Thirty to forty percent of foreign tourists to the southern province of Binh Thuan are Russian, and 95 percent of them go to Ham Tien and Mui Ne water area.
In recent years, people always use the nick nameRussian villag, when talking about Ham Tien and Mui Ne in Phan Thiet City of Binh Thuan province, a famous tourism destination of Vietnam. If someone goes to resorts, guest houses, bars, restaurants, shops drug stores in Ham Tien and Mui Ne, he would hear Russian words among visitors.
Russian travelers who are they?
First arrived in Ham Tien and Mui Ne three years ago, Polina from Saint-Petersburg loves the sea there and decided to work as a sailing coach, the job which allows her to stay there for nine months a year.
She said Russians like traveling to the places where there are beautiful, sunny, windy and quiet beaches. Therefore, Ham Tien and Mui Ne is the ideal destination for Russian travelers with mild weather, sunny but not too hot, with much wind and long seashores suitable to play windsurfing and parasailing and the hobbies of many Russians. Local residents are peaceful and friendly, streets are not noisy, while security is good.
According to the Binh Thuan provincial authorities, in the last three years, every day, Ham Tien and Mui Ne receives 400-500 new Russian travelers. Suggested that every Russian traveler stays there for 15 days; then, there are at least 5000-6000 Russian people every day at the sea village.
A lot of Russian travelers stay there for a long time, from one to three months. Some others stay for six months. While local newspapers complain that many foreign tourists do not return to Vietnam for the second time, many Russian travelers return to Ham Tien many times.
The owner of the Chau Linh Guest House said that he knows a Russian family with six people, who come to Vietnam in the last four consecutive years and stay there for 3-6 months each time. The family has introduced Ham Tien and Mui Ne to other Russian families, who also travel to Vietnam and stay for long periods.
Staying for long time and spending much money is the comment by local residents about Russian travelers. The hotel room occupancy level is always stable at 80-100 percent. A man, the owner of pearl shop, said that Russian travelers spend 2-3 times more than European travelers on shopping. Restaurants also like to serve Russian travelers because the guests always order delicious meals and they are ready to pay for expensive seafood.
Golden opportunities for local businessmen
A lot of shops and restaurants can be seen on the long 10 kilometer road of Nguyen Dinh Chieu and Huynh Thuc Khang. Especially, the words in the signboards hung over the shops and restaurants, are written in Russian. Menus at restaurants, service fee quotations and advertisement leaflets all provide information in Russian. Even vendors, who cannot speak Russian, also have introduction papers in Russian to give to travelers.
Nearly 40 resorts in the region have opened windsurfing, parasailing clubs to serve the demand of Russian travelers. To date, half of the resorts in Ham Tien and Mui Ne provide the training for the kinds of sports.
Having realized the high demand, local residents have decided to upgrade small guest houses to receive Russian travelers who stay for long time. Chau Linh guest house, for example, which has eight rooms equipped with modern facilities and mini playing field, is the choice of Russian families. Duy An guest house has a large garden, where Russian travelers can pick up fruits, and sleep on hammocks.
The owner of Thanh Oanh restaurant related that Russians began traveling to Mui Ne and Ham Thuan in 2006, and the locality has become a Russian village. Even the drug stores, which once only served local residents, now also serve Russian travelers, who like the herbs that help beautify skin, functional foods, cordials, or massage drug extracted from snake venom.