Can Gio Forest saigon

This small mangrove island lies in the delta of the Saigon River and makes for one of the closest "beaches" to the city.

The beach here is the closest to Saigon, but don't pack the suncream and bathers just yet — it's more of a mudflat than a beach. The tide goes out for miles to reveal huge stretches of silt where locals hunt for shrimp and other shellfish, and visitors sit under umbrellas eating their seafood lunches. The beach is fairly undeveloped with only a few restaurants and cafes along the front.

Further inland is Can Gio Mangrove Park, an area under protection. Nearby is a small crocodile farm, also home to hundreds of monkeys. The primates are not contained in any way, and they are ready to grab anything in your possession at the first opportunity, so it's best not to carry snatchable items.

60km from Saigon

How to get there: Day trips leave from Pham Ngu Lao, but it's possible to make the 60km trip there independently, especially by bike. First get to the ferry crossing at Nha Be, past District Seven. The ferry takes 10 minutes to arrive in Can Gio and from there the road to the beach is straight, dusty and uncomfortable, but doable.

Buses also depart from Ben Thanh market station to Nha Be, but transport on the Can Gio side is not so frequent.

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