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.
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.
Cassia Cottage - An absolutely beautiful mini-resort, whose airy rooms exude cinnamon, nutmeg and other pleasing aromas – their restaurant isn’t called The Spice House for nothing. Even the smallest rooms are nice and large, while the swimming pools are a delight.
Phu Quoc is island paradise - swim and snorkel with the fascinating marine life at three different spots.
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.
As lodging opportunities at Star Beach are still limited, you can also visit the beach on a day trip, like this our covering the whole south of the island.
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.
Sunrise Nha Trang Beach Hotel & Spa - Enjoying a superb location towards the northern end of the beach, this elegant, rambling hotel boasts a classical colonial design. Some rooms are a little small, but move up to a suite and you’ll be drinking in the sea views from the jacuzzi on your balcony.
The freshest fish will always be the one you catch yourself - take a full-day fishing and snorkeling tour and BBQ it on the boat.
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.
Combine your beach visit with a city tour of Nha Trang. Admire the cathedral, ancient temples, markets, and much mor.
Nha Trang is also famous for it's buzzing nightlife. Read more about best bars and clubs in Vietnam.
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.
Paradise Resort - “his cheap, markedly serene resort (which has no TVs in the rooms or at breakfast) has a few huge rooms and some simple bungalows, plus a shady terrace overlooking the beach. Rates include three meals a day, and they provide free rental of kayaks, fishing rods and more.
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.
Take a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City to learn about the nearby dragonfruit farms and nature reserves, before spending the afternoon sipping coconuts on the beach.
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.
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.
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 Garden Beach Homestay - Friendly and family-run, this place offers just four rooms set in a beautifully tended garden a 5min walk from the beach. All rooms have a/c and either a balcony or little outside patio.
Discover the countryside and local Vietnamese life on an electric scooter.
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.
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.
Con Dao Resort - With perhaps the best beach location on Con Son, this hotel has a good swimming pool, comfortable rooms and large buffet breakfasts –though it is starting to show its age. Staff can arrange boat trips and vehicle hire.
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.
Hon Co Resort - A budget resort, at least in layout, this is a surprisingly nice place for somewhere as remote as Ca Na. You can opt to stay in the regular hotel section, rather than the bungalows; the whole place is aimed at domestic tourists, and the karaoke room can get rather noisy.
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.
Saigon - Ninh Chu Hotel & Resort - At the far north end of the bay, this hotel has nicely furnished, spacious rooms with thick carpets, and its executive suites even have beach views from each bath. There’s also a big pool, tennis courts, a spa and a classy restaurant that’s easily the best place to eat for miles around, and is reasonably priced to boot – a bucketful of oysters steamed over lemongrass will set you back 110,000đ.
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.
Foodies, take note — Da Nang also features in our round-up of 10 Vietnamese foods you need to try.
Sofia Boutique Hotel - This comfortable hotel on My Khe beach offers a good compromise if you want to stay by the sea without paying top dollar. Rooms are bright and well maintained, and staff go out of their way to be helpful.
Explore Da Nang at your own pace with your own private, English-speaking guide. Choose from visiting markets, pagodas, beaches or more, this day tour is customisable to fit your preferences.
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.
Haven - This Aussie-owned spot is fantastic value for money and has just five rooms, though you may not spend much time in these simple-yet-tasteful affairs – the beach is right on your doorstep, and the views are simply wonderful. There’s a decent restaurant on site, too.
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.
Hyatt Regency - Cut off from the outside world and occupying a huge beach frontage within walking distance of the Marble Mountains, this stylish resort has spacious rooms with large balconies overlooking an enormous pool. There are several dining and eating options on-site and staff, as you’d expect, are efficient and helpful.
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.
Consider taking a cruise from Hanoi to experience Cat Ba and less touristy areas in Ha Long Bay, like with this 3-day luxurious Ha Long Bay cruise.
If you're staying overnight in Cat Ba, take a day tour to visit Monkey Island with its stunning viewpoint over the island and water.
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.
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.
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.
Although Vietnam is a very attractive beach destination, it has so much more to offer. Read our guide to the best things to do in Vietnam to see how rich this country is in attractions and culture.
Top image: Long Beach on Phu Quoc Island © Becker Stefan / Shutterstock