It was my last night in HCMC. Tired from the Mekong Delta tour, I asked my hostel if they can help organising my bus ride to Mui Ne.
“No problem, Abu! I help you buy ticket, tomorrow you go Mui Ne. Tomorrow morning you come here, I take you bus station.” Dao, the host of my hostel assured me.
According to Dao, the bus company Viet Nhat offers hourly bus ride from HCMC to Mui Ne, and the sleeper bus ticket costs 150,000 VND. The ride was comfortable, though I wish it was not a sleeper bus but a normal sitting bus, as I traveled in the day. Dao dropped me off at the bus station but did not leave. Instead, he boarded the bus and sat down next to me.
THAT’S IT I AM GOING TO GET ROBBED / RAPED IN MUI NE WHERE NO ONE WILL EVER FIND ME. WHY THE HECK DID I SMILE AT HIM SO MUCH I MUST HAVE GIVEN HIM THE WRONG SIGNALS OMG OMG SHOULD I GET OFF OKAY STAY CALM AND PRETEND TO SLEEP.
He stopped the bus half way, woke me up to say good bye and got off. Turns out he was visiting his sister.
I got up and about 2 hours later, we arrived in Mui Ne and the bus dropped me off 500m away from my hostel. First thing I noticed was the amount of Russian tourists. Even the restaurant names and menus are translated into Russian. Pretty interesting!
Mui Ne is a very resort-oriented destination, but I was lucky to have found a very good hostel to stay at. It’s a 500m uphill walk from the main street but the hill is filled with good restaurants, convenience stalls and even a bar with swimming pool. The owner of the hostel is there all the time, which really makes a huge difference – something I noticed from experience. He’s constantly trying to improve the hostel, offering tea and coffee to his guests. You can tell that he’s not in it just for the money – he genuinely enjoys what he does and I love meeting people like that.
After a nice, long shower, I took a long stroll around town and went back to rest, after arranging a jeep tour for the next day.
Waking up from a good night’s rest, I took my time to take a nice, long, cold shower before heading out to the beach. Work on my tan, get some breakfast by the beach before the sunset tour, I hummed to myself while trying to find the “corner with big sign to the beach”, as instructed by my hostel’s host.
Turns out I was basically trespassing a private property. Pro tip: stay calm, mark a room number, and tell the guard that’s your room when asked. The beach itself was nothing too special. There are resorts marking their own territories along the stretch and hence making it difficult to find a spot to sit down unless you are a guest of the resort or restaurant. It was still nice to have popped my Vietnamese beach cherry and people watched – I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many Russians in my life!
Came lunch time and then it was time for the sunset tour. I was picked up by a open air jeep. Joining me was a nice couple from Canada. Our first stop was the fairy stream. I have been looking forward to seeing it and it did not disappoint. It was nice to soak my feet in the cold water while admiring the structure and colours.
We made our way back to the drop off point to meet our driver, only to find him gambling at a corner. From the look of it, he was losing big time and I didn’t know if I should feel bad for him. I imagine him being paid very little from his job and it has become a habit of mine to tip drivers, waiters, guides whenever I can afford to. But at that point I knew I wouldn’t tip this guy.
When he was finally done, we made our way to the fishing village – I was so curious about the use of a large plastic container to replace actual boats but no one was there to explain (as with most trips I’ve been in Southeast Asia), so my guess would be that the fishing area is quite shallow and there’s no need for engine?
The 3rd stop was the infamous white sand dunes – highlight of the trip! You will be approached by people offering jeep rental to get to the top and it costs a bomb. The three of us shared a jeep and it costs us 1 million VND for half an hour. I gulped and made my payment but I was so glad that I did it. It was quite an experience to ride in a “desert” and our guide took us through a downfall ride (watch the video here) and that was exhilarating! Just remember to take your time to enjoy the view, get your pictures and videos done because as soon as you are back from the downfall ride, your guide will ask if you want to leave and we stupidly said yeah okay, thinking that we could come back later (we couldn’t) so we missed our chance to take more photos L
The final stop was the red sand dunes. It’s not really literally in red but more of a reflection of the sunset. We arrived at 5:30pm and a crowd has already formed. People were finding the best spot for sunset / sand surfing. While making my way up to the top, I met 3 people from Hong Kong and we ended up chatting for an hour.
It was such a fun trip and I’d definitely recommend it. No such thing as “too touristy”. We Are tourists and it would be a shame to have came all the way to Mui Ne without seeing the fairy stream and sand dunes.
That night, I met the 3 people from Hong Kong (what do we call them, Hong-Kongian? Honkies? Kongs?) for dinner and we had the best time at a Mexican restaurant.
“Abu, stay, please.”
My hostel’s host held my hands*. But it was time to say good bye to my short and sweet stay at Mui Ne. 3D2N is the perfect amount of time to spend in Mui Ne and it was time to move on. My bus came to pick me up at 2pm and I made my way to the 3rd stop of my journey in Vietnam, Nha Trang.
*His wife was right next to him when he said it. It was not a romantic moment whatsoever, haha!