see + do
Concierge.com's insider take:
Vietnam's coastline exceeds 2,000 miles, but its finest beaches are almost all found in the 400-mile stretch from Hue to Nha Trang. Alongside a lagoon ten miles northeast of Hue, undeveloped Thuan An Beach attracts Vietnamese from May through August, when the water's generally calm enough for swimming. Forty miles south of Hue, white-sand Lang Co Beach unfolds for six miles between a lagoon and the South China Sea. Its undeniable beauty and stunning views of Bach Ma Mountain National Park have finally seduced developers: Banyan Tree has announced plans for a massive, $270 million luxury resort that will include four hotels, an 18-hole golf course, and residential villas. Da Nang's famed China Beach, once an R and R spot for American soldiers, now attracts a swelling civilian following. The busy northernmost section is characterized by gated developments. More welcoming is Non Nuoc, a section near the Marble Mountains six miles south of Da Nang, where the coastal dunes still hold stands of casuarina trees and family tombs. Fifty yards wide and gently graded, the quiet beach is excellent for swimming. Six miles farther south, fishermen launch circular thung chai, or "basket boats,'' from Cua Dai Beach with the Cham Islands as a beautiful backdrop. But deeper water and rip currents present problems for swimmers. Hoi Anbased Cham Island Diving makes half-day excursions to the archipelago's marine park from February through September, when seas are calm and water visibility approaches 100 feet. Long and tan My Khe Beach is a good place to reflect after a visit to My Lai, just one mile to the west. Beach-hoppers will have a field day farther south, especially at Dai Lanh and six-mile-long Doc Let, where white-sand dunes are tufted with pine trees. Three-mile-long Nha Trang Beach is Vietnam's best urban sandbox, with clean parks and promenades, waterfront bars, and boutique hotels. Water-sports outfitter Mana Mana Beach Club operates from La Louisiane Brewhouse and rents wake- and windsurfing boards, water skis, and sea kayaks. Vietnam's most experienced dive shop, Rainbow Divers, runs half-day trips to an offshore archipelago, where a marine park holds healthy corals and 350 species of fish.
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