Mui Ne, Vietnam
Mui Ne, Vietnam
We booked a sleeper bus from Ho Chi Minh to Mui Ne through Tam Hanh Travel Company, situated on the backpacker street. We waited at the office in HCM for about half an hour then a mini bus came and picked us up and dropped us at the bus station. We then waited for a bit longer for sleeper bus to arrive. It was just like all the other buses we had been on, but luckily for us it was only half full!
We had booked Sydney Hotel, online through Agoda and it didn’t have many reviews so we were worried it didn’t actually exist! However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the place was actually really nice and they had gone through a recent renovation. We were told that people often stay for a few months at a time, hence why they didn’t have many reviews online.
On our first full day we hired a scooter from a New Smile Tour Booking Office, just down the road for 250,000dong. At our hotel, the lady had said it would cost 180,000dong but she had run out of scooters. The guy at the travel company would not budge on his price and after initially rejecting his offer we strolled on ahead to find a better deal. We did not. We went back and took him up on his offer and away we went.
Our first stop was the Mui Ne fishing village, which was easy to spot as the road rounds a corner and a viewpoint over the harbour opens up. It does not have a pier as such but you can see the main part with steps that lead down from the side of the road. As we walked down, we could see hundreds of shells littering the beach, alongside bits of rope fishing nets and dead sea creatures.
The women come here every morning and sort through the days catch and haggle with each other to get the best prices. The men who have been fishing in the little tub boats sit in the shacks behind sorting and fixing the nets.
We walked along a bit and saw a shack which had bowls of live fish and unidentified animals! We saw some other people eating so we chose a selection of shrimp, fish and crab and they barbecued them up for us. This was probably one of the best things we had done and tasted!
After our pit stop, we continued to the Red Dunes. They are easy to spot on the left hand side of the road facing a row of cheap make shift cafes. As soon as you pull up, you are hounded by children with sheets of plastic to slide down the dunes and café owners who want you to pay and park in front of them. Don’t bother with the sledge, they don’t work. We saw many Chinese tourists sliding about 1metre then falling off into the sand.
As you drive along you can hundreds of kites in the air. Mui Ne is very windy so it attracts kitesurfers from near and far.
We drove around the peninsular and paid a local lady 25,000dong to fill up our tank from an ‘absolute vodka’ bottle full of fuel. We continued past the lady and found a road that lead to the sea. It wasn’t really a road but more like a motorcross rally track. It was so bouncy you get thrown around like a rag doll. Everyone was staring at us and we felt as if not many tourist came down this way!
At the end of the track, we came across a make shift football pitch/ volleyball pitch. The children were really friendly and Ben and Luke joined in the match whilst Jackie and I cheered them on.
(The above photo by Jacquelinedruan.com)
When the boys had had their fill of cardio, we said goodbye to the children and returned to the red dunes for sunset. There was a trail of people walking along ready to get their Instagram shots.
(The above photo by Jacquelinedruan.com)
When we returned our bikes to the guy, he asked us our plans for tomorrow. We mentioned about seeing sunrise on the white dunes. He recommended hiring a jeep for the 4 of us, and a driver would take us there and stop at other sights on the way back. He said it would take over an hour to drive on scooters and at that time in the morning it would be pitch black, so we wouldn’t know where we were going. We took him up on the offer and paid $25USD for the four of us.
Bleary eyed and confused we crammed into the jeep at 4:30am. Jackie was looking forward to sleeping in the jeep but there was no chance of that as it was basically open air and the three of us were crammed into a space which would comfortably fit two people! The drive took a while and we were thanking God that we hadn’t decided to go on scooters.
When you get to the dunes you can pay 200,000dong for a quad bike to zoom you up to the top. They said it was a 30minute walk but we decided to go for it and save our pennies. We half regretted our decision as it was quite hard to walk in the sand and it seemed further away than we had expected.
The sunrise itself was so relaxing and once the sun was up you could see the true beauty of the area. There was a lake to the left of the dunes and great views of the land. Again, there lots of Chinese tourists dressed up in their fancy outfits and girls in elaborate turbans and makeup. Too much effort for Jackie and I!
On the way back, we followed the natural flow of people, as well as dodging the quad bikes who didn’t seem to care if they ran you over. We ended up at the wrong car park which was disorientating and confusing as we had left in the dark. A kind, Vietnamese man saw our confusion and laughed and pointed to where we had to go. Obviously a common mistake.
As part of the package, the driver dropped us off at the ‘Fairy Stream’. This stream is quite unique as it cuts through the land and red dunes and is so shallow you can walk easily in it. After about 30 minutes, you get to a small waterfall but most people got bored and turned around before they reached the end.
We really enjoyed the scenery and beauty of Mui Ne but after a few days we were ready to move on. The whole area is full of Russian families, which was no problem but it didn’t seem to have that Vietnamese charm or friendly atmosphere. Some people we knew had camped at Long beach Hostel and ended up staying two weeks but we were looking forward to our next stop Da Lat!
Shack on the beach– Mui Ne Fishing Village, just down on the beach from the viewpoint. Choose your live fish and they barbecue it right in front of you. 150,000 for red snapper, 50,000dong for bbq.
Nam Tho– good food with free fruit for dessert, hilarious little Vietnamese lady works there. We ended up here twice!
- Sleeper bus from HCM to Mui Ne, booked through Tam Hanh Travel Company about $8USD
- Scooter hire for the day 250,000dong -or 180,000dong from our hotel
- Jeep hire with drive with New Smile Tour Booking Office: Sunrise on the White Dunes, Fishing Village, Fairy Stream, etc.
- Soc Nau Hotel– Nice looking hotel with a swimming pool, staff not very friendly and no English
- Bus from Mui Ne to Da Lat– booked through New Smile Tour Booking Office