With more than 2000 miles of coastline, Vietnam brims with secluded coves, white sands and waters fit for snorkeling. For days spent basking on sun-baked strands and evenings taking in the sunset, these are the best beaches in Vietnam.
1. Long Beach, Phu Quoc
Long Beach (Bai Trong), spanning the west coast of Phu Quoc Island, is a 20km stretch of largely deserted soft yellow sand and swaying coconut palms. Ideal for sunbathing, sunset watching and swimming, this beach is great for classic tropical beach views. It's undoubtedly the best Phu Quoc has to offer.
Long Beach on Phu Quoc Island © Becker Stefan / Shutterstock
2. Star Beach, Phu Quoc
The largely undeveloped east coast of Phu Quoc is less frequented than, but just as beautiful as, the more popular west. One of the most beautiful beaches on the island, Star Beach (Bai Sao) has dazzling white sands and mesmerizing, usually calm waters. A few beach restaurants line the pale blue waters, and in season there are kayaks for rent and half-day snorkelling trips by boat.
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Star Beach, otherwise known as Bai Sao, is known for its white sand © Oksana Stock / Shutterstock
3. City Beach, Nha Trang
Nha Trang, a delightful south-coast city, is generally recognised as Vietnam’s premier beach destination. Six kilometres of sand joins the sea to the city; rolling waves are on one side, the others is fringed by cafes, restaurants and some unusual modern sculptures. Watersports, day trips by boat and, of course, fresh pineapple are all readily available – but bear in mind that the more choppy waters of November and December mean the beach loses much of its appeal.
Nha Trang's City Beach © Dima Fadeev / Shutterstock
4. Hon Chong Beach, Nha Trang
Just north of Nha Trang lies the secluded Hon Chong Beach. It's less refined than its central counterpart but worth the trip for the night-time views across the bay to the city centre. Cheap seafood restaurants abound at its far end. Also worth a visit is the rocky outcrop with a view over the city.
The rocky outcrop by Hon Chong Beach known as the 'rock garden' © saiko3p / Shutterstock
5. Doc Let Beach, Hon Khoi peninsula
Doc Let beach, on the splendid Hon Khoi peninsula, is a pristine location for a day’s beach-bumming. White sands and casuarinas (evergreen trees) make for a delightful, uncrowded scene. Good accommodation options are available, and even more secluded beaches can be found nearby.
Doc Let beach, one of the best beaches in Vietnam © Windofchange64 / Shutterstock
6. Ho Coc Beach, Ho Coc
A spellbinding, often deserted beach, Ho Coc offers a primitive but wonderful five kilometre stretch of golden sand. The beach has clear waters and is backed by fine dunes – and the Binh Chau Hot Springs are located conveniently nearby in case sunbathing gets too much.
Ho Coc Beach © Midori9813 / Shutterstock
7. Dai Lanh, Hon Ghom peninsula
The Hon Ghom peninsula is coated in largely empty, endless beaches. Perhaps the best is next to Dai Lanh, a tiny fishing village at the northern end of a one kilometre-long beach, hemmed between clear, turquoise waters of the South China Sea and a mantle of green mountains.
Dai Lanh lighthouse © Jimmy Tran / Shutterstock
8. My Khe, Quang Ngai
My Khe in Quang Ngai consists of seven kilometres of powder-soft sand, backed by casuarinas (evergreen trees), and is very good for swimming. Hamlets stand along the beach, while fishing boats are sometimes moored off it, and there’s a handful of restaurants that only get busy at the weekend.
My Khe is highly praised due to its powdery sand © Huy Thoai / Shutterstock
9. An Bang, Hoi An
Since the popular Cua Dai Beach, a short bike ride from Hoi An, been heavily impacted by erosion, resulting in cement sea defences and sandbags lining the beach, it's become a bit of an eyesore and lost status as the go-to beach close to Hoi An. Luckily, An Bang Beach, is not far away and has proved very popular with expats, travellers and locals alike. You can easily claim a bit of sand, or if you want a deckchair outside one of the restaurants that line the beach, you'll be expected to buy at least a drink (in some places, they expect food). This low-key, casual stretch of beach has pleasant sand, provides good swimming and you can sip cocktails and watch spectacular sunsets over the Chám Islands just off the shore (a good diving spot).
An Bang Beach aerial view © Long Nguyen Hong / Shutterstock
10. Binh Ba Island, Khanh Hoa
Located in Cam Ranh Bay, Binh Ba Island is about 60km away from Nha Trang. Because of its military connections, this island is restricted to tourists, so although it's unlikely the average traveller will come here, it's filled with unspoiled views and beaches, as well as excellent snorkelling.
Binh Ba Island © Binh-Ba-Island-Pham Hoang Long / Shutterstock
11. Con Son Island, Con Dao Archipelago
Con Son is ringed with pleasant beaches – Lo Voi and An Hai are nearest Con Son town, but Dam Trau to the north and Bat Dat Doc to the east are less frequented and just as nice.
Dat Doc beach in the distance surrounded by mountains of Con Son Island © Tonkinphotography / Shutterstock
12. Ca Na, The southern coast
Numerous parked coracles (round boats) line the beach at Ca Na, with its invitingly clear water and healthy, but razor sharp, coral. It’s easily accessible and, if wanting a little more solitude, just 2km to the south lies another good stretch of sand.
Ca Na has beautifully clear water © Indochina studio / Shutterstock
13. Ninh Chu Beach, Ninh Chu
Five kilometres north of busy Phan Rang lies the pleasant, wide crescent of Ninh Chu Beach. Less popular with tourists than Mui Ne or Nha Trang, the beach still provides a quiet midweek stop, good for swimming, sunbathing and beach games in general.
Ninh Chu beach © Ba Tung Huynh / Shutterstock
14. My Khe, Da Nang
About three kilometres south of the city of Da Nang, My Khe is a long stretch of sand popular with seafood-craving locals, where US servicemen were once flown for R&R during the war.
My Khe is a popular stretch of sand south of Da Nang © TBone Lee / Shutterstock
15. Quy Nhon, Binh Dinh province
Quy Nhon, a small seaport town, is bordered by a beach admittedly less picturesque than others along the coast, but, for this reason, almost free of foreigners. For more adventurous travellers, this is a good place to get away from tourists, something which only adds to the town’s intrigue.
Quy Nhon beach © Vietnam Stock Images / Shutterstock
16. Non Nuoc Beach, Da Nang
Non Nuoc is a dusty, unkempt village, inhabited since the fifteenth century by stone carvers. Follow the paved road east from the village and you reach Non Nuoc Beach, a pleasant and stretch of beach that competes for business with its northern neighbour, My Khe. A note of warning, however: there’s a powerful undertow off this coast, so riptides are particularly dangerous.
Non Nuoc beach is around the corner from the inhabited village of the same name © EQRoy / Shutterstock
17. Cat Co 1, 2 & 3, Cat Ba
Three small, sandy beaches lie to the east of Cat Ba Town on the island of Cat Ba, just to the west of Ha Long Bay. Romantically named Cat Co 1, Cat Co 2 and Cat Co 3, One and Three are linked by a cliffside path that’s a joy to walk anytime, day or night, and Two is a quieter retreat.
Cat Ba Island beach © Creative Family/Shutterstock
18. Doi Duong, Phan Thiet
The unassuming capital of Binh Thuan Province, Phan Thiet is generally of less interest to foreigners than the sands of Mui Ne just along the coast. However the absence of tourists is, for some, a draw in itself. In our opinion this is undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Vietnam. Doi Doung is the town’s own stretch of beach, and is very popular with the locals. To get to the best bit, head around 700m northeast from the main entrance point on Nguyen That Thanh.
19. Quan Lan, Bai Tu Long
Quan Lan is a long skinny island on the outer fringes of Ha Long Bay. Its main attractions are the empty, sandy, and relatively clean beaches lining its east coast. Few specific sights in this area mean the beaches are relatively deserted – prepare to find yourself engaging even more closely with locals than you’re used to.
Bai Tu Long is dotted with serene beaches at the base of its towering karsts © aksenovden / Shutterstock
20. Ha Long Bay
Whilst not technically a beach, kayaking across tranquil waters and swimming amidst twinkles of phosphorescent plankton are both possible in spectacular Ha Long Bay. From November to March there can be chilly days of drizzly weather when the splendour and romance of the bay are harder to appreciate, but the gorgeous caves and beautiful scenery make up for this in the summer months.
Ha Long Bay kayakers - you can discover plenty of beaches like this © danielcastromaia / Shutterstock
Top image: Long Beach on Phu Quoc Island © Becker Stefan / Shutterstock