10 most beautiful places in Phan Thiet (part 2)

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Phan Thiet attractions range from stunning beaches, tropical forest and sand dunes to traditional villages, fishing harbour and ancient structures such as the Po Shanu Cham Towers and Van Thuy Tu Temple.

>> 10 most beautiful places Phan Thiet (part 1)

The prince’s castle

The Prince’s Castle is actually a depilated French estate house atop Ong Hoang Hill, boasting fantastic views of Phan Thiet’s coastline and countryside. Built by Duke De Montpensier in 1911, the structure spanned 536 square metres but all that’s left today is an old tower and several military bunkers. Just a few metres away are the Po Shanu Cham Towers and the tomb of Vietnamese poet Han Mac Tu, who often praised The Prince’s Castle and its surroundings in his love stories.

The Prince’s castle (via touristagency)

Van Thuy Tu Temple

Van Thuy Tu Temple, dating back to 1762, is the largest and oldest whale temple in Phan Thiet – Mui Ne. Built in honour of Ca Ong (Lord Whale), locals believe that whales are benevolent creatures that protect fisherman from bad weather and the dangers at sea. Therefore, Van Thuy Tu Temple houses the skeletal remains of more than 100 whales, including 22-metre long whale skeleton that’s thought to have been the biggest in Southeast Asia. Numerous artefacts from the Nguyen Dynasty are also displayed within the main hall of the temple, such as written decrees by 24 former kings, terracotta statues, incense table, lacquered boards, and an antique bronze bell.

White sand dunes

White Sand Dunes or Bau Trang (White Lake) feature dramatic white sand dunes plunging towards a small lagoon lined with lotus flowers. Unlike the Red Sand Dunes, there’s also a small pine forest within Bau Trang, providing visitors some much-needed shade from the scorching sun. As one of the only desert areas in Southeast Asia, it’s a favourite spot for unique photo opportunities, sand-sledding, and ATV rides. For about VND 20,000, you can slide down the White Sand Dunes on plastic sleds; going down is quick and easy, but coming back up can be quite a challenge.

Ta Cu Mountain (via asiagreentravel.com)

Ta Cu Mountain

Ta Cu Mountain boasts 250,000 square metres of lush rainforests, rare wildlife, limestone caves, and ornate Buddhist structures. After an hour’s drive from Mui Ne Town, the top of the mountain is accessible via a two-hour hike through the jungle or a 10-minute cable-car ride. If you choose the latter, you’ll be greeted with vertigo-inducing views of Thuan Nam Town, Ham Thuan An Sea, and Ke Ga Lighthouse. Set atop Ta Cu Mountain is Linh Son Truong Tho Pagoda which was built in 1879. Its main attraction is a 49-metre long statue of a reclining Buddha, hailed to be the biggest of its kind in Vietnam.

Phan Thiet Central Market

Phan Thiet Central Market is a must-visit for travellers looking to experience the daily lives of the local population. The market is at its busiest at dawn, with huge crowds haggling with vendors for an array of fresh fruits, spices, nuts, meat, dried foodstuff, and household supplies. As Phan Thiet and Mui Ne are renowned for fresh and cheap seafood, you’ll find just about everything here, from shrimps, squids and fishes to snails, clams, and crabs. Phan Thiet Central Market is also a good place to enjoy authentic Vietnamese delicacies such as banh xeo (crispy pancake), mi quang (turmeric noodles), and guoi cuon (fresh spring rolls).

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