Phan Thiet is the largest town in Binh Thuan province, 200 km from Saigon on the coast in South Central Vietnam. Phan Thiet is surrounded by beautiful beaches, including the Bai Rang or Rang Beach, but is best known for its fish sauce and for the nearby tourist beach of Mui Ne.
Mui Neis a popular beach destination for Vietnamese and expats living in HCMC, as well as a growing number of tourists. Along a 22 km stretch of white sands from Phan Thiet to a fishing village at the tip of the Mui Ne peninsula, Mui Ne offers a wide selection of resorts, many with thatched bungalows (from luxury to basic) right along the beach.
From local restaurants with great fresh cheap seafood to a growing number of restaurants and bars catering to tourists, options exist that make it worth venturing beyond your resort, although Mui Ne is still much quieter than the more developed beach destination of Nha Trang.
What to Do?
Besides relaxing on the beach, popular activities include golf at the Ocean Dunes Golf Club, a top-notch 18-hole golf course designed by Nick Faldo or a visit to the spectacular sand dunes of Hon Rom (sand sledding available!) or to the nearby 8th century Cham architecture.
Mui Ne has also become a popular destination for kitesurfing and windsurfing, with the best wind from November to April, and is also one of the few destinations in Vietnam for surfing, with waves from August to December.
When to Go?
The weather in Phan Thiet is roughly the same all year – hot and dry with an average temperature of around 27 degrees. The rainy season begins in May and runs through October, but the rain is often light and sporadic. The waves are best from August to December, and the wind is best from November to April, so never really a bad time to go.
How To Get There ?
Car or Bus
The most convenient way to get to Mui Ne is by car from Ho Chi Minh – the road is in good condition with a variety of resorts and restaurants along the way. There are also a number of tourist buses that run this route, which can easily be arranged within HCMC in the Pham Ngu Lao backpacker area. The trip is about 3 to 4 hour drive.
The closest train station to Phan Thiet is in Muong Man, 12km west of Phan Thiet, and the Reunification Express train between Hanoi and HCMC stops here. From Muong Man travelers can take a car, motorbike or bus to Phan Thiet or Mui Ne.
What to Bring ?
Larger-sized people may have difficulty buying cloths in the market. Best to bring enough cloths with you, or have them tailor-made here
Electronic gadgets, battery chargers, laptop equipment. There are not a lot of shops for this in neighboring Phan Thiet.
DVDs and Audio CD””s. There are not many shops in Phan Thiet (there are a few though), that sell foreign digital media (except in VCD format).
Reading material. Only a few shops in Mui Ne have a very limited selection of foreign reading material.
Sun protection. You can buy it here but you should have it ready from the time you get off the bus.
Most of the hotels and resorts in Mui Ne can arrange private car transport for you from HCMC or Nha Trang, but it is generally cheaper to book the car separately.
If you are taking the open tour bus to or from Phan Thiet or Mui Ne, be sure to reconfirm your seat for the return leg, as advised on your ticket. The bus gets crowded on weekends and if you do not reconfirm, they may give away your seat!