Ready to Travel to Vietnam? Here Are The Top Waterfalls, Islands and Beaches You Should Add To Your List

young woman sailing across a lake in Vietnam

Vietnam reopened for international tourism and travel in March 2022!

In this guide, we’ll fill you in on a couple of things you need to know before your trip to Vietnam.

We’ll also share some of the best things to do while there, including the top five beaches, islands and waterfalls in Vietnam.

Does Vietnam have COVID restrictions?

You no longer need to isolate yourself once you arrive in Vietnam. However, you should monitor your health and if you experience any symptoms of COVID-19 within 10 days, you should contact the nearest medical centre.

You’re also no longer required to provide any COVID-19 documents upon your entry to Vietnam or provide COVID-19 information from the Covid tracking app on your phone.

Note: COVID-19 restrictions can change at short notice, so you should check Vietnam’s restrictions before you travel as well as the restrictions in the country you’re traveling from.

Vietnam’s reopening was exciting news for thousands of tourists around the world. After all, there is simply so much to do here.

Top Five Islands in Vietnam

Phu Quoc, Kien Giang

Phu Quoc – the biggest island in Vietnam!

Want to go to an island and relax? Well, then this is the island for you!

If you’re planning to visit this island you should book in advance since it’s a popular destination amongst tourists.

A way to visit more of the island in a shorter time is to rent a motorbike. The road is said to be safe here so not to worry!

What can I do on Phu Quoc Island?

There are plenty of relaxing activities to do on Phuc Quoc Island.

For starters, you can visit the palm tree-lined sandy beaches you’ve always dreamed of!

Some popular beaches include Sao Beach and Starfish Beach, and yes you will find starfish at Starfish Beach!

  • You can also go snorkelling and kayaking.
  • And don’t forget about the local cuisine – you’ll find some hearty flavours around here!
  • Going on a group tour is another option in which you can go snorkelling

Phu Quoc Island

How can I get there?

You can get to the island by either plane or ferry.

You can get a plane from either Ho Chi Minh city or Rach Gia.

Or you can catch a ferry from Rach Gia or Ha Tien.

When to visit?

The great thing about visiting Phu Quoc Island is that you can visit it any time of the year! The highest temperature is usually 30.5°C and the lowest at 25.6°C, so don’t worry about it being too cold for your holiday!

For more incredible destinations you can visit read: 5 Incredible Vietnam Destinations You Should Visit.

Cat Ba Island

Another beauty to visit is Cat Ba Island. This is the largest island in Halong Bay.

A big part of this island is a national park that focuses on conserving the biodiversity here. The national park is certainly worth seeing if you have an eye for natural beauty.

What can I do on Cat Ba Island?

Sightseeing of course! There are many different ecosystems you’ll see here, such as tropical rainforests, coral reefs, caves, tropical rainforests, mangroves, tidal ecosystems, and soft bottom ecosystems.

What caves can I go to?

  • Thien Long Cave
  • Hospital Cave
  • Hoa Cung Cave

What beaches can I go to?

  • Cat Co Beach (which is made up of three beaches)
  • Cat Dua Beach
  • Tung Thu Beach

Similarly to Phu Quoc Island, you can rent a motorbike. That way you will cover more of the island than you would on foot.

You can also partake in some fun activities such as snorkelling, rock climbing and kayaking.

How can I get there?

You can go to this island by speedboat from Hai Phong City.

When to visit?

The warmest month is July with the average maximum temperature being 32°C. January is the coldest with a maximum average temperature of 19°C.

The best time to visit this island is from April through to December. However, you should know that July and August can get quite rainy.

Con Dao Islands – Con Son

Con Dao Island is a must-see – even if it is often packed with tourists!.

What can I do on Cat Son Island?

Con Son Island has quite some history. There is a prison you can visit in which criminals and political rebels were kept from the 1860s until the 1970s.

But of course, that’s not the only attraction. You’ll also have beautiful beaches you can spend your time relaxing by. Some of the best beaches include Bãi Đầm Trầu and Bãi Nhát.

You may also want to:

  • Scuba dive with some splendid colourful coral reefs in sight
  • You can also hike on this island with either a tour guide or by yourself

To see the hikes available to you, you can buy a map at the National Park Headquarters.

Tip: always be prepared for these hikes, with plenty of water and food at hand.

Can you guess another thing you can do here? That’s right, you can rent a motorbike! This will give you the opportunity to visit many places around the island and the great thing is that you can rent a motorbike even if you’re a beginner driver.

For a complete restorative holiday, you can go on a retreat to The Six Senses Con Dao. Here you will be able to immerse yourself in the spa and yoga sessions as well as indulge in nourishing meals.

How can I get there?

You can take a speedboat in roughly three hours.

Boats go to Con Son island from Vung Tau. You’ll find speedboats from:

  • Cat Lo pier in Vung Tau
  • Tran De pier in Soc Trang

You also have the option of taking a plane which takes an average of two hours. You can depart from a couple of places to Con Son Island, including:

  • Can Tho
  • Hai Phong
  • Hanoi
  • Ho Chi Minh
  • Vinh

Note: Although transporting to the island by plane is quicker, it does cost more.

When to visit?

The driest months on Con Son island are from November to February but the sea is the calmest from March to June.

However, when it comes to scuba diving from November all the way through July is a good time to go!

Long Beach, Phu Quoc Island

Ly Son Island

One of Vietnam’s landmarks is Ly Son island. This volcanic island is with three extinct volcanic craters.

This island is known as the ‘Kingdom of Garlic’ since garlic grows on the volcanic soil which is known as basalt soil.

It’s quite different from your other tropical islands because it doesn’t have sandy beaches full of palm trees, but what it does have is colourful coral reefs, black cliffs, beaches with clear blue water and to top it up Ly Son island has the best water quality in Vietnam!

What can I do on Ly Son island?

There are plenty of things to do in Ly Son island:

  • You can visit caves! For example, Cau Cave and Cave Pagoda
  • You could also visit To Vo gate which is an arch made from volcanic lava
  • Hiking the volcanic craters is also a must! The two mountains for this are Gieng Tien mountain and Thoi Loi mountain
  • Embrace the island’s gorgeous clear blue water by going for a swim or snorkelling in the coral reefs

Ly Son island’s unique culture also has a yearly ceremony honouring soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the protection of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Island that’s usually on in July.

And of course, you can get a motorbike and go through the coastal roads for some memorable sights!

How can I get there?

The way to get to Ly Son island is to take a speedboat from Sa Ky port which takes approximately 30 minutes.

Prices for the boat ride can be from $6.50 to $7.50, it all depends on the boat you’re taking.

When to visit?

Technically you can visit year-round since the weather is always warm.

However, you should visit at different times of the year depending on the purpose of your visit. June to September is a great time to visit for sunny weather, whereas, the garlic growing season is from September to the beginning of December.

Note: wet season falls between September and February and the dry season is between March and August.

Cham Islands

Cham islands are another one of Vietnam’s island holidays destination you must go on!

Although Cham island has eight islands, there is only one that’s inhabited – Hon Lao. The others are mountains full of rock.

The Cham Islands are recognized as one of the world’s biosphere reserves by UNESCO, therefore, you need to pay an entrance fee onto the islands which go to:

  • The protection of nature here
  • To spreading environmental awareness
  • Ensuring that there’s no overfishing where you can snorkel and dive
  • And more – so the money goes towards preserving the future of this island

The entry fee is 70,000 VND per person and then the ecological fee is 20,00 VND per person.

What can I do on Cham islands?

You have plenty of things to do when you visit these islands!

Some wonderful places to visit are:

  • Suoi Tinh (Love stream)
  • Suoi Ong (Sir’s stream)
  • Hon Chong (Piled up rocks)
  • Hang Ba (the lady’s cave)

You can then go snorkelling and/or scuba diving where you’ll see the gorgeous coral reefs.

If you love that adrenaline rush you must try parachute flying!

A couple more of the island’s gems are:

  • Hai Tang Temple
  • The ancient well of the Cham people
  • The temple of the Nest Craftsman

Did you ever think of walking on the ocean floor? Well, you can do that here with Seatrek! It’s really what it sounds like, you’ll be walking on the ocean floor surrounded by underwater nature. This is truly a unique experience!

And of course, the most common way to travel around the island itself is by motorbike – costs anywhere from $6.50 to $8.60 to rent for 24 hours.

How can I get there?

To get to Cham islands you can take a speedboat from Cua Dai Port that’s in Hoi An.

When to visit?

For warm weather and a calm sea, Cham island is the best from March to August.

It’s not advisable to travel there during the other months due to the rough sea and storms. The last thing you’d want is to get stuck on the island due to bad weather as boats won’t be available when the sea is harsh!

Note: To drive legally in Vietnam whether that be on a motorbike or car, you need an international driving licence, otherwise, you can risk paying a fine.

For more on Vietnam Visas read: Vietnam Visas – Which One To Choose & How To Get One?

Top Five Beaches in Vietnam

Mui Ne Beach

Love adventures? Then Mui Ne Beach in Phan Thiet city is the right place for you! The reason is that this beach is great for activities.

Mui Ne beach is 200km away from Ho Chi Minh city. It’s approximately a four-hour and a half drive.

The beach has a nearby desert called ‘White Sand Dunes’ or ‘Red Sand Dunes.’ This is certainly worth seeing as the colours change due to changes in sunlight, so it’s quite a magical place to be in!

Although mornings can be busy at Mui Ne, evenings are great for peaceful walks, jogs or runs and of course for watching the sunset.

There are also excellent nearby resorts if you’re going to this beach, for example, Mia Resort Mui Ne.

What can I do at Mui Ne beach?

There’s a long list of things you can do here:

  • Sunbathe, of course!
  • Swim
  • Kitesurf – the best time to do this is from the end of October until April because of the wind
  • Windsurf
  • Surfing
  • One of the best places in the world to sail
  • Wakeboard
  • Paddle and sandboard
  • Kayak
  • Quad bike

How can I get there?

To get there you can take the train from Muong Man station – this is the closest station to Phan Thiet.

You can also get a bus or a car that goes directly to Mui Ne if you’re travelling from any regions that are within 200km of Phan Thiet.

When to visit?

For good weather and clear water, you should travel to Phan Thiet where Mui Ne beach is between January and June.

The best time for activities on the beach is from November to March because it’s sunny but the winds are strong, which means it’s the best temperature and you’ll also catch the best waves during this time.

The water can be quite unpleasant in July and August because of heavy rain, so it’s not recommended to travel then.

Doc Let Beach

Doc Let Beach, Vietnam

Doc Let beach is located in Hon Khoi Peninsula and is possibly one of the most gorgeous beaches in Vietnam!

Surprisingly this beach isn’t as packed as other nearby popular beaches, so this beach is ideal for relaxing under its palm trees.

The turquoise water and the white sand make for quite a picturesque photograph, so don’t forget your camera when you’re coming to this beach!

What can I do at Doc Let beach?

There are plenty of fun things to do at this beach. You can go

  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Play soccer and volleyball at the beach
  • Parasailing is what this beach is known for so don’t forget to include this activity on your list!
  • Rent a water scooter – don’t worry the staff will show you how to use it!

If you like bird watching and also love the adrenaline rush then parachuting is an option for you!

Then to add the cherry on top you can go sand sliding, which goes from the top of the dunes to the bottom. But make sure that you do this one in the morning before it gets too hot!

How can I get here?

There are a couple of options in which you can get to Doc Let beach. There’s a bus from Hanoi to Nha Trang and then you can get a motorbike to Doc Let beach.

However, a quicker way would be getting a flight from Noi Bai airport to Cam Ranh airport and getting a taxi from there to Doc Let beach.

You can also get a flight from Ho Chi Minh from Tan Son Nhat airport to Cam Ranh airport.

When to visit?

The best time to visit is from February to September because the weather is most suitable then and it’s best for swimming.

Danang Beach

One of the major beaches in Da Nang is Danang beach, also known as Da Nang beach or My Khe.

Danang beach is known for its clear water, a blue sky and white sand neighboured by coconut palm trees – the perfect recipe for a beach.

This beach is located 5km away from Da Nang city.

What can I do at Danang beach?

Some great things to do at this beach are:

  • Surfing
  • Scuba diving
  • Swimming
  • Sunbathing
  • Parasailing

Here’s the great thing about swimming at this beach in Vietnam, the water stays warm year-round, so you can swim during any season!

How can I get there?

You can get a bus, train, flight and then a motorbike or a taxi to this beach.

It’s easy enough to get to. There are international flights to Da Nang, so check if you have a flight straight to Da Nang city, and then from there you can either get a taxi for 5km or rent a motorbike.

You can also get a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang.

Another option is to take a train from Honai or Ho Chi Minh City, which would give you a lovely view along the way.

Or you can take the bus from Hoi An station to Da Nang.

When to visit?

Although you could visit this beach throughout the year, the best time for a swim is between May to July.

Then surfing is best enjoyed between the middle of September to December.

You’ll find the lowest rainfall in Da Nang usually between April and August.

Ho Coc Beach

Ho Coc beach is located in Ba Ria, Vung Tau.

This clear water, golden sand beach is 78 miles away from Ho Chi Minh City, taking a three-hour drive.

Although Ho Coc beach can get busy on the weekends, it’s quiet on the weekdays which makes for a perfect beach to relax during the week!

What can I do at Ho Coc beach?

This beach is lovely to swim and sunbathe, but note that sometimes the water here can get rough. When this happens you can go to the Binh Chau Hot Springs which is nearby. There are over 70 pools you can explore here and don’t forget to indulge in a mud bath here!

A walk is always a great way to explore the surrounding area!

Also, you can go on a tour to learn about the dragonfruit farms and Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve.

How can I get there?

You can get a boat from Ho Chi Minh City to Vung Tau which takes approximately an hour and a half.

Travelling by car or tax would be another option, although more expensive than getting a boat over.

There is no flight or train from Ho Chi Minh City to Vung Tau.

When to visit?

You can visit here all year, however, November to May are the best months to visit since this is the drier season. Whereas, June to October is the rainy season.

Long Beach

Long Beach is located on Phu Quoc island, and yes it’s called long beach because it’s the longest beach in Kien Giang province!

This yellow sand beach with coconut palm trees is the nicest in Phu Quoc!

Since this is a ‘long’ beach, renting a motorbike or a bicycle is a great option to see more of the beach.

What can I do at Long beach?

You’ve got a handful of activities that’ll keep you busy on Long Beach!

Swimming, sunbathing and taking pictures of the vibrant sunset are a must here!

Then you also have:

  • Snorkelling
  • Jet skiing
  • Kayaking
  • Paddleboarding

How can I get there?

You can get to Phu Quoc island by plane from Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi.

You can also get a ferry from Rach Gia or Ha Tien to Phu Quoc Island.

From the Phu Quoc Port, you can get a shuttle bus or a taxi to Long Beach

When to visit?

The best time to visit is from November until March since the water is the calmest around this time.

The rainfall season is between May and November.

Top Five Waterfalls in Vietnam

Ban Gioc Waterfall, Vietnam

Ban Gioc Waterfall

Ban Gioc waterfall is one of Vietnam’s most picturesque waterfalls as well as the largest.

The waterfall has three levels that are separated by trees and rocks – essentially multiple connected waterfalls.

The unique thing about this waterfall is that it’s on the border of Vietnam and China, so you can actually find not only Ban Gioc waterfall which is in Vietnam but also Detian which is in China!

It’s surprisingly not a popular one amongst tourists, at least not yet!

There is an entry fee to this waterfall which is 40,000 VND (approximately $2).

Note: You’ll need your passport to buy an entry ticket.

Important: some people experience their devices readjusting to Chinese time while they visit this waterfall (which is an hour forward), so you should watch out for the time, especially if you want to use public transport to return from the falls.

Here’s a fun fact (or maybe not so fun), although the waterfall is known for its blue water, you may not always get to see it when it’s clear blue because it all depends on the season. August and September are when you should visit for the clear blue water!

What can I do at Ban Gioc waterfall?

You can take a trip on a bamboo raft which brings you close to the waterfall where you can take in its beauty.

But know that you may get sprayed by the waterfall when you go close up so remember to bring clothes that’ll keep you dry!

A trip on a bamboo raft costs 50,000 VND (which is approximately $2.50).

You can also go on a hike and of course, make sure you sit down and enjoy the scenery this way too!

Swimming in Ban Gioc waterfall is prohibited.

Nearby things to see include Nguom Ngao Cave which is four km away from the waterfall.

How can I get there?

You have a couple of options to get to this waterfall:

  • A minibus from Cao Bang city (which costs around $2.50 to $3)
  • Ride a motorbike from Cao Bang city (renting a motorbike costs about $10 a day)
  • Or you can access it by car

When to visit?

The best months to visit are September and October because this is the dry season.

However, you can visit throughout the rest of the year too, but note that if you visit during times like June to August it can make it more difficult to capture photos of the waterfall and keep yourself and your equipment dry since the waterfall sprays out more during this time!

Yang Bay Waterfall

Another marvellous waterfall you must see is Yang Bay!

Another name for this waterfall is ‘Ranlay’ meaning Heaven’s waterfall. This name will come of no surprise to you once you actually get to see the waterfall.

There are two parts to Yang Bay waterfall, Yang Bay one and Yang Bay two. One being cold and the other hot.

This one also has an entrance fee costing between 100,000 and 1,000,000 VND depending on the package you’d like. Which in dollars is between four to $40.

What can I do at Yang Bay Waterfall?

You can take mud baths, go lagoon swimming, and you can also take a dip in the hot spring pool that’s created by nature – the perfect trio!

Some other things to do include:

  • Making a wish at the Wishing Tree (Moc Than)
  • Get a snippet of the Regalia culture by going to see the National Musical Instrument Museum
  • You can feed Koi fish with a baby bottle
  • And go swimming

How can I get here?

You can access this waterfall by:

  • Motorbikes cost between 100,000 to 150,000 VND a day which is between four over six dollars
  • Bus for 120,000 VND, around five dollars
  • Or you can take a car

When to visit?

The best time to visit Yang Bay waterfall is from March to September.

Pongour Waterfall

Pongour waterfall is a romantic but natural waterfall.

These falls have been seen as a symbol of the attachment between nature and humans.

Surprisingly, this waterfall is also not a popular landmark amongst tourists.

The entrance fee here is 10,000 VND – 20,000 VND, just under one dollar.

What can I do at Pongour waterfall?

This waterfall is full of activities for you to take part in, such as:

  • Canoeing
  • Going to The Lunar month festival in the middle of January to commemorate Kanai, which comes from a legend that Kanai was a chieftain who ruled the land here
  • Go to the top of the waterfall by taking the paths or stairs
  • Get behind or under the falls

How can I get there?

  • To get here you can rent a motorbike for 100,000 to 200,000 VND (nearly $9)
  • A bus for 20,000 which is approximately one dollar
  • Or rent a private car with a driver for 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 VND (the most expensive option) which is 64 to $85

When to visit?

You can visit Pongour waterfall anytime throughout the year depending on your preference of the season.

The dry season is from December to March whereas the rainy season is from April until September.

Note: The falls during the rainy season are typically powerful with more splashes around.

Dray Nur Waterfall

A spectacular waterfall you must see is Dray Nur waterfall.

Dray Nur actually means Female Waterfall in the local language, which comes from a legend that’s often told by the locals! Being told this legend by the locals is always a great experience here.

The entrance fee for Dray Nur waterfall is between 30,000 to 40,000 VND which is around one to $2.

What can I do at Dray Nur waterfall?

There are some fun things you can do here, such as:

  • Swim in the lagoon
  • Explore the caves behind the falls
  • Get to know the culture by going to villages beside the waterfall, more specifically the villages of Kuop

How can I get there?

To get to Dray Nur waterfall you can take the bus which brings you to the gate of the waterfall. You can take the bus from Buon Ma Thuot.

You can also get a motorbike from Buon Ma Thuot city to the waterfall.

When to visit?

You can visit both during the wet and dry seasons depending on your preference but note that the waterfall’s flow may differ depending on the season.

The best time to visit is typically from October to April.

Elephant Waterfall

Finally, you have Elephant waterfall, not to confuse it with the one in India!

This is another waterfall to add to your list, a popular one in Vietnam but also amongst tourists.

Entry costs 10,000 to 20,000 VDN which is approximately $1 or more.

What can I do at Elephant waterfall?

One of the main things to do here is to embrace the scenery.

You can actually get close to the cascade, but be careful going up to it of course as it can be quite slippy!

You can also:

  • Go for walks around the treks which will allow you to explore the nature around these falls
  • And you can also explore the Wind Cave at the bottom of the Elephant Waterfall

How can I get there?

You can get a bus from Da Lat to or rent a motorbike or a private car to get to the waterfall.

When to visit?

You can visit this waterfall year-round, but do check the season and see which you’d prefer!

Mu Cang Chai, Vietnam

Ready to travel to Vietnam?

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