I’ve spent the last week in Hoi An, a town on the coast of central Vietnam that is as pretty as a picture. Hoi An is so beautiful that I decided to stay there for a week, and part of the reason I like it so much is because it reminds of Luang Prabang, where I stayed for six weeks. The French charm, the ornate buildings, the yummy baguettes are all things that the two towns have in common but something that Hoi An has over Luang Prabang, is an amazing beach. More than one amazing beach in fact, and while most visitors head to Cua Dai beach, I spent most of my beach days just 3km north at the stunning An Bang (pronounced On Bong, according to a Vietnamese guy I met) beach.
In fairness, both of the beaches are a great choice. Head to either Cua Dai or An Bang and you’ll find soft golden sand, water that is surprisingly warm, and a choice of beach restaurants and bars where you can down a beer and order some spring rolls and an ice cream. The one thing that put me off Cua Dai beach is the amount of touts that pestered me to buy sunglasses, coffee filters, tiger balm, cigarettes, incense sticks, and anything and everything else that they were selling. I don’t blame these people who are on the beach selling their wares at all – they are just doing their job. But I find that constantly being sold to can make a beach day draining when it should be relaxing. On Cua Dai beach I just couldn’t relax, so I cycled northwards to An Bang, where there were about a tenth as many touts and a fifth as many tourists. For such a beautiful beach, I was amazed that there were so few people there.
About to have lunch at Soul Kitchen on An Bang beach.
Once you are on the beach, there is a lovely selection of places to eat your lunch, drink a beer, or grab an ice cream. I can personally recommend La Plage, Soul Kitchen, and Banyan as great places to grab a spot of refreshment on a beach day, and there is also a lovely looking Italian restaurant (run by expats) called Luna d’Autonno, which has great reviews but I didn’t try the food myself.
The outline of my body in sweat. You’re welcome.
An Bang is about a half an hour cycle ride from town, and when you can rent a bicycle for 20,000 dong (about 75p) there is no excuse not to pedal your way to this lovely, lesser known beach of Hoi An.