From the windsurfer mecca of Mui Ne to the laidback enclave of Ninh Chu, the warm sands of Francophone Hoi An to the paradisiacal beaches of Phu Quoc island in the south, this list of Vietnam’s top seaside spots for chilling with a beer is sure to get you pining for a jaunt to the Far East. Enjoy...
Surrounded by a sea of shifting sand dunes that shimmer in hues of white and red under theVietnamese sun (a great place for some sand boarding, just in case you were tempted!) to one side, and washed over by the windswept whitecaps of the South China Sea on the other, Mui Ne is regularly hailed as one of the most beautiful seaside destinations in the country. It’s certainly deserved. The infinity pools of luxury resorts bank up to the edge of the sands, windsurfers ride over the swells out at sea and there are countless little bamboo bars hiding amidst the palms! Thanks to its strong coastal breezes, Mui Ne is a top choice for adventure sports too, with sea kayaking and kitesurfing both on the menu!
The bumpy stretch of yellow sand that cascades into the rolling South China Sea on the edge of historic Hoi An is actually the farflung extension of China Beach in urban Da Nang just to the north. However, known as Cua Dai, the seaside here is a world apart from the bustling citybacked strip under Monkey Mountain: It’s a chilled, familyfriendly option that edges just out of the lowlying rice paddies and water buffalodotted fields around the Francophone UNESCO town to the southwest. Sporadic palms lean lankily over the bay, body boarders roll in and out of the shoreline with the waves, and coconut sellers flit between groups of sunbathers, making this one a great place to unwind after taking in all that history and culture in Hoi An proper!
No list of Vietnam’s top beach spots could possibly be complete without at least a nod to the teardrop of an island that is Phu Quoc. Set out in the Thai Gulf on the extreme southern edge of the country, the place has risen and risen in recent decades to become Nam’s answer to the likes of Koh Samui and Koh Tao. It’s got all the glistening bays and crystal clear waters, swaying palm trees and dunebacked sands sorted, while the top sunbathing and chilling places have to be either Star Beach on the north coast, or Long Beach in the south, where jet skis shoot over the waves and sunkissed backpackers congregate amidst the bamboo cocktail bars.
While most backpackers (and LBW tourers on the Vietnam Explorer itinerary) will flock to the northern provincial capital of Dong Hoi to delve into the caverns and tunnels of the colossalPhong NhaKe Bang National Park, where Paradise Cave cuts its way deep into the jungle clad karst hills, this town also boasts a few surprisingly gorgeous beachfronts. Check out the likes of Nhat Le Beach: a little enclave of powdery white sands and aquamarine waters that’s bathed in laidback backpacker vibes. Then there’s breathtaking Bai Da Nhay, where monstrous rocks protrude from the ground, towering like hoodoos as the waves crash andspray along the cliffs.
One of the real gems of south Vietnam, Ninh Chu’s arch of alabasterwhite sand draws fewer crowds than many of the other beach spots on this list. Laidback, chilledout and looking every inch the model of tropical beach holidaying, it’s got great swimming and oodles of space for kicking it with a beer and a book. It’s located just a stone’s throw from the regional hub of Phan Rang, and is also a prime stepping stone for heading out to explore the mysterious ruins of ancient Po Klong Garai and the stepped Buddhist pagodas of the Cham Towers to boot!
The home of legendary Vin Pearl Island – reached by bobbing cable cars that transport travelers straight across the bay Nha Trang is oft considered to be Vietnam’s best allin one beach destination. The city itself spills straight onto the sands, which come scintillating white under the Southeast Asian sun. Rugged, greenclad hills loom on the horizon, and a thin line of palm trees separate the beach from some awesome little bars and drinkeries that carry on until the early hours. Nha Trang is all about energy and action, which means visitors can join the locals in volleyball games, body board in the water, or even booze cruise the day away on DJready skiffs out at sea!
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"Rich is a traveler, writer and filmmaker who's always after somewhere new to go. He's been hopping around the globe since 2011, from Poland to Paris, Mumbai to Ho Chi Minh. He runs several travel sites of his own, from Ski Eastern to Live Krakow to Crabs Move Sideways. When he's not planning his next trip, he's usually listening to 50s jazz, surfing in Wales, skiing in the Alps, or just swigging (too much) great craft beer."
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