Vietnam has a huge coastline, 3.400 km from the Chinese border in the north all the way down to the Mekong Delta and the border with Cambodia on the Gulf of Thailand. A beach holiday needs a good climate and that means Vietnam family tours tend to concentrate on the Central and Southern parts of Vietnam where there is no real winter in terms of temperature. In the north it can be cold and the water quality is not so good. Overseas visitors and Vietnam travel packages look further south.
How to get there
Internal communications in Vietnam are good. Ho Chi Minh City in the south has a host of international flights anyway and plenty of domestic connections. Danang is on the coast in Central Vietnam and as well as a few international flights as well as domestic connections with Ho Chi Minh City and the capital further north, Hanoi.
Those on Vietnam tour packages may well have started by flying into Hanoi and gradually make the journey south by road, rail or air.
Best time to visit
With no real winter to speak of there is never a bad time to visit the popular beaches of Vietnam. Even when it does rain it is unlikely to last for long and won’t really spoil the day.
If you want to know the best few months then October to December are probably the months you should pick, especially if you intend to have a honeymoon in Vietnam.
If you have no time to leave the North and so do pick northern beaches, May to August is better. Bai Chay is probably the pick while Halong Bay gets on to most Vietnam private tours simply because of the setting, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Main Beaches in Vietnam
• Vung Tau is fairly close to Ho Chi Minh City in the south. Its location is its major advantage and it gets very busy from December through to May.
• Phan Thiet is famous for its fish sauce (nuoc mam) and still has a sizeable fishing fleet. The odour of fish is in the air of this town of 75,000 people but the beaches are out of town; the best is 20 km away, Mui Ne. The water is great, the beach clean with palm trees and sand dunes. Some say it is the best beach in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City is still fairly close so Mui Ne Beach and Bay are popular weekend destinations.
• Hon Chong Beach in Ha Tien borders Cambodia in Vietnam’s south west. There are also caves to explore while scuba divers regularly take a boat out from Ha Tien to the nearby islands. The best beaches in Vietnamsurely include the one on the largest of these islands, Ho Doc.
• My Khe beach is between Danang and Hoi An and is famous for its 20-mile stretch of beachfront property. The Americans landed here in the 1970s during the Vietnam War though few would know it now because of its transformation into a great beach holiday destination with a developed infrastructure.
• Nha Trang has been nicknamed the Vietnamese Riviera; a stunning setting. A beautiful white sandy beach 10 km long with crystal clear water, mountains of green vegetation and swaying palms. Water sports include sailing and diving. There are many offshore islands many of which have great beaches as well.
• Doc Let Beach is north of Nha Trang, a great destination and likely to be somewhat quieter than Nha Trang.
• Lang Co Beach is less than an hour from Hoi An and recently was voted among the top 30 beaches anywhere. Clearly it means it makes the list of best beaches in Vietnam.
• Con Dao Islands are fairly remote and have not been developed for tourism. If you want peace and quiet these are the beaches for you.
• Phu Quoc Island just off the coast of Kampot in Cambodia is wonderful. Some compare it to Phuket in Thailand without the development. See the island while you can just in case it changes.
When it comes to accommodation on Vietnam’s coastline it depends what you are looking for. There are plenty of places for backpackers and organised tours will provide a choice of accommodation between 3 and 5 star. It is important to understand the most developed resorts can be crowded at times while the quiet ones will have less in the way of facilities. It is entirely up to you but blue seas and white sands await.