The battle of the beaches in Hoi An
WHAT have you heard about Hoi An?
That it’s a beautifully-persevered Unesco World Heritage site boasting century-old buildings, lantern-lined streets and some of the best street food in the whole of Vietnam?
While this is all true, that’s not all Hoi An has to offer.
Because of its coastal location, Hoi Ai is also home to some of Vietnam’s best beaches, with a mix of water activities, beach bars and secluded relaxation on offer.
While they might not equal the beaches found in Bora Bora or in the Pacific Islands, they’re still impressive and offer something special for every type of traveler.
Also, because Hoi An isn’t very large, it doesn’t really matter where you stay, whether it’s at the beachfront, in the ancient city or in the middle of both, because a beach won’t be more than four kilometers from your accommodation.
Plus, with the easy-to-navigate roads, a cycle to the beach provides a great opportunity to see all Hoi An has to offer and perhaps even a pitstop to pick up some banh mi for a beach picnic.
Here’s your guide to Hoi An’s best beaches.
An Bang – Perfect for everyone
The crowning glory of Hoi An’s beaches is An Bang.
Located four kilometres from the ancient city, An Bang beach provides a wonderful contrast from busy restaurants and throngs of tailors shops in town.
At An Bang beach, you can park your bicycle or scooter in a secure spot for the price of a soda or banh mi.
If you access An Bang beach’s Hai Ba Trung road, there are plenty of signs reading “free parking”. Often there will be a small kiosk next to the space where you can buy something in exchange for securely storing your bike for the day.
Once you’re parked, head down the road until you reach the steep stairs sandwiched by Kim Cúc restaurant and Chien restaurant.
Turning left onto the beach takes you towards the bounty of water sports on offer, including parasailing and jet skiing.
A right turn from the stairs will take you towards beach loungers and relaxation.
But no matter which way you go, the loungers cost the equivalent of one soda for the whole day. Simply pitch up and wait for a server to take your order.
Both sides of the beach are also fringed with seafood restaurants and bars.
We suggest heading to Soul Kitchen for a cocktail or spot of lunch.
Accessible both from Hai Ba Trung road and An Bang beach, Soul Kitchen serves fresh seafood dishes as well as Western classics and traditional Vietnamese food, alongside a varied menu of drinks.
An Bang beach is a family-friendly beach option for sun-worshippers, shade-lovers, and adrenaline junkies alike.
It’s also an awesome place to sit and watch an off-shore storm during the rainy season (April to October).
Cua Dai – Perfect for foodies
Once the shining star in Hoi An’s brochure of beaches, Cau Dai has fallen victim to severe eroding and has dramatically changed in appearance.
The erosion was detected in 2004 and local authorities are doing what they can to save the beach but it’s taking time and there’s no guarantee it will return to the deep, white sand, palm tree-fringed beach it used to be.
However, all is not lost as Cua Dai beach boasts some of the best seafood restaurants in Hoi An, all offering delightful sea views and dishes to tease the taste buds.
We suggest checking out Hon’s Restaurant. The garden party-style dining area exudes tranquillity and the variety of fresh seafood come with a very attractive price tag.
If you do want to lay on the beach in the sun, why not head to An Bang in the morning and stroll up to Cua Dai for lunch? It’s only a 30-minute walk away.
Cham Islands – Perfect for snorkelers
Admittedly, you’re not going to reach Cham Islands’ beaches on a bike because they’re eight nautical miles of sea between Hoi An and the islands.
But you can catch a boat from Cua Dai quay which will take you to one of the eight islands that form Cham Islands.
We suggest heading to the main island of Hon Lao which has stunning white sand beaches, seafood restaurants, and plenty of water activities including snorkeling and diving.
There are also hotels on the island which means you can enjoy Hon Loa’s offerings when the other visitors zip back the mainland around mid-afternoon.
Be warned though, authorities discourage visitors from venturing off too far on their own, given the steep terrain on the island. This terrain is also the reason foreigners aren’t allowed to drive on the island.
The easiest way to book a trip here is online or via a local agency. Ask your accommodation for recommendations.