October 2011 – I planned a backpacking trip to Vietnam; South to North with a kiting week during the adventure. The town of Mui Ne is a beach resort located in South East Vietnam, well-known for kitesurfing. I headed there and then visited Nha Trang – a lesser known kitesurfing spot.
After landing and staying in Saigon for a couple of days, I went directly to Mui Ne (around 200 km away). I took the public bus from Saigon without too much hassle since I didn’t have my kite gear with me. The bus trip is a 4-5h journey with some stops between cities.
Windy Season in Vietnam
The most reliable wind is from November to March. Unfortunately, I was there early October, during the rainy season. I had 3 days of no-wind and rain. I went to the North of the country and went back to Mui Ne on the first week of November hoping to have better wind.
I got a very light wind in the mornings and stronger wind in the afternoons. Mui Ne has small to medium shore breaks, which I found challenging at the time. At Mui Ne Beach, expect choppy waters with a swell developing throughout the day as the wind gets higher. Beginners might find it easier further east in smaller waves and shore breaks. Other kiting options are possible with flatter water, but I didn’t explore them. Harbour Wall is supposed to be better for freestyle, but the water has a dirty reputation. Mui Ne Beach wasn’t very crowded when I was there, but I was there very early in the season and this was in 2011. It might have changed a lot since then. On the plus side, the water is very warm, and the sun is super strong. Wearing a rash guard to protect your skin is probably my best advice.
I rented equipment from one of the most trustable kite schools on site. The real treat with renting was that I didn’t have to inflate my kite or decide which size I wanted. A “Kite Boy” always prepped the right kite for me, launched it and waited for me to be ready. It was awesome and stress-free! I rented from the school next to the high-end Saigon Mui Ne resort. Usually, they don’t accept outsiders in the hotel; I was able to access their restaurant during lunchtime, which gave me the chance to take short kiting breaks.
No wind days: No worries!
On non-wind days, you will enjoy the culture and everything else to enjoy around the area. The Red and White Sand Dunes were certainly very popular options amount travelers. The dunes are impressive especially during sunset or sunrise – worth getting up early to see them and hit the harbour after to see all the fisherman in the morning.
A must is a massage after a kite session. It is so cheap that you might also afford to have one every day. At night, make sure to hit the bars and nightclubs. Be prepared to play a Connect Four game with a local!
What else you should know
There are plenty of choices for hotels, apartments and villas with pools with different price ranges (depending if you are on the beach side or on the opposite side of the road). You can expect to pay between $5USD to $100USD or more. In 2011, I found it challenging to find a cheap place directly on the ocean side. I didn’t book my accommodation in advance and all the good places were full. Renting a motorbike is the best way to get around, but be aware it can be anarchic. I saw plenty of “motorbike accidents” caused by tourists and kite surfers. Locals seem to prefer using their horn than their breaks. As I like to avoid road accidents, I didn’t rent a motorbike; instead, I hired local “motorbike taxi driver” to get around town for cheap.
The joy of being in Vietnam is the amazing food! You will find in Mui Ne plenty of options (probably over 100 restaurants) from cheap ($5US) to more expensive. Be ready for good Pho noodle soups, spring rolls, fresh grilled fish and seafood, fresh fruits, or other amazing Vietnamese dishes.
If you are planning to bring all your precious kite gear, I would suggest pre-arranging transportation with your hotel as busses in Vietnam are quite crowded and chaotic.
Mui Ne Buzz…
My trip was in 2011 before the big buzz around Mui Ne. I visited Nha Trang too, but I didn’t have the chance to kite there. In 2011, few options for kite rental existed there and there were no other kiters. My guess is that it’s now very crowded and more expensive than when I was there. In Mui Ne, there were plenty of big resorts under construction.
I would personally not go back to Mui Ne for a kitesurfing trip. It’s a long and expensive flight from Canada and it wasn’t the best kitesurfing spot. However, if your goal is to combine kitesurfing with having a cultural experience, amazing Asian food and meeting very friendly people, Mui Ne won’t disappoint you! Make sure to explore the North of the country, visit rice terrace, war museum and the amazing countryside. Enjoy Vietnam!