Stretching over a 12 kilometres long bay, Mui Ne is a very popular beach destination in the South of Vietnam. For most tourists, it is the second stop in Vietnam, after Ho Chi Minh City. There are plenty of things to do in Mui Ne, from visiting the white sand dunes to enjoying a lesson of kitesurfing.
I travelled to Mui Ne for Christmas and I was happy that the village was still functioning like in a normal day. If you are wondering what things to do in Mui Ne when you only have one day to visit, follow my steps and read about my experience.
How to get to Mui Ne from Ho Chi Minh City?
The Ho Chi Ming to Mui Ne bus is the easiest way to travel between the two places. You can buy the ticket, which costs roughly 150,000 dongs (£5) at the reception of your hotel/hostel in the Ho Chi Ming City, or at any touristic agency around. The Bus from Ho Chi Minh to Mui Ne takes about five hours and it is usually a sleeper. I was offered a free bottle of water as well during the trip.
Where to stay in Mui Ne?
There are plenty of places to stay in Mui Ne, for each budget and every type of traveller. I chose to stay at Mui Ne Café Xua Hostel, a wonderful eco lodge just across the street from the sea. Even if Café Xua is a Mui Ne Hostel, I was lucky to be alone in the room.
The entire property spreads away from the road, being surrounded by palm trees and beautiful lush gardens. All you can hear when you wake up in the morning is the sound of birds, on the diffuse background of waves crashing into the shore. Located inside bamboo huts, the rooms are basic, with comfy mattresses and mosquito nets over them. There are hammocks between coconut trees all over the gardens and a spa is attached to the property. The bathroom is shared but during my stay in Mui Ne in December there were only two guests at this Mui Ne hostel (including me), so it was never busy or dirty.
I paid 120000 dongs (4.5£) a night at this hostel in Mui Ne and it was one of the most peaceful stays I had in Vietnam. It’s definitely a place to stay in Mui Ne for nature lovers.
Where to eat in Mui Ne?
Mui Ne is a very touristic place and because of it, there are many overpriced restaurants where the food is not great. Most of them are located on the sea front.
During my trip to Mui Ne I discovered a few genuine places, with decent prices and delicious food.
For breakfast in Mui Ne, head over to Katie’s Coffee House. They have a large selection for breakfast including omelettes, pancakes, waffles and yummy fresh fruit shakes. They even have a budget menu for backpackers from which one can order a banh mi (sandwich) for as little as 40,000 dongs (1.5£). The interior of the café is lovely, with comfortable chairs, air conditioning and free WiFi.
For lunch in Mui Ne grab a freshly made smoothie or a bowl of fruits from one of the street vendors, then cool down with a sweet rolled ice cream.
For dinner in Mui Ne, I stumbled upon a family run restaurant which had lovely reviews on TripAdvisor and was located just next to my hostel. It might not look fancy from the outside, just a terrace with modest plastic tables and chairs, but Minh Lộc Quán (located at number 177 on the main road) is worth going to. The lady who runs it is also the cook and once you order, you can see her going to the kitchen and cooking everything from scratch.
She will even teach you how to eat the Vietnamese spring rolls – which you roll yourself. I had the spring rolls and the seafood noodles, whilst the lady brought me fresh dragon fruit for dessert, on the house. The dinner was so good that I returned for breakfast the following morning.
The best things to do in Mui Ne in one day:
I arrived in Mui Me on Christmas Eve and left two days later, in the morning, so I really only had one day to explore the area. Below you can find a list with what is there to do in Mui Ne when you only have one day to explore it.
Rent a motorbike and explore the area on your own
Renting a motorbike in Mui Ne is not only a great way of discovering the countryside on your own and be independent, but it is also very cheap. For the equivalent of around £5 you can rent your own 50cc moped for the day, from any hotel or tourist agency in town. For a more powerful motorbike you will pay more.
If you don’t know how to drive a moped but are contemplating about renting one in Vietnam, please don’t do it. I can’t even tell you the number of people I’ve met during my last trip there who had serious injuries due to falling off mopeds.
Moreover, do not rent a moped if you don’t have a driving license. I know this should be common sense, but people get tempted as when you rent a moped in Vietnam nobody is asking if you have a license or not. Think though that if you fall over or get in an accident, your insurance won’t cover your treatment. If you cause damage to yourself, the motorbike or anyone else, you will be held responsible under the Vietnamese law and risk criminal charges, which will not allow you to leave the country. Moreover, there are police filters on the main roads that target foreigners because it is a common thing to rent without a licence in Vietnam. Actually, one of the most searched terms on Google regarding this subject is “renting a motorbike in Vietnam without license”. Be aware that the British driving license is not valid on its own in Vietnam, you also need to obtain a UK issued International Driver’s Permit.
Now, assuming that you do have a driving license and that you have driven a motorbike before, renting a moped in Mui Ne can be a wonderful experience. I always prefer to discover places at my own pace and don’t be rushed by a tour.
Visit the fishing village at sunrise
The fishing village is at its busiest at sunrise, when the fishermen are returning to the shore bringing with them the catch of the day. Their wives are waiting to sort out the fish and seafood and then to sell it to local traders and restaurant owners. It is quite an entertaining scene to watch, with loud negotiations and transactions going on.
The fish you see here in the morning will be cooked in the local restaurants in the evening.
The fishing village is wonderful to admire from the road as well, which is on top of a hill. Once the fishermen return, the sea fills in slowly, slowly with an amalgam of blue boats and round baskets.
If you decide to visit later, the fishermen will invite you in their round basket boats to show you how they sail this unique craft vessel. For a small fee, of course.
At the nearby market you can try fish pho, a local delicacy.
Explore the white sand dunes in Mui Ne with a quad bike
The top Mui Ne attraction, the white sand dunes, are located around 25 kilometres away from the village. You can get there by booking a half a day tour or by driving a moped. The entrance to the dunes is free.
The white sand dunes are massive and one of the most thrilling ways of exploring them is through quad biking. If you are on a budget, you can always find other people to rent a jeep with and go for some dunes bashing. Don’t worry, you will just enjoy the adrenaline as the jeep will come with an experienced driver.
The views from the top of the dunes are pretty cool!
Slide down the sand dunes
If you don’t mind getting dirty, sliding down the red dunes is a lot of fun. At the bottom of the dunes there are many women and children who will rent you a plastic sled for a small fee. Carry it on top of the highest dune and experience the adrenaline of sliding down the steep slopes.
Walk through the fairy stream
To avoid crowds, visit the fairy stream before 1:30 PM, when the afternoon tours start. The fairy stream is very close to the main road crossing the touristic part of Mui Ne, so you can either take a Grab there or just walk, if your hotel is nearby.
Keep in mind that when you are on a tour, you only get 20 minutes to explore the fairy stream, whilst to get to the end and see the waterfall it takes about an hour.
The entrance to the fairy stream costs 10.000 dongs (0,30 cents), which you pay at a booth on the opposite side of the water.
The fairy spring is a small river passing through a red coloured canyon carved by the water in clay and limestone. The water is shallow, with its deepest point being about an ankle-deep. To walk through the stream you need to take your shoes off and leave them at the start, hoping nobody will leave with them.
The walk through the stream is pleasant, especially when it’s a hot day outside. The bottom of the river feels quite silky on the feet. Careful though as there are rocks underneath the water.
I shouldn’t have to mention this but please, respect the place you are visiting. If a sign says “do not climb”, then do not climb. Many tourists simply ignored the signs and climbed the already fragile rock formations of the canyon.
Go to the beach in Mui Ne
Going to the beach in Mui Ne is a little bit tricky. Even if the entire area is next to the sea, because of the touristic development, the hotels have kind of “stolen” the beach. You can walk for miles before being able to find a tiny road that leads towards the beach and even then, you can’t really stroll on it because the security of the hotels will chase you away. Theoretically, the beach is public land, practically…. the seafront hotels are assuming it is theirs. Some hotels will allow to use the beach and their pools if you buy food and drinks.
The best beaches in Mui Ne are actually outside of the touristic developed area. You can either call a Grab (Vietnam’s Uber service) or rent a motorbike to go on your own there. The more you follow the main road towards the north – east, the more remote white sand beaches you will find. Two of the most beautiful beaches preferred by the locals are located after the red sand dunes: Hon Rom Beach and Suoi Nuoc Beach.
Watch the sunset from the red dunes
Sunset in Mui Ne is best watched from the top of the red dunes. As the sun goes down painting the sky in incendiary shades of red, yellow and orange, the color of the dunes intensifies.
Other things to do in Mui Ne:
Play golf in Mui Ne
Believe it or not, Mui Ne has a golf course on which international competitions are held. The 18 holes par 72 Sea Links is the first links course in Vietnam and one of the most challenging in SE Asia, with beautiful views over the South China Sea. Depending on the season, a round of golf costs around 1.700.000 dongs (60£) per person.
Learn how to kite surf
Mui Ne is renowned for wind surfing, with many schools dotted along the seashore. With mild winds during the morning which intensify towards the afternoon, Mui Ne is a great location for all types of wind surf lovers, beginners or more advanced. It is also a perfect location to learn how to kite surf.
Take a sailing lesson
Another exciting activity that you can try in Mui Me is sailing. Much cheaper than in other corners of the world and with professional instructors, you can learn how to sail a boat in only a few days. Manta sailing school is a sustainable business, being the only sailing training centre in the country. You can book a sailing lesson in Mui Ne with Manta sailing school by clicking on this link.
Visit the Linh Long Tu Temple
Linh Long Tu Temple has a privileged location, on top of a hill, with beautiful views over the harbour. It is a small historic temple dedicated to Buddha. It is a very peaceful place to visit.
Climb Ta Cu Mountain
One hour away from Mui Ne you will find Ta Cu Mountain, famous for the largest reclining Buddha statue in Vietnam (49 meters long) which sits on its top. To reach it, you can either hike or take the modern solar powered cable car up which costs 160.000 dongs (£5) for a return trip. If you look closely trough the trees you can spot monkeys.
Have you been to Mui Ne, in Vietnam? Would you like to go after reading my experience there? I would be happy to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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