In this Vietnam travel guide, courtesy of My Way Travel, I'll take you through the captivating beaches that adorn Vietnam's central and southern shores. While the northern region offers pristine, untouched beaches, it's worth noting that the infrastructure there may be limited. So, we'll focus on this escapade's central and southern coastal paradises. Get ready for an unforgettable journey with My Way Travel!
Beaches and beach resorts in Central Vietnam
Best time to visit: between February and September
If you're looking for a beach getaway with a touch of history and culture, look no further than central Vietnam. This region boasts not one but two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Hue, the former imperial capital, and Hoi An, the charming old town. You can explore the ancient temples, palaces, and tombs of Hue or wander through the lantern-lit streets of Hoi An before heading to the coast for some sun and sand.
The beaches here are long and pristine, with clear turquoise waters that invite you to dive in and discover the colorful coral reefs and marine life. You can also try your hand at fishing, or simply relax on the soft white sand. And, if you need a break from the beach, you can venture into the lush green jungle of Bach Ma National Park, where you can swim in natural pools and admire the waterfalls.
There are plenty of accommodation options along the coast, ranging from budget-friendly to luxurious. My favorite is Lang Co Bay, a secluded spot with a crescent-shaped beach that feels like a hidden paradise. The only hotels here are the Banyan Tree and the Angsana, offering five-star service and stunning views. If you want to stay closer to Hoi An, go with the Four Seasons Nam Hai, a stylish resort with spacious rooms and impeccable service.
Four Seasons Nam Hai
Best time to visit: between January and June
Nestled along the picturesque coast of Qui Nhon, the beaches here are anything but deserted. While they may not have garnered international fame just yet, they are cherished by local vacationers and retired couples seeking serenity.
Qui Nhon's strategic location between the bustling destinations of Hoi An and Nha Trang might require you to take to the skies, but let me assure you, it's an excursion worth embarking on.
As you set foot in this coastal paradise, a leisurely promenade stretches out before you, lined with vibrant fishing boats painted in shades of yellow and blue that dance upon the glistening waters. When night falls, the sea comes alive with the shimmering lights of shrimp-fishing vessels.
Nearby, you can explore ancient wonders, such as a pair of thousand-year-old Cham towers, or unwind on a sprawling, sun-kissed beach of pure gold. But, for me, Qui Nhon's true charm lies in its ambiance. Along your coastal stroll, you'll encounter laid-back beachside bars, seafood eateries, and trendy cafes, each offering a taste of the local culture.
Tucked harmoniously to the city's south, you'll discover the Avani Quy Nhon Resort and Spa and the Anantara Quy Nhon Villas, gracing a tranquil stretch of beach surrounded by lush, jungle-clad hills. The modern comforts of the Avani are complemented by their value-packed rooms and suites. At the same time, the more exclusive Anantara boasts a collection of villas, many featuring their private pools.
Beach and Promenade, Qui Nhon, Vietnam
Beach holidays around Nha Trang
Best time to visit: between January and September
Nha Trang, one of Vietnam's pioneering beach getaways, has transformed into a bustling city with its airport. Despite the city's frenetic pace, its true allure lies beyond its borders, waiting to be discovered. As you venture outwards, you'll immerse yourself in serene bays, embraced by majestic mountains and tranquil cerulean waters. An enchantment in the early-morning light graces this coastal gem, painting the sky with some of the most mesmerizing sunrises I've witnessed in Asia.
My recommendation? Take your time in the bustling heart of Nha Trang. But if you stop for a moment, indulge in a delightful banh mi – a delectable baguette generously stuffed with savory pork and fresh greens – from one of the charming open-air cafés.
Palm trees at beautiful Nha Trang beach.
However, Nha Trang's real magic lies hidden in the secluded havens along the coastline. Some of these hideaways are so tucked away that you might momentarily believe you've stumbled upon your private island.
The Six Senses Ninh Van Bay lies just a 40-minute drive from Nha Trang, followed by an exhilarating 20-minute speedboat ride. Nestled on a horseshoe-shaped beach, where lush jungle palms cast enchanting shadows on the golden sands, this oasis offers a profound sense of tranquility that starkly contrasts the city's bustling streets. It's so secluded that your only dining option is at the hotel, where you can savor a private dinner in a wine cave amidst other culinary delights.
Apart from unwinding on the pristine beach and exploring the underwater wonders of the South China Sea, the Six Senses offers many activities, from cooking classes to boat excursions, yoga sessions, and hiking adventures. You'll stay in a private villa seamlessly integrated into the natural boulders and jungle surroundings, yet the hotel spoils you with the luxury you'd expect from a lavish resort.
Further along the coastline, on the same remote peninsula, awaits the adults-only An Lam Retreats Ninh Van Bay. The resort's contemporary elegance is evident even before you disembark from the speedboat; its two-story wooden restaurant is a masterpiece that could grace the halls of a design museum.
For those seeking exceptional value, I'd steer you towards the Mia Resort Nha Trang, boasting an array of condos and villas just a 20-minute drive from the airport. Conversely, if you're inclined to indulge, the Amanoi perches above Vinh Hy Bay to the south of the airport. Resembling a pristine Vietnamese village lost in time. It's an exclusive enclave of villas complemented by two lavish spas, abundant fine dining options, and one of the most picturesque yoga pavilions you'll ever encounter.
Beach vacations close to Ho Chi Minh City
Best time to visit: from November through to April
Journeying four hours northeast from the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City, we arrive at the enchanting realms of Mui Ne and Phan Thiet, nestled along the coast. These coastal havens offer a delightful medley of opulent beachfront hotels with plush daybeds and charming guesthouses, each imbuing the endless stretches of glistening, pearl-white sands with its unique character.
While it might not be my initial pick for Vietnam's tranquil shores, Mui Ne and Phan Thiet possess their allure. What sets them apart is their accessibility. Being the sole beach destination in Vietnam, you can reach by road, bypassing the need for a flight.
The Anantara Mui Ne Resort and Spa is atop my list of splendid accommodations. This venerable establishment is nestled amidst lush, well-established tropical gardens, cleverly concealing the sometimes bustling ambiance of Mui Ne's coastline. Mia Mui Ne offers an appealing alternative for those seeking a more rustic, thatched-roof charm. And for those mindful of their budget, the Blue Ocean Resort presents a fantastic value proposition, ensuring an unforgettable coastal escape.
Anantara Mui Ne Resort and Spa
Con Dao Islands
Best time to visit: between Christmas and August
Nestled just off the sun-kissed southern coast of Vietnam lies the enchanting Con Dao Islands, a mere 45-minute flight away from the bustling energy of Ho Chi Minh City. Once, in a bygone era, this archipelago harbored unwilling guests as a French penal colony, and echoes of that somber past still resonate in the eerie remnants of abandoned prisons, juxtaposed with meticulously manicured gardens and colonial villas on the largest island. Yet, today, Con Dao is a sanctuary of tranquility, renowned for its serene, sprawling beaches. These crystalline waters hold secrets of the deep and a reputation as one of Vietnam's premier destinations for avid scuba divers.
Within the embrace of the Con Dao archipelago's 16 islands lies the heart of the protected Con Dao Marine Park, a sanctuary for marine life teeming with wonders. Here, you may chance upon the elusive dugong, a distant relative of the gentle manatee, gracefully navigating the azure depths.
The sea unveils its true splendor between February and July when its waters become a crystalline expanse of wonder. In May, green turtles, ancient mariners of the ocean, make their annual pilgrimage to these shores, carving out nests in the sandy embrace of Con Dao's beaches. From May through to October, the shores come alive as baby turtles emerge from their sandy incubators like fragile promises of the future.
For those seeking solace in the lap of nature, Con Dao stands as Vietnam's quintessential haven. If you yearn for an indulgent retreat, consider the Six Senses Con Dao, where the day begins with the gentle flow of yoga beneath the morning sun and ends with cinematic tales unfurling on the beach. Alternatively, the Poulo Condor Boutique Resort & Spa beckons with its harmonious blend of French colonial elegance, as terracotta-tiled villas are cradled within the embrace of a bay sheltered by verdant hills.
Sunset over the sea. Con Dao. Vietnam
Phu Quoc Island
Best time to visit: between November and August
Nestled in the heart of Vietnam's stunning coastline, you'll discover some of the country's most pristine beaches strategically positioned for the ultimate mid-journey escape. Enter the enchanting realm of Phu Quoc, a paradise adorned with powdery white sands caressed by the gentle embrace of turquoise waves. As you venture through the length of Vietnam, from its northern wonders to the southern delights, Phu Quoc beckons as the perfect crescendo—a brief yet blissful beach interlude.
Phu Quoc proudly boasts its international airport, primarily serving as the gateway for travelers from Ho Chi Minh City. However, this island gem welcomes domestic adventurers from Hanoi or Can Tho and even international wanderers from Singapore or Siem Reap.
Once a tranquil haven for fishermen, Phu Quoc has transformed into a bustling hub of resorts and dining establishments. Yet, this transformation brings a delightful dilemma—where to indulge in your culinary desires. Whether you opt for the intimate ambiance of candlelit restaurants or the charm of locally-owned seafood cafes along the shore, one thing is certain: a bottle of nuoc mam, the island's revered fish sauce, will grace your table.
Long Beach, Omg Beach, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
For those seeking a harmonious blend of convenience and serenity, the west-coast La Veranda Resort awaits. Here, you'll find yourself surrounded by the bustling vibrancy of local restaurants and bars, complemented by tranquil gardens and a sprawling pool oasis. However, if your heart yearns for the seclusion of a remote sanctuary, I recommend the Chen Sea Resort & Spa. Nestled against a lush rainforest backdrop, it opens to a secluded cove, where nature's serenade is your only soundtrack.
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