Beaches and islands near Ho Chi Minh City for your next local vacation
Summer is here at last, and it’s time to plan an exhilarating escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. If a trip to the mountains of Dalat or the beaches of Da Nang is too much for your budget and your time right now, you can still spend your 2020 summer vacation properly in beaches and islands near Ho Chi Minh City.
Even many Saigon residents might not know that the city is also close to an abundance of golden beaches, islands, and blue sea. Whether you’re a swimmer, surfer, or just a sunbather, check out these beaches and islands near Saigon for a fun summertime trip that won’t break the bank.
Beaches near Ho Chi Minh City
1. Hồ Tràm beach – a great place for water sports
Image credit: @i.meteor
Boasting vast pristine sands, crystal clear waters, and utmost serenity, Hồ Tràm beach is a great spot to relax and play some sports.
Celebrate summer by riding the waves by surfing or kayaking by the beach. You can rent surfing equipment from a shop in the Grand Hồ Tràm Strip for VND126,000-VND252,000 (~USD5.40-USD10.80) per hour, or rent a kayak for VND252,000 (~USD10.80) per hour.
For a more affordable yet no less fun and healthy sport, try kite flying in the seaside breeze for a good dose of vitamin D – great for kids and non-swimmers too.
Image credit: @thebluffshotram
For travel companions who’d rather play golf, they can tee their hearts out at the Bluffs Hồ Tràm golf course, designed by Greg Norman and recognized as one of the world’s greatest golf courses.
View over the beach from The Bluffs Ho Tram
Image credit: @thebluffshotram
After all that exercise, you can either dine at the fancy restaurants inside the Grand Ho Tram Strip, or visit Lưới market to buy fresh clams, lobsters, and snails, and have your dishes cooked on the spot. Each portion is priced from around VND40,000 to VND100,000 (~USD1.71-USD4.29).
How to get there
Ride in the direction of National Route 51 towards Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu province, then turn towards National Route 55. Keep riding in the direction of Xuyên Mộc Ward until you see a sign that reads Hồ Tràm – Hồ Cốc.
Starting from 2nd September this year, Saigon residents can travel to Vũng Tàu where this beach is located by ferry for a more relaxing and safer travelling experience. This ferry takes Saigon residents to many beaches and islands near Ho Chi Minh City, including this one. Commuting time between these 2 cities is estimated to be 30 minutes only.
2. Hồ Cốc beach – perfect for a family trip
Image credit: @vynnnee
Surrounded by casuarina trees, blue waters, and powdery sands, Hồ Cốc is an isolated and tranquil beach that comes with a lot of resorts and hotels. The beach is also known for its peaceful and shallow waters, safe for children to swim or play in.
Image credit: @huy.huy
It’s also a stone’s throw away from Bình Châu hot springs, where you can check in at VND100,000 (~USD4.29) per person to get your feet soaked up and soothe your aching muscles in water temperatures from 37°C to 82°C.
Image credit: Hoàng Bảo Châu
Travellers planning to try out sit-down restaurant dining in Hồ Cốc should find a resort or hotel with one attached, as restaurants can only be found attached to accommodation and are guest-only. The area does not have stand-alone F&B venues open to the public.
Or if you’re not into fancy dining, you can buy seafood in Phước Hải wet market and have your dishes cooked fresh and hot.
Image credit: @doanlan0208
How to get there:
Ride along Mai Chi Tho Street in the direction of Long Thành – Dầu Giây highway before turning left to CT01.
When reaching Long Thành intersection, follow the sign that says Long Thành – Biên Hòa – Vũng Tàu on your right. Turn to National Route 51, and ride another 19KM until you reach Mỹ Tân People’s Committee.
From this spot, ride on National Road 55 in the direction of DT44B, turn to Nguyễn Hữu Cảnh Road and turn right into Võ Thị Sáu Road. Ride for another 550M, turn left into Võ Văn Kiệt. Ride alongside the coast via Sông Ray bridge until you reach Lộc An – Bình Châu beach. Ride for another 150M and you’ll reach Hồ Cốc.
Go to Eastern bus station (bến xe miền Đông), and buy a bus ticket (VND65,000,~USD2.79) to Xuyên Mộc Ward, which takes about 3 hours. From Xuyên Mộc, take another bus to go to Bình Châu. When alighting at Bình Châu, get a cab or a GrabBike to Hồ Cốc.
3. Phước Hải beach – home to Vũng Tàu’s oldest fishing village
Phước Hải beach’s pristine waters, beautiful rock formations, and white sand have been attracting local tourists for a long time.
Image credit: @deven.hwang
This beach is a top spot to spend a laid-back evening on the sand by throwing a BBQ party, practicing yoga, or simply watching fishing boats wandering around the oceans. Most of the inhabitants here make a living by fishing, which can be traced to Phước Hải’s history as the oldest fishing village in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu province.
Phước Hải fishing village
Image credit: @hong.maikatours
You can buy seafood from fishermen nearby and find a nearby market stall where they can cook the food for you to eat on the spot.
Image credit: @nguyen_nguyen1224
How to get there:
From Saigon, ride your motorbike towards National Route 51C towards Vũng Tàu Province. Once you’ve reached Bà Rịa 5-way intersection, turn to Trường Chinh Road. Keep riding towards Road 44 until you reach Phước Hải market.
Ride for another 15 minutes until you reach the beach.
From 2nd September this year, you can travel to Vũng Tàu where this beach is located by ferry in just 30 minutes.
4. Tân Thành beach – Vietnam’s longest black sand beach
Image credit: @yshiyiyueerri
Vietnam has no shortage of beautiful white sand beaches, but for a one-of-a-kind experience, visit the black sand beach of Tân Thành. Stroll on the velvety black sands or watch the sunset and scenic surroundings on the pier that extends to the sea.
Image credit: @hongthangnguyen1206
Besides its black sand dunes stretching across 7KM and blue waters, Tân Thành is also popular among ravenous foodies flocking here for a proper seafood fix.
Image credit: @yuht.nguyen
It’s easy to suss out the best or cheapest eats here with the abundance of stalls to browse. You can find many seafood eateries that can dish out scrumptious clams and crabs, or you can visit local wet markets lining up the beach to buy fresh seafood yourself.
If you’re a truly DIY type of eater, you can even dig up clams from the sand by yourself, which is also a favorite activity for many travellers here.
How to get there
From Saigon, ride in the direction of National Route 50. After riding 50KM past Cần Giuộc and Cần Đuộc Ward, you’ll reach Gò Công Ward. Ride for another 15KM in the direction of 862 Road until you reach Tân Thành beach.
Islands near Ho Chi Minh City
5. Cần Giờ island – UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve
Image credit: @hohue_1101
Located only 40KM away from Saigon, Cần Giờ islands is a green-lung zone with stunning natural sights. Playing host to vast mangrove forests and their rare animal species, the island has been listed by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve.
A mangrove walk in Cần Giờ
Image credit: @gemysix
You can spend the whole day in the Vàm Sát eco-tourism zone in Cần Giờ, where you can split your time among fishing, watching birds, planting trees, and canoe-riding. Admission is VND35,000 (~USD1.50) per adult and does not cover activities.
Image credit: @sungjin0413
You can try a variety of seafood in many eateries lining the 30/4 Road that goes through the area. If you enjoy the taste of cooking fresh seafood and eating them on the spot, visit Hàng Dương wet market to buy seafood.
How to get there
You can ride your motorbike in the direction of Huỳnh Tấn Phát Street until you reach Bình Khánh ferry in Nhà Bè Ward. Buy a ferry ticket at VND5,000 (~USD0.21) per bike and hop on the ferry, which takes you and your bike to Cần Giờ Ward after about 30 minutes.
After alighting, ride straight until you reach Cần Giờ beach.
If you are travelling to Cần Giờ from Saigon by bus, take bus 20 at Hàm Nghi bus station heading towards Bình Khánh ferry. After alighting, take bus 90 to go to the beach.
6. Thạnh An island – off-the-beaten-track and tranquil
Thạnh An island is part of Cần Giờ territory, and located 50KM east of Saigon. The island is home to a plethora of mangrove forests, rocky trails, and a charming jetty.
Image credit: @tai.ng97
With only 5,000 inhabitants who make a living by fishing and making salt, Thạnh An is a tranquil and scenic hideout for urbanites needing a break from the city. Still left untouched by urban development, the island does not have a lot of amenities such as restaurants or hotels.
Image credit: @dat_ppham
The island is ideal for adventurous motorists who are looking for a no-fuss and pristine travelling experience.
For lunch or dinner, you can buy fresh seafood at any local stall near the beach or at Cần Thạnh wet market on your way before heading to the island.
Seafood being dried in the sun
Image credit: @sak.tran
How to get there
Ride in the direction of Huỳnh Tấn Phát Street towards Bình Khánh ferry in Nhà Bè Ward. Buy a ferry ticket at VND5,000(~USD0.21) per bike and get onboard.
After about one hour, you’ll alight at Cần Giờ ferry station. Ride for another 40KM on Rừng Sắc route. Do not make any turns until you finish the route. Turn left into Duyên Hải route, and ride until you see Thạnh An boat station. You can park your bike here, hop on the boat, and ride for another 45 minutes to reach Thạnh An island.
If you go by bus, take bus 20 at Hàm Nghi bus station in Saigon heading towards Bình Khánh ferry. After alighting, take bus 90 to go to Cầu Đen boat station where you can take a boat to Thạnh An island.
7. Thiềng Liềng island – ideal for photographers
Image credit: @phuogbinh_
Thiềng Liềng island is a lesser-known photographer’s dreamland for many reasons. For one thing, it’s off-the-beaten-track, simple, and clean – with few crowds or vehicles to mess up your shots, as bicycles are the main means of transportation here.
Image credit: @headphon1e
The island is packed with canals, rivers, salt fields, and pristine forests that make unconventional photoshoot backdrops. Plus, there is no limit as to where you can take photos, which makes the island a favorite destination among photographers and wedding couples.
Image credit: DOM
Thiềng Liềng island is also one of the rare areas in Vietnam that still maintains traditional salt production techniques, such as using open pans and wooden reels.
How to get there:
Ride in the direction of Huỳnh Tấn Phát Street towards Bình Khánh ferry in Nhà Bè Ward. Buy a ferry ticket at VND5,000 (~USD0.21) per bike and get onboard the ferry.
After about one hour, you’ll alight at Cần Giờ ferry station. Ride for another 40KM on the Rừng Sắc route. Do not make any turns until you finish the route. Then turn left into Duyên Hải route, ride until you see Thạnh An boat station. Park your bike here, hop on the boat, and ride for another 45 minutes to reach Thạnh An island.
Once you reach Thạnh An ward, take a 2-hour boat ride to Thiềng Liềng island.
If you go by bus, take bus 20 at Hàm Nghi bus station heading towards Bình Khánh ferry. After alighting, take bus 90 to Cầu Đen boat station where you can take a boat to Thạnh An island.
After that, take a 2-hour boat ride to Thiềng Liềng island.
8. Long Sơn island – a kingdom of oysters
Featuring pristine waters, vast salt fields, and stunning nature reserves, Long Sơn makes for a perfect coastal vacation only a 100KM drive away from Saigon.
Image credit: @thetunishere
Known as a kingdom of oysters, the island is also famous for its large-scale aquaculture cultivation. Visitors can spot a lot of large cages for oyster farming in the waters. It’s no surprise that this island is popular with oyster lovers, because eateries here serve these oysters cooked in various ways.
From oyster congee to oysters fried with mustard, you’ll be treated to an endless feast of fresh and tasty oysters while enjoying the cool sea breeze drifting by your face.
Image credit: @uyenphuong_uyenphuong
An oyster here is priced around VND20,000-VND27,000 (~USD0.86-USD1.16) each, while a bowl of oyster congee is priced around VND90,000 (~USD3.86).
How to get there
From Saigon, you can travel to Bà Rịa city by taking your motorbike onto the Cát Lái ferry in District 2, which takes about 1 hour. After alighting, keep riding in the direction of National Route 51 until you reach the toll gate.
Ride past it for another 10 minutes until you reach a crossroad. Turn right and keep riding until you reach Long Sơn island.
Beaches and islands near Ho Chi Minh City worth visiting
There’s nothing quite like spending your summer vacation near Saigon surrounded by the sea and its scenic surroundings to recharge and bond with your family and friends.
If you’re looking for a relaxing, no-fuss, and affordable summertime getaway this year, look no further than these beaches and islands near Ho Chi Minh City with gorgeous natural creations within a few hours’ drive away from Saigon.
Also check out:
- Tour promotions after COVID-19
- Travel from Saigon to Vung Tau in 30 minutes
- Things to do in Saigon in May and June 2020
- Free admission to Da Nang attractions
- Hoi An ancient town reopens to visitors
Cover image adapted from: @deven.hwang