Surf Trip Across Vietnam | Phan Rang Thap Cham 2

Phan Rang

There were days with strong onshore winds, but in the second half of September, days with light winds appeared. Rain has been falling several times a week.

Sunrise and plants

Morning sunrise in Phan Rang-Thap Cham.

Pink sunrise

As Vietnam is mainly bordered by the sea on the east side, the morning sun can often be seen beautifully from the coast when the weather is clear.


Sunrise in Ninh Thuan. It will be hot again today.

Sayama looking to the sky

I’m feeling better and woke up early for the first time in a long time.

Sea of Ninh Thuan Province, with vast coral reefs

Ninh Thuan province with large coral reefs. Many of them are black and have little to no beauty left in them. The mountains of Nui Chua National Park can be seen in the background.

Ninh Thuan Province, coral reef sea, with beautiful green sea water in the distance

On this side, a beautiful section of emerald green seawater is visible.

Coral reefs and huts at low tide

Coral reef situated front of the inn.

Vietnamese porridge with meat topping

There are no restaurants near the hotel, so we drove 20 minutes by motorbike to a local diner to eat porridge. This diner seems to be run by a mother and her 10-year-old daughter. The food is delicious and tastes like it was made by a minority type of Vietnamese who are particular about their work. It actually seems easy for such a minority Vietnamese to succeed in running a diner. It is generally perceived that prosperous shop owners are generally one-person leader types who can have this good commitment and act on their own initiative. In Vietnam, the difference between a few and all others is extremely large. It is easy for the few to succeed because they can do business with everyone else. The structure is different from that in Japan, but there is no doubt that scarcity is an important factor to consider here as well.

View of the coral reef, Sayama

View of a dirty coral reef covered with rubbish. Is it the same here?

Goat and kid eating coconuts

Goat and kid. Small kids are rare.

A few years ago, I was happily invited by a Vietnamese to go out for goat meat. Goat meat must be a special food, regarded as the same ranking of seafood. I don’t eat it.

Phan Rang-Thap Cham's nha tro

Nha Cho where we stayed in Ninh Thuan Province. It was the first sunny day in a while and the wind was light, making it a good day for drying clothes. Besides us, there were two long-term caucasian women, an Aussie and a Vietnamese couple and their family staying there. All were kitesurfers. The sea in front of us is a kitesurfing point, so it must be a good location for them. There is a deep and high mountain behind us, and we could feel the strength of nature, such as strong winds and thunderstorms.

The nha nghi where we stayed in Ninh Thuan Province, with fields of coriander and high mountains in the background

The rooms were small, there were many flies and it was by no means comfortable. However, the owners, a Vietnamese couple, treated us very well. and were very hospitable.

Vietnamese fried noodles

Meals at the inn. Fried noodles with coriander from a neighbouring field. Not only this fried noodle, but the food served at the inn was delicious, not in the general Vietnamese taste, but suited towards a foreigner’s taste.

Mature coriander field

Fast-growing backyard coriander. Within a few weeks, it has reached a good size to eat.

View of the coral reefs and sea at Phan Rang-Thap Cham from above, beautiful blue sea and black pollution

This is where the seawater looked the cleanest in the area. Even so, there are noticeable black areas on the coral reef in the foreground. The blackness could be some kind of man-made contamination, although the visibility would depend on the depth of the water.

Sayama crossing a suspension bridge

At the end of this suspension bridge, deep in the mountains of Nui Chua National Park, there is a settlement of people who appear to be ethnic minorities with different cultural standards.

Goats eating cactuses

Goats can be seen crunching on cactuses with sharp thorns. The thorns appear to be painless to them.

Goat with a cactus stuck in the middle of his body

A goat with a cactus stuck in its back but walking nimbly. It still doesn’t seem to be in pain. The other goats walked by without attempting to eat the cactus that had been stuck on the goat’s back.

Rubbish trucks in Phan Rang-Thap Cham

Rubbish trucks in Ninh Thuan province. A system in which garbage is thrown into the back of the truck and trampled down by human power.

Motorbikes carrying large quantities of harvested goods

Few people have cars in this part of the countryside. This Vietnamese man is riding on a motorbike with a large amount of harvested goods as well as his spouse.

Today there is a swell and light wind. Finally, we might be able to surf. Let’s go looking for a surf spot.

Phan Rang-Thap Cham's beach break

It seems to be the only beach break in the area. Sets of chest high waves coming in. No one is in the water. I brought my surfboard and wanted to go in. However, I gave up after checking the waves for about 10 minutes. There was a lot of rubbish floating around, so I judged it to be dangerous. Too bad. We came all the way here and can’t surf for this reason? Vietnam is a stressful surfing destination if you don’t choose the right place and time of the year.

Waves breaking on the sea, with factories releasing black smoke into the atmosphere in the background
The waves crashing on the coral reef and big rocks

Waves breaking on coral reefs.

Coral reef break and boat

There were places where the conditions were right, surfing could be done, but it was felt that the probability of this happening would be a few times a year.

Beaches and boats in Ninh Thuan Province

The waves are no good here either, where the beach and coral are mixed. The sand looks blackish and dirty by the sludge.

Sea of Phan Rang-Thap Cham from the sky

I think you need a very strong swell to surf this goofy surf spot, but maybe you can surf it.

Salt production site

Salt is also produced here.

Boats and fishermen on the river

River in Phan Rang-Thap Cham where rubbish floats.

Boats docked on the river, oil spilling out

Boats anchored in the river. The surface of the water is glistening with oil.

Countryside and Sayama

I took a photo with the beautiful countryside in the background. I want to leave soon because I don’t fit in with Phan-Rang’s air, but I haven’t surfed here once yet and I want to at least do it once. There are no waves to surf yet. I’m in a hurry to move on, but the odds of getting a wave are low, so I’ll have to wait and see. The reason why there are no surfers in Vietnam is becoming clear. This is a discipline.

Vietnamese dog

Vietnamese dogs in the countryside.

Vineyards and reception dogs

Many grape farms in the vicinity of Nui Chua National Park produce wine. The receptionist is a dog. Vietnamese dogs are cute, but near here I was almost bitten by a dog that was seriously out of control. I escaped at 40 km/h on a rickety road, but it was a close call.

Beaches surrounded by barbed wire

Beaches surrounded by barbed wire. Many areas are inaccessible.

Phan Rang-Thap Cham road

Comfortable drive with little traffic.

Goats feeding on rubbish

Goats scavenging and eating rubbish. Not only goats, but also cows, chickens and other animals feed on rubbish and are conspicuous on the streets.

Motorbike parked on a mountain off-road

Riding the motorbike in search of a surf spot. This mountain road had no road, and I had a feeling that there was a possibility of a landslide, so I gave up and turned back. There was no one deep in the mountains and the sound of birdsong was pleasant. However, there was no reception on my phone and I felt scared.

Ninh Thuan province, the land of coral reefs and sand dunes. Next, a place that had been checked on Google Maps with the expectation of waves. The shape of the coral reef looks good. I am looking forward to it.

Coral reefs and sand dunes of Ninh Thuan

After a drive of several dozen kilometres, I arrived at the destination. But I was disappointed when I saw the dirty sea. Or rather, I had realised this was no good when I saw the black river water just before my destination.

Dirty coral reef of Phan Rang-Thap Cham
Sludge accumulated on coral reefs

Close-up shot of the coral reef at low tide. There was a staggering amount of dirt. Yet, I’d like to walk over the coral reef to the shore a few hundred metres away and see the waves up close once. Then, take a step out.

Sludge and footprints accumulated on coral reef

I got stuck in it. My shoes were stuck on and I couldn’t get out. Sticky mud like sludge is accumulating on the coral reef and you can’t move. It is impossible to walk on it. The black sea that I saw from the hill the other day, was it not this sludge-like sticky mud? If so, the amount of black muck on this vast coral reef is huge. Incidentally, there are many fish farms in the vicinity. Maybe there was also a processing plant. Anyway, the water in some of the streams flowing into this sea is black. If this were a sandy beach with strong currents, I don’t think it would be like this. The current is weak, and it is probably like this because it is a coral reef without fluidity of sand. Even if the coral reef waves here are good, I don’t think I would surf here. I don’t want to be wipeout on that sludgy coral reef.

Black water river in the town of Phan Rang-Thap Cham

River flowing through the town of Phan Rang-Thap Cham. Beyond the floodgates is the sea.

River in Phan Rang-Thap Cham with accumulated rubbish and sludge

The water of the river flowing through Phan Rang-Thap Cham is black.

Clouds likely to bring an evening shower

The weather in Phan Rang-Thap Cham is variable. Suddenly it became dark and started to rain.

Sea turtles protected in pools

Several sea turtles protected at the Nui Chua Environmental Centre.

Phan Rang-Thap Cham's kitesurfing school

Kitesurfing season will soon begin.

Deep fried sweet potato

We’re back at the inn, served deep fried sweet potatoes. It was delicious.

Seafood hotpot

Hotpot. Delicious. The food is always freshly prepared at this inn, which has helped a lot in terms of food.

Purple sky

Having stayed too long in Phan Rang, falling ill and waiting for the waves to rise, it was time to move on to the next location.

Sayama looking at the sky at night

There is nothing around here and no waves at this time of year. The sea is dirty despite being a coral reef, and the air feels stagnant for some reason, although there is a lot of nature, so the impression of this place is not very good.

Day of departure from Phan Rang, first long-distance journey in a long time. High temperature. We proceed north in full protection. On the way, we will be stopping at several beaches to check out the surf points. We drive for several hours through the spectacular roads of Nui Chua National Park to Cam Ranh, south of Nha Trang.

Clean seawater and beaches

Ninh Thuan Province. The sea is beautiful and there were no people.

Beautiful sea of Khanh Hoa Province

Finally, we have entered Khanh Hoa Province. The sea is beautiful in this area where few people live.

(Surf trip record: Phan Rang-Thap Cham, Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam – September 2019)

Phan Rang

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