Hoi An Beach Guide

About Hoi An Beaches

Hoi An Beaches_Tony King
Photographer: Tony King

One of Hoi An’s many joys is its proximity to the coast! It’s reassuring to know that, no matter how toasty the weather might get, one of the Hoi An beaches is only a short distance from wherever you are in Hoi An. The best chance of a breeze can be found at a there, and at dawn and dusk you’ll find the water cooler too.

Hoi’s An’s beaches are not just for chilling down though. Far from it. You’ll not only find a range of activities to enjoy, but eateries and nightlife too. An Bang and Cua Dai are Hoi An’s major beaches, with Hidden Beach nestled between the two. There’s also a handful of other beaches to while away a day, and depending on whether you want action or relaxation, you can be sure to find a beach in Hoi An that’s right for you.

No matter which speck you plump for, the vistas out to sea are truly gorgeous. Cham Island occupies the space to south-east, and on clear days you can see Da Nang’s tall buildings and the Son Tra Peninsula to the north. Look out for the white shape of the Lady Buddha – Vietnam’s tallest Buddhist statue – on Linh Ung Pagoda, east of Da Nang City.

Following in this post is a series of snapshots of all the venues on offer – an overview. For detailed information about the major venues click on the grey menu at the top of the page.

What is the Best Time of Year for Beaches in Hoi An?

For calm, safe waters when it’s more like a lake than the ocean and rain-free days the summer months come up trumps. Indeed, it’s so hot in June/July/August you’ll be grateful for the wide range of beaches and the warm ocean water temperatures, whether you’re a beach person or not. Most visitors don’t just go to the beach at this time, they need to. In these months the water temperature may actually be too warm for some but, with a light onshore breeze  and ample shade at most venues, the respite from the heat is very welcome indeed.

For surfing the best conditions are in winter – Nov to Feb. If you go a few kilometers up the coast towards Da Nang the swell may be a foot or so bigger.

There can be strong rips when the surf’s up, however, so talk to some locals before just plunging in. In fact whatever time of year beware of the rip, even if the ocean looks calm, if you go out a way.

What is the Best Time of Day for Beaches in Hoi An?

As it is for beaches just about anywhere in the world, early morning is the most glorious time for Hoi An Beaches, especially in summer when 40-degree midday temperatures make it pretty tough away from shelter. Early morning, beaches in Hoi An are not only at their pristine best and most beautiful, they are much less crowded too. And, if you’re early enough, the sunrise across the water can be exquisitely beautiful.

Having said that, when it’s piping hot would you rather lunch at a Hoi An Beach in the shade, with spectacular water views and a leavening onshore breeze, or battle the elements inland on a breathless, scorching day?

The cooler hour or two prior to sunset is the time preferred by Hoi An locals and certain areas, like central An Bang, can get very crowded especially on weekends and public holidays. While it’s a great time to visit a Hoi An beach, consider some of the lesser frequented beaches or the fringes at An Bang at these times.

An Bang Beach

An Bang Beach is Hoi An’s number-1 beach for tourists, and was voted one of the top 100 beaches in the world by CNN. As a result, you’ll find more activity there than elsewhere. An Bang has a host of bars, restaurants, water sports and activities on offer from morning till dusk, including yoga, parasailing and live music.

Both the north and south sides are lined with bar/restaurants with some especially geared for English speaking and European expats and tourists. You can choose between Vietnamese and International menus and many venues cater for vegetarians. For live music, Soul Kitchen and Soul Beach lead the way and Shore Club regularly hosts special events. 

There are also plenty of homestays and a growing number of hotels within walking distance of the beach if you’re looking for accommodation.

Cua Dai Beach

Until recently, Cua Dai was Hoi An’s number-1 beach destination, with Cua Dai Road being some 200 meters from the ocean. Several years of erosion from 2013 has seen the sea reclaim much of the land, with the beach now in danger of disappearing completely. After a few years of ongoing rehabilitation attempts from the local authorities, with the building of sandbanks in and out of the water to slow the advance of the tide, Cua Dai is clinging on.

Cua Dai may not have the tourist appeal of An Bang at the moment, but there’s still plenty of eateries, spas and accommodation close by and a beach that’s slowly but (hopefully) surely coming back to life. There’s also plenty of elbow room there most days which can be a bonus.

Just south of ‘Cua Dai Central’ however there are two beautifully, sheltered coves with ample sand. These are Hoi An’s truly ‘hidden beaches’ and one of the best kept secrets in town. If you’re not worried by scant amenities and love a beach all to yourself, head this way. Similarly, if you move north a few hundred meters, Coconut Beach (see below) has some sand, some basic amenities and no crowds.

Hidden Beach and Wild Beach

Hidden Beach_bathers and sunbakers_Hoi An Beaches
Hidden Beach - bathers and sunbakers

A serene, pristine stretch of sand located between An Bang Beach and Cua Dai, Hidden Beach is another part of the coast that’s recovering from erosion. Heavy seas during the winter of 2018/19 washed away much of the sand, but restoration has quickly taken place.

Just as its name suggests, Hidden Beach remains relatively uncrowded and undeveloped compared to other parts of the Hoi An coastline though the word is well and truly out and some days you may struggle to find a secluded spot. There is handful of small eateries serving excellent Vietnamese and Western food, as well as designated areas for loungers and umbrellas.

As you approach the water the more popular Hidden Beach is on the left and Wild Beach is to the right.

Tan Thanh Beach

Tan Thanh Beach is south of An Bang, before you reach Hidden Beach. It’s not as popular as the other beaches in the surrounding area, but equally stunning and idyllic. It’s a great place for visitors to stop by for an afternoon laze in the sun (minus swarms of tourists), or to enjoy some local cuisine by the seafront.

Traditionally, many of the establishments were run by locals serving up Vietnamese food, unlike the restaurants along Cua Dai and An Bang which predominantly cater to tourists. These days big developments like the fabulous Salt Pub, Kahuna’s Hoi An Beach Club, Moyo Beach Club and the tasteful cafe, Sounds of Silence, have been added to the mix and it looks like it won’t be long before the entire strip becomes populated with tourist-friendly venues. Recently new villas and even resorts have been opening every few months. Tan Thanh is sometimes referred to as ‘An Bang 2’ on Google Maps or colloquially as An Bang South.

Coconut Beach

Coconut Beach_Hoi An Beaches_man running
Coconut Beach - man running

Coconut Beach can be found a little north of Cua Dai, between the Tropical Beach Resort and Boutique Hoi An Resort. It’s nice and quiet but can attract a few visitors in the afternoons. Coconut Beach is a great alternative to Hidden Beach (which is not so hidden these days), and it’s a far cry from the crowds and clamor of An Bang.

Cham Islands

The Cham Islands lie off the coast of Hoi An and are in plain sight of all of the beaches mentioned above. Usually visited as part of a day tour, the Cham Islands dish up Hoi An’s best snorkeling spots, and have their own beautiful coastlines.

If staying on the main island you’ll have time to uncover a host of untouched stretches of shoreline. There’re also larger beaches including Ba Chong which have places to eat, as well as sun-loungers, hammocks and beautiful gorgeous sand.

 The Cham Islands have the best coral reefs near An Bang and consequently this is where all the scuba action takes place.

Is it safe to swim in the water?

Yes, but not all year round. There is a serious undertow and once big waves come it’s pretty easy to get sucked out to sea. But this only applies when there is a major swell which tends to happen November to February. This is when you need to be careful. If the waves are up ask the locals first.

Are Hoi An beaches clean?

Yes, they are mostly cleaned every day. But when there are storms some of the river water and litter gets mixed in (plastics and other problems) and you need to be wary of the water quality then. One of the benefits of recent development has been that there are more and more people focused on keeping things clean. Water quality is fine re bacteria etc.

Are there lifeguards?

An Bang has lifeguards. Other venues have locals who keep people aware of issues and resorts have them.

What about beach erosion?

Many venues are planting a ‘green fence’ to preserve the beach fronts.

What sorts of animals can be found in the water?

Not many. Fish but nothing dangerous. Sometimes jellyfish bring the sea lice in and that’s about it. But that’s not the norm.

Can you surf?

Surfing season begins in October and can continue through to April. There’s not a consistent swell but some days are great and from Nov to Feb you can usually catch something. Up near Marble Mountain the swell can be a foot or so bigger.

Are there any nude beaches?

Just north of An Bang people used to do it but now it’s too busy. But frankly it’s not wise to go naked as it’s culturally insensitive and offensive to the local community.

What is the best beach in Hoi An?

It’s horses for courses. Outside Salt Pub at Thanh Thanh for example  you can park easily and often have much of the beach to yourself – it’s much less crowded than Hidden Beach for example. Facilities-wise An Bang is king. It has lifeguards and a wider selection of bars and restaurants but it can become packed, especially in the center. There’s live music at Soul Kitchen and Soul Beach at An Bang and a big range of bars and restaurants from the resort-style Shore Club to cheap Vietnamese street-food style operators. Meanwhile, when Cua Dai is winning the erosion battle it can offer a great setting with excellent seafood and a setting equal to any. It’s fun to explore them all – that way you’ll  tumble into the setting that’s right for your mood or simply be able to oscillate between venues with a lively buzz and gorgeous solitude.

What is the best time of year for the beach in Hoi An?

For surfing in winter – Nov to Feb. But for calm, safe waters when it’s more like a lake than the ocean and rain-free days the summer months come up trumps. Indeed, it’s so hot in June/July/August you’ll be grateful for the wide range of beaches and the warm ocean water temperatures, whether you’re a beach person or not. In these months the water temperature is actually too warm for some of us.

When is the best time for snorkeling and diving?

April to September when the sea is at its calmest and the visibility is at its best. Especially May to August.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *