God bless Vietnam and Cambodia with over 5000km coastline, over 150 beaches, and most of them are indeed paradises for beach lovers. While many people know about Thailand beaches due to mass propaganda, why don’t you pick up 1 of the best beaches of Vietnam – Cambodia which are less-crowded, true nature, crystal water, beach games, fresh seafood and multiple choices of accommodation from very budget hotels to luxury bungalow ? Sure all of them make your summer holidays full of fun, sun and smile. Let’s discover !
Nha Trang is the most popular tropical paradise of our list. Nha Trang is not only a city, it owns Nha Phu bay and Van Phong bay listed in Club of the Most Beautiful Bays, and 3 white sandy beaches of Nha Trang city, Doc Let (Ninh Hoa district, 55km North of Nha Trang), Cam Ranh (near from Nha Trang airport, 40km South of Nha Trang). Unlike Mui Ne and Vung Tau beach, the beaches there are really wide (good for beach games) and have not much rocks and muds (good for swimming). Thousands of limestone mountains and hundreds of islands among the bays make Nha Trang be home to salagane, coral reefs and sea animals. The mountains and islands also prevent strong wind and tide from the ocean, so it’s very safe for snorkeling tour, fishing, yatch sailing and visiting salangane islands at any time. Like other beaches in Southern Vietnam, Nha Trang hardly face typhoons and number of rainy days is around 60 days annually, so bad weather is not a big trouble all the times.
Nha Trang tourism has developed since 1960s when the American troops stayed there during Vietnam War. After the war ended, Nha Trang became more popular when Russian navy had rented Cam Ranh port as a strategic port till 2004. And of course, after back home, many military servants told the rest of the world about Nha Trang. Now it’s famous to both European travelers and U.S. beach lovers. In fact, we served many German tourists staying 1 month on Doc Let beach, which is not a strange thing recently.
Infrastructure for Nha Trang tourism is really good. If you want to find a cheap hotel, please stay in the city beach where you can find many good rooms at around $30/ night/ room for 2 people. If you need a cheap resort, you can find some in Doc Let beach (e.g. White Beach resort) and Cam Ranh beach (e.g. Yen Hideaway resort). If you require something private, pay some more and choose Diamond Bay resort or some other island resorts. Remember you always can make hotel bookings at least 3% lower than Agoda.com via VietnamCheapPackages.com.
Best time to visit Nha Trang: All the times. Winter can’t touch Southern Vietnam all year round. The average temperature is 30 centigrade. The number of rainy days is only 60. You can stay in Nha Trang at anytime you want.
New trends: Salangane island 1-day group tour, or 1 day extension to Da Lat flower city on the new road through Bi Doup national park. 1 day tour to Binh Ba “lobster” island 15km offshore from Cam Ranh beach truly uncrowded beach.
Phu Quoc island is a new rising star of Vietnam tourism. Phu Quoc beach tourism has been geared-up since 2008 with hundreds of resorts and the biggest international airport of Vietnam were built. Now there are 3 weekly direct flights from Siem Reap and 4 ones from Singapore plus many daily flights from Ho Chi Minh city and Hanoi making Phu Quoc hottest ever. Within 1 day by land transfer, you can get to Phu Quoc from Kep (Cambodia) via Ha Tien international border gate. Phu Quoc island is strongly promoted by Vietnam government. All tourists are 15-day Vietnam visa exemption if they only stay in Phu Quoc and don’t visit the mainland (Mekong delta, Ho Chi Minh city …). The biggest accommodation Vinpearl Phu Quoc was inaugurated last year. The government ambition is to make Phu Quoc as a beach entertainment center of Indochina region.
Phu Quoc is an island, so you can see beaches everywhere: Long Beach (Bai Dai) stretching from North to South of Phu Quoc, Duong Dong beach in the downtown, Star (Sao) beach in the Southeast of the island, and many small beaches in isolated islands about 10km offshore from An Thoi port in the Southern Phu Quoc. The beaches are not wide as Nha Trang, but it’s very long for sharing among all resorts, and untouched enough (at least, at the time of writing). You can read books under sunshine on a public beach without any disturb. The island is located in the Gulf of Thailand, so typhoon is never a trouble there.
Phu Quoc must be where you find the cheapest seafood of Vietnam. Come to Dinh Cau night market (opening 7-10pm) at the heart of Duong Dong town where is really a paradise for seafood lovers. Pick 2 baked squids, 1 giant shrimp, a dish of clams with peanut and onion sauteed, a dish of fried-rice and some cold beer – you must pay only 9$ for all ! Sometimes we think in this island, vegetable is more expensive than seafood.
Phu Quoc is really a tropical paradise. You can book a group snorkeling tour to North or South or embark a motorbike to explore the East of Phu Quoc (Ham Ninh fishing village and Phu Quoc national park) by yourselves. Pre-order some good seats in Cafe Pho Bien by Dinh Cau temple (at the end of Bach Dang street, Duong Dong town) to enjoy gorgeous sunset view.
Best time to visit Phu Quoc: All the times because Phu Quoc doesn’t suffer typhoons and any bad weather. However, offpead season last from May to October, so if you want to save the budget, you can visit Phu Quoc in summer.
Family holidays in Phu Quoc: Vinpearl Land amusement park is the favourite choice for your kids. Visit this biggest amusement park of Vietnam in 1 day tour is something strange from relaxing on beaches only.
3. Co To islands, Bai Tu Long bay
In the Bai Tu Long bay, Co To is actually an archipelago including many small islands as Co To Lon, Co To Con, Thanh Lan, Tran … about 80km from Halong city. Unlike Halong beaches with pollution from fuel of thousand boats, Co To islands are far offshore hence the beaches offer crystal water, endless blue sky and the lush forest. All make a perfect background for a couple holiday.
Co To tourism with many wild and beautiful beaches is the ideal place for beach leisure, camping and hanging out. Apart from swimming, you can visit the lighthouse, jungle, and especially BBQ seafood dinner on beach. Sip a glass of beer, taste a baked squid or fresh crab, listen to the rhythm of tides, cool wind in your hair are perfect moments in your summer holiday.
Accommodation are better. Started in 2009 with only 2 hotels as Coto Lodge and Hai Au hotel, Co To islands now has over 15 hotels of around 300 rooms. Some deluxe travelers can choose camping tents provided by Coto Lodge. Trust us ! Tent settings are truly deluxe.
Co To becomes more popular because it’s a cheap destination. Room costs around 15$/room/night. Seafood is cheap. From Hanoi and Halong city, you can take public bus to Cai Rong town, then take the 1.5-hour speed boat to Co To islands. Summer is the peak season when most students visit Co To. Thanks to perfect landscape, many couples choose Co To as their honeymoon destination, too.
How to get there: From Halong city, you take a public bus to Cai Rong town (50km) following national road number 18. Recommended buses are Kumho Viet Thanh (red-white painted bus) or Phu Xuyen (yellow-red painted bus). During summer, there are 3 daily speed boats from Cai Rong port to Co To islands. Don’t miss the last one departing at 14:00 otherwise you have to stay 1 night in Cai Rong town and head to Co To next morning. If you need a private tour, Contact Us and our local experts will help you.
Best time to visit: Summer from May-September, but you should avoid August the month of typhoons in the Gulf of Tonkin. Winter in Northern Vietnam is very cold resulting less tourists in Co To. During winter from October – April, there is only 1 daily speed boat due to low demands.