The capital of Binh Thuan province, Phan Thiet, is a small-but-thriving Vietnamese city, and would be a decent destination for tourists in its own right, but for one small problem: it's a stone's throw from Mui Ne, and there's no good reason for the foreign tourist to dally here when a prime beach-town is beckoning just over the horizon.
That being the case, Phan Thiet sees very few foreign faces, save those visiting on a day trip from Mui Ne or belting through on an Open Tour minibus.
For the Vietnamese tourist however, Phan Thiet is a good compromise -- they don't have to choose between expensive resorts and low-rent guest houses like in Mui Ne, good, reasonably-priced seafood restaurants line the water, and the beach is just as fine as Mui Ne -- there's just less of it.
Domestic package tours tend to show up in Phan Thiet in force as well, no doubt cutting sweet deals with local hotels and taking advantage of the proximity to Mui Ne.
A number of minor treats -- including Cham towers and huge cemeteries -- can all be easily visited either independently from here (or Mui Ne).
In terms of the cost of accommodation, the variety of eats and things to do, we have to recommend Mui Ne as the better destination. But there are things to do and see in Phan Thiet proper that make it worth a day trip, and a night or two here isn't a bad idea if you have the time and budget for it in your travel schedule.
Text and/or map last updated on 30th October, 2013.
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Fabulous little town
We stayed at Phan Thiet for three nights over Tet in 2012, and had a fabulous time. It's a smallish town, built around a bustling fishing harbour packed with colourful boats that are stunning at sunset - walk down to the mouth of the harbour to see the fish markets in action. There are a few markets which are reasonably sized, good fun and offer the normal range of consumables, fruit and veg and cooked food. There are lots of places to stay, each offering something a bit different, and some good seafood restaurants (and streetside barbecues) down near the beach. We had much more fun here than in Mui Ne, which has nothing Vietnamese about it and can always be visited as a day trip.
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By edblax (dabbler)
Written on 24th January, 2012 after a visit to Phan Thiet in January, 2012
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