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STAY HYDRATED: BEACHES AROUND SAIGON AND HOW TO REACH THEM

The pristine water of Mui Ne, one of the must-visit beaches when in Vietnam

Situated on the edge of the Indochina Peninsula with 3,260km of coastline, Vietnam has an abundance of beautiful beaches. In this article today, I will present some of the more prominent or trendy beaches these days.  I will start off with the beach I consider the most worthy.

  1. Mũi Né

This is a fairly new destination, having only risen to prominence in 1995, when it was one of the few places on earth where you can witness the October 24, 1995 eclipse. Before then, Mũi Né could hardly be considered a tourist attraction; instead, its economy relied solely on its fishing industry. Today, though tourism flourishes in the town, Mũi Né remains a wild and relatively untainted beach

When to visit: Any time of the year will do, but the best time would in June-July.

How to get there: The distance from Mui Ne to Saigon is 170km, which equals a 5 hour journey by bus, train or private taxi. Buses are by far the most cost-effective and popular travelling choice, with  prices ranging from 200,000-400,000 VND.

Pros:

One of the pros when visiting Mũi Né is, of course, its beautiful sandy beaches and pristine water. Rang Beach is widely known to be the most beautiful beach in all Phan Thiet Province, but in no way it is gentle  despite its beauty.  The strong sea breezes here make  this beach a very popular site for kitesurfing and windsurfing.   Hon Rom is a new beach, the water is pure, the waves gentle, and  the sunset there is unparalleled.

                                                                                         The pristine water of Mui Ne

Also, the town is packed with natural beauties like the Fairy Stream, the Red and White Sand Dunes (where you can go sandsliding.  Mui Ne fishing village is also the home to a Cham tower.

Mui Ne’s cuisine is diverse. Ingredients are all local and are super fresh, and come at a fairly reasonable price, that is, if you know where to look for it. Mui Ne Market and Ho Xuan Huong Street are the places to be, where they offer local delicacies like banh bot loc, cha ca, fish salad among other dishes for a price ranging from 15,000-30,000 VND (about $0.75-$1.5). Or if you fancy some more fancy food from other cuisines, there is a plethora of restaurants that offers Italian, Spanish, French, Russian and Japanese scattered around the area. The place also has great nightlife to top it off

There are a lot of accommodations choices when it comes to Mui Ne.  You can choose from its portfolio of big, luxurious resorts with proximity to the sea or some more intimate, homey homestay.

                                                                                        Mũi Né is packed with actions…
                                                                                                               …golden sand dunes…
                                                             …and natural beauties. In picture is the famed Fairy Streams.

Cons:

With the pros, of course come the cons. Nowadays, Mui Ne has become a sought-after destination due to its proximity to the big cities, its low cost and beautiful beaches. As a result, it tends to become pretty crowded, especially in high season. Second, many of its beaches are scattered with reefs (and no, it’s not the beautiful type you saw on TV), so sometimes it may not be a good idea to take a dip in unknown water

  1. Vũng Tàu

An all-time classic beach, its history spans from the 13th century, when it was a popular stop for European merchants when they came to the Kingdom of Champa. In the 18th century, it was named Cap Saint-Jacques by the French Indochina government. And now it is known by the name of Vung Tau, which means “where the ships anchor”.

When to visit: Any time of the year. But you should really check weather forecasts for surprise storms and avoid the tourist season, which is in February and June to August

How to get there: The distance between Saigon and Vung Tau is only 125 km, which is fairly near, so it opens up many options for transport.

By scooter: A very popular choice for natives and daredevil tourists. You can rent a scooter in Saigon, which charges daily, and ride your way there. The journey would take around 3-3.5 hours

  • By bus: This option will make you 60,000-80,000 VND ($2.50-$3.5) poorer. It takes 2 hours to reach your destination
  • By hydrofoil: It takes only about an hour and a half to reach Vung Tau from Saigon if you choose to travel in a hydrofoil. You can book the tickets in Bach Dang port, back in Saigon. I have never gone on a hydrofoil before, so I can’t tell you the price, though. Hopefully it won’t break the bank

Pros:

The first pros that I have to mention here is the accessibility. The city is within reach and offers a variety of entertainment and nightlife. There are many choices for accommodation, ranging from 5-star resorts to homestays and short-term motels; even group quarters can be booked. The city has good infrastructure and a deep-rooted service industry that caters to your needs. The best thing is it won’t break your bank, as Vung Tau is considered one of the more affordable beaches in the country.

There is a variety of tourist attractions for the cultural and historic tourists. The White House, which once  belonged to the last king of Vietnam,  is located in the more upscale part of the city, overlooking the sea, and you can visit it for a small fee. If you feel like hiking, try the Small Mountain, where you can see the Christ of Vũng Tàu. You can also visit dozen of magnificent Buddhist pagodas in town, or maybe take a cable car to Ho May Theme Park with your little ones.

                                                                                               The Christ of Vũng Tàu

Cons:

One of the worst things about Vung Tau is its crowdedness. As I told you, Vung Tau is really affordable, so it is fairly understandable when people swarm to Vung Tau in the holidays and the scorching summer. The second con is the quality of water of its beaches. Vung Tau’s waters, due to its excessive growth of tourism, have lost its clarity. The only places that you can find clear water anymore is in private beaches.

Though no longer highly appreciated for its cleanliness, Vũng Tàu still is a popular destination
  1. Nha Trang

Another (rich) local’s favorite. Nha Trang rose to prominence as one of the more high-class beaches in the 2000s, when the VinGroup decided to build VinPearl, a resort that is definitely inspired by Disneyland. Tourism in Nha Trang flourishes from then, and despite its rapid development, retains its reputation as one of the best beaches in Vietnam

When to visit: January to August, this is when Nha Trang is in its dry season. From September to December is the rainy season, unless you someone who loves  rain, there is a good chance that the weather will get in the way of most of your plans

How to get there: Nha Trang is pretty far away from Saigon, at 434 km. yet, with its good infrastructure, it wouldn’t be a problem to come to Nha Trang from Saigon

  • By plane: Flights are pretty frequent, with more than 10 flights daily. It takes an hour to reach Nha Trang from Saigon and costs less than 2,000,000 VND per person
  • By train: It takes about 6-7 hours to reach Nha Trang from Saigon. Price ranges from 300,000-500,000 VND per person. I would not recommend the train though, for it could be noisy and uncomfortable sometimes, especially in such short distance (Vi, what about the Golden Train – it is great)
  • By bus: Buses leave daily from Saigon to Nha Trang, price ranges from 200,000-400,000 VND. It takes about 8 hours, and if you are not in a rush, this would probably be the best choice

Pros:

First is the beach. Nha Trang Bay is the home to many islets and some of the best beaches in Vietnam. The water quality is great despite its popularity.

                                                                                                       Nha Trang from above

Second is the destination. There are many tourist attractions which offer a wide array of activities within the vicinity. Vinpearl Land is a major theme park on Hon Tre Island, and if you want to channel your inner Disney- lover, this is the place to be. Hon Mun Island is the home to the most biologically diverse water in Vietnam, where you can dive among the fishes to explore the coral reefs. Ninh Van Bay, with its pristine beaches, is a popular destination for surfers and kayakers. Other attractions include Nha Trang Oceanography Institute, Lady Ponagar Champa Tower, Nha Trang Market.

                  The famed Lady Ponagar Champa Tower in Nha Trang
                                             A resort in Nha Trang

Cons:

As I said before, Nha Trang is a quite popular destination, so overcrowding is one of its cons. The other being its cost, Nha Trang is not exactly what would cross my mind when it comes to economical travelling

  1. Phú Quốc

A recent tourist haven, Phu Quoc largely remains its virgin state. The largest island of Vietnam, it is famous for its fish sauce and pepper gardens. From 2014, tourists can visit Phu Quoc, visa-free, for a period no greater than 30 days

When to visit: From October to March is when Phu Quoc is in full bloom. If you don’t mind a little crowd then April to September (the high season) would also be an acceptable choice

How to get there: Though only about 300 km away from Saigon, getting to Phu Quoc from Saigon by car or bus in a straight line is virtually impossible, because it is an island with  a strait between it and the mainland. The easiest way to reach Phu Quoc from anywhere is by plane, which could be quite expensive.

Pros:

The water is clean, the sand is white and the island has few people. These I really appreciate.

There are tons of things to see and do in Phu Quoc. As I mentioned earlier, this is a large island. Destinations include Bai Dai and Bai Truong, two of the more prominent beaches; Da Ban Waterfall, Da Ngon Waterfall and Tranh Waterfall. There are also a lot of unique attractions like Khu Tuong Pepper Garden, where peppers are grown; Ham Ninh Fishing Village, where you can see the villagers harvest pearls, catching sea cucumbers and crabs; Phung Hung Fish Sauce Manufacturer, where you can explore the traditional Vietnamese way of making fish sauce.

There is an abundance of things to do on the island. You can either go to Vinpearl Phu Quoc and Vinpearl Safari, two theme parks in the island. At night, maybe you can swing by Dinh Cau Night Market for some souvenirs, or maybe go for some midnight squid fishing. If you are more of a daredevil, maybe some scuba diving or a hike in the primitive forest will do. The island also offers excellent sunset watching sites

Lastly, the food is good and distinctive. Some of Phu Quoc’s dishes can’t be found in any other place in the country, like herring salad, Bun Quay, Banh Canh Cha Ca…

                                 The breath-taking waters of Phú Quốc

Cons: The cost. Prices in Phu Quoc tend to escalates real fast

  1. Côn Đảo

Previously a prison in the war with its infamous “Tiger Cages”, Con Dao nowadays is a sought-after, trendy destination for the Vietnamese. Universally considered to be the home of the best beaches in the country, Con Dao is the place to be for someone who is looking for serenity and peace

How to get there: Con Dao is about 97 nautical miles away from the beach of Vung Tau, and just like the case with Phu Quoc, the simplest way to reach Con Dao is by plane. Or you can reach Vung Tau from Saigon beforehand, and then book a cruise to get to Con Dao. Though it is more complicated, the second way is more cost-effective, because a cruise to get to Con Dao from Vung Tau only costs about 300,000 VND

Pros: The beach and the lack of people. And its safety

                                                                  Côn Đảo from above

Cons:

The island is a relatively new tourist attraction, so there isn’t as much things to do and see in Con Dao as it is in the previous four, with Con Dao National Park and Con Dao Prison being the only prominent destinations. Activities, like turtle watching, scuba diving and fishing, though unique, is not very diverse

The cost is also something you should consider. In Con Dao, there are mostly resort which are high-end.

There you have it. This is the 5 best beaches in Vietnam, recommended to you by Lose The Tie Tour. Feel free to explore the beauty of our country, and if you ever need a guide with deep knowledge of the country, please do consider our tours here, at Lose The Tie.

By Kieu Anh from Lose The Tie Tour.

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