Surf Trip Across Vietnam | Phan Thiet 2

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August 2019 At this time of year, Phan Thiet Beach is mostly onshore with the monsoon blowing from the morning. That onshore wind increases the size of the waves from around noon, and when the timing coincides with high tide, the waves are waist-chest high making it rideable on shortboards.

Incidentally, even at low tide, the wave was knee to waist high. The waves are fast beach breaks at both tides.

Sunny Phan Thiet beach

The tetra point surf spot opposite to the Sea Link property is a beach with a few local Vietnamese surfers. However, about half of the beach was reserved for surfing.

Phan Thiet Beach Resort with rows of straw beach parasols

Wave check to resort hotel premises. Some hotels often do not let you in for the purpose of wave checking. Many of the resorts here are occupied by Russians. Vietnam is a place where many Chinese, Russian and Korean tourists gather. There is a clear reason why they choose this place, and it is not only because of its proximity.

Vietnamese woman preparing local Vietnamese food

Vietnamese restaurants on the main tourist street Nguyễn Đình Chiểu were expensive and tasteless, so I went to a Vietnamese restaurant that only residents of the neighbourhood would go to.

Vietnamese noodle dish with kneaded fish and beef

Noodle dish called bun, locally reasonably priced and tasty. Most Vietnamese restaurants in tourist areas only care about the immediate money, which is no good.

Vietnamese children gather around a landed drone

Vietnamese children show interest in surfing, but I feel that they are more interested in digital products. I think the kids from the countryside are looking for something different.

Beach at Phan Thiet overflowing with rubbish

The beaches of Phan Thiet are full of rubbish, except in the tourist areas. Some of it may have drifted ashore, but I think it’s safe to say that much of it is rubbish from Vietnam.

Vietnamese houses where coastal erosion is forcing the sea to close in

Beach erosion causes waves to crash into houses. The beach is also littered with rubbish here. Some people, regardless of whether they are adults or children, go to the sea to litter and dispose of household waste. I have yet to see anyone scolding them for their behaviour.

Indian dish, chicken tikka masala

Ordered chicken tikka masala at an Indian curry shop. It is delicious. But before that, the restaurant made an order mistake. When I pointed this out, the supposedly Bangladeshi manager slammed the menu down on the table in an attempt to intimidate me. It was an unpleasant experience.

Phan Thiet Beach information sign

“Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints.” A complaint that existed in Japan a few decades ago. I saw signs like this on beaches in tourist areas. The reality is far from the truth, considering the rubbish-filled beaches of Vietnam.

Google Street View car in Vietnam

A vehicle is seen taking Google Street View photos in Phan Thiet. Is Vietnam finally lifting the ban on Street View? It’s a long way behind, but I wonder if that’s where they’re going with the global trend.

View from the hill of Phan Thiet beach

Wave check from high ground. Onshore as usual, no surfers.

Road signs. Left to Mui Ne, right to Phan Thiet.

Mui Ne peninsula on the left, Phan Thiet town centre on the right. In the middle, a resort and tourist street full of Russians.

Parents picking up their children from school in rural Vietnam.

Motorbikes of parents coming to pick up their children from school, some with three or four riders and children usually go helmetless.

Wave-like concrete curves on the side of the new road

The slope of the roadside appears to be a long wave. New, larger roads are being built all the time in Phan Thiet. Besides, there are many roads that still have no heavy traffic at all. I wish I had a skateboard.

Good sea views from the Phan Thiet bypass.

Phan Thiet is a beautiful, nature-rich area with spectacular views. Its orange sands are vast and breathtaking.

Surfers riding the waves of Phan Thiet

This Sea Links front tetra spot appears to be called Little Buddha. Point-break-like beach break created by man-made embankments and tetrapods. Possibly the most consistent beach break in Vietnam throughout the year.

At this time of year, except at low tide, it is dangerous with the risk of colliding with buoys and ropes. Reformed waves were re-breaking in the embankment, which could be fun for beginners.

Waves breaking on the rocky Phan Thiet coast.

Before you know it, the size of the waves has increased and the tide is high. There are waves that looks possible to surf. Predicting wind and waves is super difficult. But, food comes first.

Thai cuisine. Red curry.

Revisited this restaurant, which is open without a break. I ordered a Thai curry, but it was not good. The level of the food service industry in Vietnam is still generally low, probably due to the lack of attention to detail in each and every dish. Living abroad makes you realise that there are a few things that you can do outside of Japan. When Japanese people go abroad and compare it with Japan, they experience more discomfort and inconvenience. On the other hand, there is more freedom with respect for individuality, so that you do not have to exist in the average. Japan is an abnormally backward diversity country with no diversity, where everyone holds the same opinions, ideas and equality. Japan is a country where deviation from the average is strictly forbidden.

Man working on iPad in hammock

Hammocks are very good for digital work. The quality of sofas and chairs in cafés and inns in Vietnam is poor, so the hammock is a lifesaver for me as I care about correct body posture. For the record, these hammocks were very smelly.

Vietnamese washing a muddy and dirty scooter

Motorbike car wash shops can be found on local streets, and they are very helpful because they do it for about 100 JPY per wash. I think it’s one of the professions where there are few rip-offs, along with coffee shops. Incidentally, the types of businesses where I have been ripped off or suffered fraudulent practices in Vietnam include drivers, inns, restaurants, private shops and shops without price labels. Drivers charge extra fees even after an agreement has been signed. The modus operandi is always the same. Moreover, the background includes a huge number of attempted rip-offs and attempted fraud. They consist of lies and last-minute post haste, which cannot be called negotiation. In other words, the key to a comfortable and safe trip to Vietnam is to take measures against lies and afterthoughts.

Phan Thiet Beach Resort with beautiful lawns and trees

The coastal area is lined with luxurious resort hotels while the alleyways are lined with poverty. The difference is clearly shown in Vietnam, and it is growing rapidly.

Some Vietnamese boats on the muddy river

Vessels and boats moored on the river. River water is dirty.

Phan Thiet, where Vietnamese on their motorbikes and by foot come and go

Phan Thiet city centre. A city with a certain ambience. I prefer to go sightseeing in places that are either cutting-edge or still have a bit of history left in them.

Halal mark

Halal mark. Logo certifying that alcohol and pork are not used. Displayed in restaurants and on food products. For Muslims worldwide.

Fish paste are dried in the sun

They seem to be drying seafood on the beach, but there is rubbish all around them. Our attention is drawn not to the product but to the surrounding rubbish.

Waves breaking on an empty beach.

Beach near Phan Thiet town centre. The seawater is dirty due to the proximity of the river. There are many itchy insects in the grass. Wave checks have to be done on narrow dirt roads. Patience is needed to develop Vietnamese surf spots.

Phan Thiet countryside, roadside stalls

Local food stall street. Choose a beautiful, tasty place to eat from among these. In the countryside, there is no choice. Sanitary concerns have always remained, but I feel that my stomach has become stronger since about the third year in Vietnam. Humans are adaptable creatures, aren’t they?

Thai and Japanese cup noodles

Thai and Japanese cup noodles. Instant food was not often eaten in Japan. However, the taste has helped me in my life in rural Vietnam. It’s delicious.

Buy soda water and chocolates at Vinmart

Stocking up on other non-Vietnamese flavours. I don’t drink any alcohol, so soda water takes its place.

Wireless speaker secured to the back of a scooter with a rubber band

Small, high-quality JBL wireless speakers. Essential for us music lovers. We have to have less stuff because of our mobile lifestyle, but we can’t do without these. Music goes well with the wide, clean roads of Phan Thiet.

Beautiful sunset sky and palm trees.

In front of Phan Thiet Beach in the evening. The sky on this day was beautiful and California-like.

Phan Thiet Beach Street at night. Many massage parlours and pharmacies.

Nguyễn Đình Chiểu Tourist Street, located in front of this beach, has a Bali or Thai resort-like atmosphere that makes you feel like you are on a trip. However, it is mainly driven by buses, trucks, taxis, transit (name of vehicle type) and other commercial vehicles at high speeds, which blow the good, laid-back atmosphere out of the water. Traffic in Vietnam has a detrimental effect on the country’s tourism industry. I thought in Phan Thiet that there should be something done about violations that are likely to involve other people, driving the wrong way, jaywalking, speeding, drinking and driving, etc. This is a serious accident or life-threatening area for tourists.

Roxy and Mui Ne logo signs

There are Roxy and Rip Curl shops in Phan Thiet. Merchandise is mainly apparel, with a weak focus on surfing-related items. Who buys expensive apparel when there are hardly any surfers? I think this is probably a shop as an upfront investment and branding.

Spaghetti and fried chicken dish

I ordered spaghetti from a pizza chain in downtown Phan Thiet. It tasted bad and did not taste like a chain restaurant. The flavour was completely exclusive to this restaurant. The meatballs were so bad I couldn’t eat them. I have learned the hard way that travelling in rural Vietnam is a struggle with the two main elements of travelling: accommodation and food. On the other hand, people are what make these things happen.

Large coffee cafés

In Vietnam, they use interesting shop names and are not concerned about linguistic errors. The translations are often prone to errors.

Phan Thiet's convenience store
Pharmacists in Phan Thiet, written in Russian

Phan Thiet’s main tourist street Nguyễn Đình Chiểu. The street is full of signs written in Russian, among which are many pharmacies. Prices were high.

Next, we move from Phan Thiet and head towards Mui Ne!

(Surf trip record: Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam – August 2019)

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