A trip to the beach never fails to spark anticipation and excitement. Whether you want to worship the sun, go surfing or build a sand castle, beach vacations have all the ingredients for a good time. But not every beach can be a postcard. I have recently been to Nha Trang in Vietnam to enjoy a couple of days at the beach. Before booking my flight I did some research on where to find the best beaches in Vietnam. Let me just say this, I wouldn’t agree with any of the sides that call Nha Trang a beach gem. But well, I have learned my lesson and I know better next time.
With that in mind, here are some tips on how to pick the best beach for your vacation.
Know Your Beach
Do you prefer a quiet beach vacation where you don’t hear more than the crushing ocean wave? Or do you want to be nearby restaurants and entertainment? Do you like to be surrounded by fellow travelers and beach vendors or do you prefer being alone even at the lack of a cold Coke or beer. I usually try to find a compromise and book a hotel that is not in the middle of nightlife but at a 15-30 min walking distance. This way I can still enjoy all the amenities (restaurants, Cafes, boutiques) of a city beach in the evening but I have my main place of vacation home where it is more peaceful.
Look at Accommodation
Spend some time deciding what you want out of your beach vacation and your accommodation. The more hidden and unexplored a beach the more likely you won’t have many hotels and hostels to choose from. But even then, you need to decide if you want to save some money, stay at a hostel and splurge on other things or if you want to come ‘home’ to the comfort of a hotel after a day at the beach. So whether it is a quiet place to relax, big waves to surf or a great spot for partying, check if your preferred accommodation is available. I remember that I was looking into this beautiful beach on the Philippines last year but only was able to find super expensive 5 star hotels or very basic hostels. Neither of the two options was something I would have liked or could afford and therefore went for Boracay where you have many options in between.
Consult Online Reviews…
… with your perfect beach vacation in mind. There are beautiful beaches out there that might be perfect for one person but a disaster for another one. I have read many online reviews where people were complaining about something that I actually found wonderful and the other way around. For example, if you want to spend a couple of days at the beach while being close to the party scene, Kuta in Bali might just be the right choice for you. However if you want to have a nice romantic getaway, Seminyak is just a 20-minute drive from Kuta but a totally different and in that case more relaxed world.
Avoid Rainy Season
Beautiful during dry season, some beaches can become a nightmare in the rainy season. Precipitation washes oil, chemicals and trash into the sea. Especially in countries where people still dump their trash everywhere and anywhere, rain washes trash into gutters, then out to sea and back onto the beach. As it usually rains in the evening and at night, waking up in the morning to a view of a dirty beach is not the best holiday memory. There are some destinations like Boracay on the Philippines that clean up the beaches after sunrise so that tourists could still enjoy their beach time during the day.
Check Actuality of Information
When looking for the perfect beach, pay attention to the up-to-dateness of your researched information. You won’t believe how quickly a hidden and quite piece of sand can become a construction side. Once nice beaches are then packed with hotels and bars and much more people than you might like.