The three-thousand-kilometer coastline of Vietnam is graced by a string of sublime beaches and pristine small islands, making it a heaven for beach lovers. Swimming, sunbathing, kayaking, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, fabulous seafood or spa treatments whatever you are looking for, Vietnam has some delights for you. Most importantly, it is possible to enjoy your beach holiday here almost any time of year. North to South, there is a multitude of nice beaches with the most stunning stretches in southern half (Da Nang southward) where the sun shines nearly all year round. Even in most of winter (between September and November), the whole country is expected to have beautiful sunny days- crystal sky, blue sea, and calm water.
In the north, Ha Long Bay is a must for anyone coming to Vietnam, not only beach lovers. This “Nature Wonder” features thousands of splendid limestone islands dotting the seascape. Some middle islets are also home to small pristine beaches which have emerald and calm water during spring and early summer (Dec-June), ideal for swimming and relaxing with a barbeque lunch. Kayaking is the most effective way to access them. It sounds fantastic to leisurely tour around these magnificent settings while still keeping you a bit busy.
Stretching all the way down to Hai Van Pass, there comes the north central coast with a chain of nice beaches many of which are entirely deserted as most travelers would take a direct flight from Hanoi to Hue or simply admire them from trains. If you drive or cycle, it is a good idea to make your stopovers on some of these (except ones nearby DMZ in Quang Tri province). Though you may not expect to find out any tourism facility and service there, privacy and tranquility are great rewards.
Lang Co Beach, about 70 km south of Hue Imperial City and 30 km north of Da Nang, is a cutting from all north central beaches. Right at the foot of Hai Van Pass (Pass of Ocean Clouds), this beach offers alluring postcard vistas of distant mountains, green forests and blue sea. A sparkling lagoon and a long stretch of fine sand shaded with palm make it a magnificent backdrop for Lang Co Beach Resort, the first-chosen resort in Hue.
The south central coast starting right beneath Hai Van Pass boasts the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam. The first to be mentioned are endless white-sand stretches of Da Nang beaches, made famous by an American hit show “China Beach”- which gave the beach the wrong name as mistaken by American troops. The beaches are within 15-minute drive south of Da Nang Airport and in proximity to three UNESCO listed world heritage sites in Central Vietnam. Blessed with irresistible charm, Da Nang beaches are asserting as one of the best beaches in Asia. These perfect sandy stretches host some premier resorts of Vietnam, including Furama Resort and Sandy Beach (Non Nuoc) Resort.
The main attractions here are the picturesque settings of Non Nuoc Beach. Nestled at the foot of Ngu Hanh Son (Marble Mountains), the beach gently slopes towards the clear azure water of Southeast Asia Sea with tender onshore breeze. That, coupled with almost constant sunshine, makes Non Nuoc Beach an oasis for pleasure seekers. It also offers ideal surfing conditions, especially in late winter (October and November) with waves up to 18 feet high. Actually, in 1993, Vietnam held an international surfing tournament here, attracting 100 professional surfers from 20 countries.
My Khe Beach, 5 kilometers north of Non Nuoc Beach, according to many locals is the real R&R destination of US soldiers during the war. Compared to Non Nuoc Beach and Bac My An Beach (around Furama Resort), My Khe offers more opportunities to drench in tranquility when padding around it in an early misty morning or just sitting by the shore in a dazzling moonlit night. It is still in quiet charm though some other luxurious resorts are coming to the scene soon.
If you are looking for more than just lounging on the sand and enjoying superb seafood, nearby Son Tra Peninsula (Monkey Mountain) has some extra-delights for you. Located 10 km east of Da Nang city, it offers breathtaking views of the bay, the mountains and the sea. It is also in pure nature with some rarest species of birds and animals. You may also go diving there to discover its colourful coral reefs or go fishing offshore.
Quite simply, Da Nang beaches should figure on most travelers’ itineraries. Especially, for backpackers it is a haunt. Staying right in one of its resorts is grand, but you can save a lot of money by just getting a simpler room in laid-back options. Travelers say very high about Hoa’s Place, a family-run backpacker resort sandwiched between Sandy Beach Resort and Furama Resort.
(To be continued)