Living in Ho Chi Minh City can sometimes be a little draining. From the ubiquitous honking to the air pollution, everyone needs a break at some point. Thankfully, I was presented with an opportunity last weekend to visit Coco Beachcamp at La Gi, Binh Thuan Province—a three-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City—for a special edition of their beach party.
I had never been to La Gi before, let alone Binh Thuan, and other than the information I got from Coco Beachcamp’s website and Facebook page, I had no idea what to expect.
A vehicle was arranged and I headed to my pick-up point in District 1, sharing the bus with a few other performers in the event.
It was a largely uneventful ride where we encountered two bouts of rain. As we zoomed by, the concrete jungle got replaced by rubber plantations and open fields. With not much else to do, I decided to focus on counting sheep and cows grazing away as we passed them by. Not long after, we reached the promised land.
The first thing that struck me was how this all seemed so familiar. The entire area reminded me of Koh Phangan in Thailand, where I went for one of their full moon parties years ago. There was a beach, campsites for those spending the night in tents as well as trailer camps for those who preferred air-conditioning. There was a nice bar with a decent selection of food and drinks with ample seating and a very tropical-inspired decor.
The furniture, the woven hanging structures for the lights, the woven pots for the plants and the signboards were all handmade (with love), as I found out much later.
In other words, this was going to be a very interesting and relaxing weekend.
The special edition of this beach party consisted of an array of both local and international performers, with music ranging from acoustic rock to EDM bangers and a special guest DJ— Manse from Sweden.
Signed under Hardwell’s Revealed Recordings, Manse has toured extensively around the world playing clubs and music festivals and has also made an appearance at the world-renowned Tomorrowland festival in 2015. And here he was, at Coco Beachcamp, in his bermudas and t-shirt, having a drink with everyone else.
The selection of music certainly fit the party atmosphere, without going over the top. Although the festival officially ended by 11:00 p.m., the resident DJ took over the decks in the indoor area where the party continued all the way til 2:00 a.m.
I was lucky to get one of the last-remaining trailer camps to spend the night. It was a comfortable little space that comes with a bed for two, an air conditioner, and my favourite feature of all—a bluetooth-enabled sound system.
The living spaces are well-distributed and there’s enough room for everybody. The trailer set-up really did seem well thought out, as they are all within reach of very crucial and clearly marked amenities like toilets and shower facilities.
The beach was really clean, with several activities laid out such as a huge twister mat that was claimed to be the largest in Vietnam, a kite-surfing instructor who was on hand if you felt like flying a little, a slip-and-slide area, and even a space for playing dizzy bat—an activity where you spin around a baseball bat a few times and then run towards a specified location. Most people fall flat on their faces almost immediately, usually facing the wrong direction. Fun times.
Two things struck me during this experience. Firstly, I was amazed at how chilled out and friendly everyone was. It was very easy to socialise—you could go up to a stranger and, before you knew it, you’d be in deep conversation for hours. The other clear difference between Coco Beachcamp and Koh Phangan was the number of locals .
This would probably have been my first time in a beach party in Asia where the locals outnumbered the foreigners six to one, and it was so unique to me. “So is this where the Vietnamese come to party?” I remember asking my partner.
It was beautiful and I wished it would have lasted longer, but my 24 hours at Coco Beachcamp was a pleasant and refreshing weekend experience. As I started hearing the familiar sounds of cars honking as my bus reached the outskirts of District 2, HCMC, I knew I had to go back to La Gi again, someday.