Seahorse Resort & Spa, Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, Phan Thiết, Bình Thuận, Vietnam
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Sitting modestly just four hours outside of the hustle and bustle, Mui Ne is, without a doubt, the angel on the shoulder of Saigon. Laid back vibes pour from the heart of Mui Ne as it boasts the capacity to offer a little something for everyone. Backpackers travel in droves to ogle at the famous white sand dunes. Sports enthusiasts flock to the ocean to try their hand at kite surfing, and city slickers hole up in the beach side resorts, escaping the bedlam of Ho Chi Minh.
Mui Ne is quickly becoming a South East Asian Mecca for kiteboarding and windsurfing. Mui Ne has the best conditions in all of Asia for water sports because it has Asia's strongest and most consistent cross-onshore winds and the lowest rainfall in Vietnam. Every day is a perfect day.You may ask why you haven't heard of it, if it's so great? The reason is the tourism industry has only existed for about 10 years in this province. The development is new, and this best-kept secret has only just been discovered.
Once upon a time, Mui Ne was an isolated stretch of shoreline where pioneering travellers camped on the sand. Times have changed and it's now a string of beach resorts, which have fused into one long coastal strip. These resorts are, for the most part, mercifully low-rise and set amid pretty gardens by the sea. The original fishing village is still here, but tourists outnumber locals these days. There are a handful of luxury hotels (and a smattering of cheap guesthouses) but Mui Ne is mainly a midrange resort.
Kitesurfering is a huge draw – there are several excellent schools and world-class wind conditions between late October and April. One major problem the area faces is the steady creep of coastal erosion, particularly around km 12.
The kitesurfing in Vietnam is widely considered to be the world’s very best. Reliable winds, warm weather, idyllic beaches and cheap beer make it, for the many people who’ve been, the ultimate destination for a kitesurfing adventure.Whether you’re looking for a Vietnamese location that offers good kitesurfing for beginners or something that’s more suited to experienced kiteboarders, Mũi Né is probably the best place to base yourself. The resort town, situated by the South China Sea in the Southeastern part of Vietnam, has a really chilled and friendly vibe.
Mui Ne and the surrounding Binh Thuan provice have everything to offer. There are beautiful tropical beaches lined with groves of swaying palm trees and also immense Saharan dunes meandering through kilometers of red, yellow and white sands. There are winding rivers teeming with fresh fish and crabs and tall mountains with bamboo rainforests and marvelous waterfalls. You’ll find deep, red canyons parted by twisting streams and echoed by sounds of tropical birds…there is everything you could ever want!
Mui Ne is a town and cape located 180 kilometers east of Ho Chi Minh City (220 kilometers on the current highway). In 1999, the town of Mui Ne, plus the village of Hon Rom and Suoi Nuoc Beach north of Mui Ne were combined into one ward and, along with a number of other communities along the coast, were annexed by Phan Thiet. This annexation nearly doubled the population of Phan Thiet to just under 400,000, thereby allowing it to be registered as a city.
Northeast of the city center of Phan Thiet, the coastal road climbs over the slope of a hill in Phu Hai ward and descends onto the long, sandy crescent of Mui Ne Bay in Ham Tien ward. The formerly little-inhabited beach west of the fishing town and cape of Mui Ne proper has seen some serious development in the last 20 years. Now it is a 10 km long strip of resorts that line up like pearls on Nguyen Dinh Chieu and Huynh Thuc Khang streets, shaded by coconut palms.
Given the choice, nature would move the sand around, much to the dismay of some developers. Beach sand tends to migrate up and down the coast seasonally, leaving some (but not all) spots on Rang Beach in Ham Tien ward with just a concrete breakwater rather than the sandy beach. If a sandy beach is important to you, some research is called for before booking a resort in Ham Tien ward.
A few bargain hotels have popped up on the inland side of the road, across from the beach-side resorts in both Mui Ne and Ham Tien wards. If you stay on the inland side, you will need to pass through one of the resorts to reach the beach, which might or might not result in some hassle from the guards. The resorts jealously guard their lounge chairs and palapas, though the beach itself is open to everyone.
Within the past few years, resort development has expanded in Ham Tien and Mui Ne Wards, as well as along the coast south of the Phan Thiet city center in Tien Thanh commune and the area around the Ke Ga lighthouse. Phan Thiet and most particularly Rang Beach in Ham Tien ward is very popular with Russian tourists, which means that most of the restaurants have signs, names and menus in Russian.
Mui Né ward itself has two beaches; Ganh Beach and Suoi Nuoc Beach, both with an increasing number of resorts, shops and restaurants. Strong sea breezes make all the beaches of Phan Thiet very popular for kitesurfing and windsurfing.
Rang Beach in Ham Tien ward was first discovered by many foreigners when they descended on the area on October 24, 1995 to watch a solar eclipse. Scientists had predicted that one of the best places in the world to see the total eclipse was on the beaches northeast of the Phan Thiet city center. Guidebooks directed would-be astronomers to the beach along Mui Ne Bay, incorrectly referring to Ham Tien as ‘Mui Ne’ and Rang Beach as ‘Mui Ne Beach’. This confusion has continued and most tourists still think that all three wards east of the city center are called Mui Ne.
What to see:
Po Sha Inu tower is a derelict remainder of the ancient Cham culture that was built in the 8th century.
Fish Sauce Plants, where the famous nuoc mam (fish sauce) is produced. Big jars harbor the concoction that, after months in the blazing sun, is sold all over Vietnam to add some spice to the food.
The famous Red Sand Dunes (Doi Cat), are located in Mui Ne on the main coastal road at the intersection with the four lanes (706) highway. The whole region is fairly sandy, with orange sand threatening to blow onto the coastal road in some spots. The red sand dunes that visitors visit are about 50ha (1/2km²) of open sand on a hillside with ten-meter undulations, staffed by dusty children with plastic slides who will offer instruction and assistance if you want to slide on the sand.
There are also White Sand Dunes located 24km north of the red dunes. They are much larger than the red dunes, extending up to 20 kilometers along the coast, and vendors offer dune buggies for rent to drive around the dunes. The deep blue lake below the entrance to the dunes and the dark green lotus plants on the shore provide stark contrasts to the white sand glistening in the sun, offering photographers delightfully starkly contrasting colors.
Mui Ne Market and Harbor (Lang Chai Mui Ne). Don't miss out on an excursion to Mui Ne harbor and market. Near the northwest end of town is an overlook with a splendid view of hundreds of colorful fishing boats moored in the bay. Further along into town, just off the main road, there is a small but colorful market. If you take your transport just down to the water, you will reach the fishing harbor, where you can purchase fresh seafood or purchase steamed crabs, shellfish, etc. to eat on the spot from local vendors. Walking along the beach, you'll pass by fishermen sorting out their catch, ship-wharfs and, at the southern end of town, a section where claims have been stripped of their shells for many years, so the sand on the beach is now substituted with littered shells.
The Fairy Stream (Suoi Tien) is a little river that winds its way through bamboo forests, boulders and the dunes, in parts resembling a miniature version of the Grand Canyon. Local kids will want to accompany you to show you the way (and of course earn a dollar or so), but since you're just following the stream, there's little need. For the most part, the stream is about ankle-deep and no more than knee-deep even at its deepest. It is sandy with few stones and can be walked comfortably barefooted. You can climb up the red sand hills overlooking the river valley and even walk there parallel to the river, however, the sand may be hot on a sunny day, so bring some footwear. Walking upstream for about 20 minutes, you will reach a small waterfall into at most waist-deep water, great to take a refreshing bath before heading back! To reach the stream from Ham Tien market, pass the intersection of the road heading up to the four lanes divided highway. At this point, the name of the road changes from Nguyen Dinh Chieu to Huynh Thuc Khang. Continue east until you cross a small bridge. Coming from Mui Ne, the bridge is about two kilometers west of the town. The stream is underneath, you will see a sign pointing towards a path to the left, go that way to reach an easy place to enter the stream. If the boys at the entrance asking for payment, do not pay; all beaches and rivers are free to access in Vietnam.
Taku Mountain, (About 30 kilometers west of Phan Thiet off of Highway 1A). An aerial tram takes you most of the way to the largest reclining Buddha in Southeast Asia. Spectacular views from the top of the mountain.
Fishermen Show, 360 Nguyen Thong, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet. Fishermen Show Mui Ne is an epic cultural show about Vietnam fishing village.
Escape to the paradise where peace meets tranquility at Seahorse Resort & Spa, the most elegant and stylish beachfront resort’s along the coast of Mui Ne. The picturesque beach hugs the shores that stretches up the coastline, offering a place of serenity, beauty, healing and harmony with a perfectly enhanced spectacular view and breathtaking sunsets. Seahorse Resort & Spa offers a truly unique beach experience. With 36 luxurious Bungalows and 116 Deluxe Rooms and Suites, Seahorse Resort & Spa is an enchanting destination: privately owned, and designed to offer every conceivable luxury to guests who require a tranquil and personal paradise. With natural landscapes surrounded by the breathtaking views of the ocean, Seahorse Resort & Spa located only 11km from Phan Thiet city, the resort is about 3 hours and a half drive, or 200 km from Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam.
The Non La Pool Bar
Non La Bar, situated on the southwestern corner of the resort’s large swimming pool, is a relaxing, casual place to enjoy an international cocktail, or local drinks with friends and loved ones, watching the sun set behind the nearby mountains.
Hippocampe Restaurant adds a truly extraordinary culinary experience, whether enjoying the sea breezes by day, magnificent moonlight or a dinner with candle light, all will leave you with lifelong memories
Located on an ideal ground within Seahorse Resort & Spa, Seahorse Bistro offers deliciously authentic Vietnamese cuisine for affordable prices.
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