Mui Ne, Phan Thiet and Danang - Vietnam - November 26 - December 9, 2006
By Kinsley and Jamie ThomasWong - http://XtremeBigAir.com
Lucky riders on this trip: Kinsley and Jamie, Shawn R., Shawn O. and John O., and Kurt A.
Archive of Kinsley ThomasWong and Team XtremeBigAir's World Famous Xpeditions!
Here is our itinerary:
November 26 arriving to Saigon
November 27 leaving from Saigon to Mui Ne - Phan Thiet.
November 27 - December 6: Spend 10 days at Mui Ne's Fairy Stream Resort - Please book your accommodation at FSS with Trang T. now.
December 6: Leaving Mui Ne to Saigon and fly from Saigon to Danang
December 6 - 9: spend 4 days at Danang: visit China Beach, Tien Sa Beach, etc...
December 9: Leaving Danang to Bang Kok
December 9 - 16: spend 7 days in Bang Kok: visit Bang Kok, Hua Hin is only $50 by taxi for kiteboarding there....
December 16: Leaving Bang Kok for Saigon
December 17: flying from Saigon back to USA..
November 26-27, 2006
We arrived in Saigon at midnight on November 26 and stayed at the Dai Nam Hotel. We woke up, and wandered around the city for a few minutes before taking our shuttle through the city. From Saigon to Mui Ne is about a 4 hour drive. Traffic is crazy with a ton of motor bikes with a few buses and vans mixed in. Definitely organized chaos. Every building is an advertisement for something. You get a great sense of the old and new with the new buildings and motor bikes and dress next to the ladies carrying buckets on either shoulder or on their head in traditional dress. There are a lot of storefronts and homes along the road, each with their own product to sell. No one store sells a complete product, but each one a piece of it. On one stretch you could buy enough parts to build yourself a truck. The front of the stores and homes are well decorated but the sides are the concrete construction. As you move out of the city towards the countryside you find more plants, rice fields, hay fields, trees (used in building), and dragon fruit plants with a lot more space around the homes and lining the rivers. We arrived at our Sui Tien (Fairy Stream) resort around 2:30 pm, checked in, ate some lunch and kited from 3:30 p.m. until sunset on 9m and 11m waroo's. Our honeymoon suite is only a few steps from the water. At night, we hear the waves crashing just outside of our room. When kiting here in Mui Ne, beware of the jellyfish, Kinsley became the first of our group to get stung. It was the perfect end to the 24 hours of plane and 4 hours of driving to get here. Although the wind was a little light, it was great to get out on the water, enjoy very warm water that was at least 5 degrees warmer than the air temperature and ride until sunset. We met up with our group for an excellent BBQ dinner on the beach.
November 28, 2006
Day 2 at Mui Ne. We woke up early to catch a beautiful sunrise on the beach. As we walked up and down the beach we watched the fisherman and families pull in their nets. One person in the round boats cast the nets (or larger groups of about 20 use a motorized boat and much larger nets), then working with two people or groups on the beach they pull the net in. Once the net is pulled in, they then sort out the fish and squid from the jellyfish. About 70% of what they caught today is jellyfish. A small family comes out with a 10lb bowl full of fish, squid, crab, and octopus; larger groups with about 150-200lbs. It is an amazing process with such hard working people making their day's living with tourists have a great time jumping in and helping out. The wind started coming up lightly around 11:30. It was an 11m with surfboard day with off an on 9m and 11m with small board filling in from time to time. According to Trang, the owner of Windchimes who helped us set up this trip, the wind tomorrow will be stronger. A day or so of really light wind is usually followed by really strong 20-30mph wind. We are keeping our fingers crossed. Truc Cao, the owner of our hotel put together a special honeymoon dinner party for us and our friends, John, Shawn, Kurt, and Trang. They decorated our table with candles and special centerpieces and treated us to a great vietnamese dinner.
November 29, 2006
This morning we headed down the beach and watched the fisherman at work. Kinsley bought 4 large tiger prawns and a bunch of blue crabs from the ladies and we enjoyed a great lunch. The wind came up early around 11, and came up strong. It was a 7m and 9m wind steady until about 4, and continued to be strong with some lulls until sunset. Shawn Rudolph arrived and kited with us for the afternoon. Both Shawn O. and Shawn R. joined Kinsley being stung by jellyfish. After a great day of kiting we all headed off to an excellent seafood restaurant called Dung Su on the edge of town. They have tanks in the front of the restaurant with all local live seafood available. Everyone sits at long tables watching and hearing the waves crash beneath you, you pick out your dinner from the tanks and they prepare it for you. From escargot, tempura shrimp and squid, whole fish for vietnamese wraps, and crabs we enjoyed a great dinner. This would be an amazing place for a sunset dinner.
November 30, 2006
This morning we took a taxi to the Poshanu Temple built by the Cham people in the 9th century. The temple is built out of brick but with amazing detail. There are quite a few military bunkers in the same area which make an interesting contrast. From the top of the hill you get beautiful views of the mountains and coast on one side and the fishing village and Phan Thiet coast. The wind came up around 12 and was a 9m day all day becoming more off and on from 4 until sunset. Jamie was stung by a jellyfish, leaving only Kurt untouched. Luckily Kinsley had researched how to care for it earlier in the morning at an internet cafe. After the sting, dry off the area and apply vinegar or sugar water (make into a paste) to the area. Do not rinse with fresh water because it will help the barb's from the jellyfish release more toxin into your body. The vinegar helps relieve the burning pain and minimize the effects the next day. It is also recommended that you shave the area in the reverse direction that the barbs went in, this can pull some of them out of your skin to minimize the reaction the next day. Take antihistamines and if it itches' use hydrocortisone cream with at least 1% until it is gone. Quite a few people either wear lycra suits or kite pants to protect themselves. We had dinner at Moonlight Cafe, a large menu with good mix of vietnamese and thai food. The food was good but be prepared when you order, so as Shawn O. put it, a 3 beer wait.
December 01, 2006
The no wind day. We woke up this morning to very cloudy skies and lots of fisherman out in the round boats hand fishing. Now a sign for a day with no wind, so we played tourists. We started the afternoon having a taxi driver take us to Phan Thiet Market. This area is well known for their fish sauce which you can smell along the drive through Phan Thiet. We asked our taxi driver to pick us up about an hour and half later while we wandered around. This is an outdoor market lined with shops and street vendors selling everything from clothes, jewelry, dishes, shoes, freshly cut meat and seafood, vegetables, fruit and flowers. Anything you could want to buy they have here. We don't recommend visiting the market on a hot or humid day, or if you do avoid the meat sections of the market. We wandered around the streets and along the inlet with the fishing boats and ate lunch at Kim Son Lau restaurant in Phan Thiet. This was an excellent chinese vietnamese restaurant and so far has been the best meal we have had. Our taxi driver was ready and waiting for us, and with no wind line or whitecaps forming we kept driving to the white sand dunes. The drive to the white sand dunes is beautiful along the coast line. You get to see more of the countryside with people herding goats and cattle along the way. Upon arriving to the white sand dunes 2 kids met us and directed us up to the sand dunes with sleds. They are giant sand dunes with a beautiful lake full of lotus flowers. The view from the sand dunes of the coastline is amazing. The two kids went sliding down the mountains and picked lotus flowers for us from the lake. They were fun great kids that made the experience a lot of fun. Kinsley gave them each XtremeBigAir stickers which they promptly decorated their slides with and showed off to their friends when we were back at the bottom. From here we headed back towards the Fairy stream. This would be very easy to miss along the road, but is well worth stopping and visiting. The water and wind have carved out the hill sides showing both the dark red and white sand along the stream. It is really beautiful with a small waterfall at the end of the walk. The no wind day gave us a great chance to wander around and see more of the sights in the area. We ate dinner at a restaurant called Ngoc Lai, an authentic vietnamese restaurant.
December 02, 2006
The wind came up early today around 11am. From 11 to 2 was a solid 9m, from 2 to sunset was very up and down being either overpowered or underpowered. Today had a great swell (3-4ft) with a gradual left break possibly from typhoon durian who is about 400m away. We had dinner at Lam Tong which has the best seafood spring rolls and steamed fish yet.
Jamie did quite good with her back roll today. She started to learn front roll and had a blast riding the beach breaks.
December 03, 2006
No wind. We hung out by the beach and read all day. Some of our group took a bike ride down to the point and met some great locals enjoying sake and fish on a stick on the beach. Kinsley must have an in with the wind gods, he separated his left rib on the 2nd and 3rd day here, has been our team photographer but mainly lacking temptation to try to kite with the days of no wind. The waves have been head high or larger as we got closer to the full moon and the typhoon headed our direction. December 3rd had a great sunset prior to the storm. We ate at Lam Tong, a great restaurant next to full moon beach resort. We love the fresh seafood spring rolls, Singapore noodles and steamed fish with noodles. The food and price is right but the service isn't great - be prepared to wait a bit for your menu and bill or be proactive and go get them.
December 04, 2006
Typhoon Durian moved in from the Philippines coast. This is the first time the locals have had a hurricane come through this area, they usually turn north, not south. By mid day we knew it would be heading our direction. Shawn O. and John O. decided to leave early and took a taxi back to Saigon to fly to Danang early to beat the storm. The rest of us stayed here and waited for it to arrive. It was a really humid day where we again sat around by the beach, read, and enjoyed the crashing waves on the sand. By midnight, with a combination of full moon and wind, the water was hitting the top of our beach. There were some lightning, rain, moderate wind but nothing substantially damaging. By the time it arrived here it had dropped down to a tropical storm from a category 1 when it touched land.
December 05, 2006
The Durian Typhoon quickly dissipated this morning. By 7 a.m., a few kiters already out with their 9m kites.
Hurricane Durian came through Mui Ne between midnight and 2am, dumping a lot of rain and wind. Kurt watched the lightening with our new friends from Canada, Jamie and Christine, enjoying the show. There was very minimal damage from Durian. Mainly a lot of trash on the beach. Post frontal wind came though early this morning. It was pretty gusty but a great 9m wind day. The wind was up early and lasted until sunset, but became very gusty towards the end of the day. The waves were around head to head and a half making today a great wave riding day. A great kiting day for our last day in Mui Ne with Kinsley capturing everything on camera. To end our last evening in Mui Ne, Truc prepared a great meal for us, and we headed off to the 2nd anniversary party of Windchimes to join Tran at Lam Tong. The kites and boards are packed up ready for traveling back to Saigon to fly to Danang tomorrow morning.
December 06, 2007 - December 09, 2006: Danang and Hoi An
We took a taxi from Mui Ne to Saigon and flew from Saigon to Danang on the 6th. We arrived in time for dinner and settling in. Shawn Obrien and his dad stayed at the Sandy Beach Resort which is right on China Beach. Shawn kited on his 12m on December 06 and December 08. Wind is on shore at China beach.
Today the 7th, we took a tour around Danang. Guided by Huong, we toured through marble mountain, the cham museum, and tiensa beach. Near Marble Mountain we started at a manufacturer and watched them hard at work with marble statues and creations. It takes about a month to create the large statues. From what we could discover the difference between local and foreign prices is about half. We had a family dinner with trinh, son and van, tranh as well as Kurt, Shawn O., John O., and Madeline and Christian from Australia. We had dinner at Au Lat and enjoyed a great dinner with flying fish, prawns, squid, noodles with shrimp chips, and red snapper wraps. All were great. This is a fun indoor/outdoor restaurant with a stream running through the middle. Great atmosphere.
December 09, 2006:
On December 08, we spent our day at Hoi An. It is one gigantic beach connecting from Hoi An beach to China beach, which you can literally walk from Hoi An to China Beach, but it might take you a few days.
Fly from Danang to BangKok. Check out our Thailand Xpedition trip here: http://XtremeBigAir.com/Thailand/
Mui Ne Kiteboarding essential information:
- The actual town is Ham Thiet but it is well known by kiteboarders at Mui Ne.
- Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced. There are plenty of beaches and it is uncrowded
- Surface Conditions: Wind Chop and Shorebreak Waves.
- Wind Conditions: Good for 7m to 11m on normal day, lightwind day: 13m to 16m kites. Normal wind direction is Port Tack (blows from left to right)
- Season: All Year around but the best months for kiteboarding are November through April. Avoid July month.
- Water Temp: very warm!!! It is actually warmer than the air temp. Wear lycra and/or kite pants to protect yourself from jelly fish.
- Air Temp: 28 - 35 C.
- Nearest Town: Phanthiet which is 4 hours taxi ride from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
We had one of the best time kiteboarding in Mui Ne. We like Mui Ne for its consistent wind, delicious food, safe, nice - quiet and clean beach. We did not like the Jelly fish but according to Trang, it only happened once every three years. Mui Ne beach is big and there are many more other kiting and surfing spots surrounding Mui Ne awaiting to be explored. Local fresh seafood is quite delicious and very cheap. Beer, wine, and everything else is quite cheap. You will not be disappointed if you visit Mui Ne. Just contact Trang of Wind Chimes is a great guy and will take great care of all bookings and anything else you need for Mui Ne.
We will definitely revisit Mui Ne in the very near future!
Other sources of information about this area can be found at:
From Ho Chi Minh City - Saigon, take a taxi to Mui Ne, Phan Thiet. It costs about $75 USD for each way and about 4 hour driving from Sai Gon..
In Mui Ne, you can rent a bike or motor bike or take taxi to see all the surrounding area of Mui Ne.
At the airport, cabs are on the spot and they are the best way to reach Mui Ne. It's the best to negotiate and fix the price in advance!
Take into account that there are hardly cabs with roof rack!
Tan Son Nhut in Ho Chi Minh City - Saigon
You will need to obtain Visa to enter Vietnam. Took us a week plus $45USD per person to obtain the visa. There is a landing visa at the airport but we don't know how much it costs
May through September. Busy time in Mui Ne is December through February
Vietnamese but English is understood in larger hotels and airline companies.
1 USD = 16000 DONG. Money can be cleared by the cash dispenser or exchanged in the exchange office. Most places will accept USD.
Exchange of money
US dollar or Euro can be exchanged fast and simple. Credit cards are accepted only in good hotels, shops and restaurants.
For the entry in Saigon, there are no vaccinations required. Generally, there are no special vaccinations necessary. If you are planning to visit the jungle areas, you will have to think about getting a yellow fever vaccination as well as a malaria prophylactics. Inoculation against diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis A and B is also be recommended by some doctors.
There are hospitals in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet.
Of course you should always have medicine and a first aid kit with you. However you will find a pharmacy with a good choice of medicine in every bigger place, which mostly are cheaper than in Europe or USA. Bring Hydrocortisone cream for anti itch after you got jelly fish stung.
Year round: during the day, the air temperature is between 28C and 35C and at night over 20 degrees centigrade. Important: high sun protection factor!
The water temperature is around the 26° year round.
The usual tip of 15 %. If you give a tip consider that the day's wages of many workers is only 4 to 6 USD.
You will find internet access in internet cafe in Ham Tien (Mui Ne), in tourist villages, in hotels. It is quite cheap: $.50 usd an hour