Storm season on central Vietnam beaches? Head south then

HGH Travel

Storm season on central Vietnam beaches? Head south then

Along Vietnam’s long coastline are many wonderful beaches. Unfortunately, the end of the year heralds the stormy season in the central region, which has some of the best beaches like Da Nang and Nha Trang.

If ocean breezes are what you desire, head to the south. This is not the peak season, so there won’t be too many tourists, Vietnamese or foreigners. You can relax, breathe in those ocean scents and listen to the calming sounds of the waves.

1. Long Hai (Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province)

Photo by Baodulich

Long Hai is a township in Long Dien District, Ba Ria –Vung Tau Province. A 90-minute drive from Saigon, it still remains somewhat untouched and is a far cry from neighboring Vung Tau. Long Hai offers the perfect weekend getaway for city folks.

The area around Long Hai has a microclimate that brings less rain than other parts of the south, meaning visitors can enjoy warm, dry weather all year round. In October – November, visitors can see beautiful cherry blossoms along the ocean road.

Places to visit

  • Long Hai beach: The beach here is still somewhat pristine with fine, smooth golden sand. It is also perfect for those who enjoy camping outdoors at night.
  • Minh Dam mountain: Visitors hiking up the mountain can get a panoramic view of Long Hai with its beautiful ocean in the foreground and green mountains and forests at the back. The colors of the leaves, wild flowers and the sky combine to give this place a picturesque look.
  • Nuoc Ngot mountain pass: It is a place not to be missed when visiting Long Hai. Around five kilometers in length, this ocean road is where the cherry blossom forest is located. The trees were planted there by the Japanese during their brief foray into Vietnam. Without the elegant, glorious look of those growing in colder climes, the cherry blossoms here are untamed and dovetail perfectly with the untamed look of this place.

Photo by Shutterstock

  • Fishing Village: Long Hai is arguably one of the largest seafood wholesale markets in Vietnam’s southeast. To fully experience the bustle of this place as fishermen and traders haggle over prices, visitors should arrive at the village at 5 a.m.- 6 a.m. You can also enjoy super cheap seafood cooked fresh from the sea.

 

2. Con Dao (Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province)

Photo by Shutterstock/Vietnam Stock Images

Con Dao islands are an archipelago located 230 km from Saigon and 185 km from Vung Tau. The best way to get to the island is to by a 45-minute flight from HCMC or Can Tho.

Through both the French-Vietnam war and the American-Vietnam war, these islands were the place where freedom fighters and political dissenters were incarcerated. Now Con Dao is a national park with beautiful beaches, lush tropical forests and coconut groves. The park has a diverse ecosystem with many different species of corals and sea turtles.

Home to a coastline with steep, rocky hills and long sweeping coves, and situated in a place where cool and warm ocean currents meet and create a local microclimate, Con Dao is a great place for swimming, snorkeling and diving all year round. It arguably has one of the best underwater seascapes in Vietnam.

Visitors can also go hiking and exploring the jungles here since the islands are mountainous and covered with vegetation.

Places to visit

Dam Trau Beach. Photo by Meo Gia

  • Dam Trau beach: The beach is located 14 km north of the town near Con Dao airport. It is considered the most beautiful beach on the island with clear blue waters, smooth golden sand and dazzling coral reefs surrounded by lush forests.
  • Ong Dung forest: The forest belongs to the Con Dao National Park and is around 4 km from the city. Once past Ma Thien Lanh Bridge, visitors can enjoy the cool, fresh air and bird songs in the primeval forest.

Mui Ca Map (Shark Cape). Photo by Meo Gia

  • Mui Ca Map: Mui Ca Map, or Shark Cape, just south of Con Dao Town is supposed to have the best views on the island. With the long coast and rice-white soft sand on one side and vertical cliffs on the other, this is an ideal place for camping outdoors overnight.

 

  • Bay Canh island: This is the second largest of the 16 islands in the Con Dao archipelago. Lying to its east, it is covered by mangrove forests and has 882 different plant species and 150 animal specials. It also has a highly diverse marine life living in its rich coral reefs. From around July to October visitors can see the rare sight of sea turtles nesting and laying their eggs on the beach.
 
  • Con Dao Prison: It was built by the French to keep the most “dangerous” prisoners. It is worth walking around the hall and taking a trip back in time to learn how such a hell on earth existed on this heavenly archipelago.

 

3. Phan Thiet (Binh Thuan Province)

Photo by Shutterstock/Vietnam Stock Images

Phan Thiet is a city in Binh Thuan Province about 183 km from Saigon. Visitors can get here by car, motorbike, bus, or train.

One great thing about Phan Thiet, and its best known beach district Mui Ne, is that most hotels and resorts here have their own private beach meaning they are well-kept and not too crowded. Visitors can relax by the beach within the comforts of their hotel/ resort.

Phan Thiet is not only popular for its beautiful white sandy beaches; it also has many wonders of nature and impressive man-made structures.

Since Phan Thiet has always been popular among locals as well as foreign visitors, the tourism industry here is quite developed. There are plenty of things to do here.

Places to visit

  • Mui Ne: Located about 15 km east of Phan Thiet City, it is a bustling tourist town. With its beautiful natural attractions, exciting water sports such as windsurfing, surfing and jet-skiing and a myriad of shops and restaurants, Mui Ne will ensure your stay is anything but boring.
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Hon Rom Beach

  • Hon Rom: It is a place blessed with a 17 km beach with blue, clear waters. Watching the sunset and sunrise on the quiet beach while listening to the sound of waves crashing on the stones is a must-try experience. In the morning you can explore the hot sand dunes and then take a dip in the cool sea. At night you can set up camp, warmed by a cracking fire, or accompany fishermen going for squid fishing.

Bau Trang (White Sand Dunes)

  • Bau Trang: Also called White Sand Dunes, located about 50 km from Mui Ne, Bau Trang is one of the few deserts in Southeast Asia and has a beautiful expanse of dunes and sand. The most striking aspect of this place is a small lagoon covered in lotus flowers. There are no camels here; instead, you can hop on a jeep or a quad bike, if you dare, to explore this unique desert. Visitors should come here early in the morning since the heat can get intense later on.

Ke Ga Lighthouse

  • Ke Ga Point: Around 20 km from Phan Thiet City, Ke Ga, with its enchanting beaches with unspoiled white sand and crystal blue waters, is one of the best hidden destinations along the coast. The most famous attraction here is the Ke Ga Lighthouse. This granite structure, built in 1889, is the oldest and one of the tallest of its kind in Vietnam and retains its original architecture. Climbing up the 184 steps visitors can take in a breathtaking panoramic view of the whole bay. And since Ke Ga is one of the most eastern points of Vietnam, it would be a shame not to watch the glorious sunrise from the top of the lighthouse.
  • Cham tower Poshanu: Located about 7 km from Phan Thiet, the Poshanu Cham Tower is one of the few surviving remains of the Champa Kingdom (2nd century CE to 1832). Though the structure is small, the details carved into the stones are incredible.

 

4. Phu Quoc (Kien Giang Province)

Phu Quoc is known as the Pearl Island of Southeast Asia. For nature lovers, the island has a lot to offer, such as pristine beaches to relax, coral reefs and the primeval Phu Quoc National Park.

Visitors can take a flight from HCMC or Hanoi to Phu Quoc.

After the rainy season, which ends around October, the streams on the island are swollen and the place becomes lush and green. The dry season between November and May offers clear skies and a blue sea, making it the perfect time to visit the island, especially for diving or snorkeling.

Places to visit

  • Beaches: Phu Quoc boasts 150 km of coast with soft smooth sand. There are many beautiful beaches for visitors to explore. Sao Beach is considered the crown jewel of Phu Quoc for its white sand, while Long Beach, one of the most popular beaches on the island, is the ideal place for watching the sunset. Or, visitors can collect red starfish on the eastern end of Rach Vem Beach.
  • Ham Ninh fishing village: It is an ideal place for foreign visitors to see the daily lives of Vietnam’s fishermen and enjoy authentic regional seafood dishes. It is known as one of the oldest villages on Phu Quoc Island, and boasts some unique dishes such as sea cucumber soup, tram mushroom and boiled flower crab.

Photo by Shutterstock

  • Phu Quoc National Park: Declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2010, this massive park, which at over 314,000 square meters covers more than half of Phu Quoc’s northern part, is home to many unique species of flora and fauna, evergreen forests and dense mountain ranges. Most parts of the park are protected though tourism activities such as camping, hiking, bird-watching, and photography are allowed at some places. Visitors can spot some rare animals like long-tailed macaques, silver langurs, slow lories, otters, and hornbills. Trekking lovers can test themselves at Mount Heaven, a challenging four-hour walk through the forest followed by a 10-meter climb on a bamboo ladder, or on the highest peak in the park, Mount Chua, which stands around 600 meters above sea level.

Cau Temple. Photo by Nguyen Thanh Luan

  • Dinh Cau: Dinh Cau Rock, also known as Cau Temple, is a naturally odd-shaped formation which local fishermen pray to before going fishing. From the rooftop terrace of the temple, visitors can see spectacular sunsets over Dinh Cau Beach, traditional fishing boats, Duong Dong Town and neighboring islets. It also makes the temple a popular spot for photography. Dinh Cau night market, five minutes away by foot from Dinh Cau Rock, is a great place for trying out fresh seafood and other local dishes as well as buying some souvenirs.

  • Coconut Tree Prison: Also known as Cay Dua Prison, it is located in the south of Phu Quoc near An Thoi Village. It was used by the French and later by the Americans during the wars, and was the largest prisoner camp in the south of Vietnam in 1973. This prison, built around 1950, is now closed and has been repurposed as a museum and memorial.

 

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