A number of beaches across Vietnam are opening up again, after a month-long hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Beachgoers should not expect things to be fully back to normal yet, however, as all visitors are required to wear masks and avoid gatherings of more than 30 people.
Popular beaches to have reopened in the past several days include those in Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Da Nang as well as in the northern province of Quang Ninh, the location of Ha Long Bay – one of Vietnam’s premier tourist attractions. A notable exception in this list is Vung Tau, the most popular resort in southern Vietnam, yet to reopen its beaches.
This came as a bit of an unpleasant surprise to the beach-hungry crowds who flocked to Vung Tau, mostly from Ho Chi Minh City, for the weekend extended by the Reunification Day and Labour Day last Thursday and Friday. To ensure the beach ban was properly obeyed, the Vung Tau authorities deployed police to prevent people from gathering at the beaches. With nothing much better to do, people gathered in parks instead.
In spite of the recent relaxing of the social distancing regulations, many famous destinations in Vietnam received just a trickle of the usual tourist masses over the long weekend. Sapa, a mountainous town in the north of the country and a popular trekking base expected one-third fewer tourists as compared to last year’s long weekend, while the coastal town of Da Nang estimated the number of tourists in the area would plummet year-on-year by as much as 98.5 percent, with no international arrivals this time around.