Most visitors to Vietnam are interested in touring hotspots like the capital, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City. But Vietnam’s amazing beaches and coastal resorts are not to be underestimated, especially in the southern part of the country. If you’re looking to relax on a beach during your vacation, Vietnam offers white sand, turquoise waters, lush palms, and gorgeous sunsets. And the coastal towns and cities that boast these beautiful beaches also have plenty to do, which helps make the Vietnamese coastline something of a hidden gem when it comes to exotic destinations.
1. Nha Trang
The most famous seaside town in Vietnam is undoubtedly Nha Trang, and it’s also the best place in the country for scuba diving. It sits at the mouth of a beautiful bay, with white beaches and tiny islands, chosen in consecutive years by Travel and Leisure magazine as one of the 29 best bays in the world. Nha Trang has its own domestic airport and is a stop on the train route from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Although the town is most famous for its beaches, there are plenty of things to see and do in Nha Trang. Museums, restaurants, bowling, and shopping are available to the more urban-minded tourist, while the nature lovers experience waterfall swims or octopus diving. You can even take a ferry to Monkey Island, which is covered in monkeys and has its own circus.
2. Mui Ne
A small fishing village 4 hours from Saigon, Mui Ne is growing exponentially and developing a reputation for its great surfing and laid-back hospitality. The most famous feature in the area is the famous sand dunes, located 10km from the town’s main road. These sand dunes shield Mui Ne from heavy rains, even during the rainiest season. It’s a perfect place to rent motorbikes, take Vietnamese cooking classes, or run the annual Mui Ne Half-marathon. It can be difficult getting to Mui Ne because it’s fairly remote compared to other coastal locations. Most people take the train to nearby Phan Thiet and taxi from there, but you can also take a public bus or spend 70-100 dollars taking a taxi all the way from Saigon.
3. Hoi An
Hoi An is a historical riverside town with much more to offer than the beach. It was once a trading port for merchants from all over Asia, and it has now become one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist attractions. The quiet streets feature beautiful European-style terraced homes, and there are plenty of ancient sites to visit, including assembly halls and the Japanese covered bridge, built in 1595. The only way to reach Hoi An is by road, as the town has no airport or train station. Most tourists arrive via buses and taxis from nearby Da Nang. Hoi An is famous for its wealth of things to do – from shopping, to tours, to nightlife. Frommer’s Travel Guides ranks it one of the top 10 best places to visit in the Mekong Delta.
Vietnam is not a large nation, but it is overflowing with amazing history, architecture, and culture. The coastal regions may be the biggest surprise for tourists who make the voyage to this beautiful nation. The rich variety of landscapes and the endless list of things to do and see will make visiting Vietnam something you won’t soon forget.
Dollie Younkin writes articles for travel blogs. Check out Vietnam at www.vietnamtravel.org, where you will find information on places to explore the coastline and hike the countryside.