320km (198 miles) S of Danang; 230km (143 miles) north of Nha Trang

A popular saying goes, "It is not the north, it is not the south; nobody trusts the center." Historically fiercely independent, folks in this part of Vietnam enjoyed their moment in history when two brothers, most notably Nguyen Hue, incited what became the Tay Son Rebellion in 1772, an uprising against the Nguyen rulers. The rebels marched to Hanoi and struck a crushing blow to a vastly superior Chinese force at Dong Da, and Nguyen Hue became Emperor Quang Trung -- only briefly, though. He died and rule passed to Gia Long, the first king of the last Vietnamese monarchy. Quang Trung's feisty spirit is celebrated during the Tet holiday nationwide -- his great victory came during the Lunar New Year -- and in Quy Nhon with an annual festival and at the local museum. Quy Nhon is Vietnam's Texas -- as in, "Don't Mess With . . . ."

The small peninsula city of Quy Nhon is sheltered by outlying islands and a curved spit of land like a "cap," which makes this a very effective deepwater port, the most important in a long stretch between Danang and Nha Trang. As a result of this strategic importance, the town was hotly contested over for centuries, first by the Chinese and later by the French and the Americans (some of the largest U.S. troop deployments, including the famed "Air Cav" unit, came ashore here at Quy Nhon in 1968).

Although it's long been -- and continues to be -- more of a fishing port than a tourist destination, Quy Nhon's long central beach is beginning to attract new developments for tourists.