Cua Dai Beach
Cua Dai beach is the 'seaside' area of Hoi An
, famous for its Ancient Town and listed as one of Vietnam's five UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Cua Dai Beach is about five kilometres from Hoi An
, a long swathe of soft white sand. There's a good road from the town that ends at a 'T' junction - to the left is the Son Tra peninsula near Danang. To the right, the beach sweeps hundreds of kilometres southwards to Nha Trang via Quy Nhon, approximately half-way.
Cua Dai Beach stretches into the distance in both directionsThe right-hand side of the 'T' junction was the first to be developed. The two best resorts, the four-star Hoi An Victoria Resort and Spa and the newly-arrived Golden Sands - Hoi An's first five star resort are a kilometre or so along the beach road.
A few lower standard hotels cluster nearer the junction, located on the inland side of the coast road.
Recently, development has extended to the left. Several new hotels and resorts are already built and operating and more are Hoi An was once a major commercial port, but silt carried down the Thu Bon River moved the shoreline 5km west, creating Cua Dai beach in the process - this is the Ancient Town's wharfplanned.
All this activity has been fuelled by Hoi An's inscription on the World Heritage list a few years ago. From being a quiet backwater, it's rapidly risen to prominence as a major Vietnam tourism destination.
However, it's unlikely to challenge Hue or Ha Long Bay because most of it's visitors are foreigners - domestic arrivals are very low by comparison. As far as Cua Dai beach is concerned, that's probably a good thing.
Dawn on Cua Dai beach - the area on both sides of the 'T' junction is becoming increasingly crowdedIn common with most of Vietnam, there are no 'private' beaches at Cua Dai, even though they are advertised as such by some hotels and Vietnam tour operators.
Instead, resorts and hotels located along Cua Dai and in the town are allocated sections of the beach.
With hotels mushrooming all over the place, beach space within easy access is rapidly running out. In addition, what used to be a relatively unspoilt and quiet area has become more and more crowded.
Beach vendors can be a nuisance sometimes, but most are friendly and provide a helpful serviceThe larger hotels on the beach regularly clean their stretch of sand, but the areas used by smaller establishment and those in the town are less well maintained.
Furthermore, beach vendors are an increasing nuisance. In fairness, most provide a valuable service wandering up and down the beach selling ice cream, coconuts and so on, but a growing number of more aggressive traders are appearing - the best response is to ignore them completely if they start to bother you.
To escape from it all, stock up with water and snacks, hire a bicycle and a sunshade, and head off past the resort area - despite all the people, you don't have to go far to find an almost deserted stretch of soft san