Mui Ne Beach lies 200km east of HCMC. If you’re travel weary then it’s the place to head for. Take one of the Open Tour bus services from HCMC if you’re going north or one from Nha Trang if going south. Most take a detour to Mui Ne and drop you at your chosen hotel. We took the evening Sinh Café bus from Ho Chi Minh City ($5) which departed at 8.30pm taking about four hours to reach Phan Thiet. From here it’s still another 22km to Mui Ne Beach and the bus starts dropping people off at their hotels all along the coast so we didn’t arrive at the Sinh Café Resort until 1.15am as it’s the last stop.
Mui Ne Accommodation
The Sinh Café Resort was fine but ideally you’d be better off staying at one of the places nearer the bars and restaurants to avoid the daily 3km walks or motorbike rides in and out of the main drag. Having said that we had a nice (though small) room for $20 a night which included a great breakfast and the resort’s pool is great. Some of the upmarket places in the central area charge western prices for their accommodation.
There’s a surprising amount of accommodation relative to the number of visitors. We were there in mid-December which should be peak season yet it was surprisingly quiet. The Blue Ocean Resort is a well established option which is about as centrally located as you can get. It is surrounded by plenty alternatives including the upmarket Mui Ne Sailing Club to the west and the budget Red Sun to the east. If you haven’t pre-booked make sure you arrive by day and get off the bus anywhere around here and you won’t go far wrong. The Victoria Phan Thiet Resort is the luxury choice located about 3km before this central area.
Mui Ne Beach
The beach is very narrow and some hotels have had to put sandbags at the edge of their property to protect themselves from the encroaching sea. Most tourists seemed to use their hotel pools more than the beach. The resort is well known for its windsports with wind and kite surfers in their element especially in the November to May period.
Mui Ne Restaurants
There are so many restaurants along this central strip that it’s difficult to recommend any one over another. I particularly like the ones offering freshly barbequed fish and tiger prawns priced according to weight. Just select your fish as you enter the restaurant, see it weighed and go to your table whilst it’s prepared for you.
With so many places and so few people you’ll be politely hassled to go into every one of them as you walk along. Our favourite was in front of Ocean Beach Resort where nobody stood outside touting for business and the food was so good it just sold itself.
Mui Ne Excursions
Every travel agency is offering basically the same tour. If possible do a private tour ($25 pp) and see the same sights at your leisure rather than waiting around for the straggelers from the bus to get back on time.
The highlights of the half day (maximum) tour include a visit to Mui Ne fishing port when the whole fleet is in dock then head to the amazing sand dunes where local children will rent you a plastic sheet for you to have a go at sand sledding.
The Red Canyon is a stunning rock formation which is best seen in the early morning light and if time permits take a walk along the Fairy Spring. This is a stream that flows between fabulous rock and sand formations as far as a waterfall. Your guide will know where it is and local lads from the roadside bar where it becomes accessible will be more than happy to act as your guides for a small recompense.