Tourism Activities Shift in Phan Thiet

By: Patrick Gaveau

Tourism Activities Shift in Phan Thiet

activities in phan thietI am often careful when interpreting the feedback received from local actors about the status of their business activities for the season - this year was no different. In November, December and late January, some well known restaurants on the “Muine Strip” rang the bell stating that their business was down substantially, and Santimati restaurant said, “it was down 40%,” at some point. I did wonder if everything mentioned was factually accurate.

To clarify the situation, I picked a panel of chosen owners and managers working in well-known restaurants (international and local), mid-level and high-end shops as well as small and large hotels and resorts in the three to five star category. Following these interviews, visits and discussions, I realised that opinions varied per activity and that the most stable estimations came from hotel and resort professionals.

In terms of markets, most hotels and resorts recorded a steady flow of FIT (Foreign Independent Travellers) Russians originating from a wider range of destinations than ever before. Most resorts also documented growth for the UK, French and Chinese market - the latter being up 400% at some resorts. Most others recorded double digit growth.

activities in phan thietPandanus Resort, who is tracing substantial growth in this market as well.

Apart from Germans, who mainly travel in large groups at a lower price point, Phan Thiet still remains a FIT driven destination. This is good news for the many small businesses on the “Muine Strip”.

Even the Chinese travel individually for the most part, and the documented booking growth is largely channeled by OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) such as Booking.com and Agoda.com. This is good news as it positively affects the bottom line of resorts.

Private small business owners of restaurants, shops and bed & breakfasts, on the other hand, had mixed feelings about their business activities status. Pascal from Jibes recorded good growth in the last three months for his shop and restaurant while Kim Shop reported a 25% decreases in average spending year on year.

To better understand the market situation of these actors (restaurants, shops and activity providers) in Phan Thiet; allow me to list some of the key influencing business activity factors that were reported by many of the interviewed parties.

  1. The number of travellers in Phan Thiet is stable or growing.
  2. Market diversification is increasing.
  3. Behavioral and consumption pattern for each market may differ.
  4. The number of qualitative outlets is on the rise.
  5. The quantitative growth of small outlets out-numbers the increase in demand.
  6. Native Russians tend to spend money at places with Russian speaking staff/owners.
  7. Some Russian travellers do follow instructions given by their travel operators.
  8. Trip Advisor reviews affect the turnover of many travel related businesses.
  9. Travellers are wiser with their shrinking leisure budget.

If small businesses begin to understand how each of the above listed factors can affect their business activities, they may choose to adapt accordingly, adjusting the way they operate in order to tackle challenges and potential business available in their destination.


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.

 

 


Learning and improving kitesurfing skills in Mui Ne

By: Michael Mahe

While kitesurfing is still classified as an extreme sport, it has become easier and safer to learn over the last years.  The International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) has developed standards for instructors which are globally accepted (similar to the “PADI” courses for scuba diving). Schools which are accredited by the IKO only employ instructors who have passed difficult exams in both theory and practice of kitesurfing along with first aid training.

Starting out, it will take on average around 10 hours of practice to get up on the kiteboard and harness the wind.   Interestingly, there is no marked difference between students who have prior experience in windsurfing or other watersports and those who have never practiced any watersports.

A kiteboard student starts out with a couple of theory lessons that provide information about wind, waves, and basic kitesurfing safety rules.  Then, the student will learn how to steer a kite with a smaller “trainer” kite on the beach. Once the qualified instructor feels that the student has some practical experience flying the trainer kite, the student will move up a real kite on the beach.  This allows the student to explore not only how to steer the kite to the left and right but also how to increase and decrease its power.

Once the instructor feels that the student is comfortable flying the kite on the beach, the instructor will bring the student out on the sea without a kiteboard. The student will learn how to “body drag”, that is, to master the kite in the water.

After some practice in the water, the student will go out on the water strapped to a kiteboard with the kite. The first couple of tries may not be successful but it takes only little practice to coordinate the kite and the board, and the formerly novice kitesurfer will have a huge smile on their face by the end of the day!

While learning this fascinating sport is easy, one shouldn’t underestimate the potential hazards associated with kitesurfing.  We recommend taking classes with an IKO approved school with qualified instructors.  In Mui Ne, there are two such IKO approved schools, Kiteboarding Ananda (KBA) located at Ananda Resort and CSky located at Sunshine Beach.  Some of the non-IKO approved schools in Mui Ne will employ IKO accredited instructors, so students are encouraged to verify the diploma of his or her instructor before committing to a kitesurfing course.

These schools aren’t only for the novice kiteboarder. Many kite schools also offer courses for inter/mediate or even advanced riders teaching skills such as jumping or jibing (changing the direction).

If you are not sure if kitesurfing is for you, just go ahead and take a couple of lessons.  It might change your life like thousands of others before you.

Writer: Michael Mahe


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

  Thank you for Signing Up
Please correct the marked field(s) below.

IS THERE A STORY OR TIP

YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US?

GET IN TOUCH