We arrived in Mui Ne by sleeper bus, which dropped us off by our hostel – getting around in Vietnam is so stress free compared to Cambodia. All the restaurants and accommodation in Mui Ne lie among a single strip which runs parallel to the beach. Our accommodation at Mui Ne backpackers resort was a fantastic bargain. It’s situated right on the beach and has a pool – not bad for a hostel! Mui Ne was practically deserted and this place was still fully booked. The only thing it lacked was a bar, so it wasn’t the best place for socializing with other travellers.
It was off peak season when we were in Mui Ne, which meant that it was practically a ghost town. Each restaurant would have only contain a couple of people at dinner time. I think it must be much busier during peak season, and it is meant to be the most popular kite surfing destination in SE Asia. We were tempted to give the sport a go but you don’t even get on the water in your first lesson, so Matt did some windsurfing instead (I however had a tighter budget).
The beach can be great or not so great depending on the time of year. When we were there high tide was at mid-day so the water came right up to the sea wall for most of the sunlight hours. It was fun splashing around (and getting knocked over) in the big waves though, and we just sunbathed on deckchairs next to the sea wall.
I don’t think you need much time in Mui Ne, just one day is necessary for a jeep tour to the sand dunes and fairy stream. We stopped in Mui Ne mainly to break up the journey to Nha Trang but ended up staying for a couple of days because we needed a bit of a chilled beach break after a couple of weeks of travelling.
There are two sets of sand dunes, one with white and one with ‘red’ sand. The white sand dunes were awesome as we got to rent quad bikes to drive on them. This was my highlight of Mui Ne. Driving on sand however, is fairly tricky and there was a moment or two when I thought Matt was going to kill us both. The red sand dunes are closer to town so are a lot busier, which unfortunately also means that they are a bit littered with rubbish. We were also pestered by small children offering to rent us sledges and take photos for us. I got the impression however that if I had handed my camera over, I would not have gotten it back.
We were then taken to see the fishing boats, on that I would call a ‘working’ beach. This meant that it was covered in fishing nets, flies and rubbish and stunk of fish. The boats were pretty though. Thankfully it was only a five minute stop.
Our jeep tour also dropped us off at the fairy stream, to admire the pretty rock formations as we walked along it to a small water fall. We had to wade through the shallow stream itself but the feeling of soft sand beneath our toes and cool water around our feet was quite pleasant in the midday sun. There were signs saying you had to pay to see the stream, but those were just a scam. The ostrich rides, we were informed by other travellers, also weren’t worth the money. Scam or not though, I had no desire to get on the back of an ostrich – they can be vicious creatures!