Renowned for its diverse, colourful culture, staggering natural beauty and mouth-watering cuisine, Vietnam is sometimes overlooked as a beach destination. But with over 2,000 miles of coastline snaking from China down to Cambodia, Vietnam is brimming with secluded coves, powdery beaches, and sweeping bays, all lapped by clear, turquoise waters dotted with tropical islands.
This giant of Southeast Asia whispers of days spent basking on palm-fringed beaches, savouring tantalising fresh seafood, diving and snorkelling amongst myriad tropical fish, and romantic sunset nights.
But where to begin? Here’s our guide to the best beach resorts in Vietnam.
Nha Trang: Bustling City Resort
Located on the south-central coast of Vietnam, Nha Trang is the country’s premier beach resort. This is a thriving metropolis, with a fine array of upmarket, high-rise hotels jostling for the best view.
Its setting is superb. A crescent of golden sand sweeps along the coast for six kilometres, fringed by palm trees and backed by cafes, restaurants and boutiques, interspersed with gardens and modern sculptures. The city is ringed by lush, green hills, while out to sea tropical islands are scattered around the cerulean bay.
Nha Trang offers everything you might wish from a modern beach resort – watersports, boat trips, and a choice of nightlife from chilled out to energetic. As a city resort, it’s perhaps not quite the tropical idyll you might expect from the region, but there’s still plenty of Vietnamese culture here, from traditional spa treatments to ancient Cham temples.
If you tire of the busy city beach, venture out of town for a change of pace. Secluded Hon Chong Beach lies to the north, offering a more rustic setting and fantastic views of the city, while pristine Dot Let Beach on the Hon Khoi Peninsula is the ideal spot to get away from it all for a day.
Hoi An: Authentic Old World Charm
For a slice of old world charm, you can’t beat Hoi An. This historic town is one of Vietnam’s most atmospheric, a beguiling mix of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and European architecture all reminiscent of a bygone era.
The streets of the old town are free from traffic and pollution, filled instead with characterful yellow houses draped in bougainvillea and ramshackle shops selling colourful silk lanterns. Multi-coloured boats line the riverside hawking silvery fish, while the food stalls and restaurants offer a taste of authentic Vietnam.
The main beach has suffered from coastal erosion in recent years, so it’s perhaps less picturesque than some of Vietnam’s beaches. But the region more than makes up for that with its cultural delights. The entire old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as are the Cham ruins at My Son, around an hour inland.
Besides, beautiful beaches are never far away. An Bang Beach offers a slice of tropical heaven just a few miles north, while the Cham Islands – eight pristine islands in a World Biosphere Reserve – make an idyllic day trip.
Mui Ne & Phan Thiet: Sand Dunes & Surf Near HCMC
The adjoining resorts of Mui Ne and Phan Thiet sit around 125 miles along the coast from Ho Chi Minh City, offering a popular extension for people wishing to explore Vietnam’s largest city. And these chilled out beach resorts offer the perfect respite from HCMC’s chaotic whirl.
The capital of Binh Thuan province, Phan Thiet is a bustling port town, its riverside harbour teeming with brightly painted boats. Famed for its fish sauce – a vital ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine – it’s often overlooked for the more popular Mui Ne, though locals love the town beach and the absence of too many tourists can be a draw for some.
But Mui Ne is the star attraction here. A string of low-rise beach resorts line a 12-kilometre stretch of sand, accompanied by a range of shops and eateries. It’s a relaxed resort, ideal for basking on the beach, getting active on the water – cross winds make this a superb spot for kitesurfing – and strolling along the sand at sunset. Nightlife is also a laid-back affair, while the nearby red and white sand dunes are a mesmerising sight.
Phu Quoc: Laidback Island Life
Set in the azure waters of the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s largest and most popular island. A stone’s throw from the coast of Cambodia, this teardrop-shaped island is a true tropical paradise.
Dense jungle cloaks much of the island’s interior along with rugged mountains and pepper plantations, while white-sand beaches adorn the coastline. The waters are ideal for diving and snorkelling or pottering around the coast in a kayak, while inland you can hop on a motorbike to explore the scenic landscape and traditional fishing villages.
Spanning the majority of the west coast from the main town of Duong Dong, Long Beach is the most popular resort with a range of stylish boutique hotels and family-friendly complexes. This is a classic tropical island beach – complete with dazzling sunsets.
Venture to the east of the island and you’ll find it’s much quieter but no less appealing. Star Beach (Bai Sao) is renown for its seductive, powder-white sand and calm, light blue waters, and benefits from an even more serene ambience and less development.
Con Dao: Remote Tropical Escape
An archipelago of 15 islands off the south coast of Vietnam, Con Dao offers a true tropical escape.
Isolated from the mainland, these remote and utterly beautiful islands feature rugged, jungle-cloaked interiors ringed by dazzling beaches, which are fringed with coral reef and sparkling aquamarine sea.
Accessible via a one-hour flight from Ho Chi Minh City, this is the place to visit if you really want to get away from it all. Spend your days diving and snorkelling amongst vibrant tropical fish, hiking rugged paths, watching rare and unusual wildlife, or simply basking on a stretch of deserted island beach.
Con Son is the largest island, home to the airport and a scattering of low-key resorts. If you want to enjoy this island paradise, be aware that future development is planned – so get in quickly!
Danang: Flourishing Coastal City
Vietnam’s fourth largest city and the main airport hub for visitors to Hoi An, Danang (also known as Da Nang) is an evolving city. Once a provincial backwater, you can still stumble upon colonial architecture, historic temples and an ancient citadel, but the city is booming with new developments.
Dramatic bridges span the Han River overlooked by shiny modern hotels, while the entire beach strip stretching towards Hoi An is lined with hotels and resorts. There isn’t much to entertain visitors near the coastal strip – aside from sunbathing, snorkelling and watersports – but a short taxi ride sweeps you into the city where you can sample its burgeoning food scene and lively atmosphere.
The long coastal strip is divided into several beaches including My Khe, famed for its watersports and delicious seafood, and quieter Non Nuoc. However, a short trip north leads you to Lang Co, a picturesque peninsula with a sparkling lagoon on one side and one of Vietnam’s finest beaches on the other.
There are several worthy sights near Danang, including the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Hoi An, the Cham ruins at My Son, and the imperial city of Hue.
If you’re tempted by Vietnam’s beautiful beach resorts, browse our Vietnam multi-centre holidays or contact us for a tailored quote. We’d love to help you arrange the trip of a lifetime to this enchanting country.
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