Hoi An Toddler Activity: An Bang Beach
An Bang Beach is about a 10-minute drive from Hoi An. With older kids, you could take bicycles, however I decided to save my two-year-old’s “sun time” for the beach as the road from Hoi An to An Bang doesn’t offer much shade. A taxi ride should cost between 100,000 VND ($5) and 150,000VND ($7.50) depending where in Hoi An you are coming from.
The taxi can drop you off directly at the beach, which means no long walk through hot sand carrying a little one and bags of sand toys. Yay! Several beachside restaurants have lounge chairs and umbrellas set up. We rented two chairs for 30,000 VND each ($1.50) at the restaurant directly to the right when you walk down the stairs. If we had eaten lunch at the same restaurant the chair rental would have been free.
The beach was clean and picturesque. Several beachside shacks are set up serving food, but other than that there aren’t any hotels or other developments. It has a very laid back feel and on a weekday in March, it wasn’t very busy.
For toddlers, the surf is too rough to really go swimming, but for competent swimmers An Bang is an awesome place for body surfing or boogie boarding. For the first 20 minutes or so, Gabriel kept trying to run full-on into the surf, but after feeling the power of the waves and having me grab him and take him back several times, he learned to just enjoy running in and out of the waves and playing in the nearby tidal pools.
An Bang is not a place where you can sit and relax while your toddler plays in the water though, so I will definitely be seeing the chiropractor for a follow-up from all the wave jumping! You also need to be careful about sand toys being taken out to sea in the strong current.
Even though he couldn’t swim, Gabriel loved jumping in the waves and playing in the sand. I ordered some fresh watermelon juice ($1 each) from the restaurant we’d parked our stuff at to try to keep him hydrated. He was so excited during this vacation that it was really tough to get him to eat and drink.
After about two hours, we packed up and headed up the stairs to eat at Soul Kitchen. Several restaurants serve up Western and Asian fare right on the beach. I picked Soul Kitchen because it had a lot of grassy space for Gabriel to run around, and it was separated from the beach enough that he wouldn’t go running back into the waves again.
Soul Kitchen had a relaxed vibe and several families were there. We ordered the banh mi (sandwiches). I had a mahi mahi sandwich for 55,000 VND ($2.75) and Gabriel and the nanny both had pork banh mi for 50,000 VND ($2.50). Gabriel just ate the bread and the pork. Soul Kitchen also had salads, pastas, and meat-based entrees.
If you’re in the mood for oven-baked pizza or other Italian fare, you can head next door to Luna d’Autonno.
Overall it was a great morning at the beach. For me what makes a beach good for toddlers is 1) a short walk in the sand 2) affordable family-friendly restaurants with bathrooms nearby 3) shady areas available 4) clean sand and 5) shallow water or tidal pools for toddlers to play.
Tip: Taxis aren’t always available, so take the phone number of the driver who drops you off and call him to pick you up when you’re ready. You can also call MaiLinh Taxi company and have them send a metered taxi to bring you back to Hoi An.
See more photos of An Bang Beach at Heather’s Picasa Web Album: An Bang Beach