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Ha Long Bay (Photo: Forbes)

From the shores of the UNESCO-designated Ha Long Bay to the rolling dunes of Mui Ne and the island getaways of Con Dao and Phu Quoc, here are the best places to enjoy Vietnam's surf, sun, and sand!

Hoi An

The beaches of Da Nang are approximately 20 kilometers from Hoi An. You can get there by motorbike, bus or taxi. An Bang Beach is one of the few parts of the beach in Hoi An that is relatively unaffected by development. You will find a number of resorts, restaurants and bars on the beach with a beautiful view. Some of the most popular activities on An Bang Beach are swimming and paddleboarding. Due to a lack of wind, you will not see any kite surfing and parasailing here. There are a variety of rental options for boards and stand-up paddling lessons, according to Local Vietnam.

Cua Dai Beach is 5 km from Hoi An and is, therefore, closer than An Bang. Cua Dai is a beautiful beach with fine sand and palm trees but unfortunately affected by serious erosion. Although erosion has been established since 2004, the situation has gained momentum in recent years. Because of this, there are fewer tourists and because the beach is also very long, you can always find a piece of beach for yourself.

Hoi An's underrated gem, however, is the Cham Islands, a group of eight pristine islands lying along the coast. UNESCO has recognized the Cham Islands as one of the world's biosphere reserves for its stunning variety of plants and marine life, which includes over 200 varieties of fish. On the main island, Hon Lao, swim at Chong Beach head up to Bac Beach to enjoy natural caves.

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An Bang beach, Hoi An province. (Photo: Traveloka)

Ly Son

Ly Son, 30 kilometers off the coast of Quang Ngai Province, is home to intriguing garlic farms and beautiful crystal-clear seas surrounded by a ring of reefs. Ly Son consists of three islands, including Dao Lon (Big Island), also known as Cu Lao Re, Dao Be (Small Island) or An Binh Island, and an uninhabited Mu Cu Islet. April to August is an ideal time to visit Ly Son, when the weather is nice, with little rain and lots of sunshine.

Ly Son Island can only be reached by boat from Sa Ky Port. There are three round trips by speedboat each day for VND300,000 ($13) to VND350,000 ($15), taking around half-an-hour to reach the shore. Remember to bring your ID, driving license, or passport when purchasing tickets. On the island, you can rent a motorbike from locals for VND120,000 ($5.2) per day, said VN Express.

There aren't as many palm trees and beach resorts on the two main islands, known as Dao Lon and Dao Be; instead, find many fascinating geological formations as well as over 50 temples and shrines and world-famous garlic and seafood. Much of the Dao Lon is taken up by the garlic farms, which can be smelled from miles away, but the acclaimed To Vo arch (pictured above) opens up to clear blue waters and fossil reefs.

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The beauty of Ly Son. (Photo: City Pass Guide)

Mui Ne

Once upon a time, Mui Ne was an isolated stretch of shoreline where pioneering travelers camped on the sand. Times have changed and it's now a string of beach resorts, which have fused into one long coastal strip. These resorts are, for the most part, mercifully low-rise and set amid pretty gardens by the sea. The original fishing village is still here, but tourists outnumber locals these days. There are a handful of luxury hotels (and a smattering of cheap guesthouses) but Mui Ne is mainly a midrange resort.

A hop-skip from the hustle and bustle of Saigon, the area commonly referred to as Mui Ne (though it includes portions of Ham Tien ward and Phan Thiet city) is renowned for its coastline as well as a number of other natural wonders. A small fishing town with beaches to rival those on this list, Mui Ne is differentiated by a majestic, nearby expanse of desert known as the White Sand Dunes and Red Sand Dunes, which are popular for sand-surfing and even hot-air balloon rides.

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Mui Ne is famous for its pristine beauty. (Photo: Vietnam Discovery)

Ho Coc

According to Vietnam Guide, Ho Coc Beach, located north of Ho Tram Hamlet, is home to mostly mid-range and high-end resorts as well as one of the most pristine beaches in Vietnam. Accessible within a three-hour leisurely drive from central Ho Chi Minh City, the beach features five kilometers of white sand where you can enjoy a day of sunbathing, swimming, and beach games, as well as sample fresh seafood and local Vietnamese cuisine.

Ho Coc Beach is home to beachfront resorts and hotels that cater to just about any budget and preference. If you’re staying at one of the beach’s high-end resorts, the chances are you will also get to enjoy unwinding on a private beach. Sundecks are available for rent for those who aren’t staying at the resorts, and there are some parts of the beach that are still available for public use.

There are plenty of ways to get to Ho Coc Beach from Ho Chi Minh City, with local buses being the cheapest option. Minibusses depart from Mien Dong Bus Station daily every 15 minutes, with fares priced at VND 80,000 (3,4 USD).

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Ho Coc beach is located north of Ho Tram Hamlet. (Photo: Vietnam Guide)

Doc Let

Doc Let also called Doc Lech, is located in Ninh Hai ward, Ninh Hoa town, Khanh Hoa province, Vietnam. Stretching for 18km, the chalk-white sands and shallow turquoise waters of Doc Let ensure it ranks among Vietnam's best beaches. Boasting around 11 miles of chalk-white shores and turquoise waters, Doc Let is a quick, one-hour trip from Nha Trang.

The north section of the scenic bay is frequented by tourists and is home to most of the beach resorts and hotels. The central section, meanwhile, has sections of pristine shores, but beware of the Hyundai shipyard and busy port area. Lastly, the southern part of Doc Let, known as Jungle Beach, is a longtime backpacker favorite surrounded by fishing villages.

Note that most of Doc Let is not as developed as Nha Trang, with mostly family-owned shops providing food, kayak rentals, and accommodations. The closest city is Ninh Hoa. The most beautiful time to come to Doc Let is from January to September when it is sunny, sometimes combined with Southwest wind so the landscape is very airy and dry.

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Most of Doc Let is not as developed as Nha Trang. (Photo: Getty)

Nha Trang

The best attractions in Nha Trang are set against a stunning backdrop of white sandy beaches, verdant mountains, and untouched islands. Great for history buffs, Nha Trang is home to remnants of the Champa Kingdom, Buddhist temples, and gothic-style Catholic churches while natural hot springs, salt fields, and unique waterfalls offer a myriad of sightseeing and recreational activities.

As reviewed by Vietnam Guide, while it’s fairly easy to explore this popular Vietnam district on foot, bicycle, and motorcycle, there are numerous tour operators within Nha Trang city center that organize day excursions to Nha Trang’s most popular attractions.

At the city's main beach, called Nha Trang Beach or City Beach, you'll find that iconic view of the bay, along with a decently-sized crowd during peak hours. For more secluded options, check out the beaches on the nearby cluster of islands, including Hon Lon and Hon Tre, which is home to the gaudy but popular resort Vinpearl.

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Nha Trang is home to remnants of the Champa Kingdom, Buddhist temples, and gothic-style Catholic churches (Photo: Cmego)

Da Nang

A central Vietnamese port city made infamous by a war that ended more than 40 years ago is now stepping up to compete with some of Southeast Asia's most famous beach resorts. Danang is attracting a different kind of attention. In Airbnb's 2018 rankings of trending travel destinations, Danang finished No. 5 globally and No. 1 in Southeast Asia. U.S.-based Airbnb is the world's largest vacation booking website. Unlike Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's two largest cities, Danang does not fill visitors' ears with an incessant motorcycle and other noises. Time passes more slowly in the city of over a million, too, said Nikkei Asia.

Fans of water sports can visit My Khe Beach, the closest beach to the city center and a world-renowned favorite for surfing, snorkeling, and jet-skiing. Meanwhile, those who prefer some privacy can hop on a motorbike to the untouched Tien Sa Beach on the north side of the Son Tra Peninsula. Other nearby attractions include the stunning Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to Son Doong, the world's largest cave.

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Danang does not fill visitors' ears with an incessant motorcycle and other noises (Photo: Time Out)

Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s largest island and fast becoming the country’s premier beach destination. There are dozens of excellent beaches on Phu Quoc Island, and this guide covers them all, including my tips for accommodation on each one. In recent years, upgraded infrastructure – including a road network across the entire island – has opened access to more and more of Phu Quoc’s beaches.

If you're looking for cheap accommodations and a social, tourist-heavy atmosphere, head to North Long Beach, which can be accessed from the majority of the island's hotels. In recent years, Phu Quoc has been increasingly threatened by over-tourism and development, so plan a visit soon to enjoy its natural beauty. As a general rule, the south and west coasts are increasingly developed and in the midst of major construction; whereas the north and east coasts are still quiet and relatively untouched, Vietnam Coracle cited.

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Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s largest island. (Photo: Forbes)

Ha Long Bay

If you're in Hanoi, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a quick and totally worth-it day trip that takes roughly four hours each way by bus. Though known primarily for its world-famous limestone outcroppings, Ha Long Bay boasts a number of its own number beaches, the most obvious being Bai Chay, the artificial setup that lures in most tourists.

The Bay is dotted with 1,600 limestone islands and islets and covers an area of over 1,500 sqkm. For many tourists, this place is like something right out of a movie. The fact is that Halong Bay features a wide range of biodiversity, while the surrealistic scenery has indeed featured in endless movies.

For the full experience, opt for a boat tour that'll take you to Ti Top Island, an island in the center of the bay with its own beach. And, if you've got the time to make an overnight affair of your visit, visit the less-trodden, white-sand-laden Ban Chan beach.

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The Bay is dotted with 1,600 limestone islands and islets. (Photo: VN Express)

Con Dao

Though typically spoken of as one island, Con Dao is actually an archipelago of 16 islands on the southern coast of Vietnam. Once the site of brutal French prisons, Con Dao is now known for its coral reefs, diverse marine life, and soft sandy beaches. Besides having an interesting history, (Marco Polo even stopped over) Con Dao is also an island of immense natural beauty with forested hills, deserted sandy beaches, and extensive coral reefs making for some excellent diving.

On the main island, Con Son, you'll find local homestays, budget hotels, and a few high-end resorts, most notably the Six Senses Con Dao, which offers access to the beautiful Dat Doc Beach. North of Con Son town (and bordered by no hotels) lays the tranquil Lo Voi Beach. And beyond the main island, nature lovers head to the beaches of the nearby Bay Canh island to witness the annual release of baby sea turtles.

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Though typically spoken of as one island, Con Dao is actually an archipelago of 16 islands on the southern coast of Vietnam. (Photo: Getty)
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