WHAT’S IT LIKE…working in kitesurfing in Mui Ne, Vietnam?
It can be a sweet life filled with jumping in the sand, flying high in the waves and getting to know locals as well as travelers from all over the world!
This week we went to the yellow sand beaches of Mui Ne to hang out with some of the most well regarded kite surfing professionals in Vietnam. The staff at C2Sky were super fun and let us work with them for a few days to get to know a bit more about working in kite surfing in what’s considered one of the kite surfing meccas of SE Asia.
First off, we picked C2Sky Kite Center based on their overall reputation as the largest company for kite surfing in Mui Ne, their great staff of locals and the company’s involvement with KB4Girls, a seriously awesome non-profit all about empowering girls into the world of kiteboarding. C2Sky has amazing online reviews and can train learners from first day kiter all the way up to Assistant Instructor. It is well-organized and uses pretty incredible gear to teach courses including radio helmet technology for real-time coaching!
Adam and I got the chance to go behind the scenes to talk to people who have worked and lived in Mui Ne for from just a couple weeks to several seasons. More than a few times, Mui Ne was regarded as a place that quickly became a second home where kiters come together for dinners and fun, everyone invited, a small community built up of backpackers, travelers and residents.
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While we were working with the C2Sky, we got a chance to chat with Joost Essenburg who has instructed kite surfing for over five years while traveling all over the world including in Turkey, the Caribbean, Holland, and Australia. He has worked seasonally in all imaginable conditions and has recently come back for another season in Mui Ne. He described the part of the job that he still loves is “watching people really enjoy something” and “having people come back to see you in different places!”
The Positives: Mui Ne has a lot to offer for kiters and budget travelers alike, but kiting is definitely considered the draw by many. This is a great place to work towards your Assistant Intructor certification because of the consistency of winds and the long stretch of beach, but also because your money will go so far and you will instantly be in a community of like-minded people to help you. To work and live here for a season means to have cheap beers, inexpensive local and international food choices all around you, access to a bit of the comforts of home like fast wifi and a movie theater, but also be surrounded by people who truly like to have fun and relax. Because winds don’t often kick up until after 10am, your schedule working in kiting here has a slow start but punches into high when everyone wants to take advantage of awesome conditions in the early afternoon.
The Negatives: Kitesurfing in Mui Ne is seasonal typically starting around the end of October to the beginning of April. It is common to work the full season, then go on to the next job or back home. The town itself is fairly small, based around one main street that follows the beachline, but has only a few access points through certain hotels. In fact, becoming a member at a kite center even if you have your own equipment is highly recommended because you will need that to access the beach and to have a spot to set up and launch your kite.
Housing, Transportation and Money: Most people who work in this area have found one-bedroom apartments and houses to rent month-to-month, costing in the range of 180 to 300 USD a month furnished. Arriving early in the kite surfing season is a great way to get lower rent, sometimes with electric included. While we were in Mui Ne, we found many housing options posted on signs on the street, on the internet, and while visiting hostels. It was incredibly common for seasonal workers to buy a motorbike for their time in Mui Ne, often for less than 300 USD, picking them up here or in other parts of Vietnam. Motorbikes are also available for rent for short stays as well as taxis. Money making potential really depends on certification level, with a full-time Level 2 IKO instructor able to earn beyond enough to live on. Similar to working in other areas, variations exist based on experience, languages spoken and length of stay. Keep in mind, even part-time work can greatly decrease the cost of travel as this region is so inexpensive.
How Can You Work in Kitesurfing in Mui Ne, Vietnam? Contacting kite surfing centers in person and via email seems to be the best way to earn your spot at a Mui Ne kite center. We spoke with a few people that had started by renting gear or taking courses, getting along with the staff and developing work from that point as well. Networking seems to be paramount in this area and employment can be competitive.
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