying kites and laughing with their friends on the beach as older family members prepare their nets and boats for the next venture. Until it is their turn to become adults and support their family. Just like that, the simple and peaceful life continues.

Xuan Hai fishing village. Photo by Shutterstock/khangtuong.


Xuan Hai fishing village. Photo by Shutterstock/khangtuong.

There is a saying that we all come from the sea. So when the city becomes a bit too noisy and smothering it is no wonder our hearts and minds start to yearn for the comforting bosom of ‘Mother Sea’. 

It is where we get to fill our lungs with fresh air, let our eyes ease on the green of trees and the blue of the ocean and calm our ears with the sounds of the wind and waves to replenish the energy that was sucked away by the perpetual machine that is the city.

More importantly, it is where we avoid the distractions and negativities that wear us down and reconnect with ourselves, refocus on what truly matters in life.

Phu Yen, located on the south central coast, is the first point on the Vietnamese mainland to welcome the sun every morning. Photo by VnExpress/Meo Gia

Phu Yen, located on the south central coast, is the first point on the Vietnamese mainland to welcome the sun every morning. Photo by VnExpress/Meo Gia.

Theo VnExpress