Kite Surfing in Mui Ne

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Kite Surfing in Mui Ne

Mui Ne Beach is a 10-mile-long stretch of white sand beach on Vietnam’s southeast coast. Once little more than a sleepy fishing village on the South China Sea, Mui Ne is now lined with resorts large and small. Many of these outfits cater to kite surfers and windsurfers drawn by the area’s steady seasonal winds and the huge swells generated by typhoons off the Philippines — attributes that led Lonely Planet to dub Mui Ne “the adrenaline capital of southern Vietnam.”

Kite Surfing Centers
Several of Mui Ne’s beachside hotels have wind sports centers offering equipment rentals and kite surfing lessons, and additional outfitters operate off the main drag. The better-established beach-based centers include Jibes (windsurf-vietnam.com), located next to Full Moon Resort; Windchimes (windsurfing-vietnam.com) at Saigon Mui Ne Resort; and Storm Kite Center (stormkiteboarding.com), which is associated with Mia Resort Mui Ne. All three outfits employed IKO-certified instructors at the time of publication, as well as “beach boys” who will set lines, pump kites and launch and catch them for clients. The beach boys appreciate a small tip at the end of the day.

Conditions
Kite surfers at Mui Ne enjoy side-offshore winds from the northeast during peak wind season, October through May, and from the southwest during the rest of the year. The surf is especially heavy from August to December — typhoon season in the western Pacific — and surf lines are typically closed-out and may be challenging to navigate for beginning kiters making their way out to smoother water. Ask the staff at your kite center for advice on the best way to time your launch between sets.

Getting There
Vietnamese authorities require U.S. citizens to present a valid passport with at least six months remaining, as well as a Vietnamese visa obtained before entry. You can obtain a tourist visa in person or by mail from a Vietnamese embassy office in the U.S., or in person in major cities abroad — Bangkok, for example. You will need to surrender your U.S. passport to the consulate until the visa application is approved. No airlines fly directly from the U.S. to Vietnam, but Vietnam Airlines offers flights to Ho Chi Minh City from several major U.S. airports with stops in cities such as Singapore and Taipei. Many Asian carriers offer flights from major Asian hubs as well. From Ho Chi Minh City, the easiest way to access Mui Ne is via open-tour bus; the national rail line does not pass through Mui Ne.

Considerations
Kite surfing is a high-risk sport that can result in injury or death. Potential problems include being dragged or slammed into obstacles by an overpowered kite, getting tangled in kite lines, or equipment failures due to improper rigging. Do not attempt to kite surf without first taking lessons from a qualified instructor. The nearest hospital to Mui Ne is in the city of Phan Thiet, about 20 minutes away.

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