Monday, June 18, 2007

The Beaches Of Vietnam

The Beaches Of Vietnam
By Dwight H Zimpel

Nha Trang BeachVietnam's 2,100 mile (3,380 kilometre) coastline and thousands of islands provide many attractive beaches that invite travellers to relax and enjoy the sound of the surf and the warmth of the sun. Some of the beach locales are developed with hotels and restaurants to attract discriminating travellers, while others offer secluded primitive beaches for daytime picnics or small group camping.

Here is the low-down on some of the more popular Vietnam beach destinations - but not all.

Starting in the north is Ha Long Bay with its many sandstone islands - a photographer's paradise. Cat Ba is the largest island in Ha Long Bay, attracting many visitors. Ha Long Bay has several other islands where the hotel junks anchor and allow passengers to enjoy a beach swim.

Do Son Beach, on a small peninsula near Haiphong, is shaded by sandalwood trees with pine tree covered hills nearby and mountains in the distance. Close to Ha Long Bay, though not as busy.

Islands in Nha Trang50 miles (80 kilometres) south of the Imperial City of Hue is Lang Co Beach. The water is warm year around and very shallow. It offers great scenery such as distant mountains, nearby forests and a beautiful blue sea. Diving, hiking, boating and fishing are offered here. China Beach, between Danang and Hoi An, is the beach best known to Americans. This community is attracting many upscale resort hotels. China Beach is adjacent to the Marble Mountain Monastery. Bring your hiking boots. Small marble statues made by local artists make great souvenirs. China Beach is also about 10 miles (16 kilometres) from Hoi An, a popular tourist attraction.

Hoi An with its beach area is the Vietnam destination for the budget traveller. Hoi An has much to offer - restaurants, shopping and tours to China Beach and Marble Mountain as well as the Cham ruins of My Son. Huong Beach on Cham Island provides a bit of relaxation from the stresses of travelling.

Nha Trang, the Riviera of the South China Sea, is the next beach destination. Nha Trang is surrounded by mountains together with a 5 mile (8 kilometre) white sand beach front and over 70 off shore islands. Scuba diving and snorkelling tours are available. You can relax on the beach and enjoy great sea food restaurants. Walk Tran Phu Street, which runs parallel to the beach, or hire a cyclo for a tour of the Cham ruins, market and Buddhist shrines.

Islands in Ha Long BayOn to Mui Ne Beach, about 120 miles (193 kilometres) east of Saigon. Awesome sand dunes have been created by continual winds. Wind surfing and kite surfing are popular here. Mui Ne offers the strangest weather in Vietnam - It is actually hot and dry there.

Vung Tau - The beaches at Vung Tau aren't that great, being near Saigon it attracts many Vietnamese weekenders as well as tourists. Vung Tau is about 80 miles (129 kilometres) from Saigon and can be reached by hydrofoil for about US$10 return.

Ha Tien is on the border with Cambodia (5 miles/8 kilometres away) and is home to several superb beaches. Hon Chong Beach has soft white sand and calm tropical water, while nearby Tien Cave attracts visitors with two beach entrances. Nearby islands attract scuba divers, snorkellers and those just wanting to enjoy a boat ride.

Phu Quoc Island, in the Gulf of Thailand, is Vietnam's largest island, offering mountains, jungles and pleasant sandy beaches; it attracts nature lovers and sun worshipers. The furthest west of the Vietnam's beaches is Bai Truong Beach, here you can sit, relax, and watch the sun go down on the Gulf of Thailand.

If you're a traveller who enjoys catching a few rays, Vietnam's beaches should be on your itinerary. Beach accommodation is still a bargain. Plan a Vietnam beach tour and enjoy tremendous amounts of sun and sand, together with the many cultural and scenic attractions of Vietnam.

About the Author
Dwight Zimpel, Your Vietnam Tour Guide, is a Vietnam Veteran and has made 5 recent trips to Vietnam. He has lived in the Middle East and travelled the world for the past 20 years.

Nha Trang Beach
Islands in Nha Trang
Island in Ha Long Bay

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