China Beach is becoming Vietnam’s premier luxury resort destination.
But the first time I visited, back in 1993, there were so few accommodations for tourists that I had to sleep on the sand. I was there as a freelance reporter covering the first (and last) Vietnam International Surfing Contest, and the only hotel for miles around, a dilapidated state-owned joint, had been booked for weeks.
Fourteen years later, I visited again, this March, and while the sand was the same, most everything else had changed. China Beach is now home to the Nam Hai, a five-star, 35-hectare hotel and spa complex that opened last December, and the Furuma Hotel, which opened in 1998. Not only did I score a villa with a view but for the next 24 hours I was in for some serious pampering at the Nam Hai.