Clearly the most enchanting city in Vietnam, the historic city of Hoi An is one of the country’s leading tourist destinations, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located just south of Da Nang in the province of Quàng Nam. The beaches are only a few kilometers from the tiny town center. Swimming in Hoi An makes sense because this is a city by the sea and it is home to three amazing beaches.
A tour of Hoi An is easily the highlight of any trip to Vietnam. It is a historic, charming and mystical town that somehow remained practically untouched by the passing of time. The experience is surreal, as though tourists were warped back to the 17th Century when Hoi An was bustling in sea trade. It used to be the most important port in Southeast Asia as Vietnamese sailors aggressively sailed to Indonesia, Thailand, China and Japan and engaged in a successful silk and spices trade. Eventually, the popularity died down as other ports developed, especially nearby Da Nang. As Hoi An’s economy stagnated, nothing much happened to the city as though it got suspended in time.
Today, it is a popular tourist town for its amazing landforms (specifically the Marble Mountains), city artifacts (specifically the Japanese Bridge) and archeological treasures (specifically the My Son Hindu Sanctuary). There is a number of hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, and picturesque old houses to keep the tourist interested. The town center is very pedestrian-friendly. There is no traffic and the roads are closed to any form of transport during festivals and town events.
After immersing in the many historic landmarks that Hoi An is known for, it is time to go for a swim. The nearest beach is the tranquil An Bang Beach, only 2.5 kilometers away. Getting there is a leisurely walk or a short bicycle ride though Hai Ba Trung St.
An Bang Beach is known for its pristine sandy shore, although the waves are strong and not exactly pleasant for swimming. Yet, just wading along the shoreline and relaxing on the beach to enjoy the South China Sea breeze is very inviting. An Bang Beach is also popular for its row of restaurants. There are at least 12 restaurants serving delicious and aromatic Vietnamese sea foods that are cooked fresh. The three most popular restaurants are La Plage, Phatties and Soul Kitchen.
Further to the northeast side of Hoi An is Cua Dai Beach, about 5 km from the town. Many consider this as the best place to go swimming, sunbathing, diving, parasailing and other sea sports. It is popular for its 3-km-long white sand beach that seamless disappears into the blue waters. Cua Dai clearly competes with the best beaches in the world. It is much crowded and less peaceful than An Bang.
And then there’s the popular China Beach from the old TV hit show about the Vietnam-American War. American soldiers used to have their R&R here. Today, everybody is welcome to enjoy this beach that stretches from Hoi An all the way to the Son Tra Peninsula.
Swimming in Hoi An and enjoying other water activities along these three major beach destinations is just one of the many reasons to visit this historic, mystical town when in Vietnam.