Vietnam has a 3200 km coastline which spreads from North to South. This lets the country offer a stunning place for a beach break at any time of the year. Clear warm water, white sand beaches, reclining palms, and a big variety of activities – what else can you dream about? The only question is what beach to choose. So here is our guide for the best beach destinations in Vietnam.
Hidden Gems of Northern Vietnam
Cat Ba is located in Lan Ha Bay and is the largest island in that area. A big part of this island is a National Park with mangrove forests, caves, waterfalls, and wildlife. What makes this island really special? It has the stunning views of islands and isles of the famous Halong Bay.
Tourism is developing fast on this island, but it is still possible to find a spot just for you. There are 4 beaches in Cat Ba: Cat Co1, Cat Co2, Cat Co 3, and Emerald Beach. All of them are within walking distance from the Cat Ba town center, where all hotels and restaurants are. It is also easy to explore the island by bicycle.
Apart from relaxing at the beach, you could take a cruise on the Bay here, which is definitely a must-do! Or you can take a kayak and visit one of the surrounding islands for a swim or sunbathing. You also can visit Cat Ba National Park for hiking or mountain biking. In the evening we advise you to have a romantic dinner at one of the floating restaurants.
How to get here: To get to Cat Ba you need to take a ferry from Hai Phong or Halong City, which are 5-6 hours drive from Hanoi. Some Halong Bay cruises with a 3 days program also offer to visit or staying overnight in Cat Ba.
Best time to visit: we recommend visiting the island from April to September when it is summer season in Northern Vietnam. In winter it will be a bit cold to swim. From September to November you also could enjoy warm sea and beautiful weather, however at this time the storms sometimes can occur.
CO TO ISLANDS
Another gem of Northern Vietnam and one of Vietnam’s best beach destinations is Co To island. The island is located in Bai Tu Long Bay and is a group of 50 islands. Co To has a big potential for tourism and the number of people visiting it is growing.
So now it is the time to see Co To before it becomes a popular tourist spot. This island could offer you the stunning views, the possibility to get away from the crowds, crystal clear sea and beaches with soft white sand.
This island with untouched nature is also a good place for hiking: you can go up the hill to the lighthouse to see the beautiful panorama of the Bay. There are three main beaches on the island: Hong Van beach, Van Chai beach, and Trinh Sat beach. Or you can take an island hopping tour. If you want the authentic experience you can go fishing with locals.
As this area is not much developed, the selection of accommodation is not big and we recommend you to book it far in advance. Most accommodation is lower than western standards, but we could recommend you to stay at Coto Eco Lodge, which is located nearby Hong Van beach and has very lovely bungalows.
How to get here: You can take a bus or private car from Hanoi to Halong City. From there take a speed boat or ferry to the island. To get to Co To by speedboat will take 1.5 hours and by ferry – 4 hours.
Best time to visit is from April to September. In September-October the temperature is fine, but if the weather will be stormy the ferries might stop operating. In winter it will be cold to swim.
Central Vietnam best beaches
Da Nang is the third biggest city in Vietnam and located in the central part of the country. This dynamic city is a great location for a beach break. Da Nang has Vietnam best beach which is My Khe Beach. My Khe beach in Da Nang was also called by Forbes magazine as one of the most attractive beaches on the planet. On top of that Da Nang is a very beautiful city with pagodas, museums, world-famous bridges and with magnificent landscapes.
We can divide the beaches in Da Nang into three areas: South beaches, Son Tra Peninsula beaches, and Northern beaches. South beaches are represented by My Khe Beach and Non-Nuoc beach. Both of them are located close to the city center but divided by river from it. This area is the most convenient to stay – a big selection of hotels and resorts, nice restaurants and it is easy to get around.
If you are looking for a pristine beach in a less busy area you might consider staying in Son Tra Peninsula. It is a quiet area surrounded by hills and forests. Bai Bac and Tien Sa beaches here are like the hidden gems. Tien Sa is mostly a fishing village, but has nice resorts with private beaches there, meanwhile, Bai Bac is the best place for a luxury escape in Da Nang.
You can combine the sunbathing and swimming here with the hike to the Monkey Mountains through the jungle with seeing the rare species. And don’t forget to visit Linh Ung Pagoda when you are there. The only downside of Son Tra Peninsula is that it is far from the city center and not the most convenient place for getting around.
The beaches in the northern part of the city are close to the port and not the best quality. However, Nam O beach is quite a good spot for surfing. There are several surfing schools in Da Nang, so you can learn how to do it.
Da Nang also has some places of interest like Ba Na Hills with its cable car, amusement park, and Golden Bridge, which is supported by giant hands; dragon bridge, which breathes fire and water every Saturday evening; museums of Cham culture and beautiful temples. It is very easy to visit Hoi An and Hue from this city.
How to get here: Da Nang has an international airport and railway station. From Hue you can take a car trip on a beautiful Hai Van Pass.
Best time to visit is from April to September, it is perfect weather for swimming here. From September to December the water might be a bit stormy, so it is not convenient to swim, but a good time for surfing. And in the winter season – it is nice to visit the city, but it will be cold to swim.
Hoi An is the UNESCO World Heritage site and is a must-see in Vietnam. This small romantic, charming town with outstanding architecture and delicious food will win your heart. Hoi An is the perfect combination of cultural and beach holidays.
Hoi An beaches are the long coastal line divided into several beaches. Cua Dai beach used to be the most popular place, however now its future is unclear due to erosion. Local people do take care to prevent this problem but it is not as wide as it used to be. Anyway, it is still a nice place to relax and have a swim. The most popular beach in Hoi An is An Bang beach.
Here you can find lots of cafes with fresh seafood. If you buy lunch in one of these cafes you can get complimentary use of lounger. The beaches in Hoi An have soft fine golden color sand and a gentle slope, which makes it perfect for families with kids. All of them are located on the Eastern Coast, so if you come early you can enjoy the beautiful sunrises.
Between sunbathing and swimming sessions you can explore Hoi An, which is also called a “museum town”. It used to be an important trade port and welcomed people from all around the world, all of this you will see in the town’s architecture and lifestyle. It is also surrounded by small villages, one more advantage of Hoi An is accommodation. Here you can find really nice hotels with swimming pools at very affordable prices, even luxury resorts will not cost you as much as in other resort towns. Most hotels offer free bicycle rental and free shuttle service to the Old Town and beach.
How to get here: Hoi An is just 40-50 minutes drive from Da Nang international airport. If you want to get to Hoi An by train you also need to do it via Da Nang. From Hue, you can get here by car or bus.
Best time to visit: for a beach break the best time to visit Hoi An is from May to September when the sea is calm and water is warm. But to visit the town by itself it will always be a good time.
Hue was the capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty. Hue is a perfect place for exploring the highlights of Vietnamese culture and history. Hue doesn’t have access to the sea but is surrounded by a number of fishing villages with pristine beaches.
The closest beach to Hue is Thuan An beach, it is just 13 km from the city center. This place with fine white sand and turquoise water is not much promoted as a beach destination for tourists and you could expect to see the unspoiled nature here. But a real gem among Vietnam beaches is Lang Co Beach. It is only 15 km from Hue’s city center. You could see here bright blue water, unspoiled sandy beaches and stretches of swaying palms. On top of this, you can enjoy the views of green mountains surrounding this beach.
Lang Co is also not strongly promoted for international tourists and the infrastructure here is not developed as it is in Da Nang or Nha Trang. However, there are some really nice resorts in this area offering top-notch service and a peaceful atmosphere. Lang Co has been voted by Worldbays as one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Vietnamese people also consider it to be the best Vietnam beach destination. This place will be perfect for those who are looking for peace and natural beauty.
How to get here Hue has a domestic airport and a train station. You also can take a car from Da Nang international airport. To get to the beaches you can use a car or bike from Hue or Da Nang.
Best time to visit is the same as in Da Nang and Hoi An: in summer from May to September.
Southern Vietnam Best Beach Destinations
Nha Trang is one of Vietnam best beach cities for those who are active and looking for fun and adventures. This bustling city is the oldest and the most popular resort area in Vietnam. Here you can find a big range of hotels, restaurants, and activities. Nha Trang is also the best place in Vietnam who likes parties. But at the same time, it has some quiet and unspoiled spots as well.
Nha Trang is famous for its beautiful mountain views, silky sand, and turquoise water. At Bai Dai Beach the waves are perfect for surfing. If you want to explore some historical places you could visit Po-Nagar Cham Towers, different temples, pagodas, and cathedral. And after your water activities and exploration, you must try the mud SPA at the local hot springs.
The main beach in Nha Trang – Long Beach is located right in the city center. Long beach together with Tran Phu beach, also located close to the center are the most popular, but the busiest beaches.
Nha Trang Bay is surrounded by many beautiful islands, so you can visit the beaches there as well. If you are traveling with children you should visit Hon Tre Beach, which you could access by cable car. This island has the most stunning beaches with clear water and one of the best Amusement Parks in South East Asia. If you want to get away from crowds you can stay at Hon Tam Beach with its pristine sand and turquoise water. This island has many nice resorts and a golf course.
Diep Son Island has a 700 m underwater road, which makes it worth visiting. It appears only when the tide is low, so you need to catch a moment. It is not easy to get here, about a couple of hours drive and then a ferry ride, but this experience will definitely be worth it!
If you are looking for a hidden place, check out Bai Rang Beach and Ong Hoi Island. It is about 100 km from Nha Trang, you have to drive there and then have a couple of hours trekking. This beach is the best place for snorkeling and camping, but if you prefer comfort there is an eco-lodge there. It is hard to get here, but it takes an effort to get away from the crowds.
How to get here: It is easy to get here, the city has Cam Ranh International Airport and a port for cruise ships. From other cities of Vietnam, you can get here by flight, train, car, and bus.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Nha Trang is from January to September. From October to December it is the wet season. You also need to pay attention that from October to mid-February the waves in the Bay are big, so this time doesn’t suit for diving but will be great for surfing.
Mui Ne is Phan Thiet’s nicest resort town. It has developed from a fishing village and now offers a big range of beach-front resorts on a 10 km coastline and amazing holidays. Mui Ne is known as one of the best places in Asia for kite-surfing. It regularly holds international kite surfing competitions and has plenty of schools, where you can rent the equipment and learn how to surf.
The main beach in Mui Ne is actually called Mui Ne beach, the central part of it is the best for kitesurfing, has plenty of restaurants and activities to do. The west part of the beach is wider and more suitable for swimming and sunbathing, the east part is narrow and has some concrete parts. As it was mentioned the wind in Mui Ne is quite strong, so you should choose carefully the place for swimming. For example, the beach nearby Ocean Vista resort is a good spot for swimming as this beach has water breakers.
At the west of Mui Ne, Phu Bai beach is located. The golden sand here is soft and nice to walk on and the sea is calm. In this area mostly luxury resorts are located and most of the beaches are private. It is a great place to stay for a family vacation or for those who just want to relax in a calm and peaceful atmosphere.
If you are looking for a more authentic experience we can recommend you Ham Tien beach. It is located very close to the fishing village, so you can see the daily life of local people and many colorful boats around. It is also close to the red and white sand dunes, which you must visit while you are in Mui Ne. The best time to climb to the top of dunes is early in the morning and in the evening to see the sunrise or sunset. Adventure lovers could slide from the top of the dunes or take a jeep tour.
How to get here: You can get to Mui Ne by car from Ho Chi Minh City. The drive will take about 5 hours.
Best time to visit is considered from November to April during the dry cool season. For kitesurfing, the best time will be between December and March. However Mui Ne is the driest part of Vietnam and even in the rainy season there are not many rainfalls, so it will not ruin your holidays. Moreover during the rainy season the wind is less strong, so the conditions for swimming will be even better than during the dry season.
PHU QUOC ISLAND
Phu Quoc is famous for its white-sand beaches, turquoise sea, and emerald green jungles. Many travelers often refer to Phu Quoc as Phuket in the old days when it was unspoiled by tourism. This place is perfect for family vacation and honeymoon… Its reclining palms and dramatic landscapes make it’s considered to be the queen among best beach destinations in Vietnam.
Most travelers stay at the Downtown (Dong Duong district), it is close to the famous Long Beach and has a good variety of hotels and restaurants. There are many activities at Long Beach, but this area is the busiest in the island.
The west part of the island is less crowded and has the most beautiful sunsets you could see. You can consider staying at Ong Lang Beach on the west which is one of Vietnam’s best beaches. The most beautiful beach will probably be Bai Sao on the east part of the island. But the infrastructure there is less developed and this beach is normally visited during the day group tours.
Phu Quoc is a great place for diving, Vietnam is well known as the cheapest destination for this activity. If you are not into diving you could do snorkeling. In Phu Quoc you also could go hiking in the jungles, see waterfalls, visit black pepper and pearl farms. Moreover, you could take a tour of the inhabitants’ islands surrounding Phu Quoc.
How to get here: Phu Quoc has an international airport, but most of the flights have a stopover in Ho Chi Minh. It is possible to take a ferry from Ho Chi Ming to Phu Quoc, but it is not recommended for those who might have seasickness. For real authentic experience, you can consider taking 2-3 days a cruise from Ho Chi Minh to Phu Quoc through Mekong Delta.
Best time to visit is from November to April when it is the dry season. The peak season is in December-January, so if you plan to stay in Phu Quoc during this time, we advise you to book the accommodation far in advance.
CON DAO ISLAND
Con Dao is a paradise for the off the beaten trek lovers. It is a group of 16 islands in the south of Vietnam. The main island Con Son Dao used to be a political prison during French colonial time, and other islands remain inhabited. Con Dao will offer you the best Vietnam beaches for an escape.
The main island has a small town with a few hotels, resorts, and guest houses. Among the beaches to visit we could recommend An Hai (closest to the town), Lo Voi, and Dam Trau. If you will stay at Six Senses Con Dao which is further from the town you will enjoy Dat Doc Beach. All of these beaches are never crowded and that makes Con Dao stay in the list of Vietnam best beach destinations.
About 80% of the Con Dao islands are National Park, so you could see the wildlife and get close to nature. Con Dao is the best place for diving in Vietnam, it has the most beautiful coral reefs and underwater you could see big turtles, barracuda, and many exotic fish. Island hopping is another wonderful activity which lets you visit some inhabitant islands.
How to get here: You could get here by flight from Ho Chi Minh.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit is from November to April when it is the dry season. However, in December and January, the weather is windy and it is not the best time for diving with lower visibility.
And what is your idea for a perfect beach vacation? Share it in the comments.