Before the discovery of Mui Ne, Phan Thiet was an emerging resort town in its own right, but it has been eclipsed by the new kid on the block. The town is traditionally known for its nuoc mam (fish sauce), producing 16 to 17 million litres of the stinky stuff per annum. During the colonial period, the Europeans lived in their own segregated zone stretching along the northern bank of the Phan Thiet River, while the Vietnamese, Cham, Southern Chinese, Malays and Indonesians lived along the southern bank.
The river flowing through the centre of town creates a small fishing harbour, which is always chock-a-block with brightly painted boats. To get to Phan Thiet’s beachfront, turn off Ð Tran Hung Dao (Hwy 1) into Ð Nguyen Tat Thanh – the road opposite the Victory Monument, an arrow-shaped concrete tower with a cluster of victorious patriots around the base.