Farewell Jungle Beach - one of Vietnam's original "back to nature" resorts closes

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12 Sep 2017

Jungle Beach Resort north of Nha Trang on Vietnam’s central coast will soon close its flimsy bamboo doors for the last time. We hope this doesn’t mean that one of the last pristine stretches of Vietnam’s long coastline is about to go the way of nearby Nha Trang, Danang and Phu Quoc.

One of Vietnam’s most spartan beach resorts, Jungle Beach in Ninh Hoa, north of Nha Trang, will soon close after sixteen years.

To describe Jungle Beach Resort as raw, would be to attribute an opulence to the place that is undeserved. A stay at Jungle Beach was about as close as you’d care to get to sleeping out in the elements - and that was an option too. But these were very agreeable elements.

I’d been hearing about Jungle Beach for more than a decade before I finally made it there a couple of months ago. My experience was brief - maybe 12 hours - after jumping off a train at Ninh Hoa station. It was enough time to grab dinner, go to bed, wake up for a walk and a swim, before heading on. That was all I needed to get a sense of the place - though I could easily have stayed longer.

 

Jungle Beach Ninh Hoa - closing September 2017
Photo: Mark Bowyer Jungle Beach Ninh Hoa - closing September 2017

 

Jungle Beach Ninh Hoa - closing September 2017
Photo: Mark Bowyer Jungle Beach Ninh Hoa - closing September 2017

 

Even Jungle Beach gets plastic and polystyrene junk.
Photo: Mark Bowyer Even Jungle Beach attracts plastic and polystyrene junk.

 

Jungle Beach Ninh Hoa - closing September 2017
Photo: Mark Bowyer Jungle Beach Ninh Hoa - closing September 2017

 

Jungle Beach Ninh Hoa - closing September 2017
Photo: Mark Bowyer Jungle Beach Ninh Hoa - closing September 2017

 

Jungle Beach Ninh Hoa - closing September 2017
Photo: Mark Bowyer Jungle Beach Ninh Hoa - closing September 2017

 

Jungle Beach Ninh Hoa - closing September 2017
Photo: Mark Bowyer Jungle Beach Ninh Hoa - closing September 2017



Jungle Beach won the hearts of many travellers. - you can see that on Facebook and Tripadvisor. Some were probably taken aback by its austerity and less pleased. But if you knew what you were in for, this was a perfect escape.

The closure of a small, super-basic resort might not normally be an issue of much interest. Some may even view the end of Jungle Beach as a sign of progress - and depending on what comes next, it may be.

The owner Sylvio has said that some unsympathetic developments under construction next door will make his raw concept unviable in the future. And he also said he received an offer too good to refuse for his plot of land.

It wasn’t just backpackers and bohemian foreigners who loved Jungle Beach. It was initially recommended to me by young Vietnamese travellers. And Sylvio mentioned to me that Vietnamese travellers have become an important part of his business.

So as Jungle Beach prepares to shut up shop, we’re a little wary. We feel very protective of the coastline that runs between Nha Trang and Hoi An. There are so many blissful beaches and landscapes along this stretch and we hope its development will be more diverse, environmentally considerate, and less concrete intensive, than what we’ve seen so far in nearby Nha Trang, Danang and Phu Quoc.  We hope the disappearance of Jungle Beach won’t mark the beginning of the mass-development of Ninh Hoa’s magnificent coast. We reckon some more careful planning and diverse development is in everybody’s interests.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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