Phan Thiet

A sleeping Buddha, fish sauce factory, whale worship temple and fairy stream provide plenty of reasons to leave your beach resort in Phan Thiet, if only for one day.

Phan Thiet’s many beach resorts are wonderful, but don’t forget to get out and explore the area. The colourful fleet of wooden boats keep Phan Thiet’s famous fish sauce factories busy. Van Thuy Tu Temple has some amazing whale skeletons, while monkeys roam Ta Cu Mountain with its impressive sleeping Buddha. But, it’s the colourful Suoi Tien (Fairy Stream) behind the red sand dunes of Mui Ne Beach that will really take your breath away.

Frequently Asked Questions about Phan Thiet

Should I spent a few nights in Phan Thiet City or head straight to Mui Ne?

While many travellers only get a glimpse of Phan Thiet City on their way to the beachside resort town of Mui Ne, it would be a shame to skip this bustling port completely. A stay here could mean range of authentic Vietnamese experiences. With a daily influx of fishermen unloading their catch at the docks, there's plenty of delicious seafood on offer. You can also learn about the city's long and fascinating tradition of whale worship at Van Thuy Tu. Housing some gigantic whale skeletons, this unique temple dates back over 200 years. And there's another unmissable, although not exactly traditional Vietnamese, experience for those that aren't afraid of heights: See Phan Thiet from a hot air balloon after taking off from the top of one of the surrounding sand dunes.

What is there to do in Mui Ne (apart from swimming)?

When it comes to nature, Mui Ne is blessed with much more than just beautiful beaches. Its famous red dunes are perhaps the most well-known attraction and for good reason. These towering hills of sand look as though they belong more to the desert than the coast. Rent a sled from the top and enjoy a fast-paced ride back down to the beach. If you thought the red dunes were impressive, just wait till you see the white ones! They sit 24 kilometres to the northeast, and you'll find that not as many tourists make the journey to see them. But trust us, it's definitely worth it if you've got the time.

What's that fishy smell?

Depending on what time of year you pull up in Phan Thiet, you may notice a peculiar smell lingering in the air. The city is famed for its production of nuoc mam (fish sauce). A staple in Vietnamese cooking, this pungent sauce is made from freshly caught anchovies. The fish are cleaned and then left outside in traditional vats to ferment for a period of up to eight months. Don't let this put you off though - the finished product is an essential ingredient in many of the delicious Vietnamese dishes!

Where can I take windsurfing lessons in Phan Thiet?

Absolute beginner? Not a problem. There are heaps of schools in Mui Ne, and the helpful staff will teach you all you need to know to get out and start having fun. Beginning on flat water and slowly working up to waves, many people pick up this thrilling sport quicker than they'd expect. If you've had some experience with the sport and you'd like to improve your technique, consider signing up for an intermediate or advanced lesson. It's amazing how far a few tips and tricks can go!