Phan Thiet

Phan Thiet

Local charm and character

The capital of Binh Thuan province, Phan Thiet is a small but thriving Vietnamese city and while it would be a decent destination in its own right, it’s been overshadowed by its neighbour Mui Ne. Many only pass through Phan Thiet – there’s no good reason for the foreign tourist to dally here when a prime beach town is beckoning just over the horizon. But to simply know Phan Thiet as the gateway to Mui Ne would be unfair. It has enough local charm and character to satisfy curious travellers for a day or two, if time allows.

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Phan Thiet is popular with Vietnamese tourists, drawn by cheap, fresh seafood and the large public beach. This would be at odds with the kind of foreign tourist who loves formal dining and a private, quiet, clean beach. From a western backpacker’s perspective, Phan Thiet presents a few challenges. Budget hotels in Phan Thiet aren’t set up for foreign needs or tastes (example, no motorbike rental) and there are no real deals, just a smattering of mediocre, pricey accommodation across from the beach. Overall, Mui Ne yields much better value accommodation.

Late afternoon beach time. Photo by: Cindy Fan.
Late afternoon beach time. Photo: Cindy Fan

But the main public beach, running along Le Loi Street, has a wonderful energy in the late afternoon as people arrive in droves to enjoy a splash. Kids frolic, boys play football, women build sand castles, men jog and stretch, while grandmas collect cockles in the sand. The main concentration of beach is over a kilometre long, but you can continue to walk up the coast past Ocean Dunes Resort where it is practically empty. In the opposite direction, head to the western end of Le Loi, then south on Vo Thi Sau to the sand. At night, this area is the dark, romantic spot for couples to ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,000 words.)

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