DestinationsLook out, Phuket and Bali. Vietnam’s making a splash in the beach vacation scene.

Where are Vietnam's up-and-coming beach destinations?

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From party paradise Nha Trang to coastal city Ho Tram, these beach hotspots are fast gaining popularity among travellers.
From party paradise Nha Trang to coastal city Ho Tram, these beach hotspots are fast gaining popularity among travellers. Photo Credit: GettyImages/Natnan Srisuwan

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.
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.
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 2023).

Ho Tram: Vietnam’s emerging tourist hotspot

The Grand Ho Tram Strip became Vietnam’s first integrated resort when it opened in 2013.
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.
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 entertainment”.

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.
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.
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.
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 the skin.

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 spa.

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