Phan Thiet – Mui Ne, a food tour

Blessed with a gorgeous beach and picturesque landscape, Phan Thiet – Mui Ne is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam. Nevertheless, the coastal town also attracts tourists with a wide variety of exploration activities.The early morning on a beach in Phan Thiet (photo courtesy of Victoria Hotel)

The early morning on a beach in Phan Thiet (photo courtesy of Victoria Hotel)

What time in a year should you visit Phan Thiet – Mui Ne?

The weather in Phan Thiet – Mui Ne is usually warm and dry, with an average temperature of 27oC. You can visit the town any time during the year, but the best time to enjoy the gentle sea waves is between August and December. The windy season is from November to the end of April. However, as July is the Month of Tourism in Mui Ne, you are most likely to enjoy a vacation here with a lot of discounts and bonuses.

Travelling to and from Phan Thiet – Mui Ne

The most common ways to get to Phan Thiet are by bus and by train, each has its own advantages. A shuttle bus will bring you to Mui Ne and take you to your very resort. Meanwhile, the train is the safer way to travel from Hanoi, and if you’re going from Saigon, you can even bring your own motorbike into the train.

Trusted high quality buses from Saigon

Listed below are some bus companies that we trust. Note that there are other companies offering journeys on buses of 16 and 25 seats, but we’d not recommend them, as they’re notorious for overloading and over-speeding.

+ Sinh Cafe: provide normal and sleeper bus tours

Morning: 0:30 – Afternoon: 15:00 – Evening: 20:30 (sleeper coach)

Address: 246 – 248 De Tham, District 1, Hochiminh City

Tel: +84.8.38 38 9593 – Fax: +84.8.38 36 9322

or 24 -26 Pho Duc Chinh, District 1, Hochiminh City

Tel: +84.8.38 222 892 – Fax: +84.8.38 217 416

Phuong Trang

Provides three busses every day at 07:30, 08:30, and 14:30.

Address: 272-274-276 Pham Ngu Lao, District 1, Hochiminh City

Tel: 083. 837 5570

Office at Mien Dong Bus Station, Tel.: 083 551 6862 (for reference)

Office in Mui Ne, Tel.: 062 3743 113 or 062 3743 040

Buses from Mui Ne or Phan Thiet to Saigon departs at 09:00 and 14:00 every day. The fare price is VND70000.

+ Tam Hanh (also Open tour bus)

Address: 272 De Tham, District 1, Hochiminh City (Close to Sinh Cafe and Phuong Trang Office)

Tel.: 089205653

Tam Hanh has 4 buses from Hochiminh to Phan Thiet, departing at 08:00, 09:00, 15:00, and 20:00

every day.

Train from Phan Thiet to Saigon

There’s a train from Saigon to Phan Thiet every day at 7:05 AM. For weekend, there are one at 7:05 and another one in the afternoon. On normal weekdays, there are few passengers and most of the seats are not occupied. To go from Phan Thiet to Mui Ne, you need to take a 30 to 40 minute bus ride.

You can bring your bike with you on the train from Saigon. Call to ask the train station to know the bike fare.

Address of Saigon Train Station: No. 01 Nguyen Thong, Ward 9, District 3

Tel. (with automatic answering machine) 08 39 310 666

For information, call 08 39 318 952 or 08 38 466 091

To book a ticket, call 08 38 436 524, or 08 38 468 701 (ext. 2302)

Call 08 8436528 between 07:00 and 21:00, and the tickets can be brought to your home per request. This only applies for those living in the city center.

Taxi in Phan Thiet

Mai Linh Taxi: 0623 739 888

Mui Ne Taxi: 0623 84 88 48

Phan Thiet Taxi: 0623 814 814

Cheap hotels in Phan Thiet – Mui Ne

Hotels in Mui Ne

Most hotels and resorts in Mui Ne conform to the standard: they are usually fully furnished, and come with AC and cable TV. The price is from VND150000 to VND250000. You can also rent a tent at 70k – 80k. Within the Hon Rom area, the camping site has public toilets with free fresh water.

Hotels in Phan Thiet City

+ Hong Hai Hotel

Address: 165 Le Loi.

Tel.: 062.3822705

Saigon – Phan Thiet Hotel

Address: T21 Nguyen Trai, Binh Hung Ward

Tel: 062 6251229, or 3750173, or 6281602

+ Truong Thinh Hotel on Tuyen Quang Street

Tel.: 062 3834567

Don’t hesitate to bargain on a deal with the hotel. The listed price usually includes breakfast. If you’re not planning to have breakfast at a hotel, tell them in advance and have them deduct the meal cost. As of 2011, the average price was 200k per night.

As for quick-hotels, we’d recommend a place called Minh Hanh at 390 Thu Khoa Huan. The hotel is a five minute bike ride from the beach. A room for two costs about 200k on normal days.

Hotels in Mui Ne

+ Tuan’s hostel on the “foreigner street”: 0919264555.

+ PinPon Hotel at No. 233 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, Ham Tien Ward, Phan Thiet

Tel.: 043 978 5397 or 098 454 4333.

+ Su Trang Hotel at 3B Nguyen Dinh Chieu

Tel.: 062.3847344

+ Tam U Hotel: 0623741215

+ Vuon Xoai Hotel at 5 Nguyen Dinh Chieu: 0623741401

+ Thanh Quang Hotel at 13 Nguyen Dinh Chieu: 0623847133

+ Ngoc Hung Hotel at 45/4 Nguyen Dinh Chieu: 0905187541

There are a plethora of hotels on Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street. You can simply come take a walk there and find the one most suitable for you.

Hotels in Ham Thuan Nam (near Ta Ku and Ke Ga)

This area is relatively remote from the city center. If you plan to visit the Ke Ga Lighthouse or the Ta Ku Pagoda with the famous lying Buddha statue, we would recommend staying at the Doi Su 3-star Resort.

Address: Thuan Quy Ward, Ham Thuan Nam District, Binh Thuan

Tel.: 062 3683011, or 062 3683012, or 062 3683013

Fax: 062 3683015.

Office in Hochiminh: 206 Nguyen Trai, Ward 3, District 5 (at Kim Phuoc Jewelry)

Tel.: 08 39244771, or 08 39244772.

Cell phone No.: 0903043721

Fax: 08 39244736

Bus to Ke Ga

There’s a bus from the city of Phan Thiet to Ke Ga (the Phan Thiet – Tan Hai – LaGi bus). The distance is around 30km.

When taking the bus from Phan Thiet, you will see a lot of beautiful resorts along the road. The first stop would be the Suoi Cat Tourist Site. The Ke Ga stop is easy to recognize, as it is right at a small market at a 90 degree turn. You could also tell the driver to tell you when the bus approaches the stop.

From the stop, walk about 50m to Mr Bay’s Boats for Rent, then walk another 500m from there to the lighthouse.

Renting a motorbike in Phan Thiet

Most hotels and resorts in Phan Thiet have motorbikes for rent. Even when they don’t, the hotel staff will help you with finding one.

If you travel from Saigon, it’s best to just take your bike along, especially when you plan to stay in Phan Thiet for more than 3 days. Before taking your bike onto the train, however, remember to remove all gasoline in the gas tank, otherwise other people will do it for you. Buy the return ticket with your bike registered, because the number of bikes allowed is very limited.

What to do in Phan Thiet – Mui NeWhile in Mui Ne, you can go explore the famous sandy paradise (photo courtesy of muine-info-and-events)

While in Mui Ne, you can go explore the famous sandy paradise (photo courtesy of muine-info-and-events)

Apart from the famous Hon Rom, the yellow sand dull, Bach Ho, Trinh Nu Hill, Hong Hill, the Poshanu Champa Tower, the old village, Ong Hoang’s house, and the fresh sea food market, you can try various local dishes when visiting the Ta Cu Mountain, Phu Quy Island, the Ke Ga Lighthouse, Ong Dia rocks, and the Duc Thanh School, where Hochiminh worked as a teacher.

When at Mui Ne, besides playing at the beach, you can also visit fishing villages and fish sauce factories. There you will have a chance to witness the traditional fish sauce production procedure, and buy some home as gifts.

Food and eateries in Phan Thiet

If you’re a fan of seafood, you’ll love to go to the beach early in the morning. It is where the fishermen get back after a long night in the sea. The seafood here is much fresher than when they arrive at restaurants. I find it a pity that many people go to restaurants just for the seafood, while they can eat much better seafoods here.

A good dining destination is the Phuong Vy Restaurant. You will find awesome food here. The resto is spacious and has two stories, with the upper one air-conditioned. It’s a nice place to dine, especially when it’s hot outside.

Phuong Vy Restaurant is at No. 34 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Hung Long Ward, Phan Thiet. Tel.: 062 3 835668.

As for backpackers, if you want to enjoy local food at more reasonable prices, Phan Thiet Market is a place to keep in mind. Want to try Phan Thiet’s famous squid teeth? Find the street vendors on Vo Thi Sau Street, near the Ca Ty estuary.

Phan Thiet’s specialties include one-time-dried squid, dragonfruit, fish sauce, young rice milk cake (there’s one kind for tourists and the other for local people), and seafood in Mui Ne.

(This list of food and dining destinations is extracted from phanthietvn.com)

1. Rice leaf rolls

The rice leaf rolls are usually sold with the shrimp paste rice leaf by street vendors. The ingredients are humble: sticky rice leaves, shrimp paste, bird’s eggs, and fried pork fat. Everything is mixed together inside a rolled leaf that is made of rice.

The rice leaf roll is usually sold in the early evening at the Tran Hung Dao – Thu Khoa Huan Intersection (near cafe Hoa Nang) and the Tam Bien Intersection (near Cafe Tieng Xua).

2. Banh banh (thick noodle soup)Phan Thiet's banh canh with chopped fish

Phan Thiet’s banh canh with chopped fish (photo courtesy of Tien Phong)

Banh canh is a simple, but nutritious dish. There are a plethora of variations of the banh canh, such as banh canh with chopped fish or chopped pork. The banh canh broth can serve as a soup to eat with baguette.

The banh canh in Phan Thiet can taste a little too sweet, but you should try it at least once anyway. You can also try eating baguette with chopped pork (banh mi xiu mai) – the dish tastes awesome here.

Places with good banh canh:

+ Banh canh Xiu (a very small resto, hard to find, but the food is worth it)

Address: 1HA Kim Dong Street, 30m into the small road between Tran Quoc Toan Bookstore and Biti Store.

Menu: banh canh with fish, fried chopped fish, steamed chopped fish, dumpling, baguette with chopped pork in soup, sugarcane juice.

Opening time: 14:00 – 22:00

+ Banh canh Ba Ly (the writer’s favorite, as this resto is spacious, easy to find, and has a rich menu)

Address: 566 Tran Hung Dao, Phan Thiet

Menu: Banh canh with chopped fish, baguette with chopped pork balls in soup, spring rolls.

Opening time: 4pm till late at night

+ The banh canh near Hai Thuong Lan Ong (this tastes ok, but they sell out very quickly)

Address: Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street

Opening time: 16:00 to 19:00

3. Fish salad

This is a must-try when you’re in Phan Thiet – Mui Ne.

Where to find fish salad:

+ Restos along the embankment of Ca Ty River

+ Vietnam Home Restaurant at 125 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne

4. Mi Quang (Quang noodle)

Phan Thiet’s Mi Quang is a very…Phan Thiet food. You should try and see the differences from the original Mi Quang. Again, the broth could be a little too sweet, so don’t forget to add lemonade to your noodle to reduce the sweetness.

+ 129 Tran Phu. Their Mi Quang with pig leg tastes like heaven, and the resto is open in the morning and the early evening.

+ Mi Quang Ba Phuong, opposite Tuyen Quang school on the right side. It costs a bit more, but is worth it. This is best for those that love the strong taste of Phan Thiet food.

+ Mi Quang near Phan Boi Chau School. Walk from Le Hong Phong Street about 200m pass the school, you will see a chicken rice and mi quang shop on your left. This place opens only in the morning.

5. Banh xeo (Vietnamese pizza)Banh xeo (photo courtesy of Phanthietvn)

Banh xeo (photo courtesy of Phanthietvn)

Banh xeo is easy to find in Phan Thiet, as there is a whole street that sells this snack. The most famous banh xeo shops are Cay Xoai and Cay Phuong. From my own experience, the sauce in Cay Xoai is a little sweeter than in Cay Phuong. Therefore, better try Cay Phuong at 49 Tuyen Quang if you’re not a fan of sugar. You can also try banh xeo at any other shop on this street.

6. Banh can (a kind of pancake)

There are a plethora of banh can shop in Phan Thiet. Ask any taxi or motorbike taxi driver and they’ll show you the nearest one. The shops usually open in the evening. You will also find banh can shops on Thu Khoa Huan (the way to Mui Ne).

+ From Le Hong Phong Bridge, walk to the direction of Phan Thiet Market. You will see Eden Optics. There’s a street vendor selling extraordinarily tasty banh can there, but you’ll have to sit on the pavement to enjoy it.

+ Banh can No. 8 on Hai Thuong Street. They have seats with tables, but the banh can doesn’t taste as good as the one previously mentioned.

7. Banh re

With its amazing taste and appealing appearance, banh re is a specialty of Phan Thiet. This is a sweet snack and can be kept for quite a long time. You can buy banh re from Phan Thiet Market, or at the shops along the sides of Ca Ty River, and in Mui Ne.

8. Ca loi fish in pork fat

Ca loi rolled in rice paper is not any less tasty than the well-known ca mai fish salad. It’d be a pity for one to visit Phan Thiet without trying this snack. Here’s where to eat it:

Xuan Vang Resto on Pham Van Dong Street (Phan Thiet) and the other restos and shops around Mui Tau (Bo Ke) near Tran Hung Dao Bridge. Eat there if you arrive at the city at around noon.

+ Thu Ty and Tu Minh near the embankment of Ca Ty River. These two restos open in the evening.

9. Banh quai vac (a local crescent)

Banh quai vac is a common local snack with very special taste. You can buy it from street vendors wandering around Doi Duong Beach, or at the food vendors in Phan Thiet Market.

Shops with banh quai vac:

+ Banh can Xiu (they sell both banh canh and banh quai vac here. Address: Kim Dong Street, 30m into the small road separating Tran Quoc Toan Bookstore and Biti Store.

+ The banh quai vac kiosk titled Anh Minh in Phan Thiet Market. Here the food is carefully boxed for take-away, making it look safe and hygienic.

10. Melo melo salad

This is a snack very much loved by local students. Since the melo melo has now become very rare, it is sometimes substituted by the Pacific geoduck.

You can find the salad at the area around the Health Department Office near Phan Thiet Train Station sometime between 3 PM and 7 PM. They offer a wide variety of other snails here.

11. Phan Thiet beef noodle

Talking about beef noodle (bun bo), you’d probably think of the one from Hue. But did you know the Phan Thiet people have their very own beef noodle too? Phan Thiet’s beef noodle has unique flavors, and the vermicelli is a lot thinner than the bun bo Hue you usually find in Saigon.

Where to eat:

+ Bun bo Nguyet 134 Thu Khoa Huan. Opens from 4 PM till evening.

+ The bun bo resto around Phan Thiet Train Station (near the melo melo salad place)

12. Other seafoods

Apart from the afore-mentioned specialties, if you are a fan of fresh and super cheap seafood, come to the restos along the Ca Ty River Embankment. Every taxi driver knows of this place. If you’re on a budget, don’t enter the fancy-looking restos, as things are very pricey there. Our favorite restos in this area include Tu Minh, Thu Ty, and Xuan Vang (especially for lunch).

13. Lac Ha Pho

While travelling in Phan Thiet, you’d sometimes go out till late into the night and then, hear your stomach growling. In that circumstance, nothing would feel better than a steaming pho. Pho Lac Ha is a late night pho on Tran Hung Dao Street, very well-known among tourists to the city.

Opening hours: 4 PM till 3 AM

Address: 365 Tran Hung Dao, Phan Thiet

14. Grilled quid mouthGrilled squid mouth - a treat for your taste buds

Grilled squid mouth – a treat for your taste buds while in Phan Thiet – Mui Ne

The grilled squid mouth is a common snack among students in Phan Thiet. You can find it at the vendors around Phan Thiet Train Station (open 3 PM till early evening), or on Nguyen Tat Thanh Street (on the way to Doi Duong Beach).

15. Grilled rice paper in shrimp paste

This is a variation of the traditional rice paper with shrimp paste dish. It’s also one of the most popular snacks among students.

Places to try grilled rice paper in shrimp paste:

+ The intersection between Thu Hoa Huan and Tran Hung Dao Street, down the road a little from Cafe Hoa Nang.

+ The corner between Tran Hung Dao and Tam Bien Intersection.

16. Rice paper in shrimp paste

This is a traditional specialty of Phan Thiet, and a childhood snack for most of the coastal city residents. You can find the snack at

+ The vendors around the city, especially along Doi Duong Beach

+ Follow the concrete path from teh parking lot of Doi Duong Beach to the direction of Novotel Hotel, you will see a small fruit vendor at the end of the road. They also sell the snack which you can take away.

17. Fish hot pot

It would be a big miss if you go to Phan Thiet without enjoying the city’s famous fish hot pot with your friends and family.

Locations:

+ Ty Fish Hot Pot on Tran Hung Dao Street, next to the Court of Phan Thiet City

+ Ngoc Lan Hot Pot at 11A Phan Dinh Phung

+ May Hue Hot Pot (opposite to Ngoc Lan)

18. Baguette with chopped pork ball and egg

Vietnamese baguette with chopped pork ball and boiled duck egg has conquered the hearts of many food lovers travelling to Phan Thiet. The most famous place that sells this is the small resto on Nguyen Hue Street. It opens from the late afternoon till midnight, always having lines of customers. It’s common to have to wait 15 minutes before you’re served here.

19. Banh beo (fern-shaped rice cake)

Talking about banh beo, most people would probably think of the famous snack from Hue. Few people know that Phan Thiet has its very own banh beo with unique flavors. You can find Phan Thiet’s banh beo in the city market or at street vendors.

20. Balut (duck embryo)

Baluts are sold everywhere in the country, but you’ll find out that the Phan Thiet people has a creative way to enjoy it.

The balut can be found at street vendors and restos in the evening.

21. Com tam My Hong (broken rice at My Hong)

My Hong is famous in Phan Thiet for the tasty meat and sauce to eat with broken rice. Their broken rice with bacon tastes awesome. The Phan Thiet people usually eat com tam for breakfast, so don’t miss it when you’re in the city.

22. Xoi vo (sticky rice) with fried pancakeXoi vo with fried pancake (photo courtesy of phanthietvn)

Xoi vo with fried pancake in Phan Thiet – Mui Ne (photo courtesy of phanthietvn)

Every provinces in Vietnam has Xoi vo, but only in Binh Thuan is it served with fried pancakes. Xoi vo can be found at

+ the street vendor near the Phan Thiet Train Station, around the corner of Cao Thang and Le Hong Phong

+ Phuong Market, where the street vendors stand on a road across Thu Khoa Huan Street.

23. Well-cooked sweet potato

Also a traditional food, the sweet potato is the childhood food of many Binh Thuan people. It is usually eaten in the morning for breakfast. You can try this at the locations mentioned above for Xoi vo, as they also sell it there.

24. Grilled chopped pork

This is a simple snack: it’s easy to make and easy to eat. However, don’t let the simplicity fool you. In fact, the smell and the taste will surely give you a nice surprise!

The grilled chopped pork is sold in the early evening at

+ the intersection between Tran Hung Dao Street and Thu Khoa Huan Street

+ the vendor on Vo Huu Street and other streets

25. Cha lui Ham Tan (chopped pork and shrimp grilled on coal)

Cha lui Ham Tan is quite similar to nem cha lui. It’s another popular snack in Phan Thiet. Our favorite place to eat this is the resto on Tran Hung Dao Street. It’s next to the back gate of Phan Boi Chau School and is close to Rang Dong Company. The resto opens at about 4 PM.

26. Grilled spring roll

Yet another great food to try in Phan Thiet! This is an evening food, and the best rolls are sold at the resto near Phan Thiet High School, and Thu Trang Resto on Tran Hung Dao Street.

27. Phan Thiet chicken rice

You can eat chicken rice everywhere in the world, but you will remember Phan Thiet’s chicken rice for the amazing feeling it creates on your tastebuds. The most delicious chicken rice are served at the resto on Le Hong Phong Street (in front of the soccer field of Phan Boi Chau High School), and the restos along Tuyen Quang Street.

28. Lizard dishesGrilled lizard - a specialty of Phan Thiet (photo courtesy of thuvienbinhthuan)

Grilled lizard – a specialty of Phan Thiet (photo courtesy of thuvienbinhthuan)

The lizard is a famous specialty in Phan Thiet. It is made into a plethora of different dishes, which are all approved by the pickiest eaters. Famous for these special dishes is the Vietnam Home Restaurant on Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, which is well-known among both the local people and foreign tourists. According ot my personal experience, you will most likely be surprised by the menu and the prices in this resto.

Address:

Việt Nam Home Restaurant

125AB Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Phan Thiet, Vietnam

Tel.: 062 3847 687 – Fax: 062 3743 323 – Mobile: 0918 803 659

29. Deep fried snakehead in rice paper

An famously delicious, and surprisingly cheap food in Binh Thuan. A must try when you’re visiting the province.

Try it at AH Resto on 17 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Ham Tien, Mui Ne.

30. Phu Long’s banh hoi with pig’s intestine

Phu Long is around 7km from Phan Thiet. On arrival, you will see about a dozen restos on the two sides of National Highway 1A. Drivers and passengers on the cars and trucks that travel across the country usually stop here for the tasty food. They’re open only in the morning, and are almost always crowded on weekends and holidays. There are so many customers it could be hard to find a table sometimes.

If you can’t go to Phu Long, the resto at 40 Tran Phu Street could be a sub. Again it’s only open in the morning.

31. Crab with dragonfruit salad

Many tourists in Phan Thiet – Mui Ne have asked this question: “Is there anything we can mix with dragonfruit?” As there are so many dragonfruits here. The answer is crab salad. It’s a light food that can be used as an appetizer.

Where to eat:

Việt Nam Home Restaurant

125AB Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Phan Thiet, Vietnam

Tel.: 062 3847 687 – Fax: 062 3743 323 – Mobile: 0918 803 659

32. Boiled squid mouth

Compared to baked squid mouth, the boiled squid mouth seems to be a simplified version. It’s extremely easy to make, and is served with salt in pepper and lime juice, and other pickled vegetables. It’s a simple but impressive local dish to taste.

You can eat boiled squid mouth at

+ restos around Phan Thiet Train Station (opens 3 PM till midnight)

+ restos and vendors along Nguyen Tat Thanh Street.

33. Lau tha (fish hotpot)Lau tha hot pot (photo by Hong Anh)

Lau tha hot pot (photo by Hong Anh)

Together with ca bop, seafood hot pot is considered a specialty of Phan Thiet – Mui Ne. If you’re visiting the city, don’t miss your chance to eat the food that even the host of Yan Can Cook couldn’t help but giving compliments.

Location: Seahorse Bistro

Address: Km11 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Ham Tien, Mui Ne

Tel.: 0623 847 507

Mobile: 0932 488 652 (Mr. Minh)

Gifts to bring home from Phan Thiet – Mui Ne

You can buy fresh squid and baby squid at the squid factories in the remote areas in Mui Ne. The long squid is about 20 – 25cm in length, and costs 80k per kilo, while the price for baby squid is 45k. Con Ca Vang (goldfish) Fish Sauce is another specialty of Phan Thiet that you can bring back as a gift for your family and friends.

Tips for a great time in Phan Thiet – Mui Ne

As the weather is hot and dry in Phan Thiet, you should always bring with you some water, sunglasses, sunscreen, sandals, and flip-flops.

During the fifth and sixth lunar month (around June and July), the sea in Mui Ne is usually polluted with red algae. These months are not an ideal time for swimming in the sea.

This article is composed with reference from the internet. We wish you a great trip!

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