The best things to do in Phan Thiet and the beach of Mui Ne comprise geographical wonders, traditional fishing villages, pristine beaches and verdant mountains. Also prominent are ancient structures that date back as far as the 9th century. Needless to say, you have plenty to see and do during your holiday in the capital of Binh Thuan province and its neighbouring beach resort.

    While Phan Thiet and Mui Ne are among the busiest coastal towns in Vietnam, both remain relatively untouched by urban development. The most famous attractions here are the Red and White Sand Dunes, where travellers can enjoy a fun-filled day of riding ATVs or sliding down the slopes on rickety sledges. With that being said, there’s more to this town than the extraordinary desert plains, so we’ve compiled a list of Phan Thiet and Mui Ne’s most popular attractions.

    What are the best things to do in Phan Thiet and Mui Ne?

    1

    Red Sand Dunes

    • Families
    • Adventure

    The Red Sand Dunes are among Phan Thiet’s most unique natural formations, where you can take gorgeous snapshots and enjoy an array of activities. Located 3 km north of Mui Ne, it features reddish-brown sand with gentle slopes reminiscent of a miniature Middle Eastern desert. If you get to the highest peak, you’ll be greeted with a great view of the ocean. 

    Sand-sledding is a common (and fun) activity here, with plastic sledges available. Be aware that you have to haggle to rent the boards as the local boys will often try to charge high fees for the thin sheets of plastic. You can also rent quad bikes and dune buggies to explore the Red Sand Dunes. Just make sure you agree on the price beforehand.

    Location: Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam

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    2

    Mui Ne Beach

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    • Budget

    Mui Ne Beach runs along the coast of the namesake popular coastal town in the capital of Binh Thuan province. It features 15 km of sandy beaches, gentle waves, and luxurious beachfront resorts. The northern end of Mui Ne Beach is home to a traditional fishing village, while the southern caters to recreational activities such as swimming and water sports. 

    Thanks to its rock-free waters, the most popular activity in Mui Ne Beach is kitesurfing. The best time to enjoy this is between November and March, when the skies are sunny with strong winds.

    Location: Phan Thiet, Ham Thuan Bac District, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam

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    3

    Mui Ne Fishing Village

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    Mui Ne Fishing Village boasts a splendid view of an expansive coastline lined with swaying palm trees and colourful fishing boats moored on the water. The fishing village is set at the northern end of Mui Ne Bay, about 7 km north of Mui Ne Town.

    Make sure you visit the fishing harbour in the early morning as local fishermen sort out their catch of the day like crabs, scallops, groupers, and stingrays. Catering to the growing number of foreign visitors, Mui Ne Fishing Village also hosts many seafood restaurants and gift shops.

    Location: Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam

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    4

    Po Sah Inu Cham Towers

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    The Po Sah Inu Cham Towers in Phan Thiet comprise 3 ancient worship towers dedicated to Hindu deities Lord Shiva, Agni and Nandi. Constructed during the Champa Kingdom, these ruins are atop Ong Hoang Hill, where you’ll get expansive views of Phan Thiet and the distant coastline. 

    If you explore past the towers, you can find a fortress formerly used by French and South Vietnamese troops. There’s also a memorial in honour of revolutionaries who launched an attack on the fortress back in 1947. Po Shanu Cham Towers are accessible within a 15-minute drive from Mui Ne Town.

    Location: Ong Hoang Hill, Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam

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    5

    Fairy Stream

    • Photo

    Fairy Stream is a photography hotspot in Phan Thiet and Mui Ne, thanks to its dramatic landscape of reds, whites, oranges and pinks. With clear water flowing from Ham Tien’s Dinh Mountain, one side of Fairy Stream features a mix of white and red sand dunes, while the other is an expansive field of verdant trees, blossoming flowers, and coconut palms. 

    If you’re feeling peckish, several food stalls are set along the way, while bars and restaurants are located upstream. Also, make sure you wear comfortable clothing and bring an extra pair of shoes as you’ll be wading through the water during your visit to Fairy Stream.

    Location: Huynh Thuc Khang, Ham Tien, Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm (closed on Sundays)

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    6

    The Prince's Castle

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    • Photo

    The Prince’s Castle is a depilated French estate house atop Ong Hoang Hill, boasting fantastic views of Phan Thiet’s coastline and countryside. Built by Duke De Montpensier in 1911, the structure spanned 536 square metres, but all that’s left today is an old tower and several military bunkers. 

    Just a few metres away are the Po Shanu Cham Towers and the tomb of Vietnamese poet Han Mac Tu, who often praised The Prince’s Castle and its surroundings in his love stories.

    Location: Ong Hoang Hill, Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam

    Open: Monday–Friday from 7 am to 8 pm (closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

    Phone: +84 (0)903 636 553

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    7

    Van Thuy Tu Temple

    • History
    • Photo
    • Budget

    Van Thuy Tu Temple, dating back to 1762, is the largest and oldest whale temple in Phan Thiet. Built in honour of Ca Ong (Lord Whale), locals believe that whales are benevolent creatures that protect fishermen from bad weather and the dangers at sea. Therefore, the temple houses the skeletal remains of more than 100 whales, including a 22-metre-long whale skeleton that’s believed to be the biggest in Southeast Asia. 

    Numerous artefacts from the Nguyen Dynasty are also displayed within the main hall of Van Thuy Tu Temple. Standouts include written decrees by 24 former kings, terracotta statues, incense tables, lacquered boards, and an antique bronze bell.

    Location: 54 Ngu Ong Street, Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam

    Open: Daily from 9 am to noon and from 2 pm to 5 pm

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    8

    White Sand Dunes

    • Families
    • Adventure

    White Sand Dunes or Bau Trang (White Lake) feature dramatic white sand plunging towards a small lagoon lined with lotus flowers. Unlike the Red Sand Dunes, there’s also a small pine forest within Bau Trang, providing visitors with some much-needed shade from the scorching sun. 

    As one of the only desert areas in Southeast Asia, it’s a favourite spot for unique photo opportunities, sand-sledging, and ATV rides. For a fee, you can slide down the White Sand Dunes on plastic sledges. Going down is quick and easy, but coming back up can be quite a challenge! The dunes are about 26.5 km northeast of Mui Ne Town.

    Location: Hoa Thang, Bac Binh District, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam

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    9

    Ta Cu Mountain

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    • Adventure

    Ta Cu Mountain boasts 25 hectares of lush rainforests, rare wildlife, limestone caves, and ornate Buddhist structures. After an hour’s drive from Mui Ne Town, the top of the mountain is accessible via a 2-hour hike through the jungle or a 10-minute cable-car ride. If you choose the latter, you’ll be greeted with vertigo-inducing views of Thuan Nam Town, Ham Thuan An Sea, and Ke Ga Lighthouse. 

    Set atop Ta Cu Mountain is Linh Son Truong Tho Pagoda, which was built in 1879. Its main attraction is a 49-metre long statue of a reclining Buddha, hailed to be the biggest of its kind in Vietnam.

    Location: Ham Thuan Nam, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam

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    10

    Phan Thiet Central Market

    • Shoppers

    Phan Thiet Central Market is a must-visit for travellers looking to experience the daily lives of the local population. The market is busiest at dawn, with huge crowds haggling with vendors for an array of fresh fruits, spices, nuts, meat, dried foodstuff, and household supplies. 

    Phan Thiet and Mui Ne are renowned for fresh and cheap seafood. You’ll find vendors selling shrimps, squids, fishes, snails, clams, and crabs at Phan Thiet Central Market. It's also a good place to enjoy authentic Vietnamese delicacies such as banh xeo (crispy pancake), mi quang (turmeric noodles), and guoi cuon (fresh spring rolls). You can find the market at the intersection between Ly Thuong Kiet and Nguyen Hue Streets.

    Location: 66 Nguyen Hue, Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan, Vietnam

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +84 (0)968 687 935

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    photo by zabaluev (CC BY 3.0) modified

    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveler

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