Vietnam has everything, and beaches are not excluded! Keep reading for a comprehensive guide to the nine best beaches of this country. Map included!
When you think beach, you probably think Bali or Thailand in Southeast Asia. The general public does not think of Vietnam first, but this is a mistake! Vietnam has approximately 3,350 kilometers (2,081 miles) of coastline and more than 3,000 islands and islets, adding up to be larger than Thailand! And the best part? Most beaches are undiscovered so you can very easily find a beach for yourself. Google has plenty of recommendations for the most famous beaches in Vietnam, but today, we will introduce a list of nine off-the-beaten-track beaches in Vietnam for your adventurous side seeking a nice, quiet getaway.
Most articles about beaches in Vietnam are not organized so we’ve tried to arrange this one in an easy-to-read and easy-to-understand way. You will find in the article basic information about what to do, where to stay, what to eat, tips and tricks, and of course, how to get to each beach. I have arranged this article from the north to the south so you can easily find which one is appropriate for your travels. Now grab your notebook and a pencil, you’re going to need it.
- 1. Lan Ha Bay – Cat Ba
- 2. North Central Coast Vietnam
- 3. An Bang Beach – Hoi An
- 4. Cham Islands – Hoi An
- 5. Ky Co Beach – Quy Nhon
- 6. Doc Let Beach – Khanh Hoa
- 7. Mui Ne – Phan Thiet
- 8. Dam Trau Beach – Con Dao Islands
- 9. Cay Men Beach – Nam Du Islands
1. Lan Ha Bay – Cat Ba
Located to the southeast of Cat Ba town in Hai Phong city, Lan Ha bay is a geological extension of Ha Long Bay but it sits in a different province. These two bays are connected and you can always move between both by boat. With more than 27 square miles in area and almost 400 karst islands and limestone outcroppings, this bay is just as beautiful as Ha Long Bay but it has an additional 139 white sand beaches. Have I convinced you to drop in yet?
When is the best time to visit? – Anytime! Just notice that Vietnamese tourists prefer to come here from April to October, and November to March sees the most international tourists. We recommend staying for one night and two days.
What to Do
You can always hire a boat, wander around and experience the beauty on your own. But if you are the planning type, here are some places that should be on your list:
- Cua Van Fishing Village: You can hire a kayak and pay a visit to the small local fishing, craft, and water villages.
- Luon Cave (Hang Luon): This should be the next stop after Cua Van fishing village if you hire a kayak from there. This cave located on Bo Hon island. With its steep cliffs and calm blue waters, Luon cave captures the hearts of visitors almost instantly.
- Nam Cat Island: This is an ecotourism destination and of course, it’s naturally beautiful. There are three stilts and six restaurants built with bamboo on the island which is very convenient.
- Cat Dua Island (Monkey Island): This island is like a small mountain but what makes it unique are the wild pineapple trees. Besides relaxing on the beach, you can also play with monkeys here.
- Van Boi Beach: A beach of calm water and nice scenes makes for the perfect place to kayak.
You can stay overnight on Cat Dua island or Nam Cat island and there are a few resort options for you to choose from. You can easily find these options on Booking.com or Airbnb. Food is also sold on the island, but your options will be limited. If you have any food restrictions or a special diet, you should prepare beforehand.
How to Get There
To get to Lan Ha bay, you will need to reach Cat Ba island first then take a boat from there to the bay. Cat Ba island is easy to get to from Hanoi, just book Hoang Long bus. It will take you three to four hours. Click here: https://hoanglongasia.com/bookingcatba and follow the instructions.
When you finally get to Cat Ba, ask locals and find your way to Beo dock (Ben Beo), from there you can take a canoe to Lan Ha and rent a kayak to explore the bay.
- Bus ticket from Hanoi – Cat Ba: 200,000 VND – 250,000 VND (around 10 – 12 USD)
- Boat from Cat Ba to Lan Ha: 200,000 USD – 250,000 USD (around 10 – 12 USD)
2. North Central Coast Vietnam
The north-central coast of Vietnam includes Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien – Hue. There are many beaches in this part of the country and they’re all very beautiful. Here is the list:
- Sam Son beach – Thanh Hoa
- Cua Lo beach – Nghe An
- Thien Cam beach – Ha Tinh
- Nhat Le beach – Quang Binh
- Cua Tung beach – Quang Tri
- Lang Co beach – Thua Thien Hue
That’s not all, these are coastal provinces which mean you can discover a beach and turn it into your own spot. Since storms pass here every year and slow down development, these beaches are not very famous among foreign tourists.
The best time to visit is from March to August but avoid the 30th of April and 1st of May, as these are Vietnamese public holidays and all of the above-mentioned beaches will be packed. From September to February this area sees frequent storms and it will be cold in the winter.
There are many hotels, hostels, and motels close to these areas, you don’t need to book in advance. I recommend booking a hotel room; it’s safer, not expensive (normally around 250,000 VND/night or 12 USD/night). For your reference, the reasonable price for a three-star hotel is around 500,000 VND – 800,000 VND/night (25 – 35 USD).
How to Get There
Airplane: There are direct flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh to Vinh (Nghe An), Thanh Hoa, Dong Hoi (Quang Binh) and Phu Bai (Thua Thien – Hue). Ha Tinh and Quang Tri don’t have airports so you can get there by bus (Vinh – Nghe An to Ha Tinh and Dong Hoi – Quang Binh to Quang Tri).
Sleeping bus: This is only recommended when you have plenty of time and you are in Ha Noi traveling to Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, or Ha Tinh. It will take you between three to six hours on the bus to get there.
Even if the locals here are friendly and nice, you should still keep these tips in mind just in case:
- Not many local people here can speak English so you should learn by heart or write down on a piece of paper important Vietnamese sentences.
- Remember to always ask for the price before using services, and to bargain if you feel it isn’t reasonable.
- Buy food in the local market because it tastes better and is cheaper.
- Go with anything that has menu or price on it since some places might charge you more for being a tourist.
3. An Bang Beach – Hoi An
Hoi An is famous for its antique beauty, sincere and friendly people, and the picturesque Ancient Town. Sometimes we forget that it’s also a coastal city, which is why you are also able to enjoy the stunning beaches here, especially An Bang beach. Just motorbike 10 minutes or cycle for 15 minute from the Ancient Town and you will reach An Bang.
Like any other province in Central Vietnam, the best time to visit An Bang is during summer time when the skies are blue. This is from March to August.
What to Do
An Bang isn’t a beach with crowds. It’s peaceful with blue skies and lots of space for you to relax or play volleyball with your friends. Take a walk along the beach and you will find a place without people – just you and nature.
Don’t be too surprised when the local Vietnamese try to convince you to buy drinks or eat at their restaurant. You will also see vendors selling colorful accessories as well. If you’re not interested, there is absolutely no pressure to buy anything. There are also small bars with a laid-back vibe and cute furniture that serve good food, good drinks, and a good time. If you stay late, you can even partake in some late-night karaoke. If you walk to the left of the main entrance, you’ll find these bars.
If you still have time to explore more in Hoi An, I highly suggest checking out some fresh water and by that, I mean secret waterfalls– 100% off-the-beaten-track (view more information) and also try the My Son Adventure – a famous cultural/historical attraction in the area (view more information).
Stay at hotels with cool swimming pools, attractive breakfast buffets and free bicycles for you to explore Hoi An. Since Hoi An is a famous attraction, you can always find more accommodation options on other booking websites.
Link booking with Booking.com: https://booking.com
How to Get There
First, make your way to Da Nang and then pick a transportation option to Hoi An from there. It is very easy to find a flight from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh to Da Nang. When you land, just hop in a taxi from the airport for 30 minutes, and after a journey along the coast, you will arrive in Hoi An.
Those who want to see more mountains along the way can choose to go by train. It will be a 14 – 20 hour train from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh to Da Nang and from Da Nang you’ll have to catch a taxi to Hoi An. You can also go by bus but we won’t recommend it as it takes ages and you will be tired afterward.
Read more: How to Get From Da Nang to Hoi An
4. Cham Islands – Hoi An
If you ever plan to go to Hoi An or you are actually staying there, you will want to explore the Cham islands. Eight nautical miles off the Hoi An coast, Cham island (or Cu Lao Cham) is a cluster of eight beautiful wild islands that are a perfect getaway. The main island, Hon Lao, is the largest and the only inhabited island. It boasts beaches, diving, snorkeling, seafood, and one very scenic drive.
Like An Bang beach, the perfect time to visit is from March to August. Snorkeling and diving is optimal from June until the end of August. And if you can, avoid weekends and public holidays.
What to Do
Bai Huong and Bai Lang are the two main villages, and beaches dot the sheltered western side of the island. Since these two beaches are quite far from each other, you need to rent a motorbike to get around. But foreigners aren’t allowed to drive since the road on the island is very steep and dangerous. The trick is to ask a local to drive you and then pay them. You can also get around by boat, but it is more expensive.
To visit other islands and to go diving or snorkeling for the whole day, you can rent a boat at the two beaches mentioned above with 500,000 VND – 1,500,000 (25 – 75 USD). This island is open for camping overnight on the beach. Tents are available to rent from locals for 150,000 VND (7 USD). You can also go to the market and get some food to prepare for you overnight camping trip. Oh, don’t forget to ask locals about “Cua da” (land crab – Gecarcoidea lalandii). It is a specialty on Cham island and tastes so good when cooked. A wonderful night on the beach is waiting for you!
You can rent a tent and camp on the beach overnight. For a local experience, you can stay in any homestay near Bai Huong or Bai Lang. The price varies from 50,000 – 150,000 VND/night (2 – 7 USD/night).
How to Get There
From Hoi An (directions mentioned above), there are two docks that offer boats to Cham island.
Bach Dang dock located on Bach Dang street in Hoi An Ancient Town is one. From here you can get a speedboat to Bai Lang for 200,000 VND (10 USD) one way.
Cua Dai dock also provides public wooden supply boats offering services to Bai Huong with the price of 30,000 VND (2.5 USD) for Vietnamese and 150,000 VND (7 USD) for foreigners.
5. Ky Co Beach – Quy Nhon
Quy Nhon is the main city of Binh Dinh province, located in Central Vietnam. You may not recognize this name since its charm has recently been discovered. Beaches in the area used to be known to the fishermen only, and then it was discovered by local travelers, and through their stories, more and more people end up visiting and falling in love with this city. Of the all superb beaches here, Ky Co is the favorite of many travelers, and we couldn’t recommend it enough.
25 kilometers to the northeast of Quy Nhon city, Ky Co is coveted because of its very clear waters and its mountainous backdrop. There are many rocky ledges by the coast, which have created natural swimming pools ideal for your kids.
From February until August is the perfect time to visit Quy Nhon. But you’d better check the weather forecast two days ahead to plan your trip.
What to Do
What are you going to do when you find a beach? Yes, go swimming! But hey, if you ever come here, don’t just swim. There are secret caves under the water waiting for the tide to come out; oysters, black echinus, and sea snails are hiding beneath the rocks and colorful coral reefs are just a few miles away from the shore. Nature is waiting for you to explore. Hold on, there are a few things you need to do before plunging into the water:
- Hire a boat (for diving and snorkeling)
- Ask locals to prepare you food
- Hire a net (in case you want to be a fisherman)
- Hire a tent in case you have to stay overnight
- The above list will only cost you 500,000 VND/pax (25 USD/pax).
There are no hotels nearby. We’d say camping on the beach overnight is an amazing experience. If you don’t want to, just go back to Quy Nhon city and find a hotel there. It is very easy.
How To Get There
To Quy Nhon
Airplane: You can fly to Quy Nhon from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh. The flight will be 1.5 hours long if you leave from Hanoi and one hour from Ho Chi Minh. Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Jetstar Pacific Airlines are the operating airlines with flights to Quy Nhon.
Train: You can book your ticket directly on this site: https://dsvn.vn . Trains from Hanoi to Quy Nhon or Ho Chi Minh to Quy Nhon are both available.
Bus: From Hanoi you can check Hoang Long bus; from Ho Chi Minh you can choose Phuong Trang bus.
To Ky Co
From the Quy Nhon city dock, you can find a boat to bring you to Ky Co. Or you can drive on your own or take a taxi to Eo Gio beach and from there take a canoe to Ky Co.
Other Worthy Beaches in Quy Nhon
- Bai Xep: https://www.straytravel.com/travel-guide/asia/vietnam/bai-xep/
- Bai Trung or Queen beach
- Hon Kho island
- Eo Gio beach: http://nationaltimes.vn/articledetail.aspx?articleid=916
Now create a map on Google My Map and save the coordinates above. Now you have your very own map of cool beaches to visit in Quy Nhon.
6. Doc Let Beach – Khanh Hoa
Have you heard of Nha Trang? Famous for its amazing beaches, ideal diving sites, and picturesque offshore islands, this capital city of Khanh Hoa province in the south-central coast of Vietnam, has fun beaches and an animated nightlife. Doc Let might be less famous, but it’s just as beautiful as the beaches in Nha Trang. Located 50 kilometers from Nha Trang city to the north, you will be amazed by this beach’s gorgeous scenery. Hidden behind pine trees and coconut palm trees is a long white sand beach, virtually “untouched” by tourism. Only a few families do business here by providing seats and seafood along the beach. Doc Let is the perfect getaway.
January until September is the perfect time to travel here. The area will be full of sunshine and plenty of seafood. You should avoid the winter which is from October to December. It will be cold and jumping into the ocean may not be the best idea.
What to Do
With the advantage of its length, you can experience many different activities in Doc Let from common sports on the beach like volleyball, soccer to adventurous options like paddling canoes or parachuting above the ocean.
If you aren’t a vegetarian and you don’t have any problem eating seafood, then dig in! Fresh shrimp, sea snails, and lobsters are provided by small street/beach-side vendors or family run shops in the area. In addition to home-made dishes, you can find fresh food to buy and cook yourself. Do bear in mind that you should bargain a little, especially when you are a foreigner. You can find the famous dish called nem nuong – meat sticks eaten with special kinds of greens and typical rice paper – in this area as well. The combination of the ingredients creates an explosion of taste in your mouth.
The beach is very peaceful and quiet, so if you want to have a relaxing night, camping on the beach is a good option. Tents can be found in Nha Trang city (view here: http://thueleudulichnhatrang.com/) and food/ seafood can be found easily in Doc Let through the local vendors. Nothing is going to stop you from having a wonderful night on the beach with your friends.
Doc Let isn’t as developed Nha Trang, and also, people often choose to spend one day in Doc Let so finding accommodation here is not so difficult. There are couples of resorts and hotels along the beach and there are rooms available most of the time.
Quyet Thang Hotel and Restaurant is a reasonable option. This company also has their own bus – bus number 03 that runs from Nha Trang to Doc Let. It is very convenient.
Jungle Beach Resort is the one resort that newly opened. Located on Doc Let beach, providing food and beverage services, activities, tours to nearby islands, Jungle Beach is ideal for your beach vacation.
For accommodation in Nha Trang, InterContinental Nha Trang is your best choice. Tucked away in a quiet alley yet only two minutes walking to the beach, five minutes to the night markets, and 15 minutes to the central part of the city, the location is gold. With a well-designed interior, spacious suites and common area with very helpful hosts who will give you tons of great recommendations about everything you need to know, you can’t find a better place.
From HCMC and Hanoi to get to Doc Let, there are several recommended ways:
By train: Buy the train ticket to Ninh Hoa, and then hop in a taxi or rent a motorbike to get to the beach (15 kilometers away).
By bus: Buy a bus ticket to Tuy Hoa, Da Nang, or Hue from HCMC. Or you can buy a bus ticket to Nha Trang from Hanoi and get off at Ninh Hoa. Then grab a taxi or rent a motorbike to get to the beach.
By plane: Fly to Nha Trang (Cam Ranh airport, and get to Nha Trang by bus or by taxi), then catch the train, and then a bus or rent a motorbike to get to Doc Let.
7. Mui Ne – Phan Thiet
If you’re staying in Ho Chi Minh and looking for a beach escape from the city, look no further than Mui Ne. Mui Ne is a coastal fishing town in Binh Thuan province in the south central coast of Vietnam. With its long beach, Mui Ne has been transformed into a resort destination and now has more than a hundred beach resorts, as well as restaurants, bars, shops, and cafes. You can always find your way to an empty spot and rest under the sun.
You can visit Mui Ne any time of the year. The weather is warm all year round and full of sunlight. November to April is the windy season, so it is the perfect time to surf. From April to August it is less windy and the ocean is calmer. July is the high season for tourism, so there will be good resort deals but if you want to avoid the busy time, then don’t visit during those months.
What to Do
Mui Ne is an optimal place for surfing, especially kite-surfing. You can hire a kite to surf from anywhere along the beach. If you’ve never done it before, don’t worry, there are also classes for newbies and they are going to teach you how to surf for the first time.
Mui Ne is an interesting place where you can see both sunset and sunrise from the ocean. Locals here provide jeep tours to the White Sand Dunes to see the sunrise starting at 5 in the morning for 600,000 VND for four people (30 USD). To see the sunset, the fishing village is the most ideal spot. The water turns golden when the time comes. There are some seafood restaurants in front of the fishing village, so after enjoying the sunset, you can always fill up, pick your seafood which is still alive, and ask the chef to help you cook. Then you just dig into the food while watching hundreds of fishing boats with blinking lights on the sea. What a life!
Mui Ne is considered the capital of resorts in Vietnam, so there shouldn’t be any problem in finding a good accommodation for your trip. However, if you are waiting for a name, the Joe Cafe or Joe Boutique is the place that we recommend. With a lovely pool, well-cared-for grass, live music every night, great service, and a perfect natural yoga studio, it is top notch.
Read more: Best Accommodation in Mui Ne
How to Get There
Choose between the train or a bus. We recommend taking the bus. Just six comfortable hours on a sleeper bus with Phuong Trang for the price of 120,000 VND/pax (6 USD/pax). It can’t be simpler.
8. Dam Trau Beach – Con Dao Islands
Con Dao is an archipelago off Ba Ria – Vung Tau province, southeast Vietnam. The islands are considered as one of Vietnam’s star attractions. Isolated from the mainland, Con Dao used to house political prisoners and undesirables, and it now it’s an island-beach paradise. Dam Trau is the most beautiful beach on Con Son island, the largest island in a chain of 15 islands and islets, and it’s partly covered by thick forests with lovely beaches, coral reefs, and stunning bays.
Since it is more difficult for the locals to fish during October to February, the prices will be higher. March to September is the rainy season, but the sea is calmer and the rain never lasts longer than one hour.
March to June will be ideal for those who are on their honeymoon and looking for a quiet place with a romantic beach. Between February and July is the time for divers as the water is clearest at this time. May to October is the season of sea turtles nesting and hatching, so maybe you can partake in the wonder of releasing them into the sea.
What to Do in Dam Trau
Con Dao itself is amazing and provides endless activities. But if you are looking for a place to settle down, Dam Trau is ideal. It will be just you and nature. These kinds of moments in life don’t happen that often.
Although Dam Trau is a local area and there aren’t many tourist services provided here, you can go fishing, diving, snorkeling, and eat seafood. The language difference is not a worry if you prepare notes in Vietnamese about what you want to get and show it to locals here.
Dam Trau is a destination for a day trip only, there isn’t a hotel or hostel nearby. You will have to book your room in the center of the Con Son island (Ton Duc Thang or Nguyen Duc Thuan street). If you are still confused, you can consider Sixsences Con Dao Resort, a great option for refreshment.
Read more: Best Accommodations on Con Dao Islands
How to Get There
Roadway and waterway
From Ho Chi Minh City, get to Vung Tau city by bus or train, then hop in a taxi and get to the Cat Lo dock. A 12-hour long journey on a boat is waiting for you.
Boats here often leave at 5 PM and arrive in Con Dao at 5 AM the next day. The normal price for one ticket will be 150,000 VND – 200,000 VND (7-10 USD).
From Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, there are direct flights to Co Ong airport on Con Son island. We recommend booking your flight with Vietnam Airlines, a reliable brand, and their flights are more frequent. From Co Ong airport, a taxi driver will be willing to take you to your hotel or resort.
The main transportation on the islands is car and motorbike. You can rent a motorbike from your hotel and ride to Dam Trau or ask the receptionist to help you hire a private car.
Read more: Lost Days in Con Dao
9. Cay Men Beach – Nam Du Islands
The Nam Du island archipelago is made of 21 islands and islets located off the southwest coast of Vietnam, in the Gulf of Thailand. A few of the islands, like the main one, Hon Lon, are large enough to be inhabited with colorful fishing boats and gritty villages, while some tiny islets are no more than a bump of rock drowning in the ocean. Cay Men beach located on Hon Lon has the most impressive view of all the beaches on Nam Du islands. You will be attracted to the white sand, blue clear water surrounded by a coconut jungle. Fun fact: This beach belongs to a family who has lived here for many years and is still the only family in the area.
Important: As of 2016, foreigners are not allowed to get on a boat to Nam Du without a piece of paper from the local police station authorizing a visit. You will have to check the situation before planning to head to the island. However, you can call this number: 0901011091 – ask for a man named Loi from a travel agency called Bai Bien Vang and he will help you out in case you don’t want to go through the hassle of dealing with the paperwork and the government.
There are two seasons on the islands. The dry season, from November to May, and wet season, from May to October. This explains why the perfect time to visit Nam Du is from December to March. A calm sea, comfortable temperature, and consistent weather will make it a superb trip.
What to Do
Cay Men beach is not developed yet, thankfully. The family keeps it clean and there are just a few huts, hammocks, and a special kind of coconut for sale. This beach is just so amazing: not touristy, barely any people, and food and drinks are still available. Escape from your busy life to this little piece of heaven. Several turns around the island coastal road are a must, for photos and for swimming.
Nam Du has not connected to Vietnam’s power grid and its main power source is fuel generators. Also, there are only motels and guest houses available on the island. The majority of the hostels are located on Hon Lon and the price ranges from 100,000 VND – 500,000 VND (5 – 25 USD). You should book in advance since motels or guest houses here easily reach capacity.
How to Get There
In order to get to Nam Du, you have to take a combination of vehicles (bus, car, motorbike) and ferry OR plane (fly to Rach Gia), vehicle (bus, taxi) and ferry.
Bus from Ho Chi Minh to Rach Gia port
Take a six-hour bus from Mien Tay bus station with Phuong Trang bus company (135,000 VND) to Rach Gia, then the bus line Phuong Trang will bring you to Rach Gia port. From the port, you can purchase a ferry ticket to Nam Du.
You can take a flight from Ho Chi Minh to Rach Gia airport and catch a taxi from here to the port in order to get your ferry ticket to Nam Du.
Ferries to Nam Du
There are two options: fast ferry (2.5 hours) or slow ferry (3.5 hours) and two ferry operator: Superdong and Ngoc Thanh. Ferries often depart from Rach Gia port starting at 6 AM to 8 AM and 11:15 AM or 12 PM from Nam Du.
Vietnam is a beautiful country, more and more wonderful destinations are being discovered. Words are not enough to describe its charm but they can definitely lead you to discovery. Hopefully, this article could help you make a decision.
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