Best places to see fascinating coral reefs in Vietnam

Vietnam is a charming destination with its stunning natural landscape which attracts a large number of international tourists every year. In addition, the country’s long coastline with a unique marine ecosystem, especially coral species, is among the most stimulating things that all beach lovers want to explore. If you are interested in diving to see the fascinating coral reefs in Vietnam as well as the magical underwater world, so please take note below destinations for your perfect plan.

Co To, Quang Ninh

Co To Island is the only licensed destination in northern Vietnam offering coral reef diving services, starting from April 2023. Currently, visitors can explore coral reefs at Vung Tron, Chim Island, and Ong Tich Island in Thanh Lan commune, approximately 80 km offshore.

For underwater walking, tourists are equipped with a special helmet capable of withstanding high water pressure at depths of around 20 meters. The helmet is connected to an oxygen pump onboard the boat via a long hose, providing oxygen for divers during their exploration.

Phu Quoc, Kien Giang, one of the best places for coral reefs in Vietnam

Located in the southeast of Phu Quoc Island, An Thoi archipelago with about large and small 18 islands, has many beautiful coral beaches attracting domestic and foreign tourists. There are many shallow water areas in which corals can be clearly seen at a depth of 2m - 4m when diving or snorkeling, a suitable way for people who have no diving experience.

Tourists visiting Phu Quoc often opt for the 3-4 island sightseeing tour, which is a day trip by canoe, running from 7-8 AM to 4-5 PM, starting from An Thoi port on the southern island.

The typical itinerary includes islands such as Mong Tay island, May Rut island (Inner and Outer), Gam Ghi island, Roi island, and several others. Visitors have the opportunity to snorkel to observe coral reefs using snorkeling equipment.

For a more immersive coral viewing experience, tourists can also participate in the underwater walking service at the Coral Park reserved for tourism. However, tourists are not permitted to enter the Phu Quoc Marine Reserve, which is dedicated to coral conservation.

On a sunny day, visitors can see the coral at a depth of 8m - 10m when diving. The deeper you dive; the more diverse and stunning marine life is.

Phu Quoc island, one of best places for Vietnam coral reefs

Son Tra Penisula, Danang

Located 8 km from downtown Da Nang, Son Tra Peninsula boasts beautiful beaches such as Nam Beach, Rang Beach, But Beach, and Bac Beach. These beaches are characterized by steep slopes, clear waters, and are ideal for fishing and coral reef diving.

Tours depart from the city center in the morning. After visiting various locations, tourists arrive at the coral reef diving area. Son Tra Peninsula includes five coral protection zones covering a total area of approximately 134 hectares, including Sup Island, But Beach, Nom Beach, East Bac Beach, and Huc Lo.

The coral diving area is located near Sup Island, about 1.8 km offshore. Tourists are provided with life jackets, goggles, and snorkels for free swimming and shallow-water coral viewing.

Phu Quy Island (Binh Thuan)

Located around 4 - 5 hours driving from Phan Thiet, Phu Quy island is a new tourist destination in recent years. Due to less tourism exploitation, the undersea ecosystem is still extremely pristine. The diving service here is newly developed and visitors can observe the beautiful coral reefs at the depth of about 2m - 5m.

The Coral Reef at Phu Quy Island is a hotspot for SUP paddlers and divers alike. Covering approximately one square kilometer, this reef is situated on the eastern side of the island. It boasts a variety of coral types including hard corals, table corals, cabbage corals, intertwined with sea anemones and colorful fish species.

Phu Quy island, one of best places for Vietnam coral reefs

To reach the coral viewing spot, visitors need to travel about 300 meters from the shore. Tours often combine SUP paddling with diving activities. The best time for coral diving is typically from March to August each year. Tourists are equipped with SUP boards, paddles, life jackets, diving masks, snorkels, and fins. Divers can capture underwater photos or use a flycam while on the SUP board.

The safe areas with the vast array of magical corals are located in Hon Tranh, Hon Egg, Hon Den…which is accessible by canoe or boat from Phu Quy island.

Quy Nhon, Binh Dinh

In Binh Dinh, the two main spots for coral reef viewing are Ky Co in Nhon Ly commune and Hon Kho in Nhon Hai commune. Hon Kho is situated within a bay, offering tranquil waters, and is one of the most picturesque coral reef viewing spots in Quy Nhon, permitted for tourism activities. The coral reefs at Hon Kho are close to the shore, just 1-2 meters below the sea surface.

Visitors only need to wear a life jacket, put on goggles, and dip their faces into the water to witness the beauty of the coral reefs, teeming with colorful schools of small fish swimming around. During the summer, there are also sea grapes (green algae) here, making it perfect for photography enthusiasts.

Nha Trang (Khanh Hoa)

Nha Trang is among the pioneers in Vietnam for organizing coral reef diving tours. Departing from Nha Trang City, tourists can purchase tours to islands such as Tam Island, Mieu Island, Tran Beach, and Mot Island. Besides boat excursions and island swimming, visitors can participate in various diving experiences including snorkeling, scuba diving, and underwater walking.

In recent years, some well-known coral diving spots in Nha Trang like Mun Island have been required to cease operations to protect coral reefs and marine ecosystems.

Nha Trang, Vietnam, best place for coral reef


Yen Island (Phu Yen)

Located in Tuy An district (about 20 km from Tuy Hoa city), Yen Island is a special place where tourists can watch coral right on the shore. Under the water at Yen Island is a colorful lively coral reef that will be exposed prominently on the coast when the tides recede. At that time, guests only need to walk to see the coral reef.

According to local people’s experience, tides usually recede in the early afternoon or during mid-lunar months lasting about 2-3 days. Visitors need to know these best times in advance in order not to miss the chance to enjoy the attractive beauty of this sea creature.

Also due to the location near the shore, corals in Yen Island are easily trampled by a large number of visitors, causing them to die or deform. Therefore, in order to preserve the marine ecosystem, visitors should only walk along the sandy way between the coral reefs and try not to touch them as much as possible.

Cham Island (Quang Nam)

Cham Island is one of the best diving sites in Vietnam with a large variety of marine wonders and creatures. Some interesting and colorful coral areas on the island that visitors should plan to explore are Hon Dai, Hon Tai, Hon Nhon, Rang Manh, Bai Beo, Bai Xep, and Da Trang. It surely brings visitors unforgettable moments during the wonderful underwater world exploration.
After only about 15 minutes transfer by canoe, visitors will reach Hon Dai where concentrates the most coral reefs in Cham Island, Hon Dai is covered by green forest trees and is famous for a dense array of coral reefs with hundreds of colors in the turquoise water.

In addition to these above names, some other places for tourists to see amazing coral reefs are Con Dao (Ba Ria - Vung Tau), Cu Lao Cau (Binh Thuan), Vinh Hy Bay (Ninh Thuan), Ran Trao (Khanh Hoa), ...
Tourists who do not have diving experience should take the package tour with a speedboat or canoe, diving instructors, necessary diving equipment, and lunch. The duration for a coral diving tour often lasts for half a day or a full day from morning to afternoon. Visitors should never break, step and touch the corals.

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