Located midway between Saigon and Nha Trang on National Highway 1, Phan Thiet used to have a reputation as a pleasant overnight stop for tourists. What most of travelers didn’t know about Phan Thiet was that it is also the gateway to the Mui Ne Cape, one of the most beautiful and unspoiled stretches of coastline in Vietnam. Today it has become a destination in itself and Mui Ne is famous for world class kitesurfing. The weather is hot and humid year-round. The rainy season begins in May and runs through October, making the best time to visit from November to May.
How to get your visa?
Two common ways to apply a tourist visa to Vietnam are as follows.
1 – Getting a visa at Vietnamese representative offices aboard
Most tourists get their visa through a Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate office aboard and get the visa stamp before entering Vietnam.
For a tourist visa, you will need to submit:
- Entry permits form (which can vary from one Vietnamese embassies or consulate abroad to another).
- Two photos (usually 4cmx6cm or 3cmx4cm)
- Your original passport
- Visa fee
The form and the fee can vary by country. You must contact directly the Vietnamese embassy or consulate to which you are applying.
2 – Getting a Visa on arrival
Thanks to its time and cost saving, Vietnam visa on arrival has been widely preferred by foreigners to Vietnam. What you need to do is to apply for an approval letter online, wait for a copy of the visa approval letter officially and legally issued by Vietnam Immigration Department and pick up the visa at Vietnam airport.
How to get there
Phan Thiet has no airport but soon a new airport is being constructed. Currently the only way to get there is by road or rail from Ho Chi Minh City or Nha Trang. The fastest way to get to Phan Thiet is to hire a private car and driver in Ho Chi Minh City. The scenic 200 km drive takes about 3-4 hours, depending on traffic, weather and driver. Please click here for full information.
Phan Thiet is served by Muong Man Station, about 12 kilometers outside town. From there you can board a train to Saigon or Hanoi. Many travelers expect a connecting train or a taxi when they arrive there but ironically, none of which materialized. Call ahead and be prepared for a long and uncomfortable wait.
Another way is to take a minibus. Many companies offer minibus service between Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang and you will be dropped off in Phan Thiet. Please call ahead to your hotel to ask for support.
What to see in Phan Thiet
Cave Pagoda in Phan Thiet
Located in Binh Thanh Village, Tuy Phong District, Cave Pagoda was designed by Bonze Bao Tang, who belonged to Thien Lam Sect’s 40th generation. It was constructed in 1835. Situated inside a cave on Co Thach Mountain, the ancient pagoda offers numerous shrines for prayer.
Water Tower in Phan Thiet
Situated on the Ca Ty River, the water tower was designed by Laotian Prince Suphanouvong, who was Nha Trang Public Works Bureau’s principal engineer. It was built in 1928 and completed in 1934. Nowadays the tower served as the town’s main supply of water.
White Lake in Phan Thiet
Located around 65km north east of Phan Thiet, the fresh-water lake, so called Bau Trang, was located amid the endless white sand dunes. The landscape has, however, transformed over the course of time and today greenery covers most of the white sand. Long time ago, Cham people came here and the lake became the main supply of the water for men and animals. The Cham people built Yana temple to express their gratitude to the lake.
Poshanu Cham Towers
Once a hallmark of the prosperous Champa kingdom that thrived in this region from around the 7th century to 1832, the Poshanu Cham Towers from the late 8th to early 9th century are perched on a hilltop with views of Phan Thiet and the distant coastline. In fact, many Chams in Southeast Asia converted to Islam, but those in the Phan Thiet region still uphold their Hindu cultural values and traditions.
Phan Thiet is a perfect place to take a break and unwind after the challenges of traveling. When you are tired of the beach, kite surfing or golfing, there are the sand dunes, numerous pagodas, the bustling Phan Thiet market and even a Cham temple to explore. It is a truly great dining spot to enjoy exotic sea food served at its best in fresh catch.