Last week the Vietnomics blog posted Vietnam’s top three shoreline areas that appear to be good places to invest for the long-term — including beaches that have yet to get much notice from by foreign visitors. They are Phan Rang, Quy Nhon, and Phu Quoc Island.
Here are the remaining seven of Vietnam’s top 10 beaches, ranked in order starting with the most attractive investment opportunity:
4. Ha Tinh. Out of sight and out of mind, the North Central province of Ha Tinh knows its strengths and emphasizes agribusiness and industry, not tourism — and why not? The province is quietly reaching its potential for exports of rice, nuts, fruit, vegetables, livestock, rubber, wood and seafood — and beneath some of this agribusiness lies $60 billion of iron ore soon to be mined; it has infrastructure, including an emerging port, to transport exports from Thailand, Laos and Vietnam; and Ha Tinh will soon be one of Asia’s biggest steel producers. One of Vietnam’s poorest provinces, Ha Tinh is catching up — with economic growth of 10% and 11% the past two years and a competitiveness ranking of 7th out of the 63 provinces. The province has nearly 100 miles of shoreline and four seasons to enjoy some fine, unspoiled beaches — and a mountain range in the north to block storms from the East. It rains a lot and can be cold, as is the case with other refreshing alternatives from southern heat — such as San Francisco and Seattle. Below are Ha Tinh City and beach.
5. Da Nang. International travelers usually go to one of two resort cities (Hoi An or Hue) that flank the largest and most dynamic city in central Vietnam but tend to skip Da Nang itself. That’s like touring the US and bypassing Chicago. Near downtown Da Nang is where you find one of Vietnam’s best beaches: China Beach (below), the legendary site chosen for the movie Apocalypse Now and a former American television series of that name. Most of the 19-mile strip of sand from Da Nang to Hoi An is now developed with high-end resorts, but there’s still room for investment on Da Nang’s end of the beach.
6. Nha Trang. A well-established and popular resort city for domestic vacationers, Nha Trang remains relatively unknown to foreigners. That is changing fast and the pace of development is accelerating in this picturesque region of islands and sand.
7. Mui Ne. Not long ago considered one of Vietnam’s best kept secrets, this beach, one of the most beautiful in Vietnam, is now on the beaten path of tourists and well-developed with a wide range of resort options and, coupled with neighboring Phan Thiet, is also becoming a mecca for golfers.
8. Hoi An. Probably Vietnam’s most popular seacoast destination for international travelers, Hoi An has a balanced combination of great beaches, a historic and beautiful village, and high-end resorts. It will always be an attractive investment opportunity, but much of the region is developed already. The photo below is from the pool at one of Asia’s finest resorts, the American-owned Nam Hai.
9. Vung Tau. For years the resort city of choice for Saigon weekenders, Vung Tau is well established and highly developed. It’s not as nice a beach as you can find elsewhere in Vietnam, though, partly because the province is also a major energy producer for Vietnam, with sailboats competing with oil barges. Even so, Vung Tau is a good investment destination because Vietnam’s first major casino complex is soon to open nearby — the MGM/Asian Coast Development Ho Tram project that includes 504 rooms, convention facilities, shopping and a Las Vegas style casino to open early next year.
10. Ha Long. Vietnam’s most famous tourist attraction because of its spectacular rock formations that jut out of the sea, Ha Long is a highly developed region teeming with tourists from neighboring China and has nice views but not a great beach, too many people and too much pollution. Investment opportunities here are as likely to be related to environmental remediation as economic development. Foreigners continue to invest there, though, and Ha Long’s province recently added foreign-invested projects worth $412 million to its portfolio of 93 projects worth $4.2 billion, with American companies leading the charge. Below is a view of Ha Long Bay from the nearby island resort that co-hosted the Miss Universe pageant five years ago.