It was an already warm February morning when I jumped on my rented motorbike in the city of Hue, Vietnam. I was heading for Thuan An Beach on the coast about 12 kilometers away with. Though I was hopeful of finding a spot to be nude, the hope was slight. After all, I had just spent a couple of challenging days searching for naked recreation on the Son Tra Peninsula, which has more of a reputation for nudism. (Read about my time on Son Tra here).
Thuan An Beach is a long stretch of white sand running the length of the strip of land separating the South China Sea from a large lagoon. The old imperial capital of Hue lies just inland from here. This beach provided much easier naked time than Son Tra had.
Not officially nudist, but no problems
Thuan An is not officially a nudist beach. But naturist can find welcome on a long stretch of sand starting from the Ana Mandara resort running north to tip of the peninsula. This beach is backed by a long cemetery which separates it from the local fishing village. Due to the Vietnamese superstitious nature and general fear of ghost, only fisherman dare traverse the graveyard to reach the beach. And they care very little if one is nude. From the sign pictured above, head north another half kilometer as this section is more populated.
Finding your spot
Again, search out the cemetery and start from there. Or start from the Ana Mandara resort, leaving your vehicle in the secured parking area there. While I was there, I found a spot among simple wooden fishing boats. There was no one else around save a handful of fishermen repairing alternately their boats and their colorful nets.
The beach has soft white sand and is surprising clean for Southeast Asia. The surf was a bit strong but swimming was possible, even for the pitiful swimmer that I am.
Friendly Thuan An fishermen
After I had swum and lay sprawled on the sand for a few minutes, some of the locals came by to offer their meek greeting. This consisted of a stream of 8 to 10 fisherman approaching individually or in pairs. As they spoke no English and I hardly any Vietnamese, we just smiled at each other and exchanged understanding nods. A couple of them did seem to take some pleasure in pointing at my genitalia and making some crude hand gestures. I understood this to mean that they found the whole situation of my nudity amusing and unexpected. But otherwise, none of the men even glanced at anything other than my eyes. One or two squatted next to me to keep me in silent company for a couple of minutes before moving on. This I understood to be their way of joining me so that I felt like a welcomed guest. It worked. Such little hospital gestures are in fact common in Vietnam.
Getting to Thuan An
The city of Hue is in central Vietnam with an international airport and a stop on the Reunification Express train line. Highway QL498 goes directly from the city to Thuan An beach. Go by motorbike if you can. It’s a pretty and pleasant ride.