For one of the most beautiful countries in the world, surprisingly few people know much about Vietnam. To many people, the name simply conjures up images of the war-torn country depicted in films like Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket. However, a lot has changed since the 1970s, and Vietnam is now a prime tourist spot, visited by people from all over the world.
Other than being one of the best ecotourism destinations in the world, one of the reasons why Vietnam is such a popular holiday destination is because of its gorgeous beaches- and with over 2,000 miles of coastline, you’re certainly spoilt for choice! When I first visited the country for a month in 2015, I spent quite a lot of my time chilling at some beach, and I couldn’t get enough.
If you too can’t get enough of sun, sea, and sand, then Vietnam is quite frankly a must for you- and I’ve selected the 10 best beaches in Vietnam for those interested in visiting the country.
Long Beach, Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc is the jewel in Vietnam’s crown, a gorgeous island that combines lengthy white beaches and dense jungle- if that doesn’t sum up Vietnam, then what does? By far the best beach on the island is Long Beach, which (as the name suggests) is a 20km long beach with plenty of deserted spots for enjoying some peace and quiet while you soak up the sun. It’s a little out of the way, but that means the island retains some of its natural charms, making it ideal for a weekend away from the country’s big cities. This is Vietnam’s #1 destination for a romantic vacation or your honeymoon, and trust me: there are few places that get more romantic than this!
Located in the south of the country, Nha Trang is widely regarded as one of the best destinations in Vietnam for a beach vacation. The city is bordered by six kilometers of beaches, so as with Long Beach, there’s plenty of space to kick back and unwind. The great thing about this beach is that since it’s right next to a major city, that means plenty to do, including a wide selection of bars and restaurants.
There are also lots of opportunities for indulging in some water sports, and there are many quirky modern sculptures adorning the boardwalk as you walk along the seafront. If you’d prefer a spot of scuba diving, then Rainbow Divers, Vietnam’s first diving school, is also located here.
The other thing Nha Trang is known for is partying. Known as “Vietnam’s party town”, you can find many clubs and booze cruises here. If you are backpacking around South-East Asia, or just looking for a fun getaway with your friends, Nha Trang is the place to be at.
Cua Dai Beach, Hoi An
If you are wondering what to do in Hoi An, worry not as there’s so much to do! In fact, Hoi An is the place where most tourists fell in love with Vietnam. Hitting the markets, getting a suit made in the tailor shops, and hitting the beach are on top of everyone’s list.
If you want to really experience life like a Vietnamese local, then make the trip by bike from Hoi An to the picturesque beach at Cua Dai. At Cua Dai Beach there are plenty of waterfront cafes and bars to enjoy, and the view of the sunset over the nearby Cham Islands (also recommended a visit if you’ve got some extra time) is just one of the best ones.
Cat Ba Island
Every Vietnam guidebook will tell you that you can’t miss a stop in Unesco-listed Halong Bay, a magnificent bay famous for its karst formations – and in fact, you can’t. But going on an organized overnight tour around Halong Bay isn’t necessarily your best option. Tours can be a lot of fun, but if you are looking for something quieter or just prefer doing your own thing, don’t hesitate and head to Cat Ba Island.
The wild and rugged Cat Ba Island is the largest island in Halong Bay, and you can easily find a cheap hotel room, rent a motorbike, and explore the are on your own terms. Imagine breathtaking sunsets, green hills, fun adventures riding your motorbike around the island, and some very fine beaches where you might easily be all alone. Sounds tempting, uh?
China Beach is so huge, it’s actually got two different names. The northern half is known as My Khe, while the southern half is called Cua Dia. The whole thing, though, is simply breathtaking- and if you are a surfer, this is the perfect place to catch some waves. China Beach is also located near both the bustling port city of Danang and the quaint town of Hoi An, so it is a very convenient location for you to visit as part of your trip to Vietnam.
The Con Dao islands are located quite a way away from the mainland, but that just makes them the ideal location for those who like to visit less tourist-infested areas. Once hell for prisoners who were jailed here, now coral reefs and jungle-clad lovely beaches are what Con Dao islands are all about.
Here the imperative word is “relax”. There are a few resorts to stay in if you are looking to get pampered, and a huge selection of sandy shores. When you get tired of the beach though, the forest provides good opportunities for hiking and being active. Hurry up and make sure you visit soon, I have the feeling these islands won’t be this quiet for much longer!
Danang became world famous due to its role as a central combat zone in the Vietnam War, but nowadays, you’ll find the place is wayyy more relaxed. Danang is especially known for its fishing, surfing, and scuba diving, so you certainly won’t get bored during your visit.
If you can splurge, Furama Resort here is one of the most luxurious hotel complexes in Vietnam, although most people will find that its five-star fees place it more than a little out of their price range. But no worries, there are plenty of options for all budgets. Danang Beach is also located near China Beach, another one of our top picks, so you’ll easily be able to check them both out to see which you prefer.
Located just 30 miles away from the bustling beaches of Nha Trang, Doc Let is a welcome oasis of tranquility in what can be a pretty crowded part of Vietnam. You’ll find that there aren’t many places geared towards tourists here, but that’s just perfect for more adventurous travelers who want to try out something a bit different.
You can also pitch your tent and fall asleep with the sound of the waves. Whether you visit on a day trip, or plan your visit to Vietnam around Doc Let, this is indeed a wonderful place to soak up some authentic Vietnamese atmosphere and culture.
Lang Co Bay
Another quieter beach, this pleasant crescent-shaped bay is somewhat of a secret one and has been mercifully left alone by most of the tourist crowd. This means you’re sure of a relaxing visit without any of the big crowds that tend to flock to Vietnam’s more famous beaches.
The gentle sweep of the white-sand beach is so pleasing to the eye, the landscapes are beautiful… but where aren’t in Vietnam? Located on the other side of the Hai Van Pass, Lang Co Bay is easily accessible from Danang if you are planning your visit around there; just rent a motorbike for the day trip, or take the train for a really scenic ride (but make sure to check the timetables as the times tend to change often!).
What if I tell you that you can have the beach and the desert all at once? It’s possible in Mui Nee, where the main attraction are its huge red and white sand dunes. This is a surreal place you absolutely cannot miss, but when you come back from your adventures, relaxing on the beach in Mui Ne isn’t bad either.
Swimming isn’t always recommended as the currents can be pretty strong, but this means that the town retains a kite surfer vibe. You can also take some kitesurfing lessons at one of the many schools if you are a complete beginner!
Choosing the ten beaches to include in this list was hard, and there are so many other lovely beaches in Vietnam that are worth a visit. Have you booked your flight yet?
About the author:
Stefania Guglielmi is an avid traveler who believes a little glamour and sustainable travel can go hand in hand. She loves coffee and never leaves for a trip without a hat and her favourite lipstick. You can read about her adventures at EverySteph.com and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.