Windy, smelly, charming Mui Ne
If you are wondering if to include Mui Ne in your vietnamese itinerary, I’m here to tell you all about it!
Mui Ne is a quiet city on the coast of Vietnam that have been able to maintain some of its original charm despite the last 20 years of development. The 15 Km bay alternate some fine sand beaches with concrete jetty and less fine sand with lots of broken shells.
The strong wind is the leading actor in the bay, and constructions had to adapt to its will. The sand has been swept away by the constant blowing from some parts of the bay, and have created soft shaped dunes in other. The wind is also what attract many kitesurfer lovers, who spend the day speeding on the ocean surface and jumping up waves.
The wind is not the only factor that gives rhythm to days and life in Mui Ne. The fisherman get busy on their round blue boats and fill the shore with nets and buckets of shellfish. Women, hidden under their big conic hats, clean and sale the fish in the early morning. The abundance of fish is ideal for the production of fish sauce, the favorite flavoring in Vietnam. The fish had to be fermented, and the sharp smell can be sometimes overwhelming. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes you feel like if you took a shower with it, but it’s all part of the fisherman village charm.
A big part of the rurality of Mui Ne have been replaced by luxury resorts and tourist agencies. The area is really popular for Russian tourist packages, so don’t be surprised to find sign in Vietnamese and Russian more than English.
Fortunately the beach streap is long enough for you to find different experiences: the farther west you go from Mui Ne village,the bigger and more expensive accommodations get. The beach is well maintained, the sky is dotted with kites and the fruits sellers with their big baskets are many. Closer you get to the village, more the landscape change. On the beach you will find fisherman boats instead of organized sun beds, and the sand will be covered by the broken shells. You will most likely have a slice of beach all for yourself and, instead of resorts, you will find small family guesthouses.
What to do in Mui Ne
Enjoy the beach
Either you like lying on the beach or take long walks, the spacious beach have plenty of space for both. Note that in the afternoon it get even more windy and the sand can become a problem if you want to sunbathe without being covered in sand.
I’m not an expert on the subject but, from what I heard, Mui Ne is one of the best spot in Southeast Asia for Kitesurfing. There are plenty of schools to choose from and, even if you are not interested in trying, I suggest you to go and have a look. Many of those guys really know what they are doing and I enjoyed observing their show.
If you are looking for schools, this site can be very useful.
This is nothing more than a stream of water that, coming from the mountain behind, find its way to the ocean. You might think that is nothing special, but after seeing it, you will change your mind.
The water run slowly and it cuts through a canyon of red stones and sand on one side, and lashy green vegetation on the other. Because of the color of the soil, you will enjoy some incredible contrast in which the blue sky will look even more blue and the same happen with the green on the vegetation. At the end of the day Red, Green and Blue are primary colors. They are the one that stimulate a more different reaction on the cells of our retina, that’s why, when you find those contrast in nature, it’s such a joy for your eyes – at least this is my theory.
When I started walking up the stream, where the stones are still light and the water polluted, I was honestly disappointed. But when I turned the first corner, where the canyon become deeper and redder, it felt totally different. The colors and the shape of the rocks were incredible. I couldn’t leave! The water remained a bit dirty, which is ashame, but the landscape is great.
Behind the costal line, you will find two beautiful complex of sand dunes.
The Red Dunes are about 5 Km from Mui Ne. Once you are there you can either rent a board and slide down the side or just sit there and enjoy the view. Of course if you go in the early morning or late afternoon you will have the best light and shade effect.
The White Dunes are farther away, about 30 Km. They are much bigger and you will be able to drive quad in there or do jeep tour. Unfortunately I didn’t go there so I can’t say much.
The Fisherman Village
Early in the morning is when the fisherman come back to shore with their boats full of fishes ready to be sold. You can go there to observe the morning action and even buy some fish to cook back at your guesthouse.
Getting around is very easy: everything developed around the main street and motorbike and bicycle are available everywhere for rent.
Accommodation wise you have a lot of variety as well, so it’s really up to you to choose the experience that fit you the most. Best Hotel deals
Mui Ne is a 4 hours bus from Saigon which make it a nice getaway from the frenetic city. If peace and quiet is what you are looking for, you will definitely be able to find it here.