Luxury on a budget in Mui Ne

From Dalat we took another short bus journey (4 hours) back to the coast of Vietnam to Mui Ne. Mui Ne used to be a small fishing village until a few years when visitors came to watch the eclipse there and found a beautiful beach. Now the area that is called ‘Mui Ne’ by tourists is a single road that stretches quite away along running parallel with the beach. On this road are restaurants, shops and various hotels, hostels and villas accommodating all types of people.

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We had booked a few nights in Mui Ne Budget Hills hotel. The budget section we were in was dorms however we were able to use the facilities of the non-budget hotel. This consisted of two rooftop pools with seating areas, a bar and restaurant. Before we were able to check in we chilled on the sun beds by the pool and read. We grabbed a burger as we were starving by this point and it was their special of the day. We were pleasantly surprised with the food whilst we were there. It was tasty and they had a street food menu as well as western menu that had meals that were actually in our budget. Each day they also had breakfast for $2 where you could choose 2 drinks, a breakfast from a lot of options (both western and Vietnamese) plus we also got yoghurt and a mini pastry included. When we came to check in we met one of our roommates- Ramon (Dutch) and he joined us for a quick explore of the beach. We were not staying directly on the beach our place was on the other side of the road to it. Along the beach are a number of resorts which claim the beach area in front of their hotels as theirs. This meant we had to walk a few minutes down the road to find one of the only alleys to cut into the beach. The beach looked nice but it was very windy (the beach here is famous for wind surfing) which didn’t make it as enjoyable. We ended up having to sneak back through a hotel as we couldn’t find another alleyway along the beach! We ate dinner at the hotel restaurant and chatted/ played cards with Ramon, a Vietnamese guy and two German girls.

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The next day (as with most in Mui Ne) we spent around the pool chilling out, swimming and reading. It was nice to just relax and not feel like we had loads to see and do. In the evening we made a bit more effort to see the town (literally a streeet). We went to Joe’s cafe for dinner where we had another good Bun Thit Nuong (60 000 dong) and we were treated to live music. We listened to a Filipino guy play some beach boys and other “classics”. We also listened to Clive Pendlewick do some acoustic covers of indie and rock songs some which were more suited to his voice than others.

 

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We woke up at 4 am trying to be as quiet as we could as we booked to join a sunrise tour to see the white sand dunes (the main event of our 4 stop tour). We all got on the bus and travelled about 40 mins to the dunes. Then in the dark, we walked up the huge sand dunes to the top with the light creeping up as we went. Initially, we didn’t think we were going to get a nice sunrise as it looked overcast but we were lucky and the sun came up looking bright red and spreading light and colour all over the dunes. The dunes are very surreal as it is like being in a desert in the middle of Vietnam! The views of the vast dunes and the lake on the other side were gorgeous and it was worth doing the tour just to see these.

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After this, we travelled to Mui Ne fishing village for a few minutes- just a normal fishing village but it was pretty with all the boats in the sea. After this, we visited the “red” sandunes. These are less impressive a teddy/orange sand dunes, set at the side of a road, covered in rubbish at the beginning of it where ladies are constantly trying to sell you goes on their sand boards. These are really just sheets of plastic and westerners are too heavy to slid on them so travel about 3 steps down a dune before getting stuck! Lastly, we visited the fairy stream where we were sneakily charged another 5000 dong to enter it. This was a muddy stream that you walk through to where the cliffs around it are a bit more impressive with a mix of white and red sand making good contrasts. You pass a number of “bars” – a wooden platform with chairs where you can buy drinks, a “zoo” (god knows what animals are in it or how they are being treated!) and at the end if you travel far enough there is a small waterfall that is unremarkably seen as it takes a long time/distance to reach it and you only get 40minutes stop time there! The whole tour cost us 70 000 dong each (+5000 dong) And it was worth it to see the white sand dunes at sunrise.

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Our last day there was a dedicated blog, swim and read day where we managed to write and put photos to a number of blogs. We had mango yellow curry from our restaurant (99 000 dong), played cards and treated ourselves to a beer.

Alex

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