While Vietnam’s emergence as a beach destination is a relatively recent development, it has experienced a remarkable surge in popularity. Previously, external perceptions of this once strictly communist country, which has now embraced a more capitalist economic approach, meant that only intrepid backpackers had the opportunity to discover the beauty of Vietnam’s coastline.
Today, tourists from around the world, not only from the Western hemisphere but also from Russia and, more recently, China, flock to Vietnam for its pristine beaches. Domestic tourism has also played a pivotal role in the thriving coastal cities of Nha Trang and Da Nang. From tropical islands that once served as political prisons to secluded fishing villages harboring remote slices of paradise, Vietnam offers a diverse array of the best beaches, awaiting exploration by travelers like you.
Long Beach, Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc serves as Vietnam’s hidden gem among beach destinations—a captivating island adorned with so many pristine beaches that choosing the finest one becomes a delightful challenge. However, we’ve managed to make that choice! Long Beach, positioned along the southeast coast of this enchanting island, stands out as a remarkable 20-kilometer expanse of sandy coastline, drawing both tourists and locals alike.
Foreign visitors can access the island with ease, thanks to a government initiative granting a 30-day visa-free entry, which has led to a flourishing tourism industry on the island. While Phu Quoc officially became Vietnamese territory due to a boundary delineated by French colonial authorities in 1939, it’s worth noting that Cambodian claims to the island, known in Khmer as Koh Trol, persist as a historical fact.
Con Dao Islands
Once part of the Khmer Empire until the 17th Century when Vietnamese settlers arrived, the Con Dao Islands off the southeastern coast have earned recognition not only for their striking natural beauty but also for their historical isolation. During the era of French colonial rule in Vietnam, this locale served as a destination for political prisoners, and in the midst of the Vietnam War, it functioned as a detention site for captured Viet Cong combatants. However, today, it is precisely this isolation that positions the archipelago of 16 islands as a superb beach destination.
In 1984, many of these islands obtained protected status and were collectively designated as the Con Dao National Park. As one would expect, this designation has transformed the area into a sanctuary for wildlife, including dugongs, dolphins, and sea turtles.
The main island, Con Son, is home to several hotels and features picturesque beaches like An Hai, offering ample space to find a peaceful spot for oneself. Additionally, the island boasts impressive hiking opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.
My Khe Beach
Frequently hailed as Vietnam’s most picturesque beach, My Khe Beach is an enchanting expanse of sand and sea. Situated in Da Nang, Vietnam’s fourth-largest city, it has garnered a strong following among domestic tourists, thanks to attractions like the Dragon Bridge, which takes on the form of a dragon and illuminates the night sky, as well as the overall contemporary ambiance of the city.
Arguably, what propelled Da Nang’s popularity was the emergence of My Khe Beach, known as China Beach by American soldiers who sought relaxation and recreation during the Vietnam War. The rationale behind their choice becomes evident when you lay eyes on this vast and stunning 20-mile-long white-sand beach—it is simply impossible not to be awestruck by its beauty.
Today, the area boasts a multitude of upscale resorts, and September offers perfect surfing conditions for those eager to ride the waves.
Nha Trang Beach
Located on Vietnam’s south-central coast, Nha Trang is a captivating beach city renowned for its breathtaking turquoise waters and vibrant atmosphere that beckons visitors, particularly backpackers, from across the globe.
Nha Trang Beach, often referred to as City Beach and regarded as one of the world’s most stunning bays, has evolved into a sought-after scuba diving destination over time. The crystal-clear waters of City Beach offer year-round warmth and invite enthusiasts to engage in activities such as kiteboarding and sailing.
The area is home to numerous upscale hotels and luxurious beachfront resorts, with the Vinpearl Resort and Spa on Bamboo Island being the most prominent. This resort boasts its own Cable Car, connecting it to the mainland.
For those seeking respite from the energetic nightlife, the city offers the opportunity to partake in traditional Vietnamese spa treatments and indulge in a soothing mud bath experience.
Mui Ne Beach, Phan Thiet
Located 200 kilometers north of Ho Chi Minh City, you will find the charming fishing village of Mui Ne. However, there are several remarkable aspects about this idyllic destination, aside from its simply stunning and tranquil beach, that contribute to its rapidly evolving appeal. Nearby, vast expanses of white-sand dunes, featuring lakes and swamps amidst their terrain, create a captivating backdrop, perfect for hot-air balloon rides.
In proximity to Mui Ne, the ruins of the Cham culture, native to southern Vietnam until the 15th Century when it was vanquished by the Vietnamese, can be explored at Phu Hai. Meanwhile, the daily activities of local fishermen provide an intriguing glimpse into daily life. Although resorts have begun to dot the coastline, the remarkably authentic local atmosphere of this premier beach location in Vietnam has thus far remained unaltered.
Doc Let Beach, Hon Khoi Peninsula
While numerous tourists flock to the lively resort city of Nha Trang just a few kilometers to the south, Doc Let Beach stands as an oasis of tranquility on the nearby Hon Khoi Peninsula.
The accommodations here exude a distinct atmosphere, setting them apart from the bustling beachside areas in Vietnam. This ambiance lends itself to effortlessly invoking the sensation of an exclusive couples’ retreat.
Stretching over 18 kilometers of pristine chalk-white sands, Doc Let Beach can be categorized into three distinct sections: the northern part, where most of the resort and tourist activities are concentrated; the middle section, unfortunately, occupied by a substantial Hyundai factory; and the relatively secluded southern section, bordered by woodlands, which offers the closest experience to a Robinson Crusoe adventure. Undoubtedly, the beauty of this Vietnamese beach is truly something to behold.
Quy Nhon Beach
The central coast of Vietnam boasts numerous beautiful beaches, and among them, Quy Nhon Beach ranks as one of the finest. This coastal city attracts fewer tourists compared to some other central regions, resulting in a quieter beach that still offers all the tropical beauty and pristine white sands. If you are not lodging on the island, you can conveniently reach this beach with a 1.5-hour flight from Hanoi.
Quy Nhon Beach maintains its cleanliness, providing ample space for building sandcastles or enjoying a swim in the surf. The town itself is well-kept and exudes an elegant ambiance, further enhancing the overall sense of tranquility and luxury in this beachside community. In fact, it’s not uncommon to spot locals practicing tai chi beneath the coconut trees during most mornings, adding to the serene atmosphere of the area.
The Cham Islands comprise a small archipelago consisting of eight islands, situated just off the coast of the popular tourist destination, Hoi An. Easily accessible by boat from the nearby Cua Dai Beach, these islands were formerly favored primarily by backpackers. While the backpacking crowd still frequents these islands, they are now joined by life-jacketed domestic and international tourists who come for day trips and longer stays. As a result, these once-quaint parcels of land now appear rather crowded.
Inhabited for over 3,000 years, the Cham Islands were originally settled by the Cham people and engaged in extensive trade with neighboring countries throughout history. As a testament to this heritage, a few ancient buildings still dot the area.
Presently, the allure of these islands lies in their stunning white sandy beaches, glistening blue waters, delectable seafood offerings, friendly local fishermen, and abundant opportunities for snorkeling, all of which continue to attract visitors to this captivating archipelago.
Cua Dai Beach, Hoi An
Cua Dai Beach offers an appealing alternative for those who prefer a quieter seaside experience. This beach embodies the quintessential image of a palm-fringed expanse of white sand meeting turquoise waters, all while providing captivating views of the Cham Islands. Since it lies somewhat away from the tourist trail that arguably peaks at the famously beautiful and historic city of Hoi An, the number of visitors at this beach remains limited. Nevertheless, due to its proximity to the renowned city of Hoi An, Cua Dai Beach offers a few amenities, including several hotels, inflatable rentals, and parking facilities for motorbikes, albeit with associated charges.
A few years ago, this stunning beach faced the threat of disappearing as erosion, initially observed in 2004, suddenly accelerated. This compelled the custodians of the beach to employ sandbags and various other measures to halt the erosion and preserve Cua Dai Beach. Fortunately, after extensive restoration efforts, the beach has now returned to its former splendor.
Ky Co Beach, Quy Nhon
Nestled on the peninsula that borders the Thi Nai Marsh, opposite the coastal city of Qui Nhon, Ky Co Beach offers an experience vastly different from the ambiance and amenities of city beaches like those in Nha Trang.
Instead, this secluded slice of paradise lies a bit south of a 5-star luxury resort development, providing a refreshing change after passing through the newly constructed buildings. The atmosphere here closely resembles that of a beach one might stumble upon while exploring a must-visit tropical island. The sand is soft, the water boasts a clear and pristine azure hue, and there are even several sizable rocks jutting out of the water, creating a scene reminiscent of a miniature Ha Long Bay.
Ky Co Beach is the perfect spot to unwind with a picnic during a mid-road trip break. Given its remote location, it’s even possible to camp here, offering a unique and secluded experience.
If you have a penchant for eco-travel, Lang Co Beach eagerly awaits your visit. Situated in central Vietnam, this bay boasts a lengthy expanse of white-sand beach adorned with towering palm trees that offer just the right amount of shade during the sunniest hours of the day.
What sets Lang Co Beach apart is its pristine and unspoiled natural charm. Here, you won’t encounter the clamor of loud entertainment or the hustle of water sports. Instead, you will be enveloped by serene salty breezes and the allure of a tropical sea-green lagoon that seems straight out of a motion picture. Large hotels are conspicuously absent in this area, with more understated resorts, such as the Banyan Tree Lang Co, harmonizing perfectly with the locale’s ambiance.
Ho Coc, a small beach known for its crystal-clear blue waters, golden sands, and tranquil ambiance, lies less than three hours away from Ho Chi Minh City in southeast Vietnam. The forested hills that encompass the shoreline provide a picturesque backdrop to this crescent-shaped bay. Ho Coc Beach is an ideal spot for sunbathing and swimming, though it is worth noting that the waters can occasionally become choppy.
Several beach shacks offer opportunities to savor local Vietnamese cuisine for lunch. While Ho Coc Beach has been a hidden gem in Vietnam for years, attracting local visitors, it is gradually gaining popularity.
To enjoy a quieter experience with fewer crowds, it’s advisable to avoid visiting Ho Coc during weekends and public holidays. The beach is well-suited for a day trip, with convenient beach shacks and dining options nearby.
An Bang Beach, Hoi An
Hoi An’s newly favored beach destination, An Bang Beach, is situated 19 miles from Da Nang International Airport and only 2.5 miles from Hoi An’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This beach is a popular choice among Hoi An’s expat community and features impeccably maintained gardens, vibrant bars, restaurants, and a variety of accommodation options.
Renowned for its vibrant surfing, swimming, and scuba diving scene, An Bang Beach is best enjoyed during the summer when you can indulge in a delightful routine of “eat, swim, sleep, repeat.”
If none of these activities pique your interest, consider a day of sunbathing while sipping refreshing cocktails until the exotic beach sunset paints a picturesque canvas.
Q: What is the best time to visit Vietnam’s beaches?
A: The best time to visit is during the dry season, from November to April, when the weather is sunny, and the seas are calm.
Q: Are Vietnam’s beaches safe for swimming?
A: Most of Vietnam’s beaches are safe for swimming, but it’s essential to be cautious and aware of local conditions and any posted warnings.
Q: Can I find water sports activities at these beaches?
A: Yes, many of Vietnam’s beaches offer water sports activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, and more.
Q: Are there accommodations available near these beaches?
A: Yes, there are plenty of accommodations, ranging from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious resorts, near these beaches.
Q: What are some must-try dishes near these beaches?
A: Be sure to try fresh seafood dishes like grilled prawns, squid, and fish, as well as local