Ho Tram Beach has, with the opening of the new highway out to the South East of Saigon, become much easier to reach. Along with it the beaches of Mui Ne and Vung Tao have suddenly become much more accessible for the people of the nation’s biggest city. I went on a minivan trip to Ho Tram Beach at the weekend with the staff of Saigon Star International School and what was a three and a half hour coach trip last year was rattled off in a mere two hours. We met at The Cantovil Parkson in District 2 at 7.30 on Sunday morning and headed off out of the city along the Hanoi Highway, immediately leaving the suburbs behind and soon flying along the new, almost empty highway.

One of the new teachers at the school Ann-Marie MacDonald was on the trip with her lovely family, husband Adam and children Ella and Imogen. Ella had insisted on buying pain au chocolate for us all to enjoy on the journey. Not the tidiest of things to eat on a bumpy bus, but so delicious, I was glad I chose the best bus for Ho Tram Beach.

Ella with her chocolate face
Ella with her chocolate face

We arrived at Ho Tram Beach, unloaded the bus and were on the sand at 9.45. Suitably ensconced around a large table we settled into our deck chairs and chilled out. After a coffee and a chat, we all hit the sea and splashed around for an hour or two. This was so great, to get away from the weekly grind, find a superb beach and just relax with friends, was just what the doctor had ordered.

James, Brendan and Huw, this is the life
James, Brendan and Huw, this is the life

Soon it was lunchtime and we chose plenty from the extensive menu, the card for which, was wonderfully presented, being crafted from hinged wooden sheets, with the words added in pokerwork, with incredibly fine detail.

Food on Ho Tram Beach

The beautiful poker work menu
The beautiful poker work menu

When the food arrived we were not disappointed, and it just kept on arriving. Amazing clams with lemon grass, giant prawns with lemon and pepper sauce, clams with peanuts and greens, the most amazing chilli sauce, garlic rice, razor shells and a few cold beers. Ho Tram beach had supplied the best beach picnic I’ve ever had.

Clams with lemongrass
Clams with lemongrass
Clams with peanut, greens and a superb chilli sauce
Clams with peanut, greens and a superb chilli sauce
Razor shells
Razor shells
The giant prawns did not disappoint
The giant prawns did not disappoint

After lunch the weather took a turn for the spectacular. Storm clouds rolled in and presented an amazing display over the sea, the expected storm never quite arrived, though looking down the beach, they were really getting it a few miles to the west of us. The light was incredible, almost like an eclipse at one point, but the clouds just rolled on by and within an hour or so, the sun was back out and everything was back to normal.

A boats slips gently by as the threatened does the samestorm
A boats slips gently by as the threatened does the samestorm
An incredible cloud formation over the beach at Ho Tram
An incredible cloud formation over the beach at Ho Tram

James Quantrill a new teacher at the school endeared himself to everyone by taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on the beach. The ice water that had been cooling the beers was just about as cold as water can get without freezing. It was the perfect fun end to a great day out.

We were soon on the bus and making out way back to Saigon, arriving back at our pickup point at around 6.30. Ho Tram is now a perfect day trip out from the city. Whereas before it was asking a bit much to spend 6 or 7 hours travelling to and from, four hours return journey is fine when a great day out like this is enjoyed.

Have you been to Ho Tram Beach since the new highway was opened? Let us have your experiences.