5 Fantastic Hidden Getaways in Vietnam
Vietnam is, of course, packed with wonderful, exciting destinations for us all to get away from the city on occasion and enjoy. So many have become known throughout the world, The Mekong Delta, Halong Bay and Sapa for example. Many others are not as well known unless you live here, Hoi An, Dalat and Vung Tau spring to mind. But what of the places that remain relatively unknown to even many people living here in Ho Chi Minh City. If you are looking for some hidden getaways in Vietnam, here are a few suggestions for places that could be on your radar for 2016.
Phan Rang is situated on Vietnam’s South Central Coast about 90km south of Nha Trang. It’s a new town that was called Panduranga in ancient times. This was a state capital in the old Champa Kingdom. An airfield was established here by the Japanese, utilised by the French and then became the US Air Force’s Phan Rang Air Base during the American War. The beach is excellent; early in the morning it will be packed as literally thousands of local people come to exercise. By 8am they will all have disappeared and you have the place to yourself, it’s truly magical. There is a new monastery complex close by on a hill affording amazing views. Also close at hand are two 700 year old Cham Temples. This is part of a triangle for tourism that includes Dalat to the north west and Nha Trang to the north, yet somehow remains relatively undiscovered. This is a true Vietnamese fishing village.
Just 30km up the coast from Phan Rang you will find the beautiful unspoiled bay of Vinh Hy. It has remained untouched mainly because of its proximity to the Nui Chua National Park. Fears were raised when Amanoi announced their plans to open the Amanoi Resort Vinh Hy Bay in 2013, but they have done a tremendous job. The design has had minimal adverse affect on the wonderful scenic beauty off the area, whilst bringing in much needed revenue. The scenery here is amazing, crystal clear blues seas with lush greenery rolling down rocky outcrops into the water; whilst all the time the mountains out towards Dalat provide the backdrop.
Long Hai was almost completely unknown until the Long Hai Beach Resort opened. It remains, though, a very peaceful spot especially during the week. It is just around the headland from Vung Tau and if the better known resort is all a bit too “bright lights” for your liking, then Long Hai should be right up your street. The beach gets busier at the weekends when many Vietnamese getting away from Ho Chi Minh City come to town. As the road from from HCMC to Ho Tram and beyond continues to be improved these places will become busier, but for now you can enjoy the white sand and unique weather, almost unhindered. The weather is unique, by the way, because this area has its own micro climate, making it dryer than the rest of the South.
Mai Chau is the name of both a district and its main city in northern Vietnam. Whilst the stunning scenery of Mai Chau is starting to draw tourists, its locality ensures that it never gets overrun and spoiled. This scenic mountainous region is about 135km to the southwest of Hanoi. It is a quiet rural community where the local Black Thai and White Thai live in traditional stilt houses. The houses are dotted throughout the landscape, generally surrounded by trees. The Mountains provide the perfect backdrop and the mixture of cultivated and uncultivated land completes a very delightful scenic picture. Of course it also has the advantage of cooler air, for those who are fed up with the intense heat of Ho Chi Minh City. Mai Chau certainly firgures as one of the best hidden getaways in Vietnam.
Phuoc Hai is also close to Vung Tau but much less well known. Just 90km away from Ho Chi Minh City, It has often been overlooked. The highlights here are beautiful beaches, great hills for walking, terrific seafood and one of the country’s more unique attractions. The Whale Cemetery is situated here. Fisherman have always held the whale as an almost mythical being and a bringer of good luck. When one dies here, either stranded on the beach or caught accidentally in a net. They bring the creature through the streets of Bung Tau and in Phuoc Hai. The animal is buried after a ceremony and months later the bones are exhumed and moved to a permanent resting place. This is a quiet little town yet has plenty to see and do.
Do you know any terrific hidden getaways in Vietnam? If so let us know. This is such a wonderful country and there is so much to explore.