Last updated October 2015 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle
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Vietnam has a coastline of over 3,000km, but the best beaches are found in the southern half of the country. Blue bays, hidden coves, white sands, swaying palms: Vietnam has it all. Yet travellers and expats often complain that the beaches in Vietnam are not as good as those in Thailand, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian nations. I disagree. Here are my 7 Best Beaches in Southern Vietnam.
MY 7 FAVOURITE BEACHES IN SOUTHERN VIETNAM
The following beaches are not in order of preference: I like each one just as much as the others. I’ve written a description (including accommodation information) for each beach and plotted them on my map. Although these beaches are far from being remote, they are best accessed by your own means of transport, ideally by motorbike (see Related Posts for motorbike guides and more). Unlike the popular, easily accessible beaches of, for example, Thailand, the relative inaccessibility of these 7 beaches is part of what makes them special and, more importantly, keeps them empty.
Click on one of the beach names to read more about it:
1. MON BEACH: Phu Yen Province
2. HON GOM SANDBAR: Khanh Hoa Province
3. NHAT BEACH: Con Son Island, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province
4. DAI BEACH: Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province
5. BINH DINH BEACH HOPPING: Binh Dinh Province
6. NINH PHUOC & NINH VAN BAYS: Khanh Hoa Province
7. CAM LAP PROMONTORY: Khanh Hoa Province
My 7 Best Beaches in Southern Vietnam:
View in a LARGER MAP
1. MÔN BEACH:
Vung Ro Bay, Phu Yên Province [MAP]
A triangle of sand wedged between rocky headlands, Môn Beach is just south of Tuy Hoa City, in south-central Vietnam. On a clear day, the water is the colour of Bombay Sapphire gin. There’s often a handful of wooden fishing boats floating in the bay – the water is so clear that you can see the shadows of their hulls on the seabed. National holidays aside, there’s never anyone here. For now, there’s no accommodation on Môn Beach, but you can stay on nearby Dai Lanh Beach instead. (For much more about Môn Beach see my Guide to Vung Ro Bay).
2. HÒN GỐM SANDBAR:
Van Phong Bay, Khanh Hoa Province [MAP]
Stretching for more than 10 kilometres, the beach on the east side of Hòn Gốm Sandbar is long, windswept, and deserted. Backed by shrub-covered dunes, the sandbar juts out into the East Sea, 75km north of Nha Trang. Medium-sized rollers break onto the endless sandy beach, the white surf mixing with the turquoise water and making it appear phosphorescent. There’s rarely anyone here, and even if there is, the beach is long enough to find a private spot. Whale Island Resort lies to the southwest of the sandbar – it’s in an incredible location and offers good mid-range accommodation for a couple of isolated nights off the grid. (For much more about the area check out my Guide to Hòn Gốm Sandbar.
3. NHÁT BEACH:
Con Son Island, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province [MAP]
Nhát Beach is a bright ribbon of white sand, squeezed between the bottom of a mountain and the ocean, near the southern tip of remote Côn Sơn Island. Only exposed during low tide, the sand at Nhát Beach is the colour of porcelain, and the water the colour of aftershave. This beach boasts one of the most dramatic and exotic backdrops of any in Vietnam: I like to call it ‘Jurassic Beach’. For the time being, there’s no accommodation on this beach. (For much more about Nhát Beach and Côn Sơn Island check out my Con Dao Islands Guides)
4. DÀI BEACH:
Phu Quoc Island, Kiên Giang Province [MAP]
Dài Beach, in the northwest of Phu Quoc Island, is 5 kilometres of sand shaded by whispering casuarina trees, with the calm, clear waters of the Gulf of Thailand lapping at their exposed roots. Phu Quoc Island might be developing fast but, until recently, Dài Beach had yet to see any major changes. This was partly because the dirt road to Dài Beach had yet to be paved, and there was nowhere to stay. However, that has all changed now with the completion of a new road and the construction of the enormous Vinperal Resort, a five star complex which signals the start of a mammoth building frenzy on this tranquil stretch of sand. At my last visit, there was still a lovely bit of Dài Beach left untouched at the southern end, so you get here soon and you might still be able to enjoy it, because the rest of this beach is already gone. (For much more about Dài Beach and the rest of the island take a look at my Phu Quoc Guides)
5. BINH ĐINH BEACH HOPPING:
South of Quy Nhon City, Binh Đinh Province [MAP]
Quy Nhơn City, in central Vietnam, is a great beach town in its own right. But the ocean road, just south of the city, passes half a dozen superb beaches and coves, making it perfect for a day or two of blissful beach hopping. For more than 10 kilometres the road meanders along the honeycombed coastline, each bend revealing tantalizing glimpses of hidden coves with perfect crescents of sand and blue waters. Look out for pathways and tracks leading off the road and down to the beaches. My favourite is Bãi Rạng Beach: an arc of yellow sand lined with coconut palms between two jagged bluffs. A small fishing community lives on the beach here, and late afternoons a local woman sells delicious rice paper rolls beachside. There are a couple places to stay along this stretch of road, including the smart and tasteful AVANI Resort & Spa (formerly the Life Wellness Resort), and the excellent Life’s A Beach.
6. NINH PHUOC & NINH VAN BEACHES:
Van Phong & Nha Phu Bays, Khanh Hoa Province [MAP]
An hours’ drive north of Nha Trang lies a chubby peninsular, whose forested mountains give way on both sides to gorgeous bays, beaches, coves and lagoons. On the north side, beyond a large Hyundai shipping port, there are a series of long, arcing bays between Ninh Phuoc and Ninh Van villages. The former is close to the ever popular yet ever laid-back Jungle Beach, where you’ll find atmospheric accommodation by the sea. The latter village, Ninh Van, is right at the tip of the peninsular, and is the kind of sleepy fishing hamlet one wished there were more of in Vietnam. This is the end of the road but, although you can’t stay here, there are two extremely luxurious resorts – famed throughout Vietnam – on the south side of the peninsular, which take their name from this fishing village: Six Senses Ninh Van Bay and An Lam Ninh Van Bay are only accessible by private boat from the Nha Trang side. (Note: the north side of the peninsular is commonly referred to as Doc Let Beach)
7. CAM LAP PROMONTORY:
Cam Ranh Bay, Khanh Hoa Province [MAP]
Cam Lap Promontory is a rocky finger of land jutting out into the glassy waters of Cam Ranh Bay, a fabulous natural harbour just south of Nha Trang. On both sides of the promontory cashew and mango plantations open onto white sand beaches, strewn with large boulders that have been washed into strange shapes, like an alfresco sculpture gallery. The water is as calm and clear as an infinity pool, and there’s a warm and welcoming atmosphere in the fishing hamlets dotted around the bays. There are a few low-key accommodation options, including some terrific campgrounds that you can read more about in my Camping Guide.
Want more beach? Browse all things beach-related on Vietnam Coracle…..read more
SOUTHERN VIETNAM GUIDES:
Check out everything southern Vietnam has to offer, beaches included…..read more
COASTAL MOTORBIKE GUIDES:
Ride spectacular ocean roads to beautiful empty beaches on these coastal road trips…..read more
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