Vietnam is such a diverse country in all aspects! Whenever someone mentions Vietnam, probably the first associations are delicious fresh food, wide smiles from friendly locals and breathtaking landscape on each step. What many people don't know is that Vietnam is one of the best kitesurfing locations in the WORLD! The 'S' shaped country has around 3,260 km of pristine coastline where people can chill under the coconut tree at endless sandy beaches.
Also, the climate makes Vietnam a very attractive kitesurfing surfing location since the southern coast is gifted with reliable winds, tropical weather, stunning beaches, and surrounding landscape, and what's most important - a fast-growing kitesurfing community. Kitesurfing in Vietnam became worldwide recognized and today, there are many locations where adventure junkies can find their place along the long coast.
Have you ever heard about Phan Rang? Probably not. What if we tell you that Phan Rang kitesurfing is one of the best adventure experiences in Vietnam?
Let's dip down straight to things you should know before going to Phan Rang to kitesurf!
Not many tourists visit or know about this small coastal city located on the southern coast of Vietnam, more precisely in Ninh Thuan province. The city has an ideal location for people who're traveling around Vietnam since it's literally situated between Nha Trang and Mui Ne on the coast and Da Lat in the mountains.
Every location is about 2 hours drive from quiet Phan Rang.
If you're looking for a quiet and authentic destination that luckily has pristine sandy beaches, stable winds, and local vibe, then you should definitely head over there! The majority of travelers who visit Phan Rang stay solely because of kitesurfing.
There are two main kitesurfing spots - My Hoa Lagoon and Ninh Chau Bay where you can catch nice winds and calm waters during the peak season (through the year too).
Locals mainly live from seafood and believe us, the seafood there is DELICIOUS! They know how to make a great meal with fresh food. There are a dozen of hiking spots, national parks and waterfalls around the city which you can explore between kitesurfing sessions.
Phan Rang Kitesurfing Season - When Is the Best Time to Visit?
Do you want to hear an interesting fact about Phan Rang? The literal translation of the city name is 'Wind & Sun'! It is simply a place where passionate kitesurfers and adventurers go! The peak season for kitesurfing is from December to March.
You can kitesurf during the whole year, but the wind direction changes so you'll have to change a location a bit to catch a proper wind. In Phan Rang, there are two seasons - high and low season.
High season is often busier than a low season and the weather is more favorable for kitesurfers. It starts in October and ends around April when the low season kicks in. Many people usually visit Phan Rang during the peak (high) season, but if you don't have a chance to visit during these months, don't worry, since the weather and winds are stable even during the low season.
With an average of 25 knots, Phan Rang is the perfect spot for kitesurfers during the whole year. During the peak season, you can expect a steady 25 knots during the most days. If you're visiting during a peak season don't be surprised to get 40 knots!
There are three places you want to be if you're coming to Phan Rang with kitesurfing in your mind:
My Hoa Lagoon
The main spot for kite surfers is definitely My Hoa Lagoon. The lagoon is located on the South China Sea coast and the wind blows from N/NE direction with the average speed of 25 knots (cca 12 m/s) through the whole year.
The lagoon is about 20 km outside the city and kitesurfing community recognized the potential, so it became a tiny village mainly with many kite schools and cool places where other adventurers hang around. It's such a cool vibe and nice people around, so if you're visiting Phan Rang because of kitesurfing, then we definitely recommend this place!
My Hoa Lagoon becomes the best place to kitesurf during the high season (November to April) since the weather is sunny and temperatures average at 30ºC. There are days with light wind, but still, the speed is not getting below 15 knots (cca 8 m/s) which is still ideal for a nice session (+beginner friendly).
During some days, wind speed can reach a whopping 40 knots (around 20 m/s) which will give you some serious fun in the water! The lagoon is highly affected by tides while coral reefs surround the lagoon. During the worst tide periods, you'll have to walk a few hundred meters to reach the water. Be careful when kitesurfing on low tides since you'll be surrounded by rocks and coral reefs.
Plan it out beforehand and arm yourself with proper equipment. During the high tides, you'll be gifted by shallow and calm water with a sandy ground.
Ninh Chu Bay
This bay is the ideal spot for kitesurfing during the low season (March to September). Although the wind is a bit weaker, still, the average speed reaches 17 knots (8 m/s). During the most afternoons, windspeed reaches stable 25 knots (12 m/s). Low season is known for a different direction of the wind that blows from the south in the morning.
During afternoons, the wind tends to shift its direction from south to the southeast which gives stronger and stable wind. Did you know that Ninh Chau Bay hosted the huge competition back in 2016. getting the biggest names in kitesurfing on these waters? The competition was called Kiteboard Tour Asia and it hosted about 100 competitors doing freestyle and racing on the winds.
Ninh Chau is a huge chunk of sandy beach, so if the winds aren't in your favor, you should move a bit south until you find the perfect winds. Also, the water conditions are close to perfect. Shallow and calm water is perfect for beginners and also, you won't reach deep waters in the first 100 meters.
Main Phan Rang Beach
This beach is often used for swimming and relaxing, but still, the winds there are pretty solid and consistent throughout the whole year. Although the winds are a bit weaker than in the two locations above, still you can expect an average 15 knots during high season, and about 20 knots during the low season.
How to Get to Phan Rang
Phan Rang is the quiet city with a chilled vibe not discovered by mass tourism, YET. The place has the ideal location and is it sits on a triangle between Da Lat, Nha Trang, and Mui Ne; all three major touristic destinations.
You don't have to worry about getting to Phan Rang since there are few convenient options:
The bus can easily be the most convenient way to travel around Vietnam, but when it comes to reaching small, non-touristic destinations like Phan Rang, the bus drive can become a nightmare in a blink of the eye. Anyway, Phan Rang does have a bus station that sits on the infamous QL1. The exact location is between QL27 and Truong Dinh Street.
Have in mind that the bus lines are very limited, so it's advisable to plan ahead. There are many taxi drivers who are waiting in front of the bus station, but be aware of the scams! Always bargain and have the map open!
The most famous bus routes to and from Phan Rang:
HCMC: Daily departure from 4am - 10am (150,000 VND)
Nha Trang: Daily departure from 6am - 3pm (70,000 VND)
Phan Thiet: Daily departure from 6am - 1pm (70,000 VND)
Da Nang: Daily departure at 4 pm (sleeping bus, 200,000 VND)
Hue: Daily departure at 4 pm (sleeping bus, 250,000 VND)
Vung Tau: Daily departure at 8:15 am (140,000 VND)
Buon Ma Thuot: Daily departure at 6 am (sitting bus, 110,000 VND) and 8:30 pm (sleeping bus, 150,000 VND)
Keep in mind that you can basically drop off from any bus that is passing Phan Rang. Just kindly ask a driver to drop you off near the bus station!
Luckily, for travelers who explore the country by train, Phan Rang is located on the main railway route that connects North to South. The name of the train station is Thap Cham. Many travelers who're traveling from North (Da Nang) or South (Saigon) pick this option as it provides you with stunning views through beautiful mountain passes, sandy dunes, rice fields, and ocean. If you're a type of person who loves options (who isn't?), then you will definitely like this information - there are 4 different options to choose from!
For instance, people traveling from Saigon can expect a 5 - 7 hours drive, depending on the train company and number of stops.
As we already mentioned, there are four different options:
a regular hard seat - skip this one since you'll be sitting on a wooden bench and it's pretty tough to do it for 7 hours. It's not worth a few dollars you're going to save.
a regular soft seat - that is the best bang for the buck since the seats are pretty comfortable and reminds of European trains. Also, you can adjust the seats so the sleeping is possible.
hard bed in 6 bunks cabin - a thin and comfortable mattress shared with 5 other people. It's extremely comfortable and makes your journey easier.
hard bed in 4 bunks cabin - same as the option above, but you're sharing it with 3 other people.
The price depends on the option and company you choose, but usually, it ranges from 15$ to hard seat to $40 for 4-bunk hard bed. Once you arrive at the train station, depending on the place you're staying, the taxi price to Ninh Chu Beach is around 170,000 VND. You can always bargain a bit, and don't forget to use a GPS while driving in a taxi!
Most travelers set their foot to Vietnam via three major international airports - Hanoi, Da Nang or Saigon. Either airport you choose, you can get a connecting domestic flight to the nearest airport in Cam Ranh (about 1-hour drive from Phan Rang). Cam Ranh airport is sometimes listed as Nha Trang, so be careful to ask for the information to not miss the flight or even a place.
Once you landed at the airport, there will be a handful of taxi drivers offering you a drive. The whole drive is about 1 hour and it costs around 700,000 VND. Another, more convenient option is to hire a shuttle or private driver. It's a bit more costly if you're an individual, but for people who're traveling in the pack, this might be the perfect option!
Many adventurers decide to explore the beauty of Vietnam by riding a motorbike. If you're one of them then you have three main routes to reach Phan Rang:
Nha Trang (north): If you're driving from Nha Trang, there are few roads you can take. A less scenic, more dangerous and faster QL1 is one option. The second option is driving from Nha Trang to Cam Rang taking a scenic coastal DT6571, and then taking a short QL1 drive until DT702 which will provide you with stunning views and will lead you all the way to Phan Rang. The whole route is from 100 - 130 km long (depending on the route you take) and it will take you up to three hours.
Da Lat (west): If you're starting from Da Lat, just take QL20 that will eventually become QL27 and you will get directly to Phan Rang. The whole route is 110 km and it takes about three hours to complete.
Mui Ne (south): From Mui Ne take DT716, then DT716B that will eventually connect to QL1. Be careful with DT716 since the police blockade is usually stopping tourists at DT716 between red and white sand dunes. There is a detour you can do to avoid the blockade and it's highly advisable to go around. The whole route is about 130 km and it takes around 3 hours to arrive at Phan Rang.
Instead of taking DT716, head over to Phan Thiet and take DT715 instead. That way, you will avoid corrupt police around white and red sand dunes.
Getting Around Phan Rang
The most convenient option to explore this chilled place is by driving a motorbike. There are few scenic routes outside the town along with many natural wonders around. Also, the coastal road is around so what could be better than renting a motorbike? The prices for daily rental for scooter/semi-automatic starts at 100,000 VND/day.
There are some places where you can rent bigger motorbikes like Honda CRF150 that are suitable for offroad drives.
If you're not confident in your driving skills, you can always count on taxies and local drivers:
Mai Linh: (068) 3898 989
Sun Taxi: (068) 385 8585
Taxi Asia: (068) 3535 3535
Is there anything more you'd like to know about kitesurfing in Phan Rang? Don't hesitate to reach us out!
Antonio is a long-term traveler with a deep passion in exploring off-the-beaten-paths around the world. Currently, he’s living in Da Nang city and when he’s not busy pushing the new content, he enjoys taking his motorbike around Vietnam or Laos. Some of the most remarkable experiences were teaching English in a remote village located in central Laos countryside, Nakai town. Or, living in a rural Nghe An Province while helping a local community with their English. Or, driving with the worst ‘Honda’ Win around the country experiencing daily breakdowns. Or, just read a few stories on our blog to get more information about our journey and adventures.