Exploring Vietnam’s Diverse Coastline: A Guide to the Best Beaches from North to South

Vietnam’s extensive coastline stretches nearly 3,500 kilometers, offering an array of beaches that cater to various tastes. These beaches are mostly sandy and are situated along the East Sea or the Gulf of Thailand. The most exceptional beaches are generally found along the central coast and on several islands, although notable exceptions exist throughout the country.

Cultural Preferences and Beach Usage
Unlike Western cultures, where sunbathing and tanning are popular, most Vietnamese people avoid sun exposure, preferring paler skin. Consequently, many beaches in Vietnam remain quiet during the day. The locals typically flock to the beaches early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the strong midday sun.

Regional Beach Highlights

Northern Vietnam:
In the north, Ha Long Bay offers the only noteworthy beaches, which are located on remote shale islands. Access to these islands usually requires a significant boat ride. Cat Ba Island, near the eastern edge of Ha Long Bay, features small but popular beaches. Tra Co Island, near the Chinese border, boasts a long beach of hard sand that is visually appealing but not practical for swimming due to its shallow gradient. Do Son, near Hai Phong, offers historical charm but the beach itself is less impressive.

The Red River Delta to Danang:
Moving south, the beaches near Vinh and Sam Son attract local tourists, particularly from Hanoi, though these areas suffer from rapid and often unattractive hotel development. Quang Binh offers pristine, largely undeveloped sandy beaches. Near Hue, Thuan An beach is situated by a scenic lagoon, popular among locals. Lang Co beach, north of Danang, is renowned for its extensive silvery sands and is gradually seeing more resort development.

Central Vietnam – Danang to Nha Trang:
Danang marks the beginning of Vietnam’s premier beach stretch. My Khe Beach, famously known as China Beach historically, remains a hotspot for international tourists. This area is part of a long sequence of superb beaches that offer minimal commercial impact. Near Hoi An, Cua Dai beach provides a picturesque and tranquil setting.

Southern Vietnam – Nha Trang and Beyond:
Doc Let beach near Nha Trang is highly regarded, with nearby Whale Island featuring exclusive resort accommodations. Nha Trang itself is a balanced mix of vibrant city life and beach relaxation, complete with diving centers for underwater adventures.

Near Ho Chi Minh City:
Further south, Mui Ne is known for its extensive stretch of beach lined with an assortment of accommodation options, from luxurious resorts to budget-friendly stays. Vung Tau, despite being close to Ho Chi Minh City, often gets crowded and somewhat degraded due to its accessibility and popularity.

Island Beaches:
Phu Quoc Island is rapidly becoming a top choice for beach lovers seeking pristine sands and scuba diving, although the infrastructure remains limited. The Con Dao archipelago, more accessible due to improved air connections, offers a more secluded beach experience with rich historical significance, awaiting further exploration and development.

Each of these areas reflects the diversity and beauty of Vietnam’s beaches, offering everything from secluded escapes to vibrant, tourist-friendly destinations.