For a small place, the Phan Thiet area has its fair share of sights. Those looking for cultural enlightenment will find it in and around the city centre at Van Thuy Tu Temple and the school where Ho Chi Minh used to teach.

In Phu Hai, the remains of the Cham civilization are on display at a series of still standing towers set against the sea. The distinctive ruins pale in comparison to My Son or Angkor Wat, but they remain impressive nonetheless.

In Ham Tien, the major destination is the Fairy Spring, a 30 minute hike up a babbling creek bed. Cut through the canyon and up to the waterfall, splashing upward progress and admiring the surrounding red clay canyon as you do.

Past Mui Ne, the area’s most famous attractions, the Red and White Sand Dunes, allow travellers to imagine the Sahara and ride down the slopes on rickety homemade sleds. Local children will be happy to assist in the fun, earning themselves a nice tip in the process.

Further out, climb Ta Cu Mountain to see the gigantic sleeping Buddha, on its side with a look of eternal contentment. 

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Van Thuy Tu Temple

This temple was built in 1762 to honour a legendary whale, which was believed to save fishermen caught in bad ...

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