Mui Ne

Mui Ne harbour
Beach front

Mui Ne is a nice resort area near Ho Chi Minh City, in Southern Vietnam.

Understand

Northeast of Phan Thiet the coastal road climbs over the slope of a Cham tower-topped hill and descends into the long, sandy crescent of Mui Ne Bay. The formerly little-inhabited beach south of the fishing village of Mui Ne proper has seen some serious development in the last 15 years. Now it is a 15 km long strip of resorts that line up like pearls on Nguyen Dinh Chieu St, shaded by coconut palms. The main resort strip lies between the addresses of 2 and 98 Nguyen Dinh Chieu and is actually named Ham Tien.

At the shoreline, nature moves the sand around, much to the dismay of some developers. Beach sand tends to migrate up and down the coast seasonally, leaving some (but not all) spots with just a concrete breakwater rather than sandy beach. There is always a good sandy beach somewhere along this 15 km beach. Accommodations at higher addresses tend to be smaller and less expensive, somewhat removed from the main tourist section and more mixed in with local life. If a sandy beach is important to you, some research is called for before booking in the area.

A few bargain hotels have popped up on the inland side of the road, across from the shoreline resorts. If you stay on the inland side, you will need to pass though one of the resorts to reach the beach, which might or might not result in some hassle from the guards. The resorts jealously guard their lounge chairs and palapas, though the beach itself is open to everyone.

Mui Ne has become very popular with Russian tourists, even more than Nha Trang. Both English and Russian menus are common in many restaurants, and many stores and hotels are now advertising and catering specifically for the Russian tourists, especially along the lowered numbered area of the strip.

Get in

By bus

Most overseas visitors reach Mui Ne via "open tour" buses that run between Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang. Most depart from HCMC between 07:30 and 09:00 (07:30 for Sinh Cafe's air conditioned bus) and arrive at Mui Ne at about 13:00. In the opposite direction, buses typically depart from Mui Ne around either 14:00 or 02:00 and arrive in HCMC ~ 5 hours later. Joe's Cafe is a good place to catch an outgoing night bus as it offers full service all night and you never know how late the bus will be. Outside HCMC, the coach will stop at a petrol station with a large shop and stalls selling snacks, drinks, and fruit.

The buses stop in the heart of the tourist strip in Mui Ne, so there is no need to take a taxi. The cost is about 105,000 dong each way, and tickets are sold all over the tourist districts of both HCMC and Nha Trang. If you are traveling to HCMC from Mui Ne, you will most likely be put on an already full bus traveling from Nha Trang. As you are not assigned a seat, you may not be able to sit with any traveling companions, and at some of the less scrupulous travel agents you may not even get a real seat. You might get a mat at the back of the bus with four other people.

Public buses from both destinations also travel to Mui Ne, though finding the departure stations and figuring out the schedule is difficult for visitors. It's not worth the trouble unless you have a strong need to depart at a different time of day other than when the open tour bus leaves. Travel agencies play dumb because they don't earn anything from helping you find a public bus.

By train

A train runs daily from HCMC to Phan Thiet, departing around 06:30 and arriving five hours later. The return trip leaves Phan Thiet around 13:30. The cost is quite modest at around 60,000 dong per person each way (similar to the bus). The train station in HCMC (Saigon Railway Station) is in District 3, about 3 km from the centre. The railway station in Phan Thiet is about 5 km (80,000 dong taxi ride) from the beginning of the Mui Ne resort strip, and taxis are abundant to take you there. The railway also sometimes runs a mid-sized bus from the station to Mui Ne for 25,000 dong per person. Tickets are sold on the train, though the announcement might be made in Vietnamese only, and you need to watch carefully for the ticket sellers to pass by.

The train has regular carriages operated by the state railways, and sometimes other carriages booked and operated by private companies. The latter have somewhat larger seats for a higher price, but fall short of luxury. The regular carriages are a bit cramped for the Western-sized body. When the train is not full, railway staff usually packs everyone into one carriage, leaving another one empty, and then run a side business selling "upgrades" to the quiet, empty carriage. The entire train will be jammed on holidays.

Overall, the train is probably less comfortable and convenient than the open-tour bus, though it has some advantages. You get a better view of the countryside and avoid the endless honking of horns and lunatic driving of the bus drivers.

By taxi

You might consider coming to Mui Ne from Saigon by taxi, instead of open bus. The departure times of the open buses might not suit your schedule. They are also slow sometimes, because the driver makes stops at rather bad restaurants where he receives commission. The ride by taxi takes 4-5 hours, depending on road conditions, and will cost US$70-100, depending on your ability to bargain. Talk to taxi drivers in the airport to get best prices.

Fare from Tan Son Nhut Airport to Mui Ne by SATSCO is US$100/trip.

Get around

You can't get lost in Mui Ne, since the whole place consists of one long strip along a main street, Nguyen Dinh Chieu. Motobike taxis (xe om) are everywhere and their drivers will bug you each time you leave the hotel. Bargain hard to get appropriate prices (10,000-15,000 dong is more than enough to pay for a ride from one place to another along the main strip). Taxis are also abundant, with fares slightly higher than HCMC, but still reasonable (starting at 12,000 dong up to around 20,000 dong).

Bikes are a common means of transport in Mui Ne

You can rent motorbikes and bicycles at many resorts and tour agencies. Since traffic is light, motorbikes or bicycles are a pleasant way to explore the surroundings. Motorbikes cost anywhere from 60,000-150,000 dong per day depending on how late in the day you start, how many hours you need, and age/type of motorbike (automatics can cost 230,000 dong). The locals say it's getting harder to rent because of bike thefts and police driving license enforcement. Your hotel might rent to you, which may be a bit more convenient since they already have your passport.


Be careful when riding a bike in Mui Ne. Traffic is light, but nobody pays any attention to traffic rules. For example, it's common to see Vietnamese riders turning left from the right lane. Also, Vietnamese riders don't stop or even look when entering the main road from secondary one. Traffic fatalities are not uncommon. Rumours are that up to 30 people die every month in accidents. If you plan to ride a bike here, investment in medical insurance, if you can get it, is a wise move.

Even-numbered addresses are on the sea side of the street, and odd numbers on the inland side. Even and odd addresses are not aligned, thus 39 on the odd side can be several hundred metres from 40 on the even side.

See

Cham tower
Coracle fishing
Dunes

Do

Kitesurfing

Kitesurfing is offered by many outfitters and hotels. Kite surfing instruction is available, starting at US$60/hour, beginners package of 7 lessons start at US$350. From November till March you generally will have strong winds every day. The Winds in Mui Ne emerge by thermal movements, after the shores got warmed by the sun. You will have perfect wind everyday from 11:00 until the late evening. Gusty winds are seldom. With strong winds, the sometimes choppy waves can be as high as 4 m and more. The water is free of rocks, which makes it relatively safe to kite. However in the peak season there up to 300 kiters in the water at the same time. Beginners and Students, who mainly practice close to the beach front makes things a bit more dangerous. So watch out for other kitersurfers and swimmers and control the speed, in particularly because swimmers are difficult to see when waves are high. Accidents between kitesurfers or between kitesurfers and Swimmers happen from time to time and medical facilities are limited in terms of their equipment and abilities.

There are several kitesurfing Schools along the beach, which all employ Beach Boys who will help you to start and launch the kite. It is widely common to tip the Beach Boys with US$1/day. If you bring your own equipment and don´t want to carry it from and to your hotel every day, you can store it at one of the Kitesurfing Schools for US$20/week or US$60/month, including usage of their compressors and shower facilities.

If you are a beginner but already can practice independent without an instructor, you might avoid the area around Sunshine Beach Hotel/Sakara/Wax, because there are too many Kite Surfers and swimmers which may lead to accidents, particularly if you can not fully control the kite. Try the western part of beach front around the Kitesurfing School Windchimes. Here Kiters are not the much and you can practice without bringing you and others into danger.

There is a place called "wave spot" or "Malibu beach" (10.92676, 108.29500). It is suitable only for intermediate/advanced kiters, but its much less crowded there.

Others

Buy

Along the Mui Ne strip are several small nameless shops; all selling the same sundries and souvenirs. You can find packaged snacks (Oreos, cakes, biscuits, ice cream, etc.), liquor, clothing, and souvenirs.

Anything beyond very basic necessities should be brought with you. There is a small pharmacy, but it would be wise to bring your own first aid kit.

Standard souvenirs offered include wooden and lacquered bowls, wooden statues, snake whiskey, and pearl necklaces. Compared with Ho Chi Minh City, souvenirs are almost five times more expensive in Mui Ne. The same small wooden bowl selling for US$3 in HCMC is US$14 in Mui Ne.

Several travel agencies along the strip also double as used book stores. Most have a few shelves of English books, along with a small selection in German and French. Books cost 80,000-100,000 dong and most shops will give a 50% discount if you trade in a book.

Eat

Every resort area is surrounded by restaurants specializing in seafood. The food is invariably fresh, well-prepared, and served in friendly and interesting surroundings. By all means get out of your hotel and try one of the local restaurants. The best restaurants are a moto ride away, found outside of the tourist/resort district on the ocean.

Drink

Sleep

Mui Ne has dozens of accommodations to choose from, in every price category (US$5-200), along the main ocean strip.

Accommodations at higher addresses tend to be smaller and less expensive, somewhat removed from the main tourist section and more mixed in more with local life. If a sandy beach is important to you, some research is called for before booking in that area. Many "beach side" resorts are actually against a sloping cement wall that leads into the sea. The sand itself migrates up and down the long coast seasonally leaving some areas with expansive beaches and others with little at any given time.

A few budget hotels have popped up on the inland side of the road, across from the beach side resorts. If you stay on the inland side, you will need to pass though one of the resorts to reach the beach, which might or might not result in some hassle from the guards. The resorts jealously guard their lounge chairs and palapas, though the beach itself is open to everyone. If all else fails, you can always access a nice sandy stretch of beach via the Wax Bar at 68 Nguyen Dinh Chieu.

Remember that during Tet (Vietnamese New Year), hotels are booked way in advance.

Budget

Go past the Pogo Bar in the direction of the fishing village to find the best budget hotels (as low as US$5 a day for adouble room with air-con).

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

Free Wi-Fi connections can be found in most resorts and restaurants. There are a few Internet cafes along the strip with ASDL connections and charging 5,000 dong/hour. If you are staying for long time, upgrading your ADSL plan at VNPT office could be a good idea.

Cope

Mosquitoes are a big nuisance in Mui Ne. So bring or buy either insect repellent or long-sleeved shirts and pants for the evening. You may also consider bringing/buying the fun mosquito-killing racket (maybe 50,000 dong) to "sanitise" your room before sleeping soundly to the break of ocean waves, all available in Muine.

Laundry services are offered by several restaurants and hotels. Upscale hotels charge 1,000-5,000 dong per piece of clothing. Budget hotels and restaurants charge 15,000 dong/kg. Confirm they will machine wash and dry your clothes (and if not, go elsewhere). Check your clothes immediately when you collect as there have been reports of items going missing, and if you don't realise until the next day it is almost pointless to go back and ask.

There are a couple ATM machines along the strip. Vietcombank has a 24 hr ATM near 12.3 km marker, with another ATM located just past it. "BIDV" ATM opposite Kim Shop will give you maximum 3,000,000 dong at once (others will limit to 2,000,000 dong only).

Sand flies on beach can cause allergic reaction on your legs. If you experience this, just use anti-mosquito spray all over your legs before you enter the beach, it will minimise amount of bites you'll have.

Go next

There are dozens of small travel agencies along the Mui Ne strip that sell daily excursions around Mui Ne, as well as airline, rail, or open tour bus tickets to other cities. Be sure to shop around since some agents will overcharge the unwary buyer.

Warning: Victor Tourist Co (Victor Cafe) sells cheap tickets, 300,000-340,000 dong, to Hoi An. However, the overnight bus could be severely overloaded with people sleeping on the floors and on makeshift beds placed over the toilet. Not what you get from other tourist companies.

The bus journey to Nha Trang takes about 5 hours. Day and night departures for Nha Trang are at about 13:00 and 01:00.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 04, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.