Visit Vietnam's secluded beaches before the hordes arrive

Vietnam has several lesser-known beach destinations not overrun by tourists. Enjoy them while the seclusion lasts. 

Vietnam is facing the same problems as its Southeast Asian peers when it comes to beach tourism: “overcrowding, coral damage and waste,” as pointed out by British newspaper The Independent.

Countries across the region have adopted various measures to protect their coastlines, such as running clean-up campaigns, upgrading waste water treatment facilities, fining people who litter, and even closing off beaches completely to visitors.

Yet luckily enough, several islands and islets in Vietnam have somehow managed to preserve their pristine beauty and escape the worst effects of mass tourism.

So if you are not constrained by a tight schedule, make sure you check out these four island paradises in Vietnam that you should visit.

Fingernail Islet, Phu Quoc

Mong Tay Islet is one of the few places left in Phu Quoc that remain pristine and inhabited. Photo by Shutterstock/daoanh

Translated literally from the Vietnamese name “Mong tay,” the Fingernail Islet lies to the south of Phu Quoc.

Due to the lack of human presence, Mong Tay Islet beauty remains virtually untouched. So take a look especially if you are visiting Phu Quoc, Vietnam's largest island in the southern province of Kien Giang.

It has crystal blue water and soft white sand surrounded by lines of evergreen poplar trees.

Some seasoned travelers tipped that there are little fishing boats anchored along the beach, which means you can go deeper farther out into the crystal blue sea before diving to see coral reefs.

The best time to visit the islet is from October to April, when the weather is warm and dry.

Dubbed Vietnam’s Maldives, the sunny Phu Quoc Island has gained worldwide popularity since it opened an international airport in 2012 and began offering a 30-day visa-free policy to foreigners in 2014. 

Phu Quoc was recently named one of the most beautiful places in the country by U.S. news site CNN.

Phu Quoc Island is one of the top beach destinations in Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/Anh Anh

Bai Dong, Thanh Hoa

Visitors flock to Bai Dong Beach in the central province of Thanh Hoa to dive into the blue waters. Photo by Shutterstock/dongquan

Bai Dong, which literally means Eastern Beach, is located on the Nghi Son Peninsula in Tinh Gia District, 60km (37 miles) from Thanh Hoa town. The newly-discovered Bai Dong has left young travelers lusting for more of its sparkling blue waters, white sands and delicious seafood.

You can take a bus from Hanoi to Thanh Hoa’s Nghi Son Economic Zone, and then a taxi or a motorbike taxi for the five kilometers to the beach.

Due to its low profile yet that has shielded the beach from a tourist influx, there are no travel tips available on Google when you research a trip to Bai Dong. 

Keep in mind that some tourism services have sprung up there. Don’t worry about lodging. You could get a hostel room for VND200,000 (less than $9) for a night.

An Bang, Hoi An

An Bang Beach in Hoi An. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Duc

An Bang, situated around three kilometers from the ancient town of Hoi An and 22 kilometers south of Da Nang City, is one of the few beaches in Vietnam that are relatively unspoiled and uncrowded, making it a popular option for basking in the sun and enjoying seaside activities.

With the once popular Cua Dai Beach suffering from severe erosion, An Bang is now Hoi An’s rising beach haven.

The best time to go to An Bang is during the dry season between March and September when the sun shines, temperatures soar and waters are calm.

Once a hidden gem, the beach came into the international limelight when CNN listed it as one of the 100 best beaches on earth in 2011.

An Bang Beach has been voted among the beautiful beaches in Asia for the fourth consecutive year by TripAdvisor readers. 

Cham Islands

Cham Islands boast long beaches lying serenely along the crystal clear waters and coral reefs just two meters under the water that make diving here all the rage. Photo by Shutterstock/annhien

A bunch of eight small islands form the Cu Lao Cham Marine Protected Area, a biosphere reserve recognized by UNESCO.

The islands, a 30-minute boat ride from Cua Dai Beach, were once overrun as a result of their popularity in recent years, prompting authorities to regulate the number of tourists visiting the protected islands treasured for their biosphere.

The place boasts long beaches lying serenely along the crystal clear waters and coral reefs just two meters under the water that make diving here all the rage.

Local islanders are known for their eco-friendly lifestyle. In 2009 they gave up plastic bags and began an impressive campaign to clean up the environment.

Story by Nguyen Quy

By Nguyen Quy