After getting my first taster of surfing, I knew I was hooked. For me, surfing is extremely therapeutic, being at one with the ocean and the board, all while getting lost in the focus on catching the perfect wave. As I don’t live near the ocean, I’ve been taking trips around Vietnam to the many different surf spots to practice and improve my skills. This guide to surfing in Vietnam includes where to learn to surf, the best surfing spots in Vietnam and recommended board rentals across the country.
Surfing in Vietnam at a glance
Surfing came to the shores of Vietnam in the 1960s and 70s, right in the midst of the war. For some of the American soldiers stationed in Vietnam, the expansive coastline with surfable waves offered an escape from the trauma. With so many beach destinations, it wasn’t long before surf tourism arrived and nowadays there are surf schools and board rentals all along the coast.
The best time of year for surfing in Vietnam is typically in the winter monsoon season, from November to March, when storms bring swells. To check the surf reports for different locations I recommend using the website Surf Forecast (I’ve linked the relevant reports next to each location below for you to check).
Learning to surf in Vietnam
While there are many places to surf in Vietnam, I believe that the surfing hub of Mui Ne is the best place to learn. The waves are great for beginners and learners who want to practice skills. The community is really welcoming and there are lots of schools here for you to choose from. I highly recommend getting a lesson for your first time surfing to ensure you are safe in the water and have some of the basic techniques for paddling and standing up.
Mui Ne Local Surf
I started surfing with a lesson from the guys at Mui Ne Local Surf. During the course of an afternoon, we went from complete beginners to catching waves on our own, which was such a satisfying achievement for our first time surfing. The lesson started on land, where we picked boards for our height and weight, figured out if we were regular or goofy and then practised our placement for popping up on the sand. Once in the water, we learned how to carry our boards safely into the ocean, practised paddling, sitting up, and of course got expert guidance on how to pick the correct waves. Tuan and the other guys from Mui Ne Local Surf started out supporting us a lot in catching waves, giving us a push and taking the pressure off paddling to catch the wave. As the lesson progressed and our confidence grew, they reduced the pushing until we were doing everything on our own.
The best surfing in Vietnam
While Mui Ne is the epicentre of the surf community in Vietnam, most of the beach destinations in Vietnam have either surfing or kitesurfing available. Further up the coast from Mui Ne are two of the most popular spots for kitesurfing, Cam Rang and Phan Rang. Other places that have surf are Vung Tau, Da Nang and Nha Trang, all cities with long sandy beachfronts. Most of the surfing spots in Vietnam offer beach breaks so there isn’t too much paddling involved, which is great for beginners.
Back beach in Vung Tau is perfect for both surfing and kitesurfing, with an expanse of sand and strong ocean winds. While I haven’t surfed in Vung Tau during peak season, there have been a few surf competitions held here and the winter waves are meant to be great. Even during May, the breaks were big enough to catch some fun surf, so we’re excited to go back in winter.
For board rentals, go to Beach Club Surf Station on back beach. The owner wasn’t as welcoming as the community we have grown to love in Mui Ne, but the boards we rented were good. Check the surf report for Vung Tau.
Beach Club Surf Station📍 8 Thùy Vân
The long stretch of beach that lines the Mui Ne coast, combined with the incoming winds makes for perfect kiteflying conditions. The main beach here isn’t great for surfing, but to the south of the Mui Ne strip is Buddha Beach, and to the north of Mui Ne fishing village is Malibu Beach, both better suited to surfing.
As surfing is one of the key pillars of tourism to this area, there is no shortage of surf schools and board rental companies, as well as stores where you can buy suits and boards. I personally recommend board rentals and lessons from Mui Ne Local Surf, who will tell you which beaches have the best surf and meet you there with boards. Check the surf report for Mui Ne.
Phan Rang is one of the best places to kitesurf in Vietnam, with break breaks for surfing also. The area is a little more off the beaten path so I would only recommend a trip here if surfing is the sole purpose, as you won’t find many other activities to keep you entertained. I’ve been eyeing up Vietnam Surf Camping who offer rentals and onsite accommodation for surfers in their cute cabins or beach tents. We haven’t made it for a weekend here yet, but my friends in Mui Ne rave about it.
Between Phan Rang and Nha Trang lies Cam Ranh, home to Bai Dai beach. The beach features a peninsula break at the northern corner of the bay. For board rentals and lessons in Cam Ranh, I suggest messaging Single Fin Surf School (Russian instructors) or Nha Trang Local Surf School (Local Vietnamese instructors). I haven’t used either of the schools, but both offer lessons in English as well as board rentals at Bai Dai beach. Check the surf report for Cam Ranh.
Noted as one of the first popular places for surfing in Vietnam, the Da Nang area has many beaches to surf at. Some of the most notable are Nam O Beach, China beach/My Khe beach, and Lang Co. Both Da Nang Surf School and Surf Shack offer rentals and lessons in Da Nang. Check the surf report for all beaches in Da Nang.
Planning a Trip to Vietnam
Vietnam is a diverse and varied country, with so many beautiful beaches to surf at. Beyond the beaches and surf are ancient cities, rice terraced mountains and a rich culture to explore. For more information on planning a trip to Vietnam, check out my Complete Travel Guide to Vietnam.