A guide to Surfing in Vietnam
Curious about where you can surf in Vietnam? This guide is for you! This post shares the culture of surfing in Vietnam, where to learn, the best places to surf and where to rent boards.
After getting my first taster of surfing, I knew I was hooked. Living in Ho Chi Minh City, I have to travel to surf so I’ve been taking trips around Vietnam to different surf spots where I can practice and play in the waves! This guide is the culmination of my findings, including where to learn to surf, the best surfing spots in Vietnam and recommended board rentals across the country.
The History of Surfing in Vietnam
Surfing came to the shores of Vietnam in the 1960s and 70s, 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 of the front lines.
With so many beach destinations, it wasn’t long before surf tourism arrived and nowadays there are surf schools and board rentals up and down the coast.
When is the surf season in Vietnam?
The best time of year for surfing in Vietnam is typically in the winter monsoon season, from November to March when storms bring swells. Whether you ride shortboard or longboard, there are waves in Vietnam for you during winter. Beginner surfers can find waves during the summer too, but experienced surfers will likely be disappointed by the summer swells in Vietnam.
The best surf is normally early morning, just after sunrise, and late afternoon into the sunset (might vary slightly with the tides).
Surfing conditions in Vietnam
Vietnam has warm tropical waters that don’t require wetsuits. You can comfortably surf in swimwear with rash guards. If you don’t have rash guards, most rental companies that I mention throughout the post can provide them with rentals.
Most of the surfing spots in Vietnam are beach breaks, so there isn’t too much paddling involved and no reef to be wary of.
Learning to surf in Vietnam
While there are many places to surf in Vietnam, the surfing hub of Mui Ne is the best place to learn with shore breaks that are easy to navigate for beginners and learners.
Lessons with Mui Ne Local Surf
I started surfing with a lesson from the guys at Mui Ne Local Surf. During the course of an afternoon, I went from complete beginner to catching waves on my own; a satisfying achievement for my first time surfing.
Starting on land and progressing into the water, the lesson covered everything from paddling and popping up, to surfers etiquette and safety. It was so comprehensive that I left the water feeling confident that I could continue practicing on my own!
💰 $25 group lesson / $35 for a private lesson
The best surfing in Vietnam
The southern Vietnamese beach destination of Mui Ne, Phan Rang and Cam Ranh (near Nha Trang) are the most popular places for surfing in Vietnam. Da Nang and Vung Tau are also known for surfing, with long sandy beachfronts.
1️⃣ Surfing in Mui Ne
Mui Ne is the epicentre of the surf community in Vietnam, with the most surf schools to choose from and reliable swells during the winter months. The most popular beaches for surfing in Mui Ne are Buddha Beach and Malibu Beach. The long stretch of beach that lines the Mui Ne coast is perfect for kiteflying.
🌊 Check the surf report for Mui Ne here.
Surfboard rental in Mui Ne
Surf tourism is big in Mui Ne and there is no shortage of surf schools and board rentals, 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.
💰 160k/hr ($7)
2️⃣ Surfing in Phan Rang
North of Mui Ne is Phan Rang, renowned as one of the best places to kitesurf in Vietnam. Phan Rang has beach breaks for surfing but as the area is more off the beaten path I would only recommend a trip here if surfing is the sole purpose (you won’t find other activities to keep you entertained).
Vietnam Surf Camping offer rentals and onsite accommodation for surfers in cute cabins or beach tents. We haven’t made it for a weekend here yet, but my friends in Mui Ne rave about it.
3️⃣ Surfing in Cam Ranh
The main beachfront in Nha Trang doesn’t have surf but venture south of the city, towards the airport, and you find Cam Ranh. Bai Dai beach is the main surfing beach in Cam Ranh, with a peninsula break in the northern corner of the bay. This is where the surf schools in Nha Trang do their lessons and rentals.
🌊 Check the surf report for Bai Dai beach here.
Surfboard rental in Cam Ranh
For board rentals and lessons in Cam Ranh, try Nha Trang Local Surf School or Single Fin Surf School. Both offer lessons in English and board rentals at Bai Dai beach.
4️⃣ Surfing in Da Nang
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 popular surf spots are at Nam O Beach, My Khe beach, and Lang Co beach. It was My Khe beach, called China beach by American soldiers, where G.Is would surf during their R&R.
🌊 Check the surf report for all beaches in Da Nang here.
Surfboard rental in Da Nang
Da Nang Surf School and Surf Shack offer rentals and lessons in Da Nang, nearby My Khe beach. Surf Shack also offers tours to the surf beaches outside of the city, with transportation and rentals included.
5️⃣ Surfing in Vung Tau
Back Beach in Vung Tau is perfect for both surfing and kitesurfing, with an expanse of sand and strong ocean winds. There have been a few surf competitions held here and the winter waves can be great!
🌊 Check the surf report for Vung Tau here.
Surfboard Rental in Vung Tau
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.
Beach Club Surf Station📍 8 Thùy Vân
There you have it – the best surfing spots in Vietnam and where to rent surfboards from! There are a few other places along the coast from Mui Ne to Nha Trang, but these are the easiest to visit during a trip to Vietnam!
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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.