Get Swept Away by the Winds of Mui Ne

By: City Pass Guide

Be Swept Away by the Winds of Mui Ne

Many of my international friends ask me why I live in Mui Ne, and why visitors should choose to stay here. What they don’t understand is that there isn’t just one reason – so much depends on the interests of the traveller. Naturally, this area is very famous as a kite surfing destination due to its consistent afternoon winds throughout the dry season. Every water sports fan is in luck, because there’s a wide range of other activities to enjoy, like sailing, windsurfing and stand-up paddleboarding. For those not interested in watersports, worry not! Mui Ne has plenty more to offer, making it appealing to nearly everyone.

Although I’m not a kite surfer, I love the cool breeze in the afternoon that makes the tropical heat here a pleasure. Whether you are swimming, relaxing poolside, out for a day of shopping, or exploring the sand dunes and ancient Cham temples, the weather in Phan Thiet is exceptional. Travellers are never overwhelmed by any overbearing heat, and often find themselves pleasantly surprised by the moderate climate.

Photo by: Dion Hinchcliffe

Visitors are also impressed with the diversity of Mui Ne, and find no shortage of engaging activities in the region. Each area of Phan Thiet has their own distinguishing marks, and some of the most well-known beaches of Mui Ne, like Ke Ga and Tien Thanh, are tranquil and harmonious, making it easy to relax. Considering the lack of traffic near these beaches, walking or taking a motorbike along the coast is a great way to explore the natural beauty at your own pace.

Plus, Phan Thiet is a hidden gem. Compared to many of Vietnam’s other coastal hot spots, this one is not as populated with tourists. Although this region’s status is growing it’s becoming more of a destination, it’s still very easy to find yourself in the heart of real, local Vietnamese culture.

Phu Hai Ward is a hilly area along the coastline containing loads of pocketed small beaches and secret coves. An area called Sea Links City of Phu Hai ward also has a winery, golfing and an abundance of housing and resort options. Phu Hai is also home to the eighth-century Thap Poshanu Cham Tower, which is well worth a stop.

Rang Beach contains the 10-kilometre tourist strip loaded with hotels, bars, shopping, spas and exceptional restaurants. Everything you need can be found in this area, and it’s by far the most vibrant part of Mui Ne. It has a thriving nightlife, and an unmatched party atmosphere in the region. This is definitely a spot to check out when you take your trip to Mui Ne.

Perhaps the greatest pull of Phan Thiet, however, are its famous red and white sand dunes, which can be found in many locations around the city. Due to the windy climate, nature has used one of its finest tools to sculpt some of the world’s most enormous dunes, offering visitors a chance to watch the sunset over the water and lounge in the wondrous mountains of sand. Trips to the top of the dunes can be an exhausting hike, so be sure to have a look at the many options available. You can easily rent a quad or jeep to make your way up these sizable wonders.

Head Photo by: Tri Nguyen

A City of Wind and Water

By: City Pass Guide

Looking for the perfect spot for your next unique and exhilarating vacation? Let us present to you Mui Ne – a paradise not only for wave and kite surfers, but for everyone who loves the ocean, sandy beaches, tropical fruits and fresh seafood.

Only a three-to-four-hour bus ride from the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City, one can journey along the winding, coastal road whilst climbing uphill to the ancient towers left by the Cham civilization before reaching the white crescent sandy beaches known as Mui Ne Bay.

Mui Ne or Ham Tien?

Did you know that Mui Ne itself was only a small fishing village? This secluded southern beach has seen rapid development over the past 20 years, and has become one of the forefront tourist destinations in the country. Some of the first travellers arrived here in the mid-1990s and camped on the sand under the shade of the thousands of coconut trees. However, this place was just too beautiful to remain unknown.

Photo by: Kate Allen

Ham Tien is the most popular strip of land in the region, and it is here you can find nearly 15 kilometres of pristine beach. Hotels and resorts are primarily located on the beach side, while restaurants, shops and budget accommodation lay on the opposite. Mui Ne has become a more relaxed alternative to the lively Nha Trang, and its natural landscape is so unique in comparison that it has little problem bringing in tourists from all across the globe.

One of the Best Destinations in Viet Nam

Only a few hours’ drive from Ho Chi Minh and its international airport, Mui Ne is a perfect match for both tourists tired of airline travel and Saigoneers keen to escape the city for a weekend trip. Buses leave from HCMC to Mui Ne several times a day and cost only or dollars, which is a pleasant alternative to the domestic airport’s overwhelming environment. Taxi and mini bus transportation depend on the vehicle type and season, but are also quite reasonably priced. Getting around in Mui Ne is never a hassle, as there are many metered taxis throughout the city. For those who like to feel the fresh air and move around freely, renting a motorbike is very cheap and easy to come by. In terms of size, the town is quite small and many places can be reached on foot as well .

A Land of Adventure

There are no popular activities like diving or snorkelling, but when central Vietnam is drowning under tropical rainfalls and storms, Mui Ne stays safe and dry. The sand dunes have created a unique microclimate, and even during the rainy season (from June to September), the rain does not inconvenience its guests and inhabitants. Phan Thiet is famous for its favourable year-round weather and it has the lowest precipitation average in the country. Accordingly, the average daily temperature often hovers comfortably around 23 - 30 degrees Celsius.

Although Mui Ne is considered mainly a kitesurfing destination for people in search of wind and waves, it still has everything you need for a relaxing beach holiday, including several natural and historical attractions.

Whether you want to lounge on the shores, do some adventure hiking on one of Mui Ne’s numerous sand dunes, rent a luxury villa or cheap guest house, try exotic dishes or some Western cuisines, get lost in the late-night dance clubs or enjoy a quiet family spot – Mui Ne has it all.

Oozing with charm and a surfer’s casual ambiance, you won’t see any tall buildings here: local resorts are mostly one- or two-storey cottages hidden in lush, tropical gardens. The fishing village still coexists with the tourist area, and while the lights of the fishing boats twinkle in the darkness of the ocean till dawn, by day, kites suddenly fill the sky as they gracefully undulate in the wind.

Kitesurfing in Mui Ne

These days, Mui Ne has become the adrenaline capital of Vietnam due to its vast array of water sports. The ocean is warm all year round and beaches are wide with stunning hills of sand. Although gorgeous, these warm waters are rarely calm – as the wind cools you down, it also brings sizeable waves crashing onto the shore. The surf is ideal from August to December, but on the scarce occasion when the sea remains calm, you can rent an SUP (stand-up paddle board) or jet ski.

Photo by: Jörgen S Öfjäll

For the experienced kite surfer, the strong, stable winds provide one of the best surf environments in the world. For those that are inexperienced but willing to try, there are dozens of kite schools that will help you get your feet wet for a reasonable price.

Head photo by: Sanne Margarite

A Day in Bau Trang

By: City Pass Guide

Spring in Mui Ne (Phan Thiet) is a season of refreshment when the waves are always at their strongest, and the sand dunes show off their breathtaking beauty. Summer here is a season of growth and reward, when we see flame-red dragon fruits hidden amongst the green cactuses. Spring and summer are the special seasons for visitors to indulge themselves in all the charm this beach city brings to them. But the true beauty of Phan Thiet is found not only in its seasonal gifts, but also in its incomparable sunrise and sunset. For this, Bau Trang is the best place to experience mother nature’s majesty.

Bau Trang literally means ‘White Lakes’. In the past, there was an imposing, isolated lake surrounded on all sides by an enormous expanse of desert. Later, the government decided to build dams which separated the lake into two parts. The larger of the two goes by the name Lady Lake, and the smaller portion is referred to as Gentleman Lake. Sixty-five kilometres northeast from Phan Thiet, Bau Trang is located in the Bac Binh Village. Visitors usually take jeeps to Bau Trang, sightsee along the cliffs of Mui Ne and enjoy the splendid views of the ocean on the way to this magnificent attraction.

Photo by: Khánh Hmoong

To experience dawn at Bau Trang from Mui Ne, it’s best to start your trip at 5 a.m. A quiet morning is always the ideal time to drive through the silence of the desert, and when you pass through the Red Sand Dunes, the first glimmer of the rising sun from the East will certainly catch your eyes. Initially, red is the colour that impresses you as you traverse these noble lands. Soon after, you will be embraced with wonder by the remarkable contrast of the monumental White Sand Dunes.

Upon reaching the summit of the dunes, there are many images to stimulate your senses. The lakes radiate beneath the sunlight as the wind and sand harmoniously dance atop this solitary landscape.

Photo by: Khánh Hmoong

Around 6 p.m., the sun makes its daily trip down the horizon, painting the desert with a montage of changing colours. The lake’s water is transformed from emerald green to bright blue, while the Great White Dunes begin to shift to a burnt orange under the falling sun.

A day in Bau Trang gives its guests the chance to experience a chameleon of colour. Bau Trang, wild and rustic, is a rousing work of art in motion, and one visit here will prove to be a compelling run-in with the power of mother nature.

Head photo by: Khánh Hmoong