After busy Saigon, we got to spend a few days relaxing in peaceful Mui Ne. This town is a total opposite to the bustling metropolitan cities. Mui Ne is a fishing village at the seaside of Vietnam and its biggest attractions are the big sand dunes. You can see the sand dunes on organized Jeep tours that also include a visit to the fishing village and a walk along Fairy Stream.
Calm Phan Thiet
Besides the basic attractions, there is not that much to do around Mui Ne are expect to stay in the resorts. Most of the accommodations are concentrated in Phan Thiet area where you can find several restaurants and tourist shops mainly intended to Russian tourists (even all the signs are in Russian). Outside the tourist season all the places were empty and we could see tourists only here and there. We were more than fine with this though.
We slept in Quoc Dinh guesthouse* in the quiet part of Phan Thiet. It was luxurious to have a private room after spending five weeks in a dorm. We paid $9 for an air-conditioned room with hot shower. The service was top level and besides daily cleaning, we got free fruit plates and coffee! This kind of luxury is quite rare for us.
Apart from lazing in the hotel and sleeping, our biggest activities were collecting shells on the beach and eating in neighbor restaurants. Sometimes we had a hard time deciding if we dare to go the same restaurant right next door again or if we should walk ten meters more and cross the street… The nearby restaurants were very affordable: coffee cost 45 cents and a big pho soup about $1. That’s totally street food prices.
The beaches of Phan Thiet are quite trashy and not very ideal for lazing on the beach. Most of the tourists are probably swimming in the swimming pools in the resorts. By the way, many travelers recommended us Muine Backpacker Village hostel*. For the price of $5 dorm you get to use the swimming pools and other services of the neighbor hotel.
We saw mainly local fishermen on the beach. They were taking nets full of fish and seafood from the water. Here if somewhere you should enjoy the seafood! Our closest restaurant served seafood pasta for just $2, not bad.
Mui Ne sand dunes
Several people warned us that in the center of Mui Ne, near the sand dunes, there is a continuous police control (this is pretty much the only place in whole Vietnam). The police stop motorcyclists and like to give fines especially to foreigners. You shouldn’t do the sightseeing with your own motorbike but avoid this area as much as you can.
We booked an organized tour at our hostel and the 4-hour tour cost 5 dollars. Our alarm rang in the middle of the night and a Jeep came to pick us up already after half past four.
We headed to see the sunrise on White sand dunes. When we got there, the sun was already coming up and our guide forced the people to jump on quad bikes that brought them to the top of the dunes and cost $6 dollars each. That’s more than the whole tour price!
Most of the people agreed to pay but we didn’t fall for that and decided to walk to the top instead. And the quad ride looked a bit hazard on the soft sand anyway.
We got on the top in like fifteen minutes even though it was”very far away” according to our guide. We have got to notice many times that the general perception of walking distance is quite different in Asia compared to Finland. Walking on the sand was a nice morning exercise and the blue sea blinked on the horizon behind the huge desert area.
After taking loads of pictures, we started driving back by car and visited Yellow sand dunes that are close to the center of Mui Ne. These dunes are a little bit smaller and not as impressive as White dunes but the place was still worth visiting.
There were lots of tourists around and the vendors tried to sell sliding boards to slide down the sand dunes. The boards didn’t seem to work that well so we skipped this activity.
Fishing village and Fairy stream
Our next stop was a fishing village where we got to observe fishermen’s everyday routine. The strong fishy smell penetrated to out noses already hundreds of meters before we even got there.
There was an area on the beach that was full of fishermen taking their catch out from the boats and women gutting fish. It felt slightly stupid to stand there and stare the locals among other tourists but it’s was pretty interesting to follow their activities. We could see all kinds of sea creatures from giant crabs to squids, shells and oysters.
Our last stop was Fairy stream that we had no idea of beforehand. We stopped next to a small and brown stream and were quite surprised when our guide told that we should literally walk in the stream. So we had to roll up the pants and take the sandals to the hand.
The base of the stream was smooth and sandy and there was only a few centimeters water. This made walking actually quite pleasant. After that our heels were smooth and all the dryness were gone!
The stream was surrounded by jungle and big red cliffs with different shades of stripes. Such a fantastic place!
We were back at the hotel before nine and it was hard to believe how much we had already done so early in the morning. That meant we could spend the rest of the day just relaxing. We had breakfast and headed back to sleep for a while.
We really liked Muine and its calm atmosphere. The locals were very friendly and we got good service in every place from restaurants to motorbike repair shop. You should definitely stop by in Muine if you travel through Vietnam!
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