You’re probably sick of hearing this by now, but one aspect of travelling we absolutely love is the ability to alter your planned route to take in an attraction, sight or city that you may not have even been aware of before a conversation, hostel poster or google post takes your fancy and spins you off on a great tangent. One such tangent was the cute little beach town of Mui Ne in the Southeast of Vietnam.
We were looking for place to kill a few days and break up the journey from Dalat to Ho Chi Minh City. We settled on Mui Ne’s palm lined shores on the coast of the South China Sea as a good place to work on the tan and kick the feet up.
From Dalat To Mui Ne:
There are two buses a day from Dalat to Mui Ne, one at 7.30am and one at 1pm, both with the Sinh tourist, for an incredibly reasonable 110,000 VND (€4.15). You can book at the Sinh tourist offices near the Dalat market or book through your hotel / guesthouse, it should cost the same.
The bus from Dalat stops in Mui Ne City but carries on towards Phan Tiet. The majority of the beach resorts are in between the two, the bus should stop along the beach route but triple check with your driver and / or helper. From wherever the bus drops you, there are local buses that run from Mui Ne to Phan Tiet; you can jump on one for only 9000 VND (€0.30). They pass every 20 minutes just flag one down.
As a quick aside, we recommend you download and offline map on Maps.Me for getting around Mui Ne when you’re not connected to WiFi.
Accommodation In Mui Ne:
In Mui Ne there is a local “Chain” of hotels called Mui Ne Hills. The franchise consists of 4 hotels of varying comfort level and price ranges.
Mui Ne Hills Bliss hotel:
High end accommodation big fancy pants rooms for the fancy pants among you. Standard doubles starting at €26 (Book Here)
Mui Ne Hills Villas:
Boutique style accommodation, only 19 rooms and a private pool. Standard doubles starting at €26 (Book Here)
Mui Ne Hills Budget hostel:
Dorms from €1 and private rooms from €16, slightly calmer backpacker vibes at better prices. (Book Here)
Mui Ne Hills Backpackers:
Dorms starting from €2 and privates from €18. Dancing, drinking and games for the party animal among you. (Book Here)
We booked the budget hotel and were upgraded to the Bliss. We were not the only ones either, so if you do go in off season you may well get a big fancy room. And who doesn’t love a big fancy room?
Things To Do In Mui Ne:
Mui Ne Fishing Village:
Head to the main road and jump on any local bus towards the Mui Ne Pier/Fishing Village. Depending on the bus a one way ticket from Mui Ne Hills or the main strip won’t cost more than 13,000 VND (€0.50). Mui Ne fishing village is a fantastic place to witness scenes of local life, from fishermen slogging their hauls across multi-coloured shell laden sand and straw hat clad women wrapping live crabs for transport, to the hundreds of colourful “Thung chai” boats that line the bay front.
According to local legend the circular schooners, originally woven from bamboo and coconut, were given their basket shape so local fishermen could avoid a hefty tax on boats implemented by the French to squeeze more money out of them. Smart Feckers!
It’s possible to head out for a spin with a local in one of these round rafts, but as there are no set prices and no tours you’ll be haggling with a local, and if you’ve never haggled with a Vietnamese person, good luck, you’ve got your work cut out for you.
Other than the bus fare, there’s no cost for visiting the fishing village.
Red Sand Dunes:
A short 20 minute walk from the fishing village will find you at the Red Dunes. And why you might ask would you want to go to the red dunes? Well, apart from looking like a scene from star wars, people come here to sleigh down the steep sand hills.
We brought our sleeping bags with us thinking that we could use them. *SPOILER ALERT* It didn’t work. If you can get your hands on some cardboard or plastic sheeting that would work best, although if you want you can rent a “sleigh” from one of the numerous local women that patrol the dunes for about 20,000 VND (€0.75).
Either way you will DEFINITELY want to have a go at this, its stupid amounts of fun. Bring lots of water there is no shade.
Some people say it’s the most beautiful place in Mui Ne, the Fairy Stream or Suoi Tien is a red creek that kind of looks like a scaled down version of the Grand Canyon. This stream is about ankle-deep and the banks can get quite hot so visitors are encouraged to remove their shoes and wade through the red waters.
The walk along the creek is about an hour and entry if free
Community Clean Up:
Community clean-up happens the first Thursday of every month. Sponsored by the guys at Jibes bar, if you have the time to spare it’s a lovely thing to do. Pop down to Jibe’s Bar for 9am, the clean-up lasts about 45 minutes and the staff offer you a place to shower and some refreshments afterwards.
Across from the Coco Beach Resort, two doors down from the Rip Curl store, about 10 minutes from the lane way entrance to Mui Ne Hills on the left hand side, there is a local restaurant fronted by a Ban Mi stand and some tables and chairs.
Dishes range from 25,000-30,000 VND (€0.90-€1.10), and with plenty of seafood, pasta and tofu options, its ideal for the budget conscious and vegetarians.
Hit the beach:
Mui Ne has over 10 kilometers of white sand beachfront although the majority of it is “private” according to local hotels, and although this may or may not be true you may have to play a game of dodgem with the security. Our suggestion is to be discreet and act like you belong.
If it’s swimming you’re after you’ll be fine anywhere along the coast except the strip at Bo Ke, where the pop-up seafood restaurants appear every evening. Apparently they don’t have proper facilities and dump all the left over cooking crap into the ocean. Eeeeeeeeew.
Mui Ne Hills:
But guys! That’s where you stayed, not a thing to do, is it? Why yes dear reader it is. It is both. Mui Ne hills “Mad Monkey” bar have nightly games and competitions, from an over the swimming pool pillow fight (Luke still says he was robbed) to the usual beer pong and quiz nights, and while we’re usually not a fan of these events they were actually good fun. Other that Mui Ne hills there’s not a wild lot to do in town and everything closes quite early. So if you’re looking for a bit of atmosphere, this is where you’ll find it.
Also the Mui Ne hills has about more than one pool, so if you’re just looking for somewhere quiet to lounge with a cocktail or a coffee and a book, you’re in the right place.
Note: Half day tours cost 100,000 VND (€4) and include transport to the fishing village, red dunes, white dunes and Fairy. Note that the entrance fee to the Fairy Stream is not included in the tour price. Personally, we suggest you doing it DIY. Sod the risk and jump the bus instead. Local buses run from 5am-9pm
Note: Motorbike rentals are cheap here costing as little as $ 3 USD per day. We always rent a motorbike but in Mui Ne police are extremely strict and will pull you over for any reason possible.
Always wear a helmet and if you do not have an international drivers licence on your person, they will confiscate the bike. You could try to bribe your way out of it but it will cost you at least 2,000,000 VND (€75).
We would most definitely recommend a stop in Mui Ne, particularly if you opt to stay in the Mui Ne Hills. If you’re interested in seeing what we got up to in more Ungraceful detail, why not have a gander at our Instagram highlights here. What started out as a quick stop to break up a long journey turned into nearly a week by the ocean exploring one of those rare little travel gems that makes you utter the fateful words, one more night, one more night. It was fun, hot and cheap three of our favorite things. Considering we stayed in a beautiful hotel, ate for next to nothing, saw all the local attractions and didn’t even come close to our weekly budget we say;
Mui Ne, Mui Ne, Mui Ne, it doesn’t have to be a rich man’s world.
Happy Travels TUG x