Mui Ne Beach
Trip Start May 03, 2006
48Trip End Ongoing
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
After a nervous dodgem ride with what seemed like a thousand other bikes we eventually pitched up at the central station - my bus was still waiting but it was full. Sure I had a reservation - but it was obvious that this was the stop where the locals piled on to any empty seat paying much less than us 'tourists'. I was obviously mad and made it quite clear what I thought. After a short discussion later my motto driver/interpreter from the agency said that all would be ok since I could sit behind the driver in the middle of the gangway on a plastic chair!! I went crazy and point blank refused - not only would it be highly uncomfortable - but considering the way these guys drove over here, it was stupidly dangerous! I demanded to be driven back to STA where I sat and scowled for an hour before it became obvious to the manager that something had to be done since my mutterings to prospective western business that trooped in through the door was losing him money! The trick worked and I ended up on a smaller bus which finally got me out of Saigon, a real hassle in itself
Spare you the detail of the journey - 4-5 hrs later we arrived at the coast. Sand, almost Mediterranean scrub and a blue sea - welcome to Mui Ne. Actually we weren't dropped of at Mui Ne at all - but about 6kms back along the coast road on the bay - a palm tree lined track with guesthouses, the occasional shop and cluster of small hotels here and there. Jumping off I resisted the efforts of the bus driver's assistant to get dragged into some travel agent where I could book accommodation, instead I selected a friendly face in amongst a group of motto drivers vying for our trade. Indian Style I told him to take me further down the road, away from this little tourist trapping and find me a gaff on the beach and not too expensive. The weather was fantastic; a nice breeze from the sea was more than welcome after time spent in a polluted city. The guesthouse was spot on - a few bungalows and a pleasant looking two storey building in amongst various plants and greenery, all small scale - and all very quiet. The reception was in some open air wooden structure which also served as the restaurant/bar - although picking up the sea breezes - a fan lazily wobbled high above. An emotionless face greeted me behind desk, but I soon cheered the young lady up with a bit of RGW wit, then got her to guide me around the available rooms, settling on a rather large room up on the second storey - with shuttered windows that opened up over the shore, a couple of fans, large bathroom and tasteful patio area at the top of the outside stairs - it was pretty much spot on! I didn't even have to break the budget - paying about 4 quid a night!! The beach was only exposed at low tide - directly below my room was a kind of shaded veranda and a few bamboo recliners - a wall and steps down into the sea. Over the next few days it was all about R&R - I pulled a recliner onto the wall, read, knocked back the occasional cold beer and cooled off every now and again by simply rolling off my perch and dropping 6 feet into the water below - perfect
I seriously liked this part of the country, it was so unexpected - the landscape was almost arid when one thinks of the tropics - the buildings, their colors reminding me in some ways of the eastern med. I did one day trip - hiring the services of the motto driver that had picked me up at the bus stop. First stop was Mui Ne proper - quite simply a large fishing village - it's port packed with all sorts of unusual craft - but predominantly a type of coracle that the locals wobbled about it, standing up and using only one large paddle that was swirled in the water - rather than pulled, some of these guys positively speeding along in these strange boats.
After Mui Ne we headed off to the red sand dunes - more like a red canyon where I sweated my way around and up the interesting gullies. Next we sped off in the direction of the white sand dunes - along a coast that made me swear I'd come back and spend longer exploring - and perhaps staying in more rural out of the way places on these amazingly undeveloped beaches. The white sand dunes we spotted a mile or so off - inland next to a blue lake - what a scene! Interesting that they were no where near the sea - as we neared the size became apparent - they were huge - a piece of the Sahara in this alluring little corner of Vietnam
Ok - so that was Mui Ne - just a little gem of a place where I rested up, topped up my tan, ate and slept well - the sound of the sea and it's breeze sending me off to cuckoo land in a very short space of time each night. But before we move on I must mention the fantastic sunrises I witnessed, on one morning I awoke early and looking out the window was greeted with such an incredible dawn light that the following day I got up even earlier and had a stroll down the beach to take a few shots. I'm struggling to describe the scene here - let's just say it was one of those moments etched to memory!