Vietnam offers a different kind of beach experience than you might find in other parts of Southeast Asia that are more renowned for their idyllic islands (we're looking at you, Thailand!) Although there's over 2000 km of coastline, it’s not all blessed with golden sands and you'll be hard pushed to find much in the way of beach life up north. Head south of the Central Highlands, however, and you'll discover many stretches of gorgeous sandy beach, including plenty of secret spots that haven't been eaten up by expanding resort complexes.
Obviously there's a lot more, this is just to get you started...
When you step onto the beaches between Danang and Hoi An, don't forget your Ray-Bans and volleyball! These stretches of white sand, once the haunt of US soldiers during the American War, are now full of locals and foreign tourists enjoying a spot of R&R, although the beaches are rarely crowded until after sunset. A short cycle ride from Hoi An brings you out at Cua Dai beach which, although popular, has seen a fair bit of erosion in recent years, so keep pedalling on to An Bang which is a better option. The beaches on either side of Danang are fantastic, and thanks to the proximity of the international airport you can board your flight home with sand still between your toes.
Escape to Phu Quoc, just off the coast of Cambodia, and you'll find yourself surrounded by blissful sandy beaches. This island may have succumbed to a smattering of world class resorts and a new airport in recent years, but it's certainly not lost any of its wild and natural charm. In fact, now it's far easier to access the island's protected forest areas, rivers and waterfalls without eroding the environment. Days spent on Phu Quoc's beaches are often soundtracked by the guttural calls of hornbills and macaques, while snorkelling offshore opens up an underwater world of tropical fish and coral reefs. Mango Bay on Ong Long Beach is a rustic style eco-resort that does 'unpack and unwind in a beach bungalow' very well.
Early starts in Nha Trang are always the order of the day, with pre-breakfast games of beach badminton and football taking place alongside Tai Chi and sea swims; the perfect preparation for lazy days following late nights in thatched roofed beach bars. Nha Trang also boasts an excellent choice of accommodation, ranging from rustic resorts to the super luxurious Six Senses Ninh Van Bay. Quy Nhon's beaches, on the other hand, are less well known and, dare we whisper it: 'undiscovered'. This is a world away from Nha Trang's backpacker strip and certain to tick all the right boxes if you're looking to get back to basics. A couple of nights in the Avani spa resort, just outside Quy Nhon, always works wonders for those searching for superior seclusion.
Embark on a journey through Vietnam’s less-visited north - lush rolling hills, remote villages and friendly locals, with a side of morning noodles in Hanoi.