There’s no need to wait twenty years to see what is coming.
Hey Stuart. I was in Mui Ne a few weeks ago to see the continued erosion there which has been going on for years. Kitesurfers pushed as far down as Swiss Village now, only the southern end of the beach is still in good shape. Year by year the concrete strip between the shore and the dunes is reavling its effects. A friend who lives there claims that the locals talk of a 14 year cycle and the "sands will come back", but off-shore dredging and all the seafront construction makes me dubious. At the moment there are the same steep drop offs, sea walls and ugly giant socks making the place unrecognisable from what it once was when I covered it for TF probably around 06/07 - genuinely a quaint tropical beach destination. Sad to see the same at An Bang, I was planning on stopping there in the summer! No longer, after reading this.
Great review. Was planning to visit Hoi An, will think twice or will just explore the town and make a short beach visit:"he was right"...
Had to dig out old passports to see when we visited Vietnam - 2014. I think Hoi An was just about on the cusp. I remember very few of my Hong Kong-based friends had visited (and none from the UK apart from an old war correspondent). Then about five or so years later, it was the place to go.
I certainly wouldn't return to Hoi An, though I'd go back to Hue.
And the beaches - as a geography graduate, I well remember studying what happens to beaches, and this was long before rising sea-levels were a major concern. All I can do is face palm...
So sad to witness. As Peter, Paul and Mary put it, "When will they ever learn?"
Stuart, I recently rode that stretch from Danang into town, the amount of construction and existing towers was incredible. I'm told it's a buyer's market for many of those towers and projects.
I was there 15 years ago, and then again a month ago. I probably won't be going back to Vietnam even though I loved it 15 years ago. Too much rampant, poorly planned development.
As a 1993 visitor to a quaint river town called Hoi An I feel your pain. A bicycle ride out to the deserted beach (with a drinks shack) was an immense pleasure. Unfortunately the goose laid a golden egg.
Those beaches have been fairly horrible for a while. I first went there in 1999 when it was still quiet and with lots of trees. Last time I went, about 12 years ago, it was crowded with badly behaved tourists, the beach was covered in furniture and rubbish, there were buildings and heavy traffic everywhere. It was no longer a relaxed place and I wondered why anyone would want to be there. It seems as if places get a reputation and it sticks despite changes. It shocks me that they could fit more in or that resort developers couldn't see the writing on the wall then. Tourism seems to be about finding a lovely place and then taking away everything that made it lovely.
We're going to Vietnam for the first time in February, so I guess that's why this article seems to hit harder than many of your others. Very sad, and so preventable.
Weird to "like" something so depressing, but this is the kind of writing I come here for! You're utterly bang on, it's heartbreaking to see the deterioration between visits to the region
We spent six weeks in Hoi An -- not anywhere near the beach -- back in 2019. We made one trip to the beach and it was such a clusterf*ck that we never went back. Much preferred riding my bike through the rice fields and watching the white ducks.
Excellent reporting, Stuart. Somebody at Google should read this and update its description on Maps:
"Cửa Đại is a quiet area anchored by its namesake beach, a sandy stretch known for gentle waves and dotted with upscale spa hotels. Cozy restaurants serve just-caught seafood prepared with local flavors like lemongrass and chile, while boats depart for the rustic Chàm Islands from Cua Dai pier. Nearby An Bang beach has a happening nightlife scene, with open-air cocktail bars featuring live music and club tunes."