We recently spent three weeks in Mui Ne, a beach town in Vietnam, about four to five hours in the bus from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). It’s a lovely town although quite touristy, but worth a visit if you’re in the area.
Where to sleep
There are a lot of options for accommodation, all priced in US dollars. We couldn’t find any in the budget range that were bookable online – Hostelbookers and Hostelworld don’t even list Mui Ne as a destination. Some hostels have websites and you can email the owners but these tend to be more expensive. We looked on Travelfish for recommendations then called to reserve a room – it seems that at least one person at each hotel or guesthouse speaks English. We stayed at Mellow for our first two nights, which for US$6 a night for a double room with shared bathroom. After that, we wandered around looking for something that had everything we needed – private bathroom, wifi, and a way to make coffee in the mornings. We chose a small one with no bar that was set off the road on the other side of the street from the beach, which cost us US$10 a night. A similar one that we looked at on the beach side was $35 per night, so we think we got a good deal.
Eating out in Mui Ne
It’s definitely cheap enough to eat out for lunch and dinner every day – and breakfast too, if you’re so inclined. We made coffee at home and ate coconut cakes for breakfast, then spent 100,000-200,000 Vietnamese Dong (US$5-10) for both of us for lunch and dinner. Of course there are more expensive options, but the cheap food is really tasty too! Try Lam Ton, on the beach side of the main road.
What to do in Mui Ne
We spent a lot of time relaxing, but there’s a lot you can do in Mui Ne. There’s a cooking school and lots of places where you can surf, windsurf or kitesurf – none of it is cheap though. Cheaper than back home, sure, but not in line with other prices in Vietnam. There are also a couple of minigolf courses and there are plenty of clothes and souvenir shops to browse – though trying on a pair of 4XL shorts is a bit soul-destroying!
Travel agencies offer day- and half-day tours, most of which will collect you from your accommodation. The “famous tour” is a favourite, recommended by most of the agents we asked as well as by travellers, and covers a variety of highlights, all located in or around town, which makes it a perfect half-day excursion.
You can choose to leave at 4:30am for the sunrise option, or in early afternoon for a tour that includes sunset. The tour is conducted in a jeep so you might have a private tour if no-one else has booked through the same agent as you, or you might have a merry group of six or so.
Along the way you’ll visit the Fairy Falls (accessed by a 40-minute walk in Fairy Stream); the white sand dunes and their red cousins; the red canyon; and the fishing village. It’s a great tour, with opportunities for sandboarding at both dunes, and walking in a stream to see a waterfall is something unique. Just make sure you wear flipflops instead of sneakers, and be prepared to get sand in all your pockets.