CUA DAI BEACH: wash, wash, washing away
Not long ago Cua Dai Road sat comfortably 200 meters from the ocean at Cua Dai Beach. That distance has now shrunk to just 80 meters and is continuing to shrink. While upstream hydroelectric dams and sand mining are the main culprits, local development, especially resorts on the southern side, deserve part of the blame. They cleared away everything in their path to the water’s edge, as resorts tend to, not far from where the river meets the sea, and the natural defenses to erosion were removed.
During the 2014 typhoon season this steady progress was massively accelerated by storms and in a single weekend large stretches of beach disappeared. The central part of the beach was completely wiped out and resorts on the southern side lost their beaches as well. Recovery, if it ever occurs, is not in sight for any of them.
Many commentators then wrote Cua Dai off in dramatic fashion. Once the playground for millions of visitors each year, ‘go elsewhere!’ was the cry. An Bang Beach, formerly a bohemian backwater for expats, quickly became the new destination. And, it must be said, those in the know were already preferring An Bang. With its numerous resorts and large hotels, Cua Dai had become overrun with touts and urgers who seemed to come by in a never-ending stream. ‘Relaxing’ at Cua Dai had become a battle.
A few coves remain, however, which is lucky for resorts like the Victoria and the Sunrise who have access to them. If you are prepared to walk a few hundred meters from your room and mix it with the local fishermen you still have spacious sandy areas with a handful of deckchairs and umbrellas. And resorts on the northern side of Cua Dai, like the Palm Garden and the Hoi An Boutique, have retained their beach frontages for now. Hoi An Now’s Top Ten Favourite Beach, Hidden Beach, is also still in reasonable shape (just north of the Hoi An Boutique).
Erosion problems are continuing and care must be taken, especially with developments that are planned near An Bang and between Cua Dai and An Bang. Otherwise, all remaining beaches will quickly disappear.
For a map of Cua Dai resorts click here.
A Roi $
It’s simple: if you want to know what good Vietnamese seafood is, eat here. A Roi, extremely popular with locals and discerning Asian tourists, has menus in several languages including English, Vietnamese and Chinese. The old adage, ‘eat where the locals go’, couldn’t be more apt than when applied to rough and tumble A Roi….
Mi Casa $$
Barely noticeable sitting opposite the Palm Garden Resort, Mi Casa doesn’t look like much but it’s a high quality venue with original ideas. The feel is fusion although a dedicated western selection rounds things off. No ambience – just a a wonderfully-realised menu and a good-hearted family vibe welcome that makes you want to come…
Buoc Chan (Footstep) $$
Buoc Chan's nestles on an exquisite finger of river delta. By a lantern-lit jetty speedboats bob ever so slightly. Ahhh … relax, the effect is immediately calming. This gorgeous setting is complemented by above-average food but Buoc Chan’s divine location is the real pull. Unfortunately, perhaps affecting class, the portions are criminally stingy. Suits...