Phan Thiet is about 200km northeast from Ho Chi Minh City
and lies south of Cam Ranh Bay on the southernmost stretch
of Central Vietnam. Once part of the Cham Kingdom, it’s
now a bustling town of about a 100,000 inhabitants.
has a reasonable beach, a couple of decent hotels, and a
very good golf course.
only a 10% humidity during most of the year, Binh Thuan
is by far the dryest province in Vietnam. Most of its terrain
consists of rocky mountains and sandy hills. Agriculture
is almost non-existent - few crops can grow on the arid
The town’s main
business is fishing – the harbour full of fishing boats
is highly photogenic. The catch is mostly a relative of
anchovy for processing into fish sauce.
While not quite
reaching the quality of that made on Phu Quoc island, Phan
Thiet's version of SE Asia's culinary staple is well-regarded.
Phan Thiet still has sizeable populations of Cham and Raglai
ethnic minority groups. The former are a part of the area’s
Apart from it's
Cham history, Phan Thiet can boast has a respectable heritage
of its own, conquered by the Vietnamese armies sweeping
southwards a the end of the 16th century, and a key player
in the French war.
Ho Chi Minh lived
in Phan Thiet for a short time and taught at the Duc Thanh
school. During the American war, the US established a military
base known as LZ Betty which staged one of the conflicts
heaviest engagements on May 3rd, 1970.
it's most significant date in recent years was October 24th,
1995, when thousands of Vietnamese people flocked to view
a total eclipse in Phan Thiet's Mui Ne district - the only
place where it was fully visible.
The result was
a huge boost for tourism and the creation of the resort
area of Mui Ne Beach and the well-regarded Ocean Dunes Golf
Club,an 6746-yard par 72 course designed by Nick Faldo.
There's also some
interesting pagodas, temples and shrines dotted around the
Most visitors pass straight through Phan Thiet to the 21km
sandy beach of Mui Ne, a short distance from the town.
However, as you
leave the town, you’ll see a more tangible manifestation
of Phan Thiet’s past prominence in the form of the Po Klong
Garai Cham tower, immediately visible on a hill on the right.
degraded, but a long walk (or short drive) from the town
rewards you with a good view and a super sunset if the sky