With a coastline stretching approximately 1,000 miles from north to south, Vietnam has enough beaches to tempt even the most discerning traveller. Whether you’re a fan of quiet secluded coves or long stretches of golden sand, are longing for deep blue lagoons surrounded by lush jungle or want to explore protected marine parks, Vietnam’s beaches are without a doubt one of Asia’s best-kept secrets. Of course, secret spots are usually discovered on-the-ground, stumbled upon either by chance or found by asking local opinions – and our resident Vietnam expert Fenton has done just that, returning year after year to find the best beaches that Vietnam’s sprawling coast has to offer. So whatever type of holiday you’re looking for, read on for Fenton’s expert take on where to find the very best beaches on your Vietnam holiday.
As well as two world-renowned UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Central Vietnam is also home to some of the country’s best beaches where you can snorkel, scuba dive and fish in clear warm waters. Between Hue and Hoi An you’ll find Lang Co Bay, a quiet crescent-shaped bay that’s surrounded by sleepy fishing villages and nearby jungle trails, and halfway down the coast, there’s Da Nang. Usually merely seen as the doorway to Hoi An, Da Nang actually has beaches abounding – the perfect tonic after spending a busy few days of your Vietnam holiday exploring the ancient riverside town of Hoi An. The Son Tra Peninsula is home to some of Da Nang’s most secret beaches – we love the hidden cove of Tien Sa.
In addition, just a few miles from Hoi An sits the “Pearl of the East Asian Sea”, Cu Lao Cham. A UNESCO recognised Biosphere Reserve with a magnificent coral reef ecosystem, here you’ll find truly unspoilt beauty and some of Vietnam’s most impressive beaches – not to mention snorkelling and diving that’s out of this world. Also close to Hoi An is Ang Bang beach, with its long stretch of sand dotted with local eateries and boutique beach hotels. Where better to enjoy a fresh seafood supper as the sun goes down than right here on one of Central Vietnam’s most beautiful beaches?
Between Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang was one of Vietnam’s first true beach resorts. These days it has a bit of a reputation as being a busy tourist hot spot, but venture outside of the city and we guarantee you’ll fall for the secluded bays with calm, clear waters. First of all, there’s the remote Ninh Van Bay, with its imposing rock formations, mountainous green backdrops, and powdery sand. If you want to experience life in the slow lane in a Vietnamese fishing village, this is the place for you. Watch boats come and go as you relax on the sand – you could even head out with one of the fishermen to learn all about their trade! Alternatively, grab your snorkel and venture into the azure sea to admire the coral reef and spot bright marine life.
Only an hour from Nha Trang is Doc Let, an 18km white sand paradise with warm waters, soft sand and a variety of beach sports on offer. After topping up your tan, we’d recommend a stroll through the local seafood markets for impossibly fresh, mouthwateringly delicious fish. In this part of Vietnam, you’ll also find exquisite Hon Mun Island with its sparkling waters and impressive coral reef ecosystems. Renowned for its marine biodiversity, it’s the ultimate destination for nature lovers. Between Pan Rang and Nha Trang, there’s also the impossibly beautiful Cam Rahn Bay. As one of the finest deepwater harbours in the world, the entire bay is dotted with spectacular beaches so you’ll be spoilt for choice – but undoubtedly the most sensational of all is Binh Lap, which with its swaying palms and golden sands is more Seychelles than South East Asia.
Con Dao Islands
Just off the south coast of Vietnam, you’ll find the Con Dao Islands. Looking for crystal-clear waters, soft white sand and some of Vietnam’s best scuba diving? You’ve surely found it here. The 16 mountainous islands of the Con Dao archipelago make up the majority of the Cona Dao Marine park – which means the sea life here is extraordinary. The waters are so blue they have to be seen to be believed – and so translucent that there’s no better place to explore the coral reef. Our advice would be to ignore the main beaches, and instead explore the rest of the island and find your own personal paradise.
Green and Hawksbill turtles come ashore here to lay their eggs in May, and from September you might be lucky enough to spot baby turtles hatching. Other endangered species include the hawksbill turtle and the dugong, as well as rare ecosystems such as seagrass meadows, mangrove forests and coral reefs.
But that’s not all on offer here: there’s also untouched tropical forest, a colonial town centre with quaint quiet streets and a fascinating yet sombre history to explore on your Vietnam holiday.
Phu Quoc Island
In south-west Vietnam, the diamond-shaped island of Phu Quoc Island lies just off the coast of southern Cambodia – and whilst it’s becoming more popular with tourists, it still holds onto its rustic charm. Almost 70% of the island is designated national park – so think brilliant white sand, shallow turquoise seas, bubbling streams and lush green surroundings. There’s also seafood eateries abounding (make sure you try nuoc mam fish sauce, which is made on the island). The beaches here are nothing short of spectacular: in fact, many consider Phu Quoc to have the best beaches in Vietnam, and it’s also one of the very few places in Vietnam where you can enjoy the sun setting over the sea.
Sao Beach on the south-east coast has the whitest sand on the island and snorkelling opportunities galore, whereas on the north-west side of the island, there’s the secluded haven of Bai Dai. Boasting a 15km stretch of sand, it’s renowned as one of Vietnam’s most beautiful and unspoilt beaches, with its clear waters making it a great spot for diving, kayaking, and snorkelling. Alternatively, for your own personal slice of paradise, hire a boat from Phu Quoc’s port and head to the An Thoi Islands for secluded coves, lapping waters and colourful reefs.
Despite often not getting the attention they deserve, Vietnam is home to some of the best beaches in South East Asia. If your ideal holiday consists of warm waters, pearl-hued sand and superb snorkelling you’re looking for, then look no further than Vietnam. And with so many beaches dotted along the coastline and no less than three microclimates, no matter what route you choose, there will always be a beach destination that fits into your itinerary. Contact our expert team today to start planning a Vietnam holiday that’s tailor-made for you.