Wondering what to do in Mũi Né and Phan Thiết? Here’s a little guide based on my few days here!
Recently, I was invited by Victoria Hotels to check out their property in Phan Thiết, and, naturally, I was very excited to leave the city for a few days to hear the sounds of the ocean and feel some sand between my toes! I grabbed my friend, Sierra, and we made the four-hour journey over to this growing resort town.
While Mũi Né isn’t too often included on most Vietnam itineraries, it’s a pretty popular spot with Saigon expats as it offers the perfect weekend getaway. It’s especially popular with Russians, and you’ll see a lot of signage in Vietnamese, English, and Russian! I’m guessing by the many Korean text I saw as well, it’s growing with that expat community too.
We went during the week, and it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. I imagine it’s much busier during the weekends, so just keep that in mind when you decide when to go. We squeezed in quite a bit in our few days, and I thought it was the perfect introduction. Here’s what we got up to and some tips for your trip!
Where is Mui Ne?
So fun fact — Mũi Né isn’t a city all its own. It’s actually one of 18 wards in Phan Thiết, albeit one of the largest and most popular. For some reason this entire area is just called Mũi Né offhand. Like if I asked expats in Saigon about both places, they’d probably know Mũi Né right away but might need to pause to think about where Phan Thiết is!
The actual city of Phan Thiết is stretched quite a long ways across the coast, and farther apart than you’d think. From the white sand dunes to Kê Gà cape, you’re looking at almost a 2 hour drive!
Mui Ne Travel Tips
Where to Stay: Victoria Phan Thiet
When deciding where to stay in Mũi Né, I’d figure out what exactly you want to do. If you just plan to hangout at your resort and use its beach, then location doesn’t necessarily matter, but if you want to do some sightseeing and wandering around, then you’ll want something that’s more centrally located.
Like I mentioned above, I was invited to Victoria Phan Thiết for two nights and found it to be in the ideal spot for what we wanted to do. It’s located pretty much right between Kê Gà cape and the White Sand Dunes, an hour in each direction.
Not going to lie though, once you’re at the hotel you really won’t want to leave! Our beachfront room made it so we could literally open our door and be in front of the ocean in under a minute, and even there you have different water sport options! There are two pools as well as a whole spa section where the jacuzzi and sauna are complimentary.
I also have to say I’m pretty impressed with the customer service! The front desk is super warm and friendly, and when I chatted with the general manager, he said that staff is all treated like family to the point that no one was laid off this year despite the obvious dip in tourism.
Additionally, I had a chance to ask him about Victoria’s sustainability measures, and I’m quite impressed with what they’re doing! The resort is now completely plastic-free — their takeaway boxes are made from sugarcane-based products and they won’t accept deliveries wrapped in plastic. They use their own 7-step water filtration system and support local producers as much as possible. Not only do they buy their food from them, they’re able to give them any leftovers from the restaurant and what’s left from that is used for composting. Goes without saying, but they obviously recycle as well!
Other Places to Stay in Mui Ne
For those on a budget, Nam Tho Guesthouse, Hoang Nga Guesthouse, and The Muine Eco Home look quite cute. There are also quite a few cute Airbnbs in the area, like Sky Guest House, this cozy room near the Fairy Stream, or this beachfront bungalow spot.
Weather & When to Visit
From what I’ve read, Mũi Né is similar to Saigon with its seasons — April through October will have a higher chance of rain while the best times to go are November through March. We went in December and had just a bit of rain our first two days but otherwise it was quite sunny! I’d say your best bet is to go around the winter holidays through February to guarantee sunny weather.
What to Pack & Wear
I mean, you’ll want to pack like you would for any other beach vacation! Lots of cotton and linen and, of course, a bathing suit or two for the pool. Here are some things not to forget:
- Sunscreen – always, you’re most likely going to get a lot of sun!
- Sunglasses – mine fell off the morning we did the jeep tour, and let me tell you… I noticed the whole rest of the day! Again, the sun is bright, and our eyes are weak.
- Reusable water bottle – I like to think most resorts in Mũi Né will have some sort of refillable water situation. I know for a fact that Victoria does. Bring your water bottle instead of buying plastic water bottles!
- Old shoes / water shoes – For when you go out to the sand dunes or walk the fairy steam, you won’t exactly want to bring your nice white sneakers or leather sandals. I had my Birks, as always!
- A tote bag – One thing I’d definitely remember is either a tote bag or a daypack you don’t mind getting a bit dirty. It’ll come in handy, especially at the Fairy Stream when you’ll want to keep your shoes on you, not leave them to chance at the entrance.
How to Get to Mui Ne
We got private transfer for 1.5 million VND one way, which is probably much lower than they’d normally offer. The company we took is called Happy Tours, and had a great experience both ways with our driver. Over all took around 4 hours.
You can grab a train from Saigon Railway Station in District 3 to Phan Thiết Railway Station (Ga Phan Thiết) if you want to go by train. Just book tickets here. It’s still a 20ish minute ride to Victoria and even further if you’re staying more in Mũi Né, so you’ll still need to get a taxi or some sort of transport to your hotel.
The most common way to get here is via a sleeper bus that can take up to around 5 hours. There are a bunch of different bus companies and each has a different pick-up and drop-off point, so check the addresses when you book tickets.
How to Get Around Mui Ne
Grab does work in Mũi Né, though it only showed the bike option for us. Otherwise, there are plenty of regular taxis around, and any hotel or restaurant can call one for you. I did see public buses and some bus stops, so if you really have time here, you could try them as well!
For further out places, you can either rent a motorbike or take a tour. We did a mix of both. This is the guy we rented our bikes from. His place is kind of down an alley that’s hard to find (and also houses a rather nippy dog). I’d recommend just paying the 50k VND/bike to have your bike dropped off. If for whatever reason he’s out, try this motorbike rental option.
What to Do in Mui Ne
1. Drive out to Ke Ga Cape and Lighthouse
- Vietnamese Names: Mũi Kê Gà + Hải đăng Kê Gà
- Location on the Map
From Victoria, you can drive motorbikes about an hour to get to Kê Gà Cape or you can even base yourself there at the new Azerai spot. The road is definitely not quiet like Phong Nha was, so I don’t recommend getting a bike if you haven’t had a little practice first! There are roundabouts, driving in town, and lots of trucks passing by that might be overwhelming for a first-time rider. If you can’t bike, there’s always this tour that goes out that way.
You can easily stop off at different spots on the way to and from Kê Gà, but the main attractions is the Kê Gà Lighthouse! A guy will leader you down an narrow-ish path to get to the beach where you can see the lighthouse in all its glory, sitting on its own island near shore. It was built between 1897 – 1898 and sits about 60m high. All around you will be the little blue and green circular boats. Let me know if you see one that has quite the, uh, erotic decorations on it!
If you have better weather than us, pay one of the fishermen to take you over to the island and see the lighthouse up close! We were dealing with the potential of rain so opted out in case we got stuck there.
2. Catch the sunrise at the White Sand Dunes
- Vietnamese Names: Đồi Cát Trắng
- Location on the Map
If you follow this blog, you’ll know this is not the first time I’ve caught the sun rising over the vast expanse of white sand dunes. No, the last time I did this, I rolled out of a glamping tent in the middle of the Moroccan Desert wildly overheated and worried Autumn was going to succumb to rabies. Let’s just say this time was a lot more relaxing!
These White San Dunes are much further out of the city than the Red Sand Dunes, but are supposed to be more dramatic, which I’d agree with (though, admittedly, Morocco’s outshines them both). You have two choices for the sunrise here — either walk a bit yourself an find a spot to watch or get a ride with one of the dune buggies, which will take you all the way up one of the taller dunes. We decided to just walk a bit and watch!
If I were to come back, I think I’d splurge on doing a hot air balloon ride. Now that would offer quite the morning view!
3. Visit the Red Sand Dunes (and go sandboarding)
- Vietnamese Names: Đồi Cát Đỏ
- Location on the Map
Right in town are the Red Sand Dunes! Their location is kind of funny. Like you’ll literally park on one side of the main road, cross, and climb up just a little, and then you’re there! I feel like it’s not quite as obvious in my pictures, but in person you’ll definitely notice the difference in the colors of sand at each area. I imagine at sunset, the sand here looks even redder!
If you want, you can rent sand boards for cheap and ride them down the dunes. This is not something either of was keen on doing so early in the morning and before coffee, soooo maybe something for another trip where we visit in the afternoon.
4. Catch the morning bustle at the Mui Ne Fishing Village
- Vietnamese Names: Làng chài Mũi Né
- Location on the Map
So there we were sitting in the back of our jeep with our driver cruising along the coast from the red sand dunes. Just road, beach, and a pretty much clear ocean… then bam! A sea of bright blue, turquoise, and sea foam green boats. We’d made it to the Mũi Né Fishing Village. Situated below us was an army of wooden boats — many of them round and the brightest blue you’ll probably ever find in Vietnam.
Apparently, at night, men will go out in the boats to fish and then early in the morning their wives will clean their catch and get it ready to sell in the market. Of course, if you want the cheapest, freshest seafood in the city, this is where to come! Definitely coming back to eat in the future; I want a repeat of my seafood dinner in Essaouira.
5. Walk along the Fairy Stream to see the Red Canyon
After sand dunes and fisherman boats, the final stop on our jeep tour was the whimsically named Fairy Stream. The stream, which is reddish-brown from clay, runs between sand dunes (which you aren’t allowed to climb) and basically a small jungle.
Our driver took us to an entrance where we took off our shoes and walked in the ankle deep water. You can leave your shoes at the entrance or take them with. It does cost around 15K VND to enter, and then you’ll walk about half a kilometer before coming across these beautiful rock formations.
6. Relax on the beach or at your pool
Mũi Né is definitely somewhere you go in Vietnam for a vacation, so take at least one day or afternoon to relax. Take advantage of the beach or your resort’s pool to layout, swim, and sip on a coconut!
Things I Didn’t Do this Time:
7. Cham Towers
- Vietnamese Names: Tháp Po Sah Inu
- Location on the Map
Right near the Victoria up on Ba Nai Hill are the Cham Towers, which date all the way back to the 800s. There are three of them in all with a pagoda out front, and you can catch a glimpse of them from the road.
I mean, you are at a beach! There are plenty of spots with water sport options all along the coast. If the waves had been calmer, I think it would’ve been fun to take out one of the kayaks from Victoria. Another big thing to do here is windsurfing, something I go between thinking sounding likes a ton of fun and my worst nightmare depending on the day lol.
9. Visit Ta Cu Mountain
- Vietnamese Names: Núi Tà Cú
- Location on the Map
While we didn’t make it out to Tà Cú mountain, my friend, Alex, did on her trip ages ago and it looks like a beautiful spot to visit. It’s about an hour from Phan Thiết and you can either hike up or take a cable car up for a chunk of it. The mountain includes two pagodas from the late 1800s as well as, apparently, the largest reclining Buddha in SE Asia (and requires climbing 300 steps even if you take the cable car). This is another one you’ll want to motorbike or get a tour to.
Where to Eat in Mui Ne
Victoria has one onsite restaurant on their property — L’Oceane. It’s right behind the lobby and open air. Breakfast is served here and you can always get lunch or dinner as well! Grab a table by the end so you can enjoy the ocean and beach views.
Breakfast comes complimentary with your stay and, boy, do they deliver! You can choose between an American, Vietnamese, or continental breakfast and you’ll get a ton of food in return. Don’t forget to treat yourself to a cà phê sữa đá!
Of course, if you want to upgrade your breakfast experience, you can pay 550k VND per two people for this huge floating breakfast! If the pool villa is free, they’ll set you up there so you get your own little private experience. Otherwise, they offer it at the infinity pool earlier in the morning.
Given the rain on our first night, we figured it was easiest to just go to L’Oceane for dinner since we wanted to try it out anyway. YUM the food was so good. I got the seafood cannelloni and grilled scallops while Sierra the fish of the day prepared in a bamboo chute.
Jibe’s Beach Club
We headed here on the first day after we checked in and started looking up places to eat! The reviews for Jibe’s were quite good, and we wanted somewhere comfortable since it the weather was quite muggy. We each got the king prawns dish and some drinks and were joined by some very cheeky kittens hoping to get in on the leftovers.
Sandals Restaurant and Bar
YUM! The menu at this place is actually insane. It really took us a while to choose because everything sounded so good. We wound up getting — panfried salmon, morning glory, a grilled cheese sandwich, tacos, and tuna sashimi. I also got a milkshake because why not?
Other Places to Try
Given that we weren’t there for very long, we, of course, didn’t get to try many places! Here are two that our motorbike owner recommended. I think the key thing you’ll want to try to do while here is to try the seafood.
- 189 Huỳnh Thúc Kháng – area with cheap seafood
- Mot Nang Seafood Restaurant & Beach Bar – another good spot for seafood
Day 1: Arrival
If you’re coming from Saigon, it’ll take about 3-4 hours depending on traffic to get to Phan Thiết. We left around 8:45 AM and got there a little before 1:00 PM. After you check-in, head over to Jibe’s Club for a lunch and kitties.
Afterwards, just enjoy your resort! The Victoria is pretty massive, so it’s nice to wander around, go to the spa’s jacuzzi, relax on the beach, or go for a swim in one of the two pools.
Depending on when you visit, there may be some new events or initiatives that the Victoria’s manager told us about when we visited, so be sure to ask when you book! One of them is a bit of a nature walk where you can learn about all the flora and greenery decorating the resort.
Dinner wise, get some seafood eats at L’Oceane.
Day 2: Motorbike sightseeing
The way I like to split my days is usually with sightseeing in the morning and something more relaxing in the afternoon. On this day, why not check out Kê Gà Cape? Rent bikes or take a tour and head out.
If the weather isn’t iffy for you like it was for us, then you can also take a boat over to the island the Kê Gà Lighthouse is on in one of the round, blue boats. The fisherman quoted us 200K VND, but we didn’t want to risk getting stuck on the island if it down poured.
On your way back, you can stop off at the Cham Tower which is pretty close to the resort. Then relax in the spa jacuzzi and/or go for a swim (we did both).
We kind of forgot to eat for lunch, but there are a lot street food stops along the way if you get hungry! For dinner, we decided to check out the Sailing Club because their menu looked so insanely good!
Day 3: Morning sightseeing & pool time
Early morning time! And by early, I mean 4:00 AM. We decided to book a jeep tour for our last morning to see the white sand dunes, red sand dunes, Mũi Né fishing village, and the fairy stream. It’s pretty inexpensive and a good alternative to renting a motorbike. This kept us busy until 8:30 AM when we returned to our poolside breakfast!
You’ll want to leave Phan Thiết around 12:30 PM at the latest to avoid traffic getting back into Saigon or you could wait until evening and hangout by the pool for the afternoon. Depends on your schedule. We left at 12:30 PM and since we had quite a busy morning, we just enjoyed our floating breakfast and chilled on the beach in front of our room until it was time to go.
And there you have it! All you need to know on what to do in Mũi Né and visiting Phan Thiết. I already decided I’ll bring Autumn here since it was pretty good for motorbiking and she’s good at navigating a market for good food!
Have you been to Mũi Né? Any tips I missed?
for more on vietnam
I’m so lucky to have found myself in Vietnam during a year where most of the world shut down. Because the country took such strict measures in the beginning, things returned mostly to normal after a month or so. Since then I’ve been able to travel to more places than I did on my firs trip. Back in 2016, I was able to visit Saigon and the Mekong Delta, Hoi An and Da Nang, Halong Bay, and Hanoi.
Now that I’ve been in Saigon, I’ve been able to explore it so much more, including District 5 and Cholon, District 1, and more areas like Thao Dien and Binh Thanh. I’ve also gone to Sapa to learn about the Red Dzao tribe, up to Phong Nha and its impressive caves, Vinh Long for a more in-depth time in the Mekong, and Mu Cang Chai to catch the last of the rice fields. I still have quite a few months left, so I’m excited to plan even more trips!