Mui Ne, a traditional small fishing village in Vietnam, is located in Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan province, about a 5-hour drive from Saigon. Many Saigons come here on weekends for a beach holiday, and Mui Ne is said to mean “Sheltered Bay”, although I don’t know why it’s called, but it doesn’t matter. It has long and beautiful beaches, delicious fresh seafood, unique climate and breathtaking natural landscapes. If you’re a little tired of the bustling metropolis on your trip to Saigon and looking for a quiet place to spend a leisurely weekend, Mui Ne is the perfect spot.
What to Do in Mui Ne
Mui Ne is full of surprises and it is a very special place throughout Vietnam. It has long been a holiday destination for locals, and for visitors you will have the opportunity to see many cultural heritages, natural beauty and local traditional lifestyles.
Visit the White Sand Dunes
In Southeast Asia, the climate is hot and humid, so it’s hard to relate it to the dry desert. However, in Mui Ne, Vietnam, there is a beautiful desert area. These deserts are divided into two types: white sand dunes and red sand dunes. Here, let me introduce the white sand dunes first. The white sand dunes, located 26 km north-east of Mui Ne Beach and about 50 km from the centre of Mui Ne, are said to have been formed by ancient iron ore that has been in existence for centuries.
This is one of the only desert areas in Southeast Asia, and if you haven’t been to the Sahara Desert, then maybe you should come here and see the white sand and you’ll find them really fascinating. The sand is really white and shining in the sun. The sand itself is delicate, smooth, walking in the sand, enjoying all its curves and bumps, which is a pleasant thing to do. It takes about 15 minutes to get from the edge of the dune to the top, and once you reach the top, you can throw yourself into the sand and roll down it to feel the soft, smooth white sand. However, one thing to note is that sand is possibly incredibly hot!
You can rent a private jeep or quad bike to visit the dunes. But they’re expensive, jeep, 30 dollars and quad bike 25 dollars.
On the other side, there is a small lagoon covered with lotus flowers, there are many kinds of fish in the lake, and there are various insects and water birds by the lake. The contrast between the white sand dunes and the dark blue water of the small lake allows you to get some great photos. There is also a small pine forest by the lake, if you feel too hot, you can rest in the woods for a while. There is also a small coffee shop selling local food and specialty snacks.
- The wind is strong and the sun is sharing, and if you visit here in the afternoon, it’s best to wear a mask or your mouth may be filled with sand.
- Note that the Driver of the ATV drives very fast, so be careful, be sure to hold very tight, or you may fly out of the car.
Visit the Red Sand Dunes
In Vietnam, you can find a beautiful place to enjoy the spectacular sunrise on the rolling red hills – this is the red sand dunes of Mui Ne. Mui Ne has a lot of geographical wonders, the red sand dunes are one of them, because it is actually next to the ocean! Although the red sand dunes are smaller than the white sand dunes, they are close to main strip of Mui Ne and are only a few minutes’ drive away.
At 4 a.m., most people are still asleep, but this is the best time to visit the red sand dunes. When you come to the dunes in the early morning, you can avoid the crowds, the heat hasn’t quite struck, you can see the best of it. The shape, color, and spectacular sunrise of the dunes will allow you to take great shots. The color of the sand changes depending on the sun’s position, from yellow, pink to red and brown, and the red sand dunes are not as steep as the white dunes, so you can easily get to the top. The view from the top of the dunes is beautiful, you will be able to see the ocean, and sunrise is the perfect time to take pictures, perhaps, which is why the red sand dunes are more crowded than the white sand dunes. There are a lot of people sliding down the dunes with a plastic board, which is rented, and the price is not high, only about one dollar.
On the edge of the dunes, there are plenty of locals selling ice cream, refreshing drinks, Pho and a variety of traditional Vietnamese snacks. However, prices seem a bit high.
Tip: If the wind is strong on the day, it’s best to wear long trousers, because sand will whip your legs.
Wander Through the Fairy Stream
Fairy Stream, in the small town of Mui Ne, Vietnam, is a beautiful and unique place, with a large number of tourists every day. Fairy Stream is a peaceful stream of water that winds through a miniature canyon. The red clay and limestone particles at the bottom of the stream, mixed with pale white sand, eventually form a beautiful red-brown creek.
Fairy Stream water is very shallow, and in most cases, the stream is ankle-deep, even if in the deepest part, no more than knee-deep. Travellers can take off their shoes and walk barefoot through the cool streams, forgetting high temperature here. Dipping your feet in the mud is relaxing, and the red sand at the bottom of the stream is soft and smooth, so you don’t have to worry about scratching your feet.
One side is the unique sand structure that is naturally formed by streams that flow through cracks from the hills above. The other side is a small forest of bamboo and palm trees, and you can even see grazing cow on the grass in the forest.
There are many small shops and cafes at the entrance to Fairy Stream, and there is even a small farm where you can ride an ostrich. Along the stream, there are also small shops selling food and beverages where you can enjoy fresh and sweet coconut juice or cool iced beer. In addition, you can find a small restroom here.
The walk takes about 15 minutes to reach the end, and where you will find a beautiful little waterfall. I don’t know why it’s called Fairy Stream, and although the scenery here is beautiful, it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the fairy.
- Avoid visiting Fairy Stream on weekends as it will become very crowded.
- Wear some old clothes as you are likely to get splashed from small children or other travelers.
- It’s best to bring sunscreen and sunglasses.
Try Kite Surfing on Mui Ne Beach
Mui Ne Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam and is crowded with tourists almost every day. Here you can enjoy the gentle sea wind while admiring the white sandy beache and clear blue sea. In addition to relaxing on the beach, another activity is more popular here: kite surfing.
Due to its unique geographical characteristics and wind conditions, Mui Ne has become one of the best kite surfing destinations in Southeast Asia, attracting water sports enthusiasts from all over the world. Every year from November to March, it is the peak season for kite surfing, during which Mui Ne Beach is frequently hit by strong winds and waves of up to 4 metres, providing more favourable conditions for the sport. There are a lot of kite surfing schools here, and if you’re interested in the sport, you can easily find a school starting from zero or improving your skills at a low cost.
How to Get to Mui Ne
Mui Ne is located on the route between Ho Chi Minh City and Dalat, and it is also close to Nha Trang, so getting to Mui Ne is generally very easy.
Open Bus is the most common and comfortable way if you don’t have special needs and have plenty of time. You can go directly from Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat, and Nha Trang to the center of Mui Ne. No matter which city you come from, the journey will last about five hours. The ride is quite bumpy at times due to road problems, but this usually doesn’t have much impact. If you take Open Bus to Mui Ne, the staff will ask where you are off, you just need to tell them the address of the hotel you have booked and the bus will take you directly to the hotel door. If you haven’t booked a hotel yet, you’ll be taken to the end of the bus in the centre of Mui Ne. Although Open Bus in Vietnam is run by many different companies, I don’t think the quality of service varies widely, and large companies such as Cat Ba Express are relatively well-managed, but smaller companies’ buses are also generally able to reach their destinations on time.
At the Phan Thiet Train Station, about 45 minutes’ drive from Mui Ne, there are trains leading to Ho Chi Minh and Nha Trang, but at slow speeds, which are rarely used by few people.
In addition, you can also rent a car directly from Ho Chi Minh Airport to Mui Ne, the price is about 80-100 dollars. Many surfers or those who come on holiday in Mui Ne will choose this approach.
Where to Stay in Mui Ne
Mui Ne is a seaside town with only one main road and many resorts of all sizes and styles on both sides of the road. In addition, there are many small hotels or guest houses scattered throughout. This is not an expensive place. Mui Ne’s inns can be as cheap as $5 a night, while the prices of luxury resorts are equally attractive.
Finding a place to live in the main strip of Mui Ne is simple. whether you have a limited budget or plenty of money, Mui Ne is an ideal destination for adventurers or holidaymakers.
For those on a good budget, Mui Ne West will no doubt provide a better experience with such as private beaches, good service, sea sports and beautiful sea views. Many popular resorts are located here in a comfortable, luxuriously furnished setting, but not at a high price.
Ananda Resorts: This is an affordable mid-range hotel located in the centre of the town, between many of the larger resorts. It’s not the most luxurious place in Mui Ne, but it’s clean and tidy and very popular with visitors.
The resort is not fancy, and our room is a small bungalow with a cold shower bathroom, a fridge, TV and AC.
The buffet breakfast was delightful and offer a lot of options including coffee, hams, fresh fruits and traditional Vietnamese breakfasts. The lunch menu also features a variety of traditional Vietnamese dishes and food options from around the world.
The staff here were lovely, very nice and helpful, and could speak fluent English. They cleaned the bathroom with clean towels daily and were happy to respond to our requests. There was also a dedicated driver who took us on tour to different places, such as Fairy Stream and White and Red Dunes, and it was free.
By the way, you can sit in the resort’s beach chairs or in the shade of trees and watch the kite surfers in action.
Address: 48 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Mui Ne Binh Thuan
Phone Number: 02523741692
In addition, in Mui Ne fishing village you can find a number of accommodations for less than $10. There are a number of inns near Fairy Stream that are under $15 and there are some $7 or $8 guest houses on the north side of main road.
Where to Eat in Mui Ne
The main strip of Mui Ne is dotted with restaurants, from traditional Vietnamese dishes to pasta, and you can easily find places to eat.
The local specialties of Mui Ne are seafood barbecue and hot pot of goat meat. If you can tolerate restaurant owners who generally don’t speak English, try the barbecue around the small market.
Here I would also like to introduce a restaurant, Good Morning Vietnam, that I visited many times during my stay. The restaurant is large and located in the busiest part of Mui Ne, close to many popular resorts, and is said that the boss is italian. Pizza, steak and pasta are all authentic and reasonably priced, with a regular pizza for about $5. In addition, home-brewed white wines are available.
This restaurant has a huge wood fired oven that highlights its pure pedigree and if you’re looking for espresso and authentic Italian pizza, it’s a good place to be.
Mui Ne Travel Tips
- December to April is the best time to visit Mui Ne, the climate is pleasant; Every year from June to August is Mui Ne’s rainy season, if you arrive at this time, you are likely to experience continuous rain, which can cause some trouble for your trip.
- One night’s stay in Mui Ne is appropriate, you can see the sand dunes sunrise and have plenty of time to visit other attractions.
- One strange thing to note is that since Mui Ne has many Russians on vacation and they stay here for a long time, the locals have learned some simple Russian, and sometimes they switch to Russian when they can’t bargain in English.
Hope this article useful for planning your trip to Mui Ne.