How Windsurfing Came to Vietnam

By: City Pass Guide

Mui Ne is the most popular destination for water sports in Vietnam. Its consistent winds and geographical location attract ever-increasing, like-minded water sports fans from around the world.

However, Mui Ne was not always known for its wind and water sport activities. Let’s go back to 1995: no kite surfers to be seen, not a single windsurfer spotted planing across the waters of the beautiful, untouched bay of Mui Ne. But in December of that year a young Frenchman arrived with an addiction to windsurfing, conveniently based and working at the Novotel Resort in Phan Thiet less than 15km from Mui Ne Bay.

Pascal Lefebvre was one of the first to experience the potential and untapped wind conditions. We must remember there was not a lot of internet access back then in the local area, and the only people who knew of Mui Ne’s wind were the locals, who had never heard of windsurfing and had absolutely no interest in water/wind-based sports. In fact, for the locals the wind was more of an annoyance rather than something to be enjoyed.

Pascal, however, noticed on his first visits to the bay that the local residents had only really constructed buildings on the other side of the road along the beach. To a keen windsurfer that was obvious evidence of strong wind blowing from the sea to the land. Closer inspection of the wind-battered palm trees only confirmed his suspicions. He recalls having a meeting interrupted on the sixth floor of the Novotel building, windows violently rattling from howling wind at speeds of more than 30 knots.

The only problem for a keen windsurfer like Pascal was that there were no water sports shops, no rental centers and no water sports schools, meaning no way to get his hands on any equipment. That was until Pascal was introduced to Daniel Arnaud.

Daniel had opened a beachside resort in the heart of the bay called Coco Beach (one of only a handful of resorts in Mui Ne at that time) and luckily for Pascal, Daniel had some very basic windsurf equipment. From that moment Pascal could be found spending any free time rigging up equipment at Coco Beach and enjoying the entire bay to himself, a windsurfer’s paradise.

After travelling around Vietnam working for Victoria Resorts, Pascal took on a full-time position as general manager at Victoria Phan Thiet, a perfect location to witness the full force of Mui Ne’s wind. By this time he had managed to buy some second-hand equipment to use himself but always kept an eye open for more windsurf sails and boards. 

He was lucky enough to find a local resort that had imported some windsurf equipment, but due to a lack of knowledge it wasn’t getting used. Pascal was quick to buy everything the resort had and now found himself with enough equipment to run the very first windsurf competition in Mui Ne, if not Vietnam. It was named “The Fun Cup” and with only a handful of amateur riders the focus was on light-hearted enjoyment rather than serious competition. The event, although small, was a great success and added fuel to Pascal’s quest to promote Mui Ne worldwide. He created the very first windsurfing website for Vietnam, www.windsurf-vietnam.com.

On December 16, 2001 Jibe’s windsurf and water sports club was born. Pascal and his wife Phuong had taken the next step by opening the Full Moon Hotel and Jibe’s Beach Club in the heart of the bay. This provided windsurfers from all over the world with a place to stay and a centre to rent equipment. News spread fast about the venture and Mui Ne’s amazing wind conditions, and foreign /media as well as sports and tourism magazines began to take Mui Ne more seriously.

By 2011 Mui Ne was home to the PWA (Professional Windsurfers Association) World Windsurfing Tour, a widely recognized international event covered by the world’s sporting /media. The KTA (Kite Tour Asia) also held a number of events in Mui Ne and it’s only a matter of time before Mui Ne welcomes the PKRA (Professional Kiteboard Riders Association) events. Jibe’s hosted the 15th Vietnam Windsurf Fun Cup with close to 40 international competitors, including local riders from Vietnam.

Mui Ne has come a long way from the days of a single, dusty road, oxcarts and the odd lone foreign backpacker. It is now firmly on the map as the best water-sport location in Vietnam, and one of the best locations in the whole of Asia, with a vast choice of accommodation, restaurants and nightlife. Kite surfing, windsurfing, classic wave surfing, stand-up paddling and sailing have brought this once sleepy little fishing village to life. In the middle of the high season (November-April) it is not uncommon to see more than 200 kite surfers on the water and sometimes in the air, but I can’t help feel a twinge of nostalgia for the old days when the bay was still a secret jewel in Vietnam’s beautiful coast line.

Author: Adie Casket


The 5th Suoi Nuoc Sunrise Surf Competition - November 2015

By: City Pass Guide

In November 2015, the 5th annual Sunrise, Surf contest will be held. With a one month waiting period to ensure best surf conditions at Suoi Nuoc, Mui Ne, the competition will feature a men’s and women’s division. Discipline will be short board and/or long board.

With competitors from Vietnam, Australia, France, Russia and the USA, the competition has a friendly international vibe. Organizers and judges will make a decision on the date of the event 72 hours prior to the start of competition. The decision will be based on weather, wind and swell forecasts. Maximum size, best wind direction and weather conditions will ensure all competitors get to showcase their skills in the biggest and best waves possible. Video of previous event:

The judges will be from different countries and surf outlets, all will have between15-30 thirty years of surfing experience, ensuring expert judging and unbiased results. Our event will attract competitors from Vietnam, Australia, France, Russia and the USA; they will ensure an amazing competition. This Sunrise competition reaches different audience segment and provides fun, entertaining.

The competition is not just about winning. It's about having fun with family and friends, celebrating the surfing lifestyle, the beach and building a community.

 

 


Kitesurf Championships: A lot of travel and hard work

By: Michael Mahe

Kitesurf Championships: A lot of travel and hard work

Kitesurfing has become a competitive sport with a number of different championships.  Participating in kitesurf championships often involves hard training during the winter months and lots of travel during spring, summer, and autumn, when the circuit is in full swing.

The most important tournament is “Kite World Tour” organized by the “PKRA” (Professional Kiteriders Association) and is considered by many as the Formula 1 of kitesurfing.

The championship is organized as a circuit around world with locations like Morocco, China, KitesurfGermany and France. Riders compete in three different disciplines:  freestyle (jumps and tricks), course racing (similar to a regatta in sailing), and wave riding.

They accumulate points at each event, and at the end of the year, the rider with the most points becomes world champion.

Professional riders participating in the Kite World Tour tend be young and most are less than 20 years old.  The current world champions in Alex Giselafreestyle are Alex Pastor (Men) and Gisela Pulido (Women), both from Spain.

The KTA (Kite Tour Asia) is a regional competition in Asia, and spans a number of Asian countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, China, and Indonesia.  In the past, Mui Ne in Vietnam was also part of this circuit.  The current Asian Champion in Freestyle Men is Nguyen Duc Long from Vietnam (the local hero in Mui Ne), and Aya Oshima from Japan.Kitesurf

A native Muine, born in 1992, this young man has already had several years experience in such a sport that is still very new to many Vietnamese. Well-built, young and daring to challenge the nature, Long is widely considered an icon in Muine as he brings hope and opportunities to other youngsters

With a broader acceptance of kitesurfing, it is likely that it will become an olympic discipline and it may even replace windsurfing, which is considered a declining sport.

kitesurfAs of date, Mui Ne has yet to see its own local competition.  A lack of sponsors has impeded any organisation of anything more than some friendly face-offs on the water.


Annual Beach Volleyball Tournament 2015 hosted at Jibes Watersport Centre

By: City Pass Guide

Saturday the 4th of July saw the 5th Annual Beach Volleyball Tournament, hosted at Jibes Watersport Centre, Full Moon Village Suoi Nuoc.

This year, seven well trained teams participated in the competition: Pandanus Resort, Jibe’s Water Sport Center, Ball Slappers, Victoria Resort, French Team, Takalau and Princess D’An Nam.

After a briefing from the referees on rules and regulations, the competition began at 10:00 am to the delight of the competitors and spectators under a sunny tropical sky.

A beautiful lunch was organized for competitors to get their strength back and relax, before completing the heats and starting the semi-finals and final.

Against all odds, Victoria team, great winner from last year, were knocked out by Takalau, and took 4th place in the ranking. Takalau, determined to honor its first participation, played hard and made it through each heat to eventually find themselves at the final. After defeating Princess D’An Nam, Takalau played the grand finale against Pandanus.

After a finale full of suspense and rebounds, Pandanus was finally the winner!!

Enthusiast volleyball players, professional, expat or Vietnamese ensured an amazing tournament. The 5th competition was full of emotion and suspense until the end, all the teams fought hard to win. 

After a great day of competition, the teams, spectators and sponsors gathered to give huge applause for all the effort put in by the competitors at the Awards Ceremony.

The day’s activities concluded with a Beach Barbeque and After Party where everyone dined and danced the night away. The perfect end to a great sporting event.

The 5th Annual Beach Volleyball Tournament was a great success with motivated and well trained teams. Congratulations to the winners, Pandanus and all the teams who competed.

We would like to thank our referees, our speaker who animated the event, and all our sponsors for their generous contribution: Sea Links Golf, Whale Village Guest House, Full Moon Village, Coco Beach Resort, Marou Chocolate, Coco Cola, Le fruit, The Warehouse, AHI Co LTD, Tropical Mini Golf, Jibe’s Water Sport Club, Takalau Resort, The Cliff, and SEL company. 

We hope to see you all there again next year on the 2nd of July 2016 for the 6th edition of the Beach Volley ball Tournament.


Nightlife in Phan Thiet: Best Bars and Clubs

By: Steve Raymond

The night life in Phan Thiet has evolved significantly over the past ten years. A decade ago, all the nightlife activity was in the city centre. However, as the tourist strip of Ham Tien grew and more resorts were opened, the nightlife scene also began to develop along the beach in order to serve the growing number of foreign tourists.

There are still four clubs in the city centre that cater mostly to the local community, but tourists in Ham Tien no longer have to travel into the city centre for night time activities.

Probably the most modern high-tech club is Paris Night Club Bar at k. 1, Duong Tu Van Tu in Phu Thuy ward. The lighting and physical facilities in the club are very high end and for those who like high energy dance clubs with very loud music, this place will fulfill their craving. The DJs vary from night to night and sometimes they have famous Vietnamese DJs doing stints at the club.

clubs phan thietImage source: facebook.com/parisnightcafe

The Las Vegas Beer Club at 29 Vo Van Kiet in Phu Thuy ward is a typical Vietnamese disco club with very little or no seating. Guests are expected to stand at high bar tables and dance around the tables, rather than on a dance floor. There are lots of young waiters and waitresses in white shirts and bow ties pushing drinks. Although not as popular as the Paris Night Club Bar, this is a good place for male patrons looking for a little female company.

Vien Dong Club on Nguyen Tat Thanh Street in Hung Long ward is like the Las Vegas Beer Club, where guests are expected to stand and drink at the tables. Like the other clubs, this has a lot to do with the type of license they have, which in this case, is as an adjunct to Vien Dong Restaurant. Sometimes the club has live singers on stage.

clubs phan thietImage source: facebook.com/VIENDONG.CLUBB

MTV Huyen Trang Club at 9-11 Trung Nghi in Duc Nghia ward sometimes offers fashion shows and theme parties and is popular with locals celebrating things like birthdays, but most of the time it is a disco dance club with large projection screens behind the DJs. Located on the river, this club and it’s predecessor, MTV, which was on a nearby street, has been around for a long time.

The rest of the clubs are located in Ham Tien ward, which is where most of the resorts and hotels are located. Whereas the city centre clubs cater mostly to locals, the Ham Tien clubs cater more to the foreign tourists. The early evening clubs are located west of the Bo Ke area in Ham Tien, whereas the later clubs and those that stay open until the early morning hours are all located east of the Bo Ke area.

A good place to start the evening is at Joe’s Cafe, 86 Nguyen Dinh Chieu. The only place in Ham Tien with live music 365 days a year, Joe’s is a laid back restaurant and bar with an eclectic mix of furniture.

clubs phan thietImage source: joescafemuine.com

Within walking distance and just west of Joe’s are two beach bars that close well before midnight. Although not as loud as at the disco clubs, they have good music and are nice places to enjoy a drink and watch the waves along the beach.

Sankara, 78 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, which opened in 2008 as a high end restaurant and club, has seen better days. However, it is still a nice place to chill for an hour or two with a drink. Just west of Sankara is VKS Beach Club, 68 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, which was formerly a late night club.

clubs phan thietImage source: facebook.com/VKSBeachClub

However, part of the club washed into the ocean during a storm. The club closed and afterwards reopened only as a restaurant and beach bar.

After 10 P.M., take a taxi about three kilometres east to Pogo Beach Bar at 138 Nguyen Dinh Chieu. The American-owned club is popular with young tourists and it has hardly any Vietnamese patrons. It offers comfortable loungers on the beach and a nice combination of disco music styles, with periodic avante garde entertainers/DJs who sing along with their disco sounds.

A little less than a kilometre west of Pogo is the newest club on the strip: Twins Coffee and Lounge, 122A Nguyen Dinh Chieu. Regardless of the name, this is a high tech discotheque on the beach. It has a Vietnamese owner/manager and like some of its counterparts in the city centre that cater almost exclusively to the Vietnamese market, Twins will try to sell drinks by the bottle if anyone asks for branded liquors in their cocktails.

clubs phan thietImage source: muinetourhotel.com

Next to Twins is Lineup Beach Bar and Lounge at 122 Nguyen Dinh Chieu. It’s a rather small venue, but it has an upscale feel. It is very popular with the Russian market, probably because it has a Russian manager.

A couple hundred metres west of Lineup is the most popular beach bar in Phan Thiet. The owners are a Hungarian man and his business partner; a Vietnamese lady. Dragon Beach Lounge & Club, 120/1 Nguyen Dinh Chieu has two entirely separate dance floors with different DJs and different styles of music. One dance floor and DJ stand is indoor and the other is outdoor, each with its own bar. On the weekends, the club provides both fire dancers and pole dancers who perform at the outdoor bar area. Plus, during the dry season, they offer bonfires on the beach. On Saturday nights it has a good mix of gay and straight Vietnamese, foreign expats and foreign tourists. The club stays open until 04:00 and is busiest after midnight.

clubs phan thietImage source: facebook.com/DragonBeachMuiNe

Banner image source: thegioiclub.vn


Christmas and New Year in Phan Thiet and Mui Ne

By: Simon Stanley

Let the celebrations begin! Christmas in Phan Thiet and Mui Ne is a huge occasion, not only for the Vietnamese but also for the many tourists from all over the world who will fill up the resorts and guests houses of this popular area.

Maybe you are wondering why a country whose main religion is Buddhism, celebrate Christmas. Well, it is because there are many Catholics in Phan Thiet and also the area embraces the celebration of this wonderful event. Whether the Vietnamese believe in it or not, the tourists come here for a great celebration and so commercialism takes over and quite rightly too.

Mui Ne Beach for Christmas and New Year

The streets, Resorts and restaurants all have beautiful decorations and loud Christmas music blaring away from loudspeakers, with the carols sung in a wide variety of national languages. The Christmas celebrations are held on the evening of December 24th and the high majority of Resorts include the cost of a Christmas party in the cost of staying over this popular time. New Years Eve is the same, with all inclusive packages the only way of staying at the most popular Resorts. But be assured, the food will be excellent as well as the entertainment and you will spend the evening with like minded people who want to enjoy themselves.

Christmas and New Year in Phan Thiet

When the Resort parties have finished, then many will head off to the late night bars such as Sankara, Dragon Beach, Joe's, Pogo Bar, VKS and a few others in the area where there will be wild celebrations, especially on New Years Eve, until the early hours of the morning. But what better way to clear a thick head than a dip in the sea or swimming pool in the morning and then a hearty breakfast. Great fun!

There is one thing not to be missed. You should head towards Phan Thiet to see the incredible decorations along the roadside between the tollgate and the next two kilometers. It is quite breathtaking and splendid to see the hard work the residents have put into making a spectacular display. This area is predominantly Roman Catholic so they make a really big effort to put on a great show and each year the decorations get better and better. You need to see this at night to get the best effect but one word of warning, the closer is gets to the 24th of December, the more Vietnamese come out to look and the roads get really crowded, but miss it at your peril.

 Mui Ne Phan Thiet Christmas and New Year 2015

For the Russians, there is also their celebration of Christmas on January 7th, so the celebrations continue and then, starting from February 15th, this is the start of the Vietnamese New Year (Tet). Do not expect to see big celebrations for the first two or three days because this is the time for visiting families but after that time, with National holidays for the next few days, the Vietnamese will start to travel and Mui Ne and Phan Thiet are one of the most popular areas to visit and have fun.

Here at Citypass, we wish all our readers a very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
Chúc mừng năm mới 

(Happy New Year in Vietnamese)

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