Beach bums with an independent streak will love exploring Cam Ranh Bay’s beaches. Most of this coast remains undeveloped. There are a few small resorts you can pay to lie on their sunbed for the day, but Cam Ranh is really for people who think plopping down on a stretch of wild, empty coast sounds like heaven.
The northern Cam Ranh Pensinsula area is a lovely 14-kilometre slice of sand running north of Cam Ranh International Airport. While construction of a mega-resort is underway, much of this coast is windswept and unspoiled for now. Simply drive north from the airport and look for roads leading to the water – unless it’s fenced off, it is open to the public. Resorts will clean their section of beach so we suggest finding an entrance close to Fusion Resort Nha Trang, five kilometres north of the airport, for a rubbish-free patch of sand.
Several options dot the coast south of Cam Ranh city. To get there, head out of the city on Hung Vuong, then south of National Route 1. From the main roundabout that has the Cam Ranh bus station and Coop Mart, this will require travelling approximately 14 kilometres. Turn off left at 11.814655, 109.108326. The road is nondescript but at the top there is a cluster of small signs, including one for Sao Bien Resort. After a little more than a kilometre through farm fields, at the T-junction head left and follow this road.
The mainland almost fully encircles Cam Ranh Bay like a C and there are a few good spots on this southern tip, where the two points stretch to almost touch. From the city centre it’s 25 kilometres to reach Ngoc Suong Yen Bay Resort, approximately 11 kilometres from the T-junction. Go left at the T-junction and travel 4.3 kilometres. You’ll see a sign for the resort and road leading left up a steep hill. Pay 50,000 VND for day use of this resort nestled in a tranquil cove. The hotel also has a restaurant. It’s a pleasant, quiet, secure spot.
Across the road from Ngoc Suong Yen Bay Resort’s main gate/entrance is a fairly wild looking beach. Though the area is fenced off with barbed wire blocking access to beach, there are gaps in the fence and pathways clearly being used by fishermen. There are old sun umbrellas still planted in the sand, indicating this may have once been a property.
Approximately two kilometres before the main gate to Ngoc Suong Yen Bay Resort, the road splits. Head left to go to Sao Bien Resort (there are signs). The road to Sao Bien rises steeply and at the crest of a hill is the entrance. You’ll have to walk down a lot of steps to reach the property itself and the water. The resort was strangely empty, and we only saw one woman who was working there. It was a bit eerie how quiet it was. The beach is small but obviously manicured and free of rubbish. There were loungers, umbrellas, a few kayaks and long wooden jetty. Entrance is 50,000 VND, kayak rental is 200,000 VND. Come here if you want a proper sun bed and clean sand while being completely alone!
Look up “Binh Tien, Cong Hai” on Google satellite maps and it almost looks too good to be true: sexy white sand meets blue water with nothing around. It is true. And you’ll likely have Binh Tien all to yourself. From the T-junction outlined in the directions, it is 6.5 kilometres. Near the end is a hill and you will see a sign for the split in the road – left for Binh Tien and its small fishing village, right for Vinh Hy.
If you go right, you’re at the start of the Vinh Hy-Binh Tien pass, 17 kilometres of new road that skirts along coast and rewards travellers with gorgeous views. You’ll find empty beach after empty beach on this route, some accessible by foot if you park at the side of the road.
In the middle of the route is the wharf to Binh Hung island, located on a magnificent beach. It costs 20,000 VND to enter/park and you’ll be confronted by everyone trying to push you to the floating seafood restaurants or a boat trip around the island — the latter we highly recommend. Hopefully after the initial melee dies down, you can plop yourself down on the sand without any attention.
By Cindy Fan.