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tokyomike Mui Ne - A travel report by Mike
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Mui Ne,  Vietnam - flag Vietnam -  Bình Thu n
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tokyomike's travel reports

2 Nights in Mui Ne, Vietnam. Worth the visit.

  33 votes
Mui Ne has quiet beaches, gorgeous resorts at reasonable prices, friendly people, and great food. If you are in Saigon and have 2 nights to spare, I’d recommend a visit.
report of the month contest
Jul 2005

View of the beach at Muine
View of the beach at Muine
All those traveling to Vietnam who own a copy of Lonely Planet, raise your hands. OK, that's all of you. In the Lonely Planet, you'll read that Mui Ne is one of those undiscovered places that you should get to before the hoards arrive. I mentioned this to a group of travelers on a bus trip near Saigon. They responded by waving their own copies of the book, telling me that they already had their tickets. So much for undiscovered.

But when I got to Mui Ne, about 200km northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, those people I'd expected to see just didn't materialize. In spite of being peak season along a 10km strip of accommodation ranging from $2-a-night bungalows to luxury resorts, the place seemed deserted. Walking on the beach at night with no bars, music or lights, I couldn't get over the peace and quiet of the place.

The puzzle was solved at dinner. I was the only person alone. The rest of the clientele were couples, mostly from Russia. It seems that on my end of the beach, where the nicer, yet still relatively inexpensive hotels and resorts are, it's a couple's paradise. On this end of the beach you'll find some of the better seafood restaurants, plus Internet shops and a few bars in the hotels. As you move down the beach, you'll get cheaper bungalows and lower-end places to eat. If you're traveling for a year on a shoestring, this may be where you'll want to stay. But if you can afford it, I recommend spending at least one or two nights at a higher end resort. I stayed my first night at the Saigon Mui Ne Resort, in a fantastic room that faced the ocean. The landscaping leaned to the lush and green, with ceramic jars and other antiques strategically placed to look like they had just been found there and left untouched.

The only downside to staying in such nice surroundings was being alone. You really need somebody to share it with. Too bad I'm not Russian.

Favourite spots:
Home with the morning catch
Home with the morning catch
I've learned to appreciate the value of organized day trips. And if you are in Mui Ne, the daytrip of choice is the dunes tour. You'll be picked up long before the sun rises -- usually in a vintage US jeep left over from the war -- and be taken to the red sand dunes. Expect to be accosted by groups of local kids trying to sell rides on crazy carpets down the sides of the dunes. Next up is a local fishing village. You'll see innumerable boats just returned with the morning catch, all floating motionless, side by side. The colors are vivid and striking to the eye even at 7AM.

What's really great:
Hiking up the red-river canyon
Hiking up the red-river canyon
The final stop is a leisurely hike along a shallow river lying in the shadow of a range of amazing red-rock cliffs. The destination of the hike is a small waterfall, but the real goal is the experience -- the cliffs on one side, the lush jungle on the other, the sensual feeling of walking on a sandy riverbed with water red from the silt flowing over your toes, all under an intense blue sky. Certainly worth the US$10 you pay for the tour.

The dunes tour will show you some of the highlights of the area. But there is always more to see and do if you have time. For those who do not mind spending a bit for a tour, there are plenty available. Others may wish to hire a local motorcycle taxi for the day. To find a local taxi, you need only set foot on the main street along the beach and about a dozen guys will follow you for as long as you stay on the road. They are the definition of persistence. But they are also good natured and willing to bargain for a fair price.

Walking along the dunes by the ocean at sunrise
Walking along the dunes by the ocean at sunrise
The Dunes Tour ranges anywhere from US$8 - 15, depending on how many people go, and if you take the half-day tour as described above, or the full tour. The full tour includes a stop at the more remote white sand dunes. They are probably beautiful, but I didn't think it was worth another few hours in the sun in the middle of the day.

But don't take my word for it. Check out this site for some fantastic photos and explanations of all the things to do in Mui Ne.

Nice jugs!
Nice jugs!
Saigon Mui Ne Resort
Km 12.2 on the beach road
US$60-100+ depending on the type of room and the season. These are, however, the rates if you book directly with the hotel. Book through an on-line hotel booking agency and you can save a bundle.

Beautifully landscaped. Friendly staff.

The resorts around Saigon Mui Ne on the beach side are all quite nice as well.

My favourite coffee shop person
My favourite coffee shop person
If you want night life, go to Na Trang. Mui Ne seems devoid of any real night life. Better just to bring a book and enjoy a coffee by the beach.

The girl in this photo was the coffee shop person, Khue. She told me a million interesting things about the local culture, and she made great coffee. Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned about Vietnam was her reaction when I told her that my first part time job was at a McDonalds.

She replied..."What's McDonalds?"

Wow! I knew that there are no major chain stores in Vietnam -- not a Big Mac or Mocha Frappuccino to be seen-- but there was something refreshing about being around people who have never even heard of the Golden Arches. Although, if you look closely at the photo, you'll see one major corporate name that has made inroads into Vietnam.

Don't plan on sleeping soundly after one of these
Don't plan on sleeping soundly after one of these
There are bars in a lot of the hotels, but nothing worth writing home about. Well, that's from the perspective of a single guy traveling alone. But did I mention that Vietnam has fantastic coffee?

Other recommendations:
The strong winds make Mui Ne a great place for wind surfing and kite surfing. There are loads of places renting equipment there and giving lessons -- but it's outrageously overpriced. It would be cheaper to do this stuff at home, wherever that may be. Although being able to claim "I learned to kite surf in Vietnam" would allow certain bragging rights.

Check out this guy's page if you want some info on these sports and his view of kite surfing in Mui Ne.(eliminate spaces and paste into your browser)

www . / test-www / time-out / windsurfing . shtml

Published on Monday July 4th, 2005

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Thu, Sep 28 2006 - 12:47 PM rating by mrscanada

My son told me he loved his visit here.

Fri, Apr 14 2006 - 02:24 AM rating by downundergal

I had to read some more of your work after the great one on PG. I don't knwo I missed this when it was published. Great work.

Wed, Nov 16 2005 - 05:05 AM rating by vbx000

I didn't realize Vietnam had fantastic coffee. I'd love to see this place, the pictures are beautiful and it sounds like a great vacation. I'll have to nudge the boyfriend into a trip there (haha). Plus, if they have great coffee I must go and try some. this is a really great report!

Wed, Nov 16 2005 - 01:13 AM rating by toribio


Sun, Aug 28 2005 - 03:38 AM rating by dipaks

Nice pics and excellent report

Fri, Aug 05 2005 - 05:45 PM rating by brucemoon


Great review. But, tell me, how did you secure accommodation at such a great rate. The web site for shows beach views starting at US$95!

Also, what transport did you use to go there?



Tue, Aug 02 2005 - 04:06 AM rating by bineba

Great report & fantastic pictures.

Mon, Jul 11 2005 - 06:14 PM rating by magsalex

Interesting and informative.

Wed, Jul 06 2005 - 01:00 PM rating by mistybleu


This is really good, especially on your first attempt.


Tue, Jul 05 2005 - 05:54 AM rating by davidx

Wow! I'm sure you knew this was 10 star stuff. Sadly you'll have to be satisfied with 5!

Tue, Jul 05 2005 - 02:15 AM rating by britman

Interesting, informative and well written article with humour too! Well done

Tue, Jul 05 2005 - 12:22 AM rating by picasso

Very interesting report with outstanding photography.*****


Mon, Jul 04 2005 - 05:34 PM rating by christianj.

Hi Mike,

what a fascinating first report - I loved to read it and to look at these great pictures. Congratulations! Do you think you could add some helpful websites?

Mon, Jul 04 2005 - 04:55 PM rating by rangutan

Fantastic also humerous report with amazing pictures!

Mon, Jul 04 2005 - 04:06 PM rating by jorgesanchez

Interesting destination.
I never travel with L. P. guides, but I liked the person in the coffee shop.

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