Binh Thuan trip report (2023 edition)
Construction update on the Southeast coast of Vietnam. The weird building in a land corruption scandal, a mega-hotel on top of a sand dune, empty new urban developments, and the lost beach of Mui Ne
Binh Thuan is a province I’m continually drawn to in Vietnam, probably because Phan Thiet is the closest beach city by train from Saigon. Binh Thuan is best known for the Mui Ne beach area, though it appears to have reached its international heyday.
- Phan Thiet beach (via @nomadicnotes.)
On my most recent visit to Phan Thiet in April 2023, most of the foreign tourists were either kite surfers or overlanding backpackers who come to check out the sand dunes along the coast. Mui Ne used to be popular with Russian tourists, as the shops with Russian signs attest. Most Russian tourists now go to Nha Trang, where there are direct flights
There are some big plans for Phan Thiet and the Binh Thuan coastline. A new expressway from Saigon should cut the travel time down to (supposedly) two hours. A new airport will bring in new domestic tourists who might have otherwise gone to another beach. And one day, hopefully, maybe, there will be a high-speed railway station.
As if in anticipation of this potential influx of new visitors, the coastline is awash with new hotel and resort town projects. Many of them are already struggling, while some have been abandoned midway through construction.
Then there is the matter of coastal erosion, which has made the Phan Thiet-Mui Ne beach less appealing.
Here is my 2023 trip report for Phan Thiet and the Binh Thuan coastline.