Mui Ne is a wonderful small town by the sea in the south of Vietnam. This city has many tourists from Southeast Asian countries, but more and more travellers from all over the world come to visit, because there is a lot to see and to do. From big sand dunes where you can watch the sunset to perfect beaches where you can hang out at all day long. Does not matter what you are into, you will be sorted out perfectly.
Mui Ne mainly is a pretty touristic spot, which is understandable, because it is really nice. This town is quite small, but it has a lot to give. There are even some very nice non touristic spots you can visit. Especially when you go further outside of the city centre, you will find some very cool highlights you should definitely have a look at.
Mui Ne was the 2nd spot after I started my road trip with my motorbike through Vietnam in Saigon. It did not know what to expect, just like at any other places that I have visited. I was really surprised about Mui Ne in a positive way.
What happened in Mui Ne
This has mainly something to do with a special story about a business lady, who invited me to stay at her hotel almost for free for 2 nights.
When I came to Mui Ne, I had no place to sleep. It was already dark and I drove for 8 hours straight before. I was exhausted and only wanted a hostel to stay. Because I needed to save money, I did not want to go to an expensive hotel. But I could not find a hostel and noone spoke English. Luckily I approached this amazing business lady. She is the owner of a hotel by the beach, which is located a little bit outside of Mui Ne (read below).
She invited me to stay there for 2 nights for backpacker prices. I had my own private bungalow by the beach and I even got invited to eat with her family in the evening. Absolutely incredible!
I was so happy, thankful and surprised how friendly the people in Vietnam really are. As soon as you don’t have anything to do with people from the tourism industry, everyone is incredibly kind and courteous. I just love the Vietnamese people.
That said, I want to give you some general information before I tell you about the highlights of Mui Ne.
Mui Ne – General information
Mui Ne is quite small in size and population. It’s about 220 km away from Ho Chi Minh City and 20 km away from Phan Thiet, which is the capital of the province. It lies by the Southern Chinese Ocean in the south of Vietnam.
Mui Ne has been very important economically for the fish sauce industry. A couple big companies had their headquarters there back in the days.
About 20 years ago the tourism industry started to settle. Today this is the main income stream for the locals. Especially a lot of hotels, kite surf shops, restaurants, tour providers and souvenier shops can be found in the area.
Mainly Chinese and Russian people visit Mui Ne, because it is a very popular place. It could be compared to Bali, which is a popular tourist spot for many Australians.
Weather conditions in Mui Ne are very good for kite and wind surfers. Basically it does not differenciate from the rest of southern Vietnam or any other country in Southeast Asia. It lies in the subtropical area, which is the reason why Mui Ne has a wet and a dry season. Dry season is from January till March. Wet season is from May till November.
Nevertheless it‘s a bit different, because it is windier than other spots in Vietnam. You’ll find consistent wind conditions all year long.
How to get there
You have three main options on how to get to Mui Ne:
- Tour Bus
As you know, I would always recommend to go by motorcycle, because I just like to be independent. It‘s also the cheapest and fastest way to get there in my opinion. Doesn’t matter where you come from. Additionally you will see a lot more of the beautiful surrounding landscape.
The train would be a good option, if you want to enjoy a slow scenic ride. You will probably get dropped off at Phan Thiet. From there you need to take a taxi or a bus. What you could also do, is to book a tour bus from anywhere to get straight to Mui Ne.
How to get around
Getting around in Mui Ne is pretty easy. You can either take a Tuk Tuk, a taxi or a motorcycle/ scooter. As said, the best option is the scooter/ motorcycle.
A Tuk Tuk is also quite nice and a cool experience. Try to negotiate with the Vietnamese. It’s good fun 😉 A taxi would only make sense, if you travel bigger distances within Mui Ne and around the city. Other than that, I would not recommend it, because it’s to expensive in comparison, even though it is still very cheap compared to western standards.
Food in Mui Ne is absolutely brilliant. Because this pretty little town lies at the ocean, you get a lot of delicious seafood, which is very cheap. You can also find countless of street food vendors and good restaurants.
Short tip: I highly recommend seafood and some basic stuff like noodle soup, rice with veggies and sandwiches.
I have not eaten better food in my life before than in Vietnam and Mui Ne is definitely a pioneer for tasty dishes.
Mui Ne has a lot of good accommodation. That’s for sure. Most of it are hotels with all different kind of standards – either in the centre or a little bit outside of the town. To name a couple ones:
Of course there are a couple places for backpackers as well. As said above, when I was there I could not find anything. The business lady allowed me to stay at Lung Don Mui Nè, which I would always recommend to anyone. It has different options. One for backpackers, which was built not to long ago and one for normal tourists. This is why you can either stay in backpacker dorm rooms or get your own bungalow. It’s up to you.
You could also use Airbnb to get a good apartment. If you are on a budget, I would not recommend to do it. Other than that, it’s a good alternative.
Prices in Mui Ne are very low, just like anywhere else in Southeast Asia, even though I actually have to say in this case, that Mui Ne is a little more expensive than other spots in Vietnam, because it’s quite touristic.
For a night at a backpacker hostel you’ll pay about 6 – 15$ per night. Hotels and Airbnb are more expensive. Food will cost you about 3 – 12$ per day on an average. I lived with 4$ per day. Transportation is also quite cheap. A scooter is about 5$ per day. Cost for the Tuk Tuk are harder to calculate, because it’s up to you how much you want to drive. Tour costs vary, depending on what you book. A half day tour to the Red Sand Sunes is about 30$.
This is why I would always recommend you to get your own motorbike and explore everything on your own.
Mui Ne – Highlights & What to do
Mui Ne has a couple cool things to do. There is something for every type of personality. Doesn’t matter, if you want to have some action or, if you rather want to do something relaxing.
Red Sand Dunes
The biggest attraction in Mui Ne are probably the Red Sand Dunes. They are just a couple kilometers out of the city centre. They will make you feel like you are right in the desert, but you are just a puddle jump away from the beach.
Especially during sunset they look absolutely amazing. The sand shines even more reddish. Really beautiful to look at!
You can also take a board and slide down the hills, if you like. Just notice, that you will be full of sand afterwards. It’s good fun 😉
White Sand Dunes
The Red Sand Dunes are just the start. You can also visit the White Sand Dunes of Mui Ne, which are about 25 km away from the city. It’s up to you what you want to do there. Many people go quad biking or try out sand dune sliding.
The White Sand Dunes have been shaped over a long period of time by the ocean winds and look a little bit like the Sahara. Many people claim, that they are more impressive than the Red Sand Dunes, because they are bigger.
At the end of the day it doesn’t matter which ones you choose. They are both great, which is why I recommend to visit the two of them. 😉
What would a tourist place be without good beaches, right? Mui Ne has a lot of them. They have fine sand and are still relatively untouched. Of course, you find a couple people, but the further you go outside of the city, the less tourists you’ll see.
The ocean is very good for a refreshing swim. The water temperature is always about 25°C+, which is really pleasent.
If you can, try out kitesurfing. Why? Because, Mui Ne is predastinated for it. You’ll find countless of kite surfers. Mui Ne is a very attractive spot for them, because the coastline is very windy, which results in good kite surfing conditions.
If you have never done it, give it a try anyway. It’s good fun, even though it’s not easy to do in my opinion 🙂
Also make sure to check out the sunset in Mui Ne. I recommend you to either go to the Red Sand Dunes or stay by the beach near Hom Rom. Both sunsets are georgous!
At the beach you additionally have the option to go to many restaurants or eat street food, which intensifies the unique vibe.
You’ll find a couple fishing villages near Mui Ne. There is also a small harbour in the north of the city centre. They are all great to get an inside of the Vietnamese culture and to met some locals. Vietnamese people are really friendly and like to talk to foreigners. Even though tourism is the main income stream for locals, some of them still live off fishing.
Besides that it’s a good option to try some fresh seafood 😉
Explore the area
One thing you have to do in Mui Ne in my opinion is to explore the area. The landscape is absolutely incredible. You will be very impressed by what you see.
Nature near Mui Ne is pretty and healthy. It’s such a beautiful thing to drive around and soak up everything you’ll see on your way. You’ll love it. Believe me!
Mui Ne – What I have learned
I have learned a lot in Mui Ne again. Actually I have learned a lot on the whole trip through Vietnam, but some places and some people you meet on your travels just open your eyes and teach you some valuable lessons. In Mui Ne it was the business lady, who I met and one of her staff members. This dude took me anywhere and showed me around. Even though I only hang out with him for about 3 days, we had some really good and deeper conversations about a lot of things. For example about poverty in Southeast Asian countries, how to be open minded, if you travel the world and much more.
He was actually also the guy, who told me the the saying “open heart, open mind”, which you can also find here.
A great lesson
The main learning from Mui Ne for me was to
alwas be open minded
about anything in life. You never know what options and people might come around the corner and say “Hello Mate, how are you?”. If you see these opportunities, you need to grab and hold them. In this case it was just a small opportunity to stay with some locals in Mui Ne. But this lead me to the situation, where I got a great inside into the Vietnamese culture and met some awesome people, who I could actually learn something valuable from for the rest of my life.
I also saw how great people can be!
Our society nowerdays always tries to paint and show bad pictures of everything. In magazines, on TV, on the internet, etc. Especially poorer countries suppose to be “bad” often times. But that’s a complete lie. Exactly these countries and people are actually the friendliest (most of them). This is why I try to implement this specific saying into my life every day and I keep meeting great personalities more and more…
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