Phan Rang was another town that was a quick stopover whilst continuing on our route up the coast. From Mui Ne our next place we wanted to go was Cam Ranh, then Nha Trang. However, doing all of that in one day would’ve been a lot of driving. We looked and found the little town of Phan Rang half way along, so decided to spend a night there to break up the journey. We left Mui Ne after lunch and some time chilling by the pool, arriving in Phan Rang at around 5pm.
We had no idea where to stay or anything like that, but it didn’t really matter as we were only there one night and had Bruce to get around on. We ended up booking at the Motel Mai Huong as it was cheap for the area ($9) and had good reviews. This was essentially what we went for everywhere! We’d learnt from our stay in Otres Beach that going for the cheapest wasn’t always the best, so we’d started to read recent reviews to influence our accommodation decisions. We got there and were shown straight to our room, where we got changed and headed back out to explore and grab some dinner. The beach was a short drive away, so we decided to head down there. We weren’t expecting much, as Mui Ne hadn’t had the nicest looking sea! Phan Rang it turned out, was where the ocean actually started to look like an ocean. We were pleasantly surprised! As we drove down to the beach, we saw the blue waters ahead of us. There’s no better feeling than stumbling across a hidden gem of a place when travelling – to have no expectations or idea what a place is going to be like. Phan Rang was a hidden gem for us.
Once at the beach, we realised that this was a central hub for all the locals. The road along the beachfront was closed, full of stalls selling food or plastic chairs arranged with people eating and drinking. The pavement had become bike parking, so we paid the lady and left Bruce there. We walked down the beach, so happy that we’d finally found the beautiful beaches we’d seen in pictures. The sun was starting to set, casting a pink glow on the clouds. To the left, the bay curved round with the backdrop of mountains. A beach with mountains in the background was something I’d never seen before, but made Phan Rang all the more beautiful. I was truly excited to see what other impressive landscapes Vietnam had to offer.
The beach was full of families, all who’d headed down to spend their Saturday night there. Kids were playing in the sea, whilst adults drank beer or ate the street food. We didn’t see one other tourist, and from how much we got stared at we realised Phan Rang doesn’t see many westerners. The place had something magical about it, maybe due to how it felt so authentic. It had all the makings of a tourist destination, yet was unspoilt.
We ate at a restaurant overlooking the beach, where we sat outside on the top floor to watch the sunset. As it got dark, we left and got back on our bike. I’d run out of tape to use to bandage the burn on my leg, so we went on a hunt for a pharmacy. I’m not sure where exactly Phan Rang town centre is (if there is one), as we came across a road with some shops on but not much! The lady in the pharmacy didn’t speak English, so we showed her a picture of some tape – this had become our way of communicating when we needed something rather than trying to translate it! We bought the tape, then headed back to our room, stopping along the way for a big bottle of water. There weren’t really any shops around, but we went past a little place selling odd bits. That night we stayed in, and ended up watching food videos on Facebook for an unhealthily long time. Despite James wanting to go out and buy pizza at about midnight, I persuaded him against it!
The next day we checked out, and found an Italian place to eat to satisfy our pizza cravings from the night before! We thought about going to the beach for a swim, but decided we’d wait until we got to Cam Ranh and just get on the road. After sharing a salad, pizza & pasta we were feeling very content. The sun was shining, so we set off on our journey up to Cam Ranh. It was only due to take a couple of hours, and went along the coast so was sure to be beautiful!
We were so glad we’d stopped in Phan Rang! To anyone doing the journey, this town is perfect for a night to relax. There wasn’t too much there, but all we needed was somewhere to eat – and scenery was incredible. It was nice to see somewhere completely untouched by tourism too. Being in Phan Rang had given me a taste of what was to come as we travelled further up the coast, and had only made me more excited for the beautiful beaches and mountains we were yet to discover. I think for us, this was where the road trip really started to begin. It also helped that it was beautiful weather, after Mui Ne had had so much rain!
Charlotte Rick x
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