An Bang (beach), Hoi An - practicalities
Replies: 20 - Last Post: Feb 15, 2013 4:45 AM Last Post By: Johnse
May 9, 2012 3:32 AM
An Bang (beach), Hoi An - practicalitiesHi, my fiance and I are looking for a great, quietish beach to chill out on for 2 or 3 days towards the end of our month in SE Asia (we would like to just relax/sunbathe/have a few lazy drinks at a beachside bar, as the rest of the trip is quite rushed and mostly city-hopping). We've done a little research and decided that a nice idea would be to fly from HCMC (our penultimate stop on this trip) to Da nang and visit Hoi An for the beach life for a couple of days, before flying up to Hanoi, our final stop. An Bang beach sounds lovely, just what we are looking for but I can't find much practical information online (probably a good sign) and was wondering if anyone can help.
We're aware An Bang is simply a stretch of beach (is it technically just part of 'China Beach'?) and is a couple of km outside Hoi An town. Am I right in thinking that all actual accommodation (we're looking towards the budget end) would be in Hoi An itself? I hear bicycles can be rented and are a good option for getting to the beach, and that there is a parking lot nearby the beach entrance. But my question: if we want to enjoy those open-air beach bars/restaurants until after dark (only 6pm?) then how do we, as backpackers, safely get back to town? I am guessing it is fairly remote for that couple of km and cycling in the dark would be unwise. So if we walk or taxi to the beach in the morning instead, is there a shuttle bus to get us home at night? Or can the owners of the bars call taxis for you?
Also, is it the kind of beach you could stay on all day? (are there rentable parasols to shade us from the heat of the day - or do people just dive into the shade of the bars in the middle of the day between sunbathing?) are there loungers available or is it really just come as you are? (fine if either, just wanting to get a feel for it really).
Just wondering how the town-beach distance works in real terms before committing to the plan of visiting this beach area over another. Oh, any recommendations for affordable Hoi An accomodation would be great, too! Thanks!
May 9, 2012 4:00 AM
1We recently spent 12 days at HoiAn at the southern hotel and villa off Hi Ba Trung a k or so out of town.
Hotel has a 15 mtr pool and hourly shuttle to town, bicycle rental and the beach is a couple of k down Hi Ba Trung. Beach chair and umbrella hire and taxis aplenty. As with riding anything on a viet road,do so at your own peril.
It was hot there, 38-40s, and walking around in the cooler night is safe as. We enjoyed the ancient town very much.
May 9, 2012 4:55 AM
2Hoi An is a nice town to see / visit for a few days.
IMHO - I would not go there as a "Beach Destination", yes you can ride out from Hoi An for a day at the beach....I did this a couple weeks back and went to An Bang beach. You can ride there and park yah pike for 1KD a day....or escape the heat of Hoi An Town and stay on or close to the beach.
I wouldn't call them restaurants / bars in the western sense of the word.....shacks on the beach selling food and drinks. Yes, they have sheltered loungers on the beach in front of their shacks, but they expect you to buy food / and drink from them if you use the loungers - quite rightly so :)
Yes, you could spend a day there no problem....
Once again, IMHO - If you want a nice "Beach Destination" I would avoid Da Nang / Hoi An and head to either Mui Ne (i'm currently there and am quite impressed with the place) or Nha Trang, was there last week and enjoyed my time. Both these places are nicely set up for days on the beach with great food / drink cafes and restaurants plus quality loungers and Umbrella's. Lots of budget / backpacker options to choose from as well.
Having said that, if you are short of time and hell bent on Hoi An....then yes, An Bang will tick most of the boxes for you.
Jungle Beach will no doubt chime in soon with Beaches and locations in his area which are suppose to be fantastic!! Didn't make it there this trip, maybe next time?
May 10, 2012 1:42 AM
3I've been to the same 3 beaches mentioned by the previous poster. The advantage that Mui Ne and Nha Trang have are that they're more oriented toward accommodating international tourists, with restaurants, bars, activities (snorkeling, water sports, etc.) in a more western style. If all you are after is a pleasant beach to be on, and don't need an international-style restaurant nearby for lunch/drinks, then Hoi An's beach itself is actually pretty nice. I would say it has some advantages over Mui Ne and Nha Trang: it's a bigger beach than Mui Ne's, the water is clearer; it's a cleaner beach than Nha Trang and with clearer water; it's much quieter than NT or MN. If you want to be staying at the beach (hotel), then this Hoi An beach is one where expensive resorts have a monopoly on accommodations -- you would have to stay back in town, or else at one of the little guesthouses along the road leading to the beach. Danang is a bit different, it does have a few hotels along "China Beach" (that's what it's called up there, but it is basically the same beach only farther north) but they are quite Vietnamese in style. To us, it means they're a bit rough and you'll get menu choices that are in Vietnamese and who knows what you'll get after you order. Like in Hoi An, it's a bit of a drive back to the actual town of Danang. All the beaches mentioned here are nice. Mui Ne's is quite narrow compared to the rest of them, which are all quite wide. One more option, which for me is the nicest in Vietnam: Phu Quoc island.
May 10, 2012 1:51 AM
4good write up billermo!
Agree, for me, Phu Quoc was the best "beach" experience I've had in VN.
May 10, 2012 6:20 AM
5Hi everyone, wow, thanks so much for all the kind advice.
Yes, we have indeed been looking at the other places you have all mentioned. Mui Ne in particular was on my hotlist for a while because the idea of being right on the beach does appeal.
To put it simply, we've realised that our problem is time. We arrive in HCMC from PP on one Friday, and fly out of Hanoi on the morning of the following Friday. (This may be due to bad planning on our part but so goes it.) It looks like Mui Ne would just take too much time getting there and back: we'd have to seriously compromise something time-wise. Phu Quoc looks gorgeous but flying in there and then out to Hanoi works out too costly (at least at this late stage). We'd ruled out Vung Tau :) ...the other option was to get up to Hanoi and visit Cat Ba island via HLB - at least that way we'd see the bay but - opinions welcome - we felt it didn't look like the relaxing escape we'd hanker for by that stage in our trip. In effect we think, if we want to have any time at all to 'experience' the two main cities and also lie somewhere for a couple of days, it's going to need to be en route - and this will almost certainly mean flying: out of HCMC on the Sunday and into Hanoi on the Wednesday, giving us 2 full, travel-free days somewhere else.
So the most affordable option we have found that gets us the required distance quickly, is flying via Danang, and seeing Hoi An. I guess a plus side to this plan is, we'd end up with 2 and a half days in Hoi An so would have an opportunity to see a little of the town itself as well as the beach.
We have checked and we can just(!) afford the flights to and from da nang - certainly easier to afford with vietjet or jetstar as opposed to vietnam airlines, but don't know whether to trust the other two - any experiences??
The beach at An bang sounds just what we were looking for, and I'm glad you all seem to concur that it would probably do the job we want it to do! Little shacks as opposed to 'proper bars'? - perfect! Sounds like it would be nice and quiet (relatively) and is more of a local beach from what I've read. As long as there are ways and means to shade ourselves from that 40C sunshine then I am happy! So thanks for clearing that up for me!
I am still a little confused by the beach transport situation there - I thought I had read something about taxi drivers often refusing to go there as it is too short a journey. We don't mind hiring bicycles, and I think the ride would be quite cool - but I think I'd prefer the option of not doing so at least on one of the days, as I know the 'bars' on the beach do open into the evenings, so if we want to go there in a taxi, if we can find one in town, and then enjoy a couple of sundowners at the beach and return in the dark, will there definitely be taxis around to take us back? I guess my fear is...we'll be stranded on the beach! Perhaps I am being a little overdramatic..? :)
May 10, 2012 6:40 AM
May 10, 2012 12:42 PM
My girlfriend and i just come back fromVietnam. we spent 5 days in hoi an at the end of our trip. an bang is great. not too many people, quiet nice small restaurants. we really liked that beach.
we stayed at river-beach resort and we rent bicycles to get to an bang which is around 3km from cua dai beach.
you will not have a problem to get taxi there either
May 11, 2012 1:15 AM
May 11, 2012 4:22 AM
May 11, 2012 11:58 AM
May 15, 2012 1:33 AM
May 16, 2012 6:13 AM
May 17, 2012 12:14 AM
Jun 28, 2012 1:52 PM
14Hi - just an update - we took two Jetstar flights in Vietnam (HCMC to Danang and Danang to Hanoi) both of which were completely on time and event-free. We did worry on the second as there was steam gushing from the aircon system and filling the cabin, both as we boarded and for most of the way through take off and landing - but the flight staff smiled and said it was fine - I have never encountered this before but others who have travelled in Asia said they have - I have no idea whether it is okay or not, but I guess it must be!!
An Bang beach was lovely - not quite as 'deserted gem' as I had hoped but pretty idyllic nonetheless and if you were bothered by there being a few poeple around you could easily move yourself down the beach if you wanted. I imagine it beats 'more crowded' Cua Dai hands-down, though I didn't go there. There were a few people selling things but otherwise it was peace and quiet. It is also SO easy (and great fun) to ride there on bicycle - we did it every day - riding through those paddy fields for me was such an unforgettable experience that it absolutely beat the option of taxiing out and staying on the beach til late! Would maybe try it next time though if it was high season and there were more people to chat to in the bars! Also Hoi An is so gorgeous - by day or night - we only had three days and we didn't want to miss all the great shopping, strolling, restaurants and bars to be explored!
On the beach itself we'd highly recommend La Plage (turn right at the last little lane before you hit the beach, or on the beach itself, and keep walking til you get to the last 'hut') - I had the red snapper aioli on baguette with prawns, yum! Good iced coffee too. And although it is a little more 'upmarket' than the local stalls nearer the entrance, the beers etc. were still very good value. As a previous poster said, anywhere will let you stay on their loungers all day as long as you buy lunch or a couple of drinks, and the atmosphere there beat anywhere else. Though on the first day we stayed with the lady who owns a 'restaurant' immediately where the road meets the beach, just on the left - she'll rent you towels for a very small fee, sells lots of welcome cans of cold drink and 'large' water, is super friendly and fun to chat to, and makes good club sandwiches.
Lovely time in Hoi An and An Bang - probably my favourite memory of the whole three weeks in SE Asia! :-D
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