Phu Hai is one of the wards of Phan Thiet that is often wrongly referred to as Mui Ne. It is located between the city centre and Ham Tien Ward. The entire ward is on a large hill, with a number of smaller hills and rocky coves where majority of the resorts in Phu Hai are situated on, and along the oceanfront.
Phu Hai’s history dates back over a thousand years. Near the top of the hill called Ong Hoang or Mr. Heaven Hill, overlooking the ocean and the city centre of Phan Thiet are three towers. They make up one of the most important cultural vestiges of the Cham Kingdom.
The original Poshanu Cham Towers were constructed in the later half of the eighth century to worship Shiva, a hindu god. In the 15th century, another tower was built to worship Princess Po Sah Inu, the daughter of King Para Chanh. The architecture of these towers, as with all other vestiges of the religious structures of Champa have pretty much the same theme.
Cham people come from other communities throughout Binh Thuan Province to conduct religious ceremonies at the towers. During the Kate Festival, which is the most important Cham festival of the year, the atmosphere around the towers is very festive. The Cham hold a number of ritual activities here and tourists flock to the towers to watch them.
Phu Hai is also home to two of Phan Thiet’s newest attractions. A large theatre where a cultural show called “The Fishermen Show” is performed four nights a week. It’s a splashy and somewhat tacky Las Vegas-style performance, but it is in flux and may be better in the future. A short distance away, is a sand art exhibition called “Forgotten Land”. It features the work of many artists, with sand sculptures of castles, temples, people, animals and fairy-tale figures.
Many tour buses returning from resorts in Phu Hai, Ham Tien or Mui Ne Wards stop at the “Muc Mot Nang” stores on the top of the hill in Phu Hai resulting in a traffic standstill every Sunday afternoon.
The big, fresh squid is dried under the sun for a day and then grilled on hot coals until it turns yellow and exudes a wonderful aroma. A crowd favourite.
It is also in Phu Hai that Rang Dong Corporation has constructed “Sea Links City” a huge hotel, condominium and apartment complex, with a golf course and winery. The spectacular links course is the only golf course in Phan Thiet.
The winery in Sea Links City has been constructed to look like a medieval castle and, for that reason, is called a wine castle, rather than a winery. The castle is worth a visit and tours are offered that include wine tasting in the cellar. Rang Dong Corporation, the company that built Sea Links City, owns a winery in California’s Napa Valley and the wine that is bottled and sold in the castle comes from Napa.
Just west of Sea Links City is Mui Ne Domain, another high-end condominium complex. Another complex, called Queen Pearl, houses condominiums and a shopping mall.