Vietnam is Thailand twenty years ago; pristine coastlines with some of the world's most beautiful beaches, the welcome is warm and tourists aren't yet seen as cash-cows to be milked mercilessly. The only thing lacking on occasion is customer service – I guess that will improve as more tourists arrive.
These are the coastlines and beach I'd recommend you visit...
This is the island to visit if you'd like pristine beaches with hardly a soul on them - many rate them as being the best beaches in Vietnam.
The island used to be a prison island where political prisoners were kept in appalling conditions but now it is Vietnam's number one marine reserve and an important turtle breeding ground.
Con Dao's best beach is Nhat – the beach of love.
Love Peak, to the right of the beach, is supposed to look like lovers in an eternal embrace and if one kisses at sunset it is rumoured you too might just be destined to spend eternity together.
I must lack a little imagination as it looks nothing like two lovers to me - guess I'll need a few more cocktails next time.
If you're not with the one you love then simply enjoy a stunning sunset in paradise on a dreamy beach.
March and April is the best time as the waters are crystal clear then. You might find yourself sharing the waters with the occasional dugong (sea cow) while manta rays float past on wings of giant dimensions. They may be big but they are very friendly.
Try to avoid rainy season (May to September) if you can.
What a huge choice - it basically boils down to ONE place and it is an expensive place. So if you've a big budget then the Six Sense Resort is where you'll want to stay. If you are like me and your budget is more limited then it'll have to be the adequate Con Dao Resort.
Not really one beach but a number of fabulous beaches welcome you in their warm embrace on this island that seems to be like something from a James Bond movie.
Long Beach is the most famous but best of all is Bai Sao.
Bai Sao is a little isolated and harder to reach which is why it has stayed so pristine – you'll often find hardly a soul here, particularly when visiting outside of the summer season.
From Dong Duong most hotels will be able to organize a trip out to Bai Sao otherwise talk to one of the taxi drivers or even hire your own scooter (if you are not scared of riding one on very bumpy dirt roads).
Should you be coming on the excellent tour from Ho Chi Min then Bai Sao will be included. These are the tour details.
There are a lot of great hostels on the island but sadly I'm getting a little too old for that nowadays. If you too are a little past hostel days and prefer privacy and a little luxury then go for the excellent Chen Sea Resort.
This coastline is so spectacular that
it really came close to making the top six we chose to feature on our
site. It is as wonderful and spectacular as any on our list, but as
with all lists choices have to be made and Halong and Lan Ha Bay
missed the cut. Don't doubt for a moment though that this area should be on all
Which beach is worth visiting here? The spectacular Lan Ha Bay area is full of stunning beaches (over 100) and being a little remote they are not crowded at all. Here's a tour that explores many of them and leaves from Hanoi.
The Hotel I stayed at has now closed but there's a big choice in the area so browse through this selection and choose something that appeals