In a tropical country like Vietnam, places with stunning views that offer one-of-a-kind experiences are abundant. If you’re looking for one that doesn’t entail being on the road for too long, then head East of Saigon to reach Mui Ne. This bay stretching over 12 kilometers is known as the fishing village; it has now evolved to an active water sports haven as well. Mui Ne has become popular to locals and tourists on the lookout for an escape from the city and to curb their seafood cravings.
How To Get To Mui Ne
Mui Ne is a town in the Binh Thuan Province and is reachable from Ho Chi Minh in just a few hours. You have a choice of getting there by hiring a private car, bus, or train. Buses leave Saigon almost every hour, while trains, on the other hand, follow a schedule. You can check Vietnam Railways for the schedule of train rides, and go to any tour agencies in Pham Ngu Lao or Bui Vien area to book a ticket for buses. For trains, tickets are from $19 to $23, while buses are from VND190,000.
Leaving Saigon at midnight might just be the best idea so you can reach the place just in time for sunrise. We left Saigon via sleeper bus at about 9 pm and arrived in Mui Ne at around 2 am; the place was still sleeping aside from the clubs and bars around.
Things to know:
There are 4 trains that take this route. The ride is quite shorter compared to the bus. However, the trains do not exactly stop at Mui Ne, but at Binh Thuan or Phan Thiet Station. You must ride a taxi or the public bus from the train stations to Mui Ne center, or to your hotel.
Others choose to get to Mui Ne by train to have a nice view of either sunrise or sunset, and a lot of dragon fruit paddies. It is also considered to be much less chaotic, depending on your travel dates of course.
Where To Stay in Mui Ne
This relaxed yet full-of-exciting-activities town is traveler-friendly. Accommodations are a plenty. You just have to consider which activities you would be doing while in town. If you’re tight on budget, there are a lot of guesthouses and hostels, although some are a tad far from the main attractions. If you are looking for the best sea view and easy access to the beach, resorts are your best choice.
We stayed at La Casa Del Latino, which is found right along Nguyen Dien Chieu street where most accommodations are located. This place suits all kinds of travelers as they have private rooms for families or groups and bunk beds for backpackers or solo travelers. Private rooms have en-suite bathrooms. For those occupying the bunk beds, there is a common bathroom. Mui Ne can get hotter than Saigon, but do not fret as rooms here are air conditioned. You may be in Mui Ne, but the ambiance of the place makes you feel that you are in a Latin country. Bright hues and sombreros decorate the place and Latin music is also blasted at times to complete the Mexican atmosphere. The place also has a restaurant which specializes in Mexican food, and sits across a convenience store, next to a souvenir shop, and a whole lot of restaurants.
For a more direct access to the beach at whatever time of day, it’s best to rent a bungalow or a villa type room at Coco Beach Resort. It is the longest running resort in Vietnam and it has a bar, a restaurant, a pool, beach lounges, hammocks, and it is also near a water sports center. This resort best suits those who are traveling with kids or those who get bored easily as there are a lot of things they can do here.
Mui Ne Backpacker Village, as the name suggests is popular among backpackers or short-time travelers. This place is perfect for budget travelers as it has everything a guest might need. Dorm and private rooms are air conditioned, they serve affordable and good breakfast, tickets for tours and buses can be arranged here, and a pool in the middle to compensate for the lack of ocean access.
For those looking for privacy and tranquility, and are willing to splurge, Mia Resort is well lauded. The place has a very calming atmosphere as it is filled with greenery and is near the ocean. You have a choice of having the beach, garden, or pool view rooms or bungalows perfect for couples, families, or even solo travelers. It also has a well-recommended restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and some cocktails for nightcaps.
Eat and Drink in Mui Ne
Mui Ne has now become a home to establishments that are open until late. Finding a restaurant for breakfast with a lot of options was a bit of a struggle. For breakfast, the local banh mi stalls and restaurants are your lifesavers as they are open as early as 7 am. If you crave for a Western breakfast, Joe’s Cafe along Nguyen Dien Chieu is where you should go. Joe’s is a cafe and bar with accommodation. It has a very relaxed environment and can accommodate large groups. The place is huge and gets crowded at night as they have live performances from 7 pm. In the morning though it is the total opposite; you can freely choose where you want to be seated, and of course we opted for the ones with the sea view. They serve pancakes, English muffins, and waffles with bacon, eggs, and ham, and oatmeal and fruits for a healthier option.
You are in Mui Ne, famous for the fishing village, so seafood is aplenty. Choose one among a strip of Bo Ke seafood restaurants along Nguyen Dien Chieu, Ham Tien. We got to try Bon Bon and was satisfied with what seemed like never ending plates of seafood; from rice, pasta, salad with crabs, scallops, shrimp, and fish, everything was affordable. The place is packed at night so make sure to visit a bit early for dinner, or go there for lunch where there aren’t many people. Serving is quite big and is perfect for groups.
Sinbad is another go-to place for afternoon snacks, dinner, or even midnight snacks as they are open until 1 am. Tourists recommend the place for their kebab. Note that you may have to wait to get served as the place often gets packed.
What To Do in Mui Ne
A must-try activity when in Mui Ne is to withstand the heat and be in awe of the many sand dunes that it has. You get to travel in rugged yet fun style in 4x4s to get to one sand dune to the other. Mui Ne is often visited by tourists for the Fairy Stream, Red Sand Dunes, and the White Sand Dunes. The Fairy Stream lets you witness majestic sand formation, and walk on the red-orange colored sand while making your way to a small waterfall at the end. Sledding is the top activity in the red sand dunes while relaxing and waiting for the sunset is a must in the white one. Just make sure to bring plenty of water to keep you hydrated while going from one sand dunes to the other.
It maybe near the beach, but tourists don’t go to Mui Ne solely to swim. People go here to get experience numerous water sports. You can enjoy the breeze and try your hand at windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing, and snorkeling to name a few. There are several surfing and sailing centers for you to enroll at and be trained by pros.
The fishing village is another sight to see when in Mui Ne. From morning until the afternoon, the big colorful boats, and the unique round ones are never left unnoticed. The view of fishermen at work is also awe-inspiring.
If you aren’t that much interested in doing active sports, you can also tour the town and visit the Rang Dong Wine Castle found inside Sea Links City. The place is inspired from the Napa Valley in the US. For VND100,000, you get a glass of wine, a guided tour, and learn more about wine; add another hundred and they’ll let you taste 5 kinds of wine, which could include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah to name a few.
What about you? How would you spend 36 hours in Mui Ne? Let us know in the comments below.