After spending a few action packed days in Ho Chi Minh City, I am off to the next stop on my trip north to Hanoi, Vietnam. I made a rough travel itinerary before departing Thailand about areas that interested me and Mui Ne made the list.
It is a small quaint town, a few kilometers north of the more well-known city of Phan Thiet in southern Vietnam. I wanted to learn about what to do in Mui Ne and I compiled this list to help you!
My girlfriend and I are traveling together and we found a reasonable deal with a local bus company to make the 5 hour bus journey from Ho Chi Ming City.
We booked a ticket and paid 120,000 Dong each or $6 USD. The bus was a sleeper bus which made for tight quarters as there is not much space for anything other than yourself. But, you can lay down and get some rest.
When we boarded the bus, we met two fellow travelers, Vlad and Tate whom were also headed to Mui Ne. The bus ride went by relatively quickly as I was able to make conversation and get some sleep.
We got dropped off on the Mui Ne strip of restaurants, hotels, guesthouses, and shops at 8:30pm. Tired and lethargic, we grabbed our bags and started walking down the street, in search of a place to stay.
We came across a guest house which charged $10 USD per room and booked for the night. The room was basic but had a comfortable bed. The next three days we spent exploring the local areas and learning about what there is to do in Mui Ne, Vietnam.
Mui Ne Beach:
The beach is a short distance from the main road that runs through Mui Ne but there are only a few places that allow you to access it. The beach runs south to north and the width of beach gets smaller the more north you go.
Eventually, the beach turns into concrete as there is a concrete wall that has been built to protect the beach from eroding. When I was there, the wind was blowing very hard. I learned that Mui Ne is a popular place for kite surfing and there are many kite surfing schools that line the beach.
Learning how to kite surf interested me but comes at a relatively steep cost of $50/hour with anywhere from 1-2 hours of land training before you get in the water. So, I was looking at $150 for an hour of kite surfing on the water which is about 5 days worth of travel in Vietnam. I opted out but hope to return so that I can learn some day.
If learning how to kite surf does not interest you, then you can lounge on the beach. There are many beach chairs available for hire but the whirling sand from the heavy wind, can make for an unpleasant lounging experience.
Overall, it is a beautiful beach with a lot of beach real estate to choose from. The swimming is also enjoyable but you have to be aware of your surroundings as there are many kite surfers whizzing by.
Mui Ne Day Tour:
My girlfriend and I teamed up with Vlad and Tate whom we had met on the bus ride from Ho Chi Minh City to Mui Ne to do a local day tour. There are many tour operators in Mui Ne that will take you to the local tourist spots at a reasonable cost. We paid $4 USD per person for a half-day tour from 1:30-6pm.
The tour operator was working on his Jeep when we signed up which was less than reassuring. But, we got loaded up and got going shortly after our scheduled departure time. There was 6 people in all which was a little snug in the Jeep but we made it work.
The first stop on our day tour were the fairy streams which was a small stream that runs perpendicular to the road of Mui Ne.
We parked next to a local shop selling coconuts and other cold beverages. After the Jeep parked, we proceeded by walking up a small stream that has rock and red sand hills next to it. It is fun to run/walk up the sand hills but can be really challenging.
If you do not deviate from the stream then the walk is very gentle and you can go as far as you want. Eventually, you cannot walk any further as there is a pond of water that blocks you from going upstream any further.
On that particular day the wind was blowing very strong from the ocean and stirred up the sand which got into everything, my eyes, hair and mouth. The strong wind made the walk less enjoyable but it was still fun to explore the area. The fairy streams are very popular among tour groups and you will encounter many other people.
The town of Mui Ne is a large fishing community and therefore has many fishing boats. As we were driving to the White Sands, we stopped at an overlook of the anchored fishing boats that docked in the bay.
It makes for a great as the fishing boats are painted with vibrant colors with the ocean horizon in the back round. We stopped for a brief 10 minutes to take in the view and photos. Definitely, worth checking out.
White Sand Dunes:
The next stop after viewing the Mui Ne fishing village was the White Sand Dunes. They are roughly 20 minutes by Jeep after Mui Ne. You can visit them on your own via motorbike but proceed with caution as there is some off-roading required to access the White Sand Dunes, hence the reason we were being guided in a Jeep.
While riding there, the wind was still blowing strong and made the Jeep ride less pleasant. After some off-roading on a gravel and sandy road we made it to the White Sand Dunes. There were many tour groups and fellow tourists to enjoy the grandeur of the White Sand Dunes.
There are four-wheelers available for rental if zooming around on sand dunes interests you. The cost is 350,000 Dong or $16 USD for 30 minutes. We opted to hike the sand dune ridges. I was very surprised about the size of the sand dunes as they covered a relatively large area. The White Sand Dunes are as I imagine the Sahara desert to be.
The sun is really hot and makes walking on the sand discomforting. The harsh wind was the least enjoyable but we still managed to walk around. Due to the heavy winds, the sand dunes are always changing so they may look completely different then how I describe them.
There were two distinct sand ridges that were roughly 500 feet high. You can easily climb them and run down which is a lot of fun. We walked around for roughly an hour but we were ready to continue on our tour as the sun and wind made it less enjoyable.
Red Sand Dunes:
Our last stop on our tour was to the Red Sand Dunes similar to the White Sand Dunes but as you may have guessed, they are red instead of White. The Red Sand Dunes are next to the main road when driving back to Mui Ne. They make for a picturesque stop to watch the sun-set.
On our way back from the White Sand Dunes, I sat on a spare tire attached to the back of the Jeep as it was very crowed and uncomfortable inside the Jeep. Our tour guide said that it was ok but the local police did not agree with him.
As we drove to the Red Sand Dunes, we got pulled over and got a ticket since I was not seated, “in a seat.” The only reason that this story is relevant is because we arrived to the Red Sand Dunes at the end of the sun set and did not get to enjoy the full sun-set experience. Minor detail.
Once you arrive, you will get haggled by locals soliciting ridged plastic sheets that you can sled on. These were also available at the White Sand Dunes. I did not rent them at either location but the sand dune hills are longer at the White Sand Dunes.
Ta cu Mountain:
Our last adventure while staying in Mui Ne was a visit to Ta cu Mountain. It is a local mountain south of Phan Thiet about 30km. We had seen it listed under local attractions on trip advisor. It sounded intriguing as there is a cable car to the top of Ta Cu mountain and there lies the largest resting Buddha on a mountain in Southeast Asia.
We rented a motorbike for 120,000 Dong or $6 USD for the day and made the journey to the base of the mountain. It was another windy day which made the motorbike ride pretty exciting as wind gusts would move the bike.
Fortunately, we made it their safely, we ascended the mountain via cable car, hiked many stairs, and admired the resting Buddha. We opted to walk down the mountain as there is an established trail back to our motorbike. It makes for a great day trip and there are many local tour operators that will take you there if riding a motorbike sounds too dangerous.
Overall, Mui Ne is a great place to spend a few days lounging on the beach, learning to kite surf, and/or exploring local tourist attractions. I am glad that we stopped and spent a few days there. I hope to return one day to learn how to kite surf!
In all, Mui Ne, Vietnam is an awesome place to visit and I would highly recommend making a stop. There is plenty to do and explore and I hope to return!