Complete Guide to MUI NE

Mui Ne – now what a disappointment that was! After two days without oxygen I was so much looking forward to a remote place, to a hippie village along a deserted, white beach…well, Mui Ne is nothing like that.

The sight of the fish market right on the beach in the wee hours makes up for any flaw Mui Ne might have.

I took the bus from HCMC – the hotel had arranged the trip for me and screwed me over big time, I paid like triple of the regular fare.
Plus I didn’t know Vietnamese buses, so I’d thought that an upper seat is better. Getting on the bus, I stood corrected: In most overland buses in Viet Nam you are basically climbing on a sort of stretcher with your legs in a metal box.
I assume if you happen to have Vietnamese legs, it’s quite comfortable. I assume since I don’t know – I do not have Vietnamese legs.
Actually, it’s not so bad, but it’s definitely more comfortable and less shaky to sit in one of the lower seats.  Anyway, as we reached Mui Ne, there was no bus station so the driver just kicked me out somewhere along the main street.
Somehow I tend to get kicked out by bus drivers.

Bus to Mui Ne
HCMC to Mui Ne – travelling in style.

Mui Ne is a beach destination, but Mui Ne didn’t decide yet on what kind of beach destination it wants to be. I expected it to be a bit hippie-ish, with basic guest houses, street food, all that jazz. But for that, there are far too many big, more expensive hotels of this mass tourist all-inclusive style, and they are occupying the nicer beach parts. Some Russian couple, some Russian families – this is Mui Ne’s tourist crowd and it comes with signs and menus in Cyrillic.

Breakfast vendors on the red dunes.

Besides the mediocre beach, Mui Ne is ‘famous’ for its dunes – the yellow dunes and the red dunes, and the big thing is to see them at sunrise. If you don’t want to pay a price that’s an issue from the organizer’s imagination, you have to walk around and check and compare and bargain.

Seeing the dunes at sunrise means rising before the sun – they picked me up at 4 a. m. and we drove in a group of five or six first to the dunes where already many other groups of five or six were marching up the sand. It baffles me how people can be so cheery and noisy at 4:30 a. m.

Dunes Mui Ne
Good day, sunshine! Sunrise over the yellow dunes of Mui Ne.

While the dunes – probably also due to the helter-skelter from the other early risers – didn’t impress me that much, the view of the fishermen coming in from the sea at Mui Ne left me speechless: The atmosphere of the bustle on the wide stretch of tideland, women under their conic hats haggling over fish prices, men carrying huge baskets of mussels and conchs, hundreds of boats, this perfect scenario at the break of day was just too beautiful and made the whole trip to otherwise dull Mui Ne worth it.

Fishermen in Mui Ne
I take that one. Fish shopping on a Sunday morning.

In the evening I had the chance to sample some of the morning’s catch. At the Seahorse Bistro you choose which fish and shellfish you want on your barbecue and they grill it before your eyes in a very pleasant garden setting. Wonderful seafood dinner at a reasonable price.

To continue to Da Lat – the cool, supposedly ‘French’ town in the fertile hills of the Southern part of the central uplands – I had to do some of the tiresome research regarding prices. Finally, my landlady offered to arrange a bus at an acceptable price.

Learn in the next chapter how this worked out for me.

Do you want to read about all the other beautiful places I’ve visited in Viet Nam? 
Then go to the main post and take your pick!

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