Vietnam's Best Beaches

by Ollie Barstow on 23 February 2012, 16:02PM Vietnam's Best Beaches

For a long time Vietnam’s fabulous beaches were something of a hidden secret, a knowing wink between those fortunate enough to have discovered something akin to its more famous south-east Asian counterpart Thailand, albeit without the reputation, the crowds and the vigorous tourist development.

However, with great quality comes eventual notoriety and the secret is out about Vietnam, its splendid weather, the lively atmosphere and incredible value now establishing it as an imperative stop on any south-east Asia jaunt.

Nonetheless, while those who visit Thailand tend to flock to destinations that have earned a place in infamy – Phuket, Koh Samui, Bangkok… -, Vietnam’s most revered venues have not quite made the public conscience, ensuring crowds are less concentrated.

It means Vietnam has retained much of its traditional charm, with quaint fishing villages and coastal towns embracing the influx of tourism, without feeling the need to develop into something that dilutes the authenticity that attracted visitors in the first place.

With more than 2400km of coastline, finding a pristine stretch of sand in Vietnam isn’t a particularly tricky task, the glittering South China Sea and gloriously soft sands as splendid in the north as they are in the south.

Even so, for all of its pretty coves, tempting lagoons and secluded sands, one destination above all headlines Vietnam’s beach destinations – Nha Trang.

Located in the south-west of Vietnam, Nha Trang is considered to have one of Asia’s finest coastlines, its golden bay sweeping behind pockets of islands that protect it from the elements. Unspoilt sands and sapphire waters tempt the eye, while developed resources ensure scuba diving, island-hopping and culture cruising will keep most tourists occupied.

However, Nha Trang’s popularity often draws the crowds, so a bit of research will reward you with a destination of equal beauty, but greater intimacy elsewhere. Indeed, you needn’t travel far to find something quieter, with Doc Let beach positioned just a few kilomteres north of Nha Trang. Shallow waters and silvery sands, as well as a more relaxed vibe, distinguish it from its more popular counterpart.

Bridging the gap between Nha Trang and Vietnam’s capital city Ho Chi Minh, the lengthy stretch of sand between Phan Thiet and Vung Tau finds favour with every beach dweller, whether your preference is seclusion, or something livelier.

Indeed, both Phan Thiet and Vung Tau offer fine facilities and resources to attract the casual visitor, while the latter’s proximity to Ho Chi Minh makes it a particularly popular haunt for those seeking city thrills and beach spills.

For the more adventurous, following the coastline towards Phan Thiet uncovers some delightful finds. Tucked away coves and occasionally difficult access points won’t appeal to everyone, but a bit of exploring can produce some picturesque treats.

Just north of Phan Thiet brings you to Mui Ne, famous for its production of fish sauce and its sand dunes, which look more akin to deserts found in Africa than in Asia from some angles… Now beginning to enjoy a development boom, Mui Ne’s geography nonetheless ensures it is still an image of paradise, with its undulating dunes, warm waters and soft sands, while surfing is also a popular pastime here.

While many of the most notable Vietnam beaches are located on the south-east coast, similarly impressive stretches can be found further north, notably at China Beach, which is located between Son Tan to Cua Dai Beach.

The long stretch services residents and visitors to the nearby cities of Hoi An and Danang, though Cua Dai has earned its place in infamy with its luscious sands that stretch some 19 miles. Popular, but long enough to find your own private spot, Cua Dai is a wonderful place to enjoy a time out from the bustle of the nearby urban cities.

However, if we could recommend just one Vietnam beach break, then one destination above all stands out from the rest – Phu Quoc Island. Set in the Gulf of Thailand, 45km from the Vietnam mainland (and actually only 15km from Cambodia), Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s rendition of Phuket, the moderately-sized island feeling intimate enough to enjoy a blissful escape into paradise.

Golden sands rim a verdant iris of palm trees and tropical flora, creating a setting that borrows every pretty feature from Vietnam’s other premier beaches, but dispensing of the relative busyness that often comes with them too.

Though temperatures peak between April and June, the somewhat uncomfortable humidity means Vietnam is best enjoyed between the months of November and March, when the temperatures range from a pleasant 23°C to 31°C.

Whichever beach you choose, Vietnam has an excellent option for everyone, whether it’s kids looking to play in the sea, adults wanting a quiet spot to sunbathe or adrenaline-junkies seeking a watersport thrill.

With  more and more people turning to Vietnam for that dream tropical holiday at an excellent price, now really is the best time to go and discover this stunning country for yourself.

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