Southeast Asia’s beach scene is no longer dominated by Phuket and
Bali. Neighbouring Vietnam, with its lengthy coastline spanning 3,260
kilometres, is now home to a growing crop of up-and-coming coastal
havens home to spanking new waterfront properties and a kaleidoscopic
array of experiences designed for the modern-day traveller.
Halong Bay: Heaven is a place on Earth
The waters bordering Halong Bay hold many secrets for travellers to discover with 1,600 islands and islets forming a magnificent seascape of limestone pillars. Photo Credit: GettyImages/Natnan Srisuwan
Designated as a World Heritage Site in 1994, Halong Bay is known for
its unique geological formations with almost 500 million years of
history. A seemingly infinite number of mystical caves lay in wait for
intrepid travellers to explore. The Thien Cung (heaven) Cave, which only
recently until 1993 remained a legend, is a beauty to behold with its
copious clusters of stalactites descending from the ceiling that
resemble mythical creatures frozen in time.
Visiting this destination’s ethereal sights has become more
accessible than ever. Thanks to a new expressway built in 2018,
travellers can reach Halong Bay via a 1.5-hour drive from Hanoi. With a
bigger stream of travellers arriving from Hanoi and surrounding
provinces, much of Halong Bay’s surrounding infrastructure has also
since been drastically improved to boost tourism.
Legend has it that Thien Cung Cave was the ancient home of a dragon king and his queen. Photo Credit: GettyImages/Mosaymay
Beyond the natural wonders that command Halong Bay, other
awe-inspiring attractions include the floating villages where local
residents can be seen going about their daily activities of fishing and
cultivating of aquatic and marine species. Adventurous tourists can even
opt to live with the locals at these floating villages and enjoy
sea-to-table dining experiences.
International hotel brands including Best Western Premier Sapphire
Halong and Novotel Halong Bay have forayed into the destination, while
coming up next is the InterContinental Halong Bay Resort (opening in
Ho Tram: Vietnam’s emerging tourist hotspot
The Grand Ho Tram Strip became Vietnam’s first integrated resort when it opened in 2013.
The dawn of a new age of tourism and hospitality in southeastern
Vietnam comes from the growing popularity of drive-by destinations.
Located about a 115km drive from Ho Chi Minh City, the once quiet and
sleepy seaside town of Ho Tram is fast been gaining traction as a
premier beachfront destination.
Olivier Dung Do Ngoc, managing partner of Dynasty Investment Corp,
believes that this small beach town is the one to watch, due to its
proximity to Ho Chi Minh City. The group partnered Club Med to invest
US$70 million in the area and bring the country’s first Club Med resort
that’s opening soon.
Other hospitality players jumping onboard this blossoming coastal
destination include Holiday Inn Resort Ho Tram Beach; Melia Ho Tram
Beach Resort; Avani+ Ho Tram Resort and Hyatt Regency Ho Tram.
Two new Best Western branded properties will be located within the existing Charm Resort Ho Tram.
Additionally, Tanzanite International is developing The Hamptons Mall
and The Hamptons Pier to “realise a more complete tourism experience
including leisure and sports activities, F&B, shopping, and
The destination boasts a rich cultural heritage for tourists to
immerse in at the traditional fishing villages, temples and hot springs.
Meanwhile, The Grand Ho Tram Strip allows travellers to fulfill their
fantasies of living large with two five-star hotels, 15 restaurants and
bars, five swimming pools, a casino and a golf course. And coming up
next? Two new Best Western branded properties will be located within the
existing Charm Resort Ho Tram.
Da Nang: Bridging the gap between beach vibes and city life
From breezy beaches to a bustling city life, Da Nang’s got it all. Photo Credit: GettyImages/I am Kien. I like to take many beautiful photos about landscape.
The magnificent Golden Bridge — two colossal hands cradling a gilded
walkway suspended over a mountain — has become one of the most iconic
attractions in Vietnam. While Da Nang is known for its abundance of
spectacular bridges, travellers who venture south will find a booming
beach scene overlooking the Da Nang Bay.
Home to up-scale resorts and seafood restaurants, Da Nang’s southern
beach strip is sectioned into several beaches: Pham Van Dong, My Khe,
Bac My Anh and Non Nuoc. The weather is sunny all year round, making it
the ideal location for aquatic recreational activities such as surfing,
kayaking, jet-skiing, and scuba diving.
When night falls, tourists can make the short 10- to 20-minute car
ride into Da Nang city to enjoy its neon-lit streets bustling with
street food stalls and a buzzing nightlife.
Nha Trang: Non-stop action-packed adventure
Nha Trang once used to be a well-kept secret among backpackers. Photo Credit: GettyImages/Fbxx
High-octane action awaits tourists in the coastal town of Nha Trang.
Forming the shape of a crescent moon, Nha Trang beach sweeps across 6km
of golden sand, offering ample space for holidaymakers to soak up the
sun alongside rustling palm trees, or engage in thrilling watersports
from parasailing to kite surfing.
Being a party town at heart, the myriad of colourful beach bars truly
comes alive when the sun goes down. It was only until very recently
when these beach bars shifted its focus from the backpacker segment to
the current burgeoning Asian market. People from all walks of life can
now be found socialising with other fun-loving travellers while sipping
on tipples and moving along to pumping tunes.
Every Saturday evening, revelers swarm to the Sailing Club to party the night away on Nha Trang Beach. Photo Credit: Sailing Club Nha Trang
Besides spending the day relaxing alongside the azure waters, there’s
also the option of venturing in-land to spend a rejuvenating day at Nha
Trang’s natural hot springs filled with mineral-rich clay that
allegedly helps relieve stress, soothe fatigued muscles, and detoxifies
Travellers who want all the action brought to them right at their
resort’s doorstep will be in for a treat come March 2025 when Accor
opens its 573-key Rixos Nha Trang Beach Resort. Garth Simmons, CEO of
Accor Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, likens this all-inclusive
resort to a “cruise on land”. Guests can eat, drink, play and relax to
their heart’s content at the resort’s numerous restaurants and bars,
aquatonics pool, private beach, kid & teen club, beauty salon and