When we decided that our trip to South East Asia would include travelling the Vietnamese coastline, I was understandably over the moon and I instantly started buzzing at the thought, even though we were still a good 6 months away from departure day. Vietnam is a country which I have heard a great deal about for its natural beauty and epic scenery and so this experience was by no exaggeration, a traveller’s dream come true and here’s why.
Given our time restriction in the country, we realised that for our tour of the Vietnamese coastline we only really had time to stop off at three destinations, so we decided on Phan Thiết, Nha Trang and of course, the famous Hạ Long Bay.
First, stop off on my coastline adventure was the beach haven, Phan Thiết, located on the southeast coast of the country, about a 4-5 hour bus ride from Ho Chi Minh City. Without a doubt, Phan Thiết was an incredible place to begin my much-anticipated coast adventure and it delivered on every level.
The natural beauty was truly endless in every secret corner of the city. One of the best parts of the whole trip was experiencing Mui Ne’s white sand dunes that went on for miles and miles, followed by the contrasting red sand dunes nearby – out of nowhere you feel like you are in the middle of the desert.
However, my personal favourite part of Phan Thiết was definitely wandering down one of the hidden fairy streams. I could never get tired of the vivid colours on display, all a consequence of nature just doing its thing! Down this path there were many bright orange sand rocks, standing tall against the bluest of skies, making the whole scene feel a little surreal – a painter would have had a field day. The most amazing part is that whilst gazing at this natural masterpiece you are also able to stroll along a delicate little water stream, which is warmed by the sun to create a truly relaxing experience.
Sometimes when my normal day to day life gets a little hectic and stressful, I like to mentally picture myself back there in Phan Thiết, wandering that little fairy stream with nothing on my mind but the captivating views in front of me and if you saw it, I think you would too.
This Vietnamese city is a highly promoted attraction across the country and the globe and as a result, I did find that Nha Trang was a little crowded and very touristy, but what can you expect when something is great, people flock! As soon as we arrived it became very clear that Nha Trang is considered a great place to take a good, old family vacation and I can see why because a lot of the city caters to that family audience.
Overall Nha Trang is a great size and proudly owns its identity as a touristy, coastal city with a mixture of quirky, unique stalls alongside many bigger brand names on their high street. There’s a very evident love for Italian food here so if that’s up your street too, then you will be happy to know you can find at least one Italian restaurant on most streets in the centre. Of course, you come to Asia for the cuisine but if you’re travelling for a long time like I was, then sometimes it is nice to mix up your dinner with dishes from your home continent.
Nha Trang’s most impressive attraction is definitely the many gorgeous beaches and whilst it did not particularly stand out in comparison to any other beachfront in Asia, you still can’t knock finding a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the coastline in all its glory. The only thing that can make it a little difficult to relax is all the street sellers coming up to you on the beach to sell you various fruit and fishes, especially after you’ve said no many times. On the other hand though, if you want what they are selling and then it’s very convenient, so swings and roundabouts!
Hạ Long Bay
Hạ Long Bay is one of, if not the top attraction in the whole of Vietnam and my god do both the tourists and Vietnamese citizens know it. There is definitely a clear fixation on taking this gold mine of natural beauty for every tourist penny available and to be honest, I get it. There is no way to skip around the reality that when you arrive at the bay you will be stepping into the epitome of all crowded, tourist destinations.
That being said, the bay itself is undeniably beautiful and absolutely worth the visit. Even if you find yourself there during a grey and foggy mornings there are still many gorgeous sights to admire. If anything, a grey backdrop makes the sheer drops and complex rocky edges of the limestone islands feel all the more powerful and dramatic.
Hạ Long Bay is a scenic paradise that you won’t want to skip out on and if the only negative part is that it is super touristy then you can deal. In fact, a great advantage of the tourism is that it means there are an endless amount of tours available at all times of the day, with a variety in price and length of stay on the boats, so you will have no trouble finding the perfect bay trip to suit you and your schedule.
If you’re in any doubt about whether the Vietnamese coastline is worth your time, effort and money then I hope you can take my word when I say, it absolutely is. You will never regret going on this adventure, so if it isn’t already then do yourself a favour and add Vietnam to your bucket list!
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