Vietnam’s coastline has something for everyone, whether it is for windsurfing, kitesurfing, catamaran sailing, stand up paddle surfing (SUPing), surfing, sea kayaking or even diving. Where are the best spots and what can you expect to find?
High season: November/December to April/May (best time of year for great wind conditions)
Low season: May to November (conditions are still good for learning and riding but the wind may not be as frequent)
Phan Thiet Region
Mui Ne (Main Beach)
Kitesurfing, windsurfing, sailing, SUPing, surfing and sea kayaking
This is probably the best known location in Vietnam for water sports. Mui Ne’s Main Beach (the Ham Tien strip) provides most of the action with an abundance of water sport schools mainly focusing on kitesurfing, and a couple of more specialist clubs offering catamaran sailing, windsurfing, surfing and SUPing.
For monohull sail boats, check Manta (www.mantasailing.org). Most of the kitesurf action is towards the south end of the strip. Jibe’s Beach Club has been teaching new kitesurf, windsurf, sailing and surf students since 2000 and has great reviews.
Pros: Lots of schools, large choice of accommodation both on and off the beach, lots of riders (safety in numbers), perfect wind direction.
Cons: Lots of riders (can get a little busy especially at the southern end of the strip), there can be a bit of a beach break (waves breaking in shallow water close to the shoreline).
Experienced/intermediate riders: kitesurfing, windsurfing, surfing, catamaran sailing, SUPing
Suoi Nuoc has very similar wind and wave conditions to Hon Rom but even more space on the water. Some fun surf breaks in the early morning and strong, clean wind in the late morning and afternoon.
Full Moon Village Resort is a great water sport outlet. Contact them first to confirm your equipment needs (windsurfing, kitesurfing, catamarans, kayaks, surfboards and SUPs).
From Mui Ne Main Beach it takes about 25 minutes by scooter or you can get the local bus which will deliver you to the doorstep of Full Moon Village (US$1).
Local bus departs every 15 minutes.
Pros: Lots of space to ride, good-size waves breaking further out.
Cons: Not so suitable for beginners on the stronger days.
Experienced riders: kitesurfing, windsurfing
North of Suoi Nuoc (about 5 minutes by scooter) is a location called Turtle Island. Despite the name, you ride from the mainland.
Although you can find some flat water conditions, this spot is recommended for experienced riders only. Unfortunately there are no water sport outlets, so bring everything you need. Cross onshore wind direction with sandy bottom and no reef.
Pros: Some flat water options, never crowded, options to ride downwind to find some wave action. Cons: No storage options, no water sport centres nearby.
Little Buddha, mainly known for its clean peeling waves, is the perfect place for beginner surfers as well as intermediates. What makes the wave here so special is its predictability. Surf lessons and rental are available at a number of schools. Buddha is a very small bay and really only suited to surfers and SUPs as it can get quite crowded.
Pros: Clean waves peeling left, no reef and an easy to find location.
Cons: Can get overcrowded, better get there before late afternoon.
Phan Rang and Surrounding Areas
Windsurfing, kitesurfing, surfing
Only recently discovered, the areas around Phan Rang offer strong cross onshore wind during the high season. Most of the locations are only suitable for experienced riders, but with the correct supervision it may be possible for new kitesurfers. You will be riding over reef and tide heights can change, so be sure to check the tide charts before you arrive. Many bays in the area are supervised by the military, so stick to the recognised water sports areas. If you are looking for a kite tour or you want to stay there for a longer period, contact Phi’s Kite adventures, www.phikiteadventures.com. Jibe’s Beach club offers windsurfing day tours from Mui Ne to Phan rang including full equipment.
Pros: Flat water and waves available, strong, clean wind.
Cons: Riding over reef, certain areas are restricted.
Ke Ga and Surrounding Area
Get away from the crowds at Ke Ga (approximately 1 hour’s travel time from Mui Ne), which has some great conditions for the experienced kiter or windsurfer. Open ocean means deep water and some wave action. There are a couple of resorts with some basic equipment, but if you are serious about your hobby, take your own equipment or rent from Mui Ne. Private day tours can be arranged through Jibe’s Beach club.
Pros: you will have the water to yourself, good size waves for the experienced rider.
Cons: Very limited equipment outlets, no supervision if you have a problem.
For diving around Vietnam, check Rainbow Divers, a safe, professional service with a
number of locations around the country, www.divevietnam.com.
If you have the time, the skill and the sense of adventure, why not hit the road and make your very own discoveries? If you are the first, just maybe you get to name your discovery.
And Even More
Mui Ne might be the capital of watersports in Vietnam, but the 3,000 km of coast in Vietnam has a lot more to offer. Here are some other options for watersport connoisseurs in Vietnam.
This island paradise offers more than just beaches and fish sauce. Snorkeling, scuba diving and freediving are the sports to focus on here. Water explorers will be able to see fish and coral reefs with help from companies like Flipper Diving Club (60 Tran Hung Dao, Phu Quoc) and Rainbow Divers (11 Tran Hung Dao, Phu Quoc).
The very chill island of Con Dao will be a good fit for the traveller who wants to enjoy the beach as much as the water. Diving is the thing to do here, and the payoffs for your efforts are amazing. Get in touch with Con Dao Dive Center (Khu 7, Vo Thi Sau, Con Son Island) and Dive! Dive! Dive! (Nguyen Hue Street, Con Dao Island) to start your adventure.
No watersports list would be complete without Nha Trang. Dozens of diving companies dot the beaches, but that’s not the only thing you can do here.
Other sports include flyboarding (literally propelling yourself into the air with water), windsurfing, kayaking and parasailing.