Home > Vietnam’s best beaches and islands

A complete guide to Vietnam’s best beaches and islands

When you think of Vietnam, what springs to mind? Most would say images of terraced rice fields in the mountains, fields of glittering rice paddies, or fishing boats navigating the exotic islets of Halong Bay come to mind. However, with over 3,000 km of coastline (2,030 mi), Vietnam is a beach lover’s sun-chasing paradise. And with the country’s diverse weather patterns which alternate based on region, there is always a beach or island showcasing clear blue skies, sunshine, and sparkling seas.

Keep this in mind when planning your next adventure to Vietnam, as there’s no need to add a beach extension to Thailand when we’ve surely got you covered here!

Da Nang— glamorous My Khe Beach and luxurious beach resorts

It goes without saying that Da Nang is THE premiere beach spot in Vietnam. The smooth white sands of My Khe beach stretch to a stunning 32 km (20 mi) length, hugging the deep turquoise East Sea while the international airport servicing the city offers many connections to domestic and international destinations.

Da Nang is equally famous for its wealth of luxurious beach resorts outfitted with top-of-the-line spas, private pool villas, gourmet cuisine, and well-trained hospitality. Some of the most noteworthy properties include Intercontinental Da Nang Sun Peninsula Resort, Fusion Maia, Nam Hai Four Seasons, Premier Village, Hyatt Regency, and Pullman Da Nang Beach Resort, which come with Kid’s Clubs to give mom and dad some alone time.

The best time of year to visit this stunning central Vietnamese city is between the months of January until late September, when there is hardly ever a rain cloud in sight. However, even during the monsoon months, which can begin anytime from mid-September and last until early December, there is plenty of sunshine to go around for everyone most days.

This destination is perfect for

  • Everyone! Families, couples, even groups of friends will find something to do here
  • Combining beach holidays with cultural and historical experiences due to its close proximity to the Marble Mountains, Ba Na Hills, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Hue, Hoi An, and My Son Sanctuary
  • Adding a beach holiday at the end of your trip to Vietnam as Da Nang is well-connected by air and land to other domestic and international locations
  • Paragliding, surfing, swimming, golfing, or a game of beach volleyball/soccer
  • Grabbing a cocktail or dancing the night away

Phu Quoc – an island getaway teeming with beauty

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Located in the Gulf of Thailand and nearer to Cambodia than Vietnam, Phu Quoc Island has been dazzling both local and international visitors as of late with its picture-perfect powdery white sand beaches lined with palm trees and light turquoise waters. Easily reachable by plane, boat, and ferry from a multitude of cities and countries, Phu Quoc is becoming a darling of Southeast Asia beach vacations.

In addition to its perfect beaches, Phu Quoc is home to wild scenery and Phu Quoc National Park, part of the UNESCO designated site, Kien Giang Biosphere. Travelers can join eco-tourism activities here such as river rafting, trekking, and kayaking.

The rainy season runs from May until September, so if you’re visiting Vietnam between October and April, Phu Quoc is a great destination to end at the beginning or end of your holiday.

This destination is perfect for

  • Families, couples, and nature lovers
  • Those travelling on combination tours after their trip to Vietnam, as Phu Quoc is well-connected to other popular Asian countries like Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea
  • Exploring local life on a Vietnamese island in quaint fishing villages and pepper plantations
  • Joining adventurous activities like spear-fishing, snorkeling/diving, island hopping and trekking

Con Dao Archipelago – remote and exotic island escape

Mostly uninhabited and pristine, the 16 islands of the Con Dao Archipelago are truly treasures of Vietnam’s already impressive list of hot destinations. The largest of the islands, Con Son, is populated by roughly 5000 inhabitants and is where visitors can stay in simple accommodation save for the two luxury properties available, Six Senses Con Dao and Paulo Condor Boutique Resort and Spa.

Difficult to reach due to only a few flights and ferries per day connecting it to the mainland in the Mekong and Ho Chi Minh City, Con Dao is a remote and exotic island escape where you’ll often find yourself alone on the miles of beige beaches, swimming in the dark blue sea.

If you get tired of sunbathing and relaxing, head off into Con Dao National Park to trek through the untamed scenery. The islands also offer the best opportunities for scuba diving and snorkeling in the whole of Vietnam, offering 25 different dive sites throughout the area, although realistically speaking, diving is not possible from May-September due to stormy weather and low visibility. But don’t let that keep you away, because this is also the time of year when endangered sea turtles come to shore to lay eggs, a once-in-a-lifetime experience to observe.

This destination is perfect for

  • Those who like to get off the beaten track
  • Romance and adventure (perfect honeymoon destination)
  • Learning about Vietnamese history
  • Wellness retreats, barefoot luxury, and alone time
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Mui Ne – a quiet fishing village turned affordable beach escape

Just a 4-5 hour drive away from Ho Chi Minh City, Mui Ne is a popular weekend beach retreat for Saigoneers desperate to escape the city. Originally a small fishing village, Mui Ne has steadily been growing into an affordable blend of beach resorts, beach bungalows, guesthouses, restaurants, and clubs for the last decade.

Despite its size, there are plenty of things to see and do while staying here. Visitors to the area usually spend a half-day walking through the Fairy Stream, a quiet river floating through a bright red limestone canyon, and an afternoon quad-biking or sand-boarding down the gigantic red sand dunes near the city center in time to catch killer orange and red-colored sunsets. You can even take a sunrise champagne hot air balloon ride over the collection of white sand dunes 25 km outside of the city if you’re game!

Thanks to rock-free waters and favorable weather from November until March, Mui Ne is well-known in the wind-surfing community as one of the best places to enjoy the sport in Southeast Asia, averaging 227 days per year with winds over 12 knots. If you’ve never tried it before, there are plenty of schools offering kite-surfing courses for complete beginners as well as lessons for experts to hone their skills.

This destination is perfect for

  • Families, groups of friends, and active couples
  • Water sports such as kite-surfing, kayaking, and surfing
  • A well-rounded retreat filled with cultural and recreational activities as well as beach time
  • Nightlife opportunities

Looking for adventure?

Check our our specially made family packages combining the best of city tours, mountain hikes, and UNESCO World Heritage sites filled with educational wonder. 

Nha Trang – glitzy nightlife giving way to laid-back Cam Ranh

Nha Trang has been a popular hot-spot for Russian tourists since the late 1970s when Russia used Cam Ranh Port to house their navy during war-time. Nowadays, many shops, bars, and restaurants on the main strip post in Russian, while tour guides, drivers, and locals are more likely to speak Russian than English. This may have contributed to the beach clubs and parties that occur every night, especially at the Sailing Club and Skylight Skydeck and Rooftop Beach Club.

If parties aren’t your thing, stay nearer to Cam Ranh airport at one of the luxury properties built upon the coast of Cam Ranh Bay, like Mia Resort Nha Trang or Fusion Resort, a unique “all-spa inclusive” and “breakfast anytime, anywhere” concept unlike any other in Southeast Asia. The scenery here is unspoiled and without the intrusive developments seen elsewhere in Vietnam, featuring a gorgeous coastline dotted with small fishing villages and billowing sand dunes. Likewise, Doc Let Beach, about 90 km north of the airport, offers another laid-back variation from the glitz of Nha Trang City’s main beach drag. Quiet with minimal accommodation, the white sands and turquoise sea look like a postcard from heaven.

Nha Trang’s weather patterns are similar to that of Da Nang, although the rainy season starts from late August to early September and lasts until December, while the beaches are dry and sunny from January to late August.

This destination is perfect for

  • Couples and groups of friends who like to go out and dance the night away
  • Families with small children and honeymooners if staying in a beach resort outside of town
  • Getting off the beaten track to the lesser known attractions and beaches outside of Nha Trang
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Qui Nhon

Qui Nhon – Vietnam’s best-kept beach secret

Neighbored by the popular beach destinations of Da Nang and Hoi An to the north and Nha Trang to the south, Qui Nhon is often overlooked despite its gorgeous beaches and clean waters. Secluded and peaceful, Qui Nhon has a fun and upbeat vibe, with smiling fisherman pulling in their daily catch and locals curiously glancing at foreigners passing through. There’s not much to do in the way of activities except for soaking up the sun during the day and having a few beers at night with loved ones close by.

Anantara Quy Nhon Villas and Avani Quy Nhon Resort have been here the longest and offer chic beachfront villas and rooms perfect for couples and families of all ages while FLC Quy Nhon Resort and Gulf caters more towards families with small children.

The weather follows the same patterns as other central Vietnamese locations, rainy from September until December and dry from January until late August.

This destination is perfect for

  • Families, groups of friends, and couples
  • Wellness retreats
  • Those looking for peace and quiet

Ninh Van Bay – ultra luxurious beach hideaway

Filled with 6-star resorts for the rich and famous, Ninh Van Bay is the ultimate private beach escape in the whole of Vietnam. It takes a 60-minute car ride from Cam Ranh International Airport to Nha Trang and then a 20-minute speedboat ride to make it to Ninh Van Bay, as there are no roads leading to the area. Here you will find Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Am Lam Retreats, and L’Alya, all perfect getaways for romance and bliss.

Visibility is best for scuba diving between February and October, while from March to October, the weather is ideal for sailing and hiking. Other activities such as kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, island-hopping, and jet-skiing can take place all year round.

This destination is perfect for

  • Travelers with a taste for the finer things
  • Romance (perfect honeymoon destination)
  • Wellness retreats
  • Scuba divers and sailors
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Cat Ba Island – northern Vietnam’s favorite beach destination

Northern Vietnam is noteworthy for its dramatic scenery of mountains, valleys, rice, and of course Gulf of Tonkin. And while it may not seem like much of a beach destination at first glance, the Gulf of Tonkin holds more than 2000 islands within its three enormous bays, Bai Tu Long, Halong, and Lan Ha. The largest island in the entire region, Cat Ba Island, is just one of 400 islands making up the Cat Ba Archipelago of which nearly 2/3 is designated as Cat Ba National Park.

Of course, with that many islands, there are even more beaches to discover, some just a small sliver of white sand meeting the jade-green waters of the bay. Most overnight cruises will take guests to one of these unnamed beaches to spend an afternoon sunbathing, kayaking, and swimming.

Another option is to stay on Cat Dua Island at Cat Ba Monkey Island Resort, a popular getaway for expatriates and locals alike in Hanoi and Hai Phong. Sofitel’s MGallery will be opening an “Indochine” styled boutique accommodation named Hotel Perle D’Orient Cat Ba on Cat Ba Island’s Cat Co Beach 3 in 2020.

It’s best to explore the beaches of Lan Ha Bay between April to November, when the north has shaken off its cold winter winds. Be aware that some thunderstorms can occur during the summer from June to August but they pass quickly.

This destination is perfect for

  • Families, groups of friends, and couples
  • Wellness retreats, quiet time
  • Adventurous activities like rock-climbing, deep sea soloing, and trekking
  • Travelers who may not have enough time to explore the central and southern regions

 

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