KITESURFING HOLIDAYS - VIETNAM
Mui Ne makes a fantastic base for a kitesurfing holiday, with it's relaxed and friendly vibe - many end up staying here much longer than originally planned. The wind is super-reliable November - March and Mui Ne is a culinary hot spot, the range of accommodation is huge and the nightlife rocks. This windy coast is hard to beat for a sport and cultural experience.
Three main riding areas broken down here:
Mui Ne beach features cross-on, choppy conditions with swell and a beach break. Winds are lighter in the morning (10 - 15 knots) before a thermal wind builds throughout the day from 10am, reliably blowing 20+ knots, often over 25 by 2pm. Swell tends to build with the wind, often providing a very rideable beach break.
Hon Rom, a.k.a. 'The Cemetery' is the best wave spot. A long bay north of Mui Nei, the wind is usually cross-onshore. Often good swells and waves breaking quite a way off the beach with smaller, cleaner waves at the north end. The southern end (Cemetery) is more hardcore, often overhead. Nice launch spot where you can also get lunch and sunset beers. Experienced riders only though. It's possible to ride from here to Mui Ne, around the headland.
An epic 15 kilometre downwinder from Mui Ne to city of Phan Thiet takes you through numerous bays and beaches, little flat water spots behind sea walls, a super-clean wave break, a fleet of fishing boats, a harbour entrance to pass (or enter if you're crazy), and a big harbour wall with a fabulous flat water spot on the leeward side. Nail a beer or two at the end and pile into a taxi for the 20 minutes back to Mui Ne. If you're keen for flat water, grab a taxi to the harbour wall in Phan Thiet and launch from there.
WIND, WEATHER & WATER
Best season: November - March. Easterly wind blows 10 - 15 knots most mornings and great for learning; 20 - 25 knots or more in the afternoon. High season waves usually best November - January, but swells from the Philippines any time of year. Bring a 7 over a 12 if you need to choose; you'll use your nine metre most. Quieter mid-January to end of March, and the wind often still howls. Still good conditions on offer April to October roughly three days a week, but may require a little drive to find cross-shore winds.
Air temperatures: 28 - 32°C / 82 - 90°F at the hottest, rarely dropping below 20°C / 68°F, even at night. The water: 20 - 25°C / 68 - 77°F depending on the time of year. Board shorts only.
Ho Chi Minh City International (SGN) (commonly called Saigon) is about 200 kilometres away from Mui Ne. No self-drive car hire. Airport transfers by taxi are around $110USD each way (four hour drive). Buses and trains available, usually involving overnight stay.
Motorbikes are available, but most don't bother. If you're central you can walk to the beach, bars and restaurants and there are plenty of metered taxis, or Xe Oms (motorbike taxis) available all night if you want to go further. To explore other kite spots, hiring a good motorbike should cost $15USD per day. Vietnam Kitesurfing Holidays arrange a 12 seater with driver for $60USD per day. No self-drive cars. If you do hire a motorbike, reputable agents have 'arrangements' with the police to stop you getting pulled over as international licences are not recognised by the police!
Anything from $15 USD per night up to $250 or more for five star resorts - a huge range. Book at least six months in advance for Christmas / New Year period. If you're arriving by bus without any hotel booked, the driver will try to take you to the 'wrong' end of town where they get better commissions from guesthouses. You could end up ten kilometres away from a kite-able beach.
FOOD & DRINK
Most people eat out as loads of restaurants for every taste and budget - from $1 pho ga (chicken noodle soup), great seafood, Vietnamese, Italian, French and Indian restaurants. Some mini-supermarkets are 24 hour. Nightlife in high season is good; party all night every night if you want. Top night spots are Pogo, DJ Station and Fun Key. Thankfully, the really strong wind doesn't blow until later in the day!
Visit the amazing white sand dune and lotus lake, take a cycle / rickshaw and market tour around Phan Thiet city, check out Ta Cu Mountain ? the biggest reclining Buddha in Vietnam on a mountain with a cable car ride. Alternatively: cooking classes, a motor-cross tour or rent a motorbike or bicycle and explore the countryside and beaches. Surf/SUP and big links golf courses just outside of Mui Ne and Phan Thiet