FUN IN THE SUN

A holiday on the beach in Vietnam can be made so much more exciting by trying some of the many water sports on offer.

By Le Diem on May 10,2019 02:54 PM

FUN IN THE SUN

Photos: AQUA VENTURE & SEA LIFE

Vietnam’s sunny beaches not only offer a relaxing escape for holidaymakers but are also “outdoor gyms” for water sports fans. With great weather nearly all year round, beautiful beaches and different levels of wind, popular coastal cities like Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Phan Thiet as well as Phu Quoc Island are ideal spots for water sports, making your vacation complete.

Jet skis

Like motorbikes on the road, jet skis are the most popular “vehicle” in water sports and can be found at most beaches from the north to the south.

Thanks to its ease of riding and relative safety, riding jet skis is suitable to nearly everyone and a whole lot safer than chancing your hand riding a motorbike on Vietnam’s streets. With little chance of you falling off, jet skis are ridden simply by twisting the accelerator to gain speed or letting it go to come to a stop. It’s also great fun to ride over waves and “catch some air”.

Riding really fast or making sharp turns does take more time and practice, but at a cost of VND 470,000- 580,000 ($20-25) for half an hour (half of what it costs in Bali and a quarter of the cost at Australia’s Gold Coast), it’s easy and inexpensive to rack up a few hours of experience.

Surfing

Surfing is usually found in Da Nang, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, and Vung Tau, where surfers can indulge their passion on crisp waves for many months of the year.

In Da Nang, My Khe Beach and Non Nuoc Beach both boast good waves from September to March. If you’re new to surfing and want some lessons, you can take a class at Da Nang Surfschool, which is of international standard.

FUN IN THE SUN

From October to April, Nha Trang has nice swells that make surfing ideal for any level of surfer. Dai Beach is the gathering point for both beginners and experienced surfers, as it has a range of conditions.

Down south is sandy and windy Phan Thiet, which most surfers consider to be the best spot in Vietnam almost all year round. Hon Rom Beach, the most popular in the city, has fantastic waves from October to May. Nearby Suoi Nuoc Beach, on the way to the famous white sand dunes, also has crisp waves and a stiff breeze from July to October. Phan Thiet is also one of the best places to kite surf in all of Southeast Asia, thanks to its daily breeze.

Meanwhile, Vung Tau, just two hours by road from Ho Chi Minh City, is an ideal weekend getaway for both tourists and surfers. All of its beach is surfable, but the Back Beach has a long stretch of sand with numerous breaks that are powerful but suitable for all levels of surfers, especially from October to March. The mornings are ideal, because the wind is not so strong and the tide is low.

Flyboarding

Appearing just a few years ago in Vietnam, flyboarding has become a popular attraction in Nha Trang and Phu Quoc Island, especially for fans of thrilling watersports.

While flyboarding is offered at many beaches in Nha Trang, it is only available in the south of Phu Quoc Island at Sao Beach. Both have professional trainers on hand, who teach you how to find your balance on the board, which is connected by a long hose to a watercraft. Water is forced under pressure into a pair of boots with jet nozzles underneath, which provides thrust for the rider to fly up to 15 meters in the air or to dive headlong through the water down to 2.5 meters.

You will start to “fly” in just a few minutes. As soon as you’re in the air, you can relax and enjoy the flight. After a bit of practice, you will even be able to swim with a jump over water like a dolphin and challenge gravity like Iron Man. If you practice more, you can also do some acrobatics. Prices start from around VND 1 million ($45) for ten minutes (excluding ten minutes of instruction).

Parasailing

If you want to experience the feeling of flying with a parachute but have not had the chance as yet, you can give it a go 50-100 meters above the water at beaches in Ha Long Bay, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Mui Ne, and Phu Quoc.

Parasailing requires neither skills nor a lot of energy. You need only learn how to run and gain momentum before taking to the skies underneath a parachute. Lessons only take about five minutes.

Once fitted out with a parachute connected to a high-speed boat, you just run and are lifted up into the sky. You move at a fair yet safe speed but it’s still an adventurous pastime.

It’s considered more majestic at sunset, while paragliding over Ha Long Bay, with its famed natural limestone karsts, is something truly extraordinary. It’s also possible to do it with a friend, in a tandem parachute. If the wind is too light and you find yourself descending, don’t worry - you’ll be wearing a life jacket and the boat will soon arrive to pick you up. Prices range from VND 500,000 to 1 million ($20 to $45) per person for 15-20 minutes, depending on where you’re doing it.

Diving and snorkeling

The deep turquoise waters and diverse marine creatures found along Vietnam’s coastline provide ideal locations to dive into the sea and contemplate underwater wonders. Prices are reasonable, starting from VND470,000 ($20) for an hour of snorkeling or VND940,000 ($40) for scuba diving.

Just 30 minutes by speedboat from Hoi An ancient town, Cu Lao Cham (Cham Island), a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, boasts many important marine habitants, in particular beautiful coral reefs.

Back on the mainland, the waters off Son Tra Peninsula in Da Nang is another world of unique coral and marine creatures of strange shapes not readily found elsewhere. Some of the best beaches to dive include Bac My An Beach, Nom Beach, and Nam Beach.

FUN IN THE SUN

Meanwhile, known as the “kingdom of diving”, Nha Trang is not to be missed. At Mun Islet, well-known for its diving and snorkeling, you can marvel at the rich diversity of coral reefs and more than 300 species of colorful fish swimming all around you. Glass bottom boats also ply the waters, allowing you to view the ocean floor if you’re not comfortable with diving.

Another diving and snorkeling spot popular for its clear and calm waters offering great visibility, Phu Quoc Island allows divers discover its seas from the northwest of the island to the small archipelago to the south. Diving is most common in the northwest but snorkeling is recommended in the archipelago at Long Beach, Ong Lang Beach, and Sao Beach. There are numerous schools of small fish along with large coral reefs to be seen.

Another place known for pristine, tranquil beaches and home to a variety of marine species such as clams, parrot fish, and crab, etc., is Con Dao Island, far off the southern coast. It is the only place in Vietnam where you can watch green turtles while snorkeling, as the island is a marine turtle conservation area and home to the largest population of natural sea turtles in the country.

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