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The capital of Binh Thuan province, Phan Thiet, is a small-but-thriving Vietnamese city, and would be a decent destination for tourists in its own right, but for one small problem: it's a stone's throw from Mui Ne, and there's no good reason for the foreign tourist to dally here when a prime beach-town is beckoning just over the horizon.
That being the case, Phan Thiet sees very few foreign faces, save those visiting on a day trip from Mui Ne or belting through on an Open Tour minibus.
For the Vietnamese tourist however, Phan Thiet is a good compromise -- they don't have to choose between expensive resorts and low-rent guest houses like in Mui Ne, good, reasonably-priced seafood restaurants line the water, and the beach is just as fine as Mui Ne -- there's just less of it.
Domestic package tours tend to show up in Phan Thiet in force as well, no doubt cutting sweet deals with local hotels and taking advantage of the proximity to Mui Ne.
A number of minor treats -- including Cham towers and huge cemeteries -- can all be easily visited either independently from here (or Mui Ne).
In terms of the cost of accommodation, the variety of eats and things to do, we have to recommend Mui Ne as the better destination. But there are things to do and see in Phan Thiet proper that make it worth a day trip, and a night or two here isn't a bad idea if you have the time and budget for it in your travel schedule.
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