There are 2 main beaches that must be visited when traveling to Hoi An, Vietnam. I had been to Cua Dai beach with my lovely friend An, but I hadn’t been to the more popular An Bang beach. In my blog about Ba Na Hills (it’s here, if you missed it), I wrote about my Australian friend Pinto, who I had met at a coffee shop and accompanied to Ba Na Hills. He was a nice enough guy, but man did he like to talk. In fact, he liked to be the only one who talked. I think this has to do with being in a foreign country and not being able to speak English with many people. It also might be his age, he’s an older gentleman and I know that being alone can get lonely. I understand all that, but he took it to the extreme.
The days following our trip to Ba Na he kept sending me VERY long messages and kept asking to meet for dinner. I don’t have any other options for dinner company and I was interested in trying this fish in banana leaf that he kept raving about. So I decided to meet him for dinner, mostly because it was down at An Bang beach. I tried the fish which was awesome and that’s the only good part of this story. He obviously talked the whole time and it started to get on my nerves and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. He tried to pay for my dinner, which I refused. Then he made the comment “well I asked you out on the date”. Ok buddy, that’s it. You’re annoying and now your creepy because this is absolutely NOT a date.
I desperately wanted to hang out in An Bang beach and check out some of the night life. I didn’t know how to get rid of him and he wanted to share a cab back to Hoi An. So I ditched that idea and we hailed a cab. He kept talking about going back to Ba Na Hills and spending the night and how fun it would be. Blah, Blah, Blah. I tuned him out and wished that the cab was a time machine so I could be back at the homestay in bed already. The following day he messaged me again with such long texts that I wanted to throw my phone into the pond. I was beyond annoyed. There was no way I could spend any more time with this dude. Here are screen shots of some of his messages just to prove my point on how over the top it was.
A few days later, I finally messaged back and said I would not be going to Ba Na Hills a second time. I used the excuse that I had just bought tickets to Hong Kong for my concert to see Above and Beyond and that had cost a small fortune. Which is true, but definitely not the reason for me not wanting to go. He tried to chat after that, but I couldn’t do it anymore, so I stopped responding. In his old age, at least he can catch a hint, because he stopped messaging me as well. So, now you know how Pinto got creepy.
I didn’t get to enjoy An Bang beach during my first trip there, so I decided to go back on my own. It’s about a 2 mile bike ride, which was one of my favorite parts of the day. The street I took passed through gorgeous rice fields and waterways. When I first arrived at An Bang beach I just wanted to park my bike and wander around. I tried to head to the beach and was stopped by some very aggressive Vietnamese men who were very serious about me paying to park my bicycle. I had been warned about this and I knew how to get around it. So I turned back around and found a little café and parked my bike. I had a delicious breakfast and then asked the owner if it would be ok to leave my bike for a few hours. He was very kind and said it was no problem.
I wandered down to the beach and walked along the water in the beautiful white sand. It was excruciatingly hot (sweaty photo proof below) and it wasn’t even 10 AM yet, the sand was burning my feet even though I had sandals on, but I didn’t care. The beach is gorgeous and is lined with beach front restaurants and accommodations. There are hundreds of beach loungers with umbrellas for relaxing. If you decide to take refuge from the sun on a lounger than you must purchase something from the respective restaurant or resort. I didn’t actually test this theory because I wasn’t wanting to relax. This is merely an assumption based on the ample amounts of waitstaff that were anxiously waiting to pounce on me as soon as I came within a foot of a lounger.
There were several cute beach front hotels and resorts, all of which had restaurants that were open to the beach. Each resort had their own set of beach loungers claiming their stretch of sand. Local woman selling newspapers, hats, sunglasses and handicrafts wandered up and down the rows of loungers. I am always so shocked at how much clothing the woman wear in order to not let the sun touch their skin. They are so completely covered that the only thing you can see is their eyes. They will even wear gloves and masks that cover their nose, mouth and around their neck. I take one look at them and I start sweating. I’m drenched in my shorts and tank top and feel like I’m near death in this heat, but it’s nothing to them.
I continued to walk along the beach until I reached the end. I was surprised at how many fun water activities were being offered here. They had the basket boats that you could rent and hang out in, which seemed boring to me. I think those boats are fun when in a small waterway or river but not on the ocean. What do I know though, they’re probably a blast and I’m the one missing out. They had jet skies for rent as well as speedboats that you could go for a ride on. What I was most interested in was the parasailing. I have never parasailed before and it appears to be great fun. Unfortunately, its a 2 person activity and I wasn’t about to go begging for a companion, or wait around all day for another single person to have the same idea.
After I walked the stretch of beach I cut back off the beach and onto the one main street that holds the small population of homes. I love walking through the back alleys and small pathways between the homes. I’m so fascinated by the way people live. When I get lost down some random side street is when I see the most beautiful things. It didn’t take long to walk the entire town. This is definitely a beach town because that is really all there is to do. It must be popular for people to get massages when they come here, because I passed several massage parlors, although they were all empty, so maybe not.
There were several different options for food. I was disappointed that I wasn’t more hungry because I passed a lot of places I would have loved to eat at. I saw many seafood options, Italian, western burger joints, cafes and sandwich shops. I even passed a really cute Vegan restaurant that made several different flavored Kombuchas, but they weren’t open at the time. I stopped at a juice shop and got a mango smoothie that was delicious because they didn’t add any sugar. I hate when they add a bunch of sugar, It’s too much, way too sweet.
I headed back to get my bike and decided to order a beer from the café where I had parked. The owner was friendly and he had an IPA on tap, so I couldn’t pass that up. As I was leaving he suggested I stop at his friends beach bar because it’s his favorite spot to hang out. I couldn’t turn down the suggestion, so I went for one more beer. I got a great seat in the shade with a view of the beach. I ordered some fresh spring rolls and a beer and watched the parasailers. I was shocked at how quick of a ride it is. I kid you not, they only go up for maybe five minutes, which made me happy I hadn’t wasted my money.
My final stop was a cute little beach bar and restaurant called the Salt Pub, which is about a half a mile away from the rest of An Bang beach. It was tastefully decorated with painted basket boats creating the ultimate beach vibe. It’s a huge two story building with a giant strip of personal beach. Being set apart from the rest of the busy town makes it much more secluded. It’s backyard restaurant and BBQ had its own bar area, in addition to, a giant indoor bar that was set up in the style of a western sports bar and was playing American country music. If I hadn’t already had two beers, I would have loved to stay here all afternoon, but I needed to get back before I was too drunk to ride.
I wish I could have gone back to An bang beach and spent an entire day laying around, eating copious amounts of seafood and slamming beers in the heat. I would have also loved to stay a night or two in one of the nicer beach resorts. However, I don’t have that kind of money and I never made the time to get back. I’m just glad that I had the opportunity to explore this adorable little beach town before leaving Hoi An.
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