Hon Chong Beach is located on Vietnam’s east coast, officially a part of Nha Trang. Secluded and small but exceptionally scenic, Hon Chong is yet another rising star on the seemingly endless list of beaches in Vietnam noticed over the last decade or so. Hon Chong does promise to keep in step with its quiet, isolated status for a while, but it won’t be long until these sandy stretches are dotted with foreign crowds.
Picturesque stone formations are the highlight of Hon Chong, clusters that edge onto the sea and appear to hug each other. Contrary to what some say, swimming isn’t most ideal at Hon Chong but the beach itself is a great place to relax, catch some sun, or enjoy some fresh seafood. One main road houses a variety of dining spots and hotels. Be prepared with currency: currently the closest bank is two hours away at Ha Tien.
Three main nearby attractions include the grotto at Chua Huang, reached via pretty Hai Son Tu Buddhist temple. The grotto’s rock formations are similar to those in Halong Bay but in appearance only, certainly not in number. Also near Hon Chong Beach is Bai Duong, or Duong Beach, offer more things to do in the area. Bai Duong is defined by an almost two-mile coastal stretch featuring lanky pines and a tranquil backdrop, the most impressive Mekong Delta sight for sure; especially the sunsets. The sand at Bai Duong is dark and in the sea it’s muddy but it’s still the best place for swimming south of Ho Chi Minh City (aside from Phu Quoc Island).
Almost any time of year is a good time to visit Hon Chong Beach excluding Tet, or Vietnamese New Year which happens each year around the end of January/beginning of February (the date is determined by the Lunar calendar). This area of Vietnam is the exception to the weather rule in the rest of the south, when monsoons turn southern parts soggy for months on end. In general, between January and April are ideal times to visit, with March and April offering the absolute best weather. Months to avoid include late October through the middle of December when the weather gets cool and winds pick up.
Image: Baliw Kail (flickr)