Halong Bay doesn't qualify as a beach, according to our definition. We know that Vietnam has some amazing Beaches, but few will meet the criteria for mention here.
We want to be shocked, tempted, and enticed. We've been in Vietnam nearly 7 years, so our expectations are high.
There should be some undiscovered gems along Vietnam's 3,000 mile coastline, but we doubt, in the year 2020, that many are left unspoiled.
If you know of an unspoiled beach that I did not visit, Click here to tell us what your idea of the perfect beach is.
We aren't looking to get stranded somewhere without the amenities that make a beach one of a kind.
It does not matter how pristine a beach is if it is on some deserted Island.
Without good food, a decent Hotel, and cold beer, then you should just nickname a volleyball, 'Wilson'.
A perfect beach cannot lack creature comforts, nor can it host Spring Break Celebrations.
A great beach is the perfect balance between civilization and unspoiled nature.
In 2018, I too a Honda Wave 125cc motorbike from Saigon to Hoi An & Dong Hoi, hugging the coastline most the way there.
I passed hundreds of pristine beaches with virgin sand, clear blue water, and perfect views.
There is nothing like a motorbike. It leaves you exposed to the natural surroundings.
Most of the beaches along the coastline were deserted, beautiful, and unforgettable. But, most were impossible to access, all were void of human amenities, and the water was always too rough for swimming.
I will never forget that trip and how it convinced me that somewhere, elusive or not, was a beach to rival any in the world.
I am looking for the perfect beach because it is a great excuse to ride that Coastline one more time before I die.
A search for the perfect beach was just the excuse I needed.
The photo above was taken just a few hours from my destination city of Dalat, Vietnam.
I drove from Saigon to Dalat in 3 days and instantly caught the motorbike riding bug that has never left me.
The Map below is a close representation of the Coastal Route that I rode just a few years later in 2018.
Use it to plot your own route and do it. You'll thank me for it.
If you're on a short visit to Ho Chi Minh City, then head to the beaches in Southern Vietnam.
You can book a flight from Saigon to Phu Quoc for between $21.65 and $39.54 with VietJetAir, AirAsia, or Vietnam Airways.
The Southern Beaches are Sun, sand, and swimming in the clearest ocean.
Afterwards, you can dine on fresh seafood and drink cold beers or banana shakes.
You have Phu Quoc in Southern Vietnam, China Beach in Central Vietnam, and Tra Co Beach to the extreme North of Vietnam.
Dotting the coastline between these 3 areas are numerous other beaches worthy of a visit.
I could think of nothing else but my ride down the Coast. The wife was wise to me, though.
She knew I was up to something, but she didn't have the evidence to prove it.
I flew from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. Click on that link to book and you'll have 3 Carrier options available.
My flight Cost $29.70USD.
I had planned to pick my motorbike up from a friend in Dong Hoi.
Then I'd be off to my favorite city of Hoi An, hugging the coastline all the way back to Ho Chi Minh City.
There was no point taking the Motorbike further North than Dong Hoi, as I only had eyes for the Coast, the warmth, and the road that didn't run far past Dong Hoi.
My first destination had to be Tra Co Beach so that my adventure had some legitimacy. I had to sell this to the wife, somehow.
If you have any experience with any Vietnam Beaches then I would appreciate any info that might fill in the gaps blanks I'm bound to have left behind.
if you are travelling to Vietnam through Nanning, China, Tra Co is a wonderful place for a good night's rest.
You'll sleep easily to the sounds and cycles of the ocean.
The beach was cool, but not cold and the sand was dark grey and packed down so hard that you could have driven a car on.
There is swimming and water sports during the summer season between April and September, but it was winter when I was there.
The air was so clean and the beach was pristine and carried on for as far as I could see. It made me feel small, and I questioned why I'd come.
It's not a tourist destination, but that is what keeps the beach so immaculate and pristine.
The women were always waiting on the beach for customers to buy the Morning's catch, which they cooked up over an open flame.
I got up early to see the sunrise after being so impressed by the sunset the night before. You must stand on the Con Mang sand-bank for the most incredible views.
The sun rose and I watched the fishermen tossing their nets into the sea while the sky turned red with the rising sun.
I stayed at the Hai Au Hotel, which is just a block away from the beach.
Getting from Hanoi to Tra Co and back again makes visiting this Beach a huge commitment. I don't recommend it for anyone but the die hard.
I took a mini bus from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay and boarded an Express Boat near Cat Ba island before setting off.
The Express boat took over 2 hours to get to Tra Co Beach but if I'd been prone to sea sickness, things could have gotten much worse.
I eventually began to enjoy the boat ride, as we passed hundreds of small islands and passed a consistently beautiful coastline.
I was very glad to get back to Hanoi, though. It felt as though I had traveled to a different world on Tra Co Beach.
It was a world where I never quite felt comfortable. I'm glad I went, but I would not recommend it for everyone.
Bai Chay Beach is the closest Beach to Hanoi, the Capital city of Vietnam.
Locals crowd this Beach on both weekends and Holidays.
The crowds can negatively impact the beach, which is just 100 Km from Hanoi.
Bai Chay beach is cold in the winter and crowded in the summer. Its shores are rocky and the sand is course and unforgiving.
It's another Northern Beach that is a cold climate beach in Winter and a crowded beach in summer.
Despite its natural beauty, Bai Chay is a good one to avoid.
Most of the Vietnam beaches here are found on the islands in the middle of the Bay.
You'll have to look for them or get your guide to take you to them.
There are tour boats and group tours galore that you can book online quite easily and at cheaper prices than the Travel Agents in Hanoi will charge you.
I would like to include Ha Long Bay into the Northern Beach Class, but unless you plan on flying Saigon to Hanoi, it's just too far and quite cool during the winter months from November to April.
It all depends on how much time you have and how much you are willing to part with. Halong Bay is as unique a place as any I've seen in Asia.
The Vietnamese call China Beach 'My Khe beach'.
There is a little mountain to the East that some call Monkey Mountain, while others call them The Marble Mountains.
I'm not sure which is the Official name.
This is the halfway point between Saigon and Hanoi, so the waters are clearer, warmer, and the beach is softer.
You are never alone on China Beach. Usually local kids playing football badly and arguing over who cheated.
An early morning visit will put you in touch with the heavens as the entire sky brightens with the morning sunrise and departs with the stunning sunset.
It is spectacular and there is someone doing Tai Chi to your left and a guy pulling a fishing net out of the water to your right.
China Beach was the center of some of the fiercest battles of the Vietnamese war between American forces and the Vietnamese.
Some people will tell you about abundant Unexploded Ordinance strewn about, but from the reading I've done, that seems impossible.
China Beach is stunning. I sat for hours one early evening and watched the sun light up the skies in brilliant orange colors.
China Beach has it all. Amenities are abundant, the skies are stunning, and the waves calm you into a deep relaxation.
The only problem is that it is overcrowded. But China beach is worth a visit that you'll never regret.
Cua Dai is the longest of the Vietnam beaches. It begins just South of Danang City and stretches another 30km South towards Saigon.
The main road runs alongside the shoreline at times and it can be mesmerizing watching the waves come onto this almost endless stretch of untouched sand.
You can stop anywhere if you're travelling via your own transportation and stroll onto the beach.
The bus to Danang also runs along this route and you can always force the bus driver to stop if you pretend to be a little sick in the stomach.
Some of the time you'll see towns along the road. Hoi An City is just a few kilometres off Cua Dai beach so you'll find a few, fairly remote Resorts along that stretch of sand.
But Cua Dai Beach is so large that you can always find your own private stretch of sand.
An Bang Beach is just North of its nearby and more popular sister Cua Dai beach.
They are both nice beaches. You can swim without seeing a floating plastic bag, I've yet seen it over-crowded, and you can have access to cold beverages.
Finally we're warming up.
Nha Trang is the epicenter of all the Vietnam beaches.
This is where you'll find all the tourists, the costly tourist prices and the gift shops selling souvenirs that no one needs.
But if you are set on seeing Nha Trang Beach then click on the link for more details on how to get there and what there is to do once you arrive.
If you head 41km South from Nha Trang, you'll run into Doc Let Beach.
I did overnight here at a decent mid priced resort. The beach in front of my resort was wonderful, clean, and the waters were perfect for swimming.
And the solitude I experienced was bountiful once away from the bay. You can run naked along this beach without fear of being seen.
I never do that sort of thing, though.
The only reason I found it noteworthy among other Vietnam Beaches was the protective, shallow bay here that makes for perfect swimming and snorkeling.
Also, there are many little shacks along the roadside which sold some excellent boiled crab.
There was very little English involved in communication but the Vietnamese are adept at body language.
When I was in Mui Ne, I took the bike out and we drove from Mui Ne to Phan Thiet.
The beaches are windy and the surf is perfect for the Kite Surfers, but not ideal for swimmers or beach goers.
But there are areas of solitude, and with perfect weather, you can't go wrong.
I would recommend the 2 day motorcycle guided tour from Dalat City (In the Central Highlands) down to the Coastal waters surrounding Mui Ne.
There is nothing like being on a motorcycle, climbing down through the cooler mountain ranges and onto the warm coastal Beaches of Mui Ne.
You will see Vietnam in the most intimate way.
Mui Ne Beach is one of my favorites. It does hold special memories but it also has my 'Spot', which is a beautiful area that few people seem to know about.
As you drive along the main road, towards the White sand Dunes, you'll have the desert on your left and a beautiful coastline on your right.
The stark contrast means at one moment you are in the Red Sand Dunes of Namibia and then, just meters away, is the beautiful, still as of 2020, endless Coastline.
During the winter months, Mui Ne is inundated with Kite Surfing enthusiasts seeking some of the best condition for their craft.
Luckily, I don't care to be there when the winds are gusting offshore. You can find some real Gems if you rent a motorbike and go looking.
This is the closest of all the Vietnam beaches to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
It is the destination of choice for young Vietnamese on weekends and holidays. It is a lovely little town during the week and life is cheap, bountiful, and quiet.
The beach is mostly used as a fishing Port so it is not a place where you would covet the beach. But the air is salt water enriched and a far cry from the black lung you'll eventually get in Saigon.
There is a ferry you can catch out of Saigon to Vung Tau everyday, which makes a great day trip.
Just head to the bottom of Nguyen Hue street and you'll find the hydrofoil Port and the ferry that will take you up to Vung Tau.
It's a great little town, but it's not the beach we're looking for.
If you want to see the best of all the Vietnam beaches, then you have to get out to Phu Quoc Island.
It's in the South China sea and has beaches very much like those on Ko Chang in Thailand.
Phu Quoc Island has pristine beaches, turquoise colored water, magnificent seafood, and just the right amount of civility and privacy.
If you rent a motorbike, you can get to some very remote spots, with waters made for swimming and sand that has never been touched.
Our search was for the perfect balance. Phu Quoc Island has that perfect balance, and is so far ahead of any of the inland beaches, that you'd be wasting time searching anywhere else.
This beach is the only one of the Vietnam Beaches to run right against the border with Cambodia. It's in the Southern tip of the mainland of Vietnam.
The coastline is named Ha Tien and has some superb beaches. Even the French seem to like it as the film L'AMANT (The Lover, 1995) was shot in and around Hon Chong Beach.
Hon Chong Beach will remind those who've come through Thailand and Sihanoukville in Cambodia of the beaches that are there, or were once there..
The sand is very fine and soft and the waters are some of the most tranquil of all the Vietnam Beaches.
It is not a popular tourist destination as of yet but there are plenty of travel agents in Vietnam that do package tours to Hon Chong Beach.
From Hai Tien you can hire a boat to take you out to some of the islands, such as Hon Doc Island or Nghe Island.
I know that the travel agents in Ho Chi Minh City also offer Scuba Diving treks to the Hai Tac Islets.
I worked in Vietnam for 3 years and ran into quite a few Scuba enthusiasts that claimed there was some fantastic diving sites in and around the Islets off the coast of Ha Tien.
Hon Chong Beach is therefore a still hidden Gem as of June, 2020.
I'll bet you've never heard of it before so get yourself down to both Phu Quoc Island and Hon Chong Beach before they too become over run with tourists.
Hue and Danang, in the center of the country, are very hot and dry from February to August.
Temperatures top the mid 30's Celsius but heavy rainfall between September and January is a certainty.
Ho Chi Minh City and the Vietnam Beaches in the South of the country are hot and dry from December till April with average temperatures around 28°C and a warm rainy season from May to November.
Go 160 miles North, along the coast, by bus or train to enjoy fantastic beaches on Phu Quoc Island for the best Vietnam Beaches.
That's just the opinion of a person who has visited them all in the last 3 months.
Others may disagree, but the best way to see the Vietnam beaches is to rent a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh City and drive the coastline at least as far as Hoi An.
But, if you require luxuries of the world, many spots along the way might be considered a 'Perfect Beach', but without the amenities of the world, are just stranded Islands.
So, which is the best beach in Vietnam? Tell us about it and why you think it is so good.
Maybe a fight will break out!
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