If you are on your way to Mui Ne...
...You might be wondering what there is to do there. Mui Ne, the beautiful laid-back fishing village on the south coast of Vietnam, is home to a bountiful of adventure activities to do, on and off to the water. Recent developments has seen this sleepy-village be transformed into a bustling tourist attraction with high-end beach-front resorts plotted all the way along the road connecting the centre of Phan Thiet Province to the centre of Mui Ne, around 12km further up the coast line. The road is covered with bars, clubs, seafood restaurants and hotels, which makes it a great place for people to come a spend their holidays.
However, if you want to spend your much-earned time away in a more local Vietnamese area, the centre of Phan Thiet Province is the place to stay. With a handful of street food stalls on every road, plenty of hostels and accessibility to local shops/supermarkets, it proves a great place to stay if you are looking to get away from the busy nature of resorts and westernised areas.
So... Now you've decided where to stay, what is there to do?
Well, one thing is for sure, you won't be short of things to do whilst in Mui Ne. Mui Ne is renowned for its sports on offer and is a hot-spot for thrill seekers due to a variety of different activities.
1 - White Sand Dunes
Often referred to by the locals as The White Lake or Bang Trang. Mui Ne is one of the only cities in the whole of Asia to have vast white Sand Dunes. Truly impressive in size, these white sand dunes can provide a great playground for activities such as sand dune quad bike tours (200,000 VND) in Vietnam. Tours to the Sand Dunes usually start at 5am, not only to view the gorgeous sunrise but to avoid the scorching heat of the sun in the desert. If a 5am start isn't for you, later tours start at 2pm in time for the sunset and essentially missing the hottest time of the day around 12pm. Be sure to bring lots of water to stay hydrated (water can be purchased when at the sand dunes) and make sure you slap on the sunscreen too as there are few shaded areas.
2 - Red Sand Dunes
Another attraction in Mui Ne are the Red Sand Dunes, which are the smaller of the two. When you go here, you’ll be instantaneously approached by children offering sand boards for rent. Apparently, these aren’t very good, so it would be worthwhile to rent a sand board instead from local adventure stores prior to going to the sand dunes. (Although we actually struggled to find anywhere that did this)
Top Tip - Stay at a Hostel that offers free sand board rental
3 - Fairy Stream / Ostrich Riding
This attraction is a little stream that runs perpendicular to large stretch of sand dunes in Mui Ne. It's free and is very popular with tourists, as you can tell by the numerous little cafes and souvenir/clothes stalls you find whilst walking down the stream. With your shoes in your hand, you can take a walk down the stream at a gentle pace, it's nothing strenuous and it definitely isn't anything special. The sand dunes are quite cool as you can veer off path and carve your names into the hard sand at the top, but the walk itself isn't very exciting! Until... You come across a sign saying "Ostrich Riding". Yes, you read that correctly. About 100m from the road entrance to the stream, on the right, you will find a man who will let you ride an ostrich for 150,000 dong p/p. Obviously, we had to give this a go and it was awesome! You'll be in hysterics you see your life flash before your eyes feeling incredibly unstable, whilst darting around a pen on top of a giant ostrich! (Honestly speaking, neither of us know how ethical this is, but equally this was not an opportunity we'd pass up)
4 - Go and see the fishing village
We went to see this ourselves on the motorbike and what an incredible sight it is. As you head along the road that drives you into the centre of Mui Ne on the map, you'll come across a harbour with thousands of fishing boats anchored by the coastline. Luckily, we even got to the fly the drone above them and really caught a glimpse of how many there were. Such a great sight and well worth an hour of your time to sit and take it all in by the shore. Or even better, try to catch the sunrise or sunset here, as we've heard it's absolutely beautiful.
5 - Go kite surfing, wind surfing or just go surfing!
You'll see a lot of these activities around Mui Ne, as they all serve as top attractions! Tour companies offer lessons in all activities for competitive prices. We looked around a few companies for surf lessons and gained knowledge that they were around $45 on average. We gave this a miss as we thought we could find surfing lessons for a cheaper price in other countries. However, kite surfing looked fantastic here and Mui Ne is one of the top spots to try the sport but again these seemed to start at half day lessons of around $90+
6 - Chill out at one of the many, many beach bars
There are tonnes for you to choose from - however, one of the most popular choices seems to be Dragon Beach Bar. With DJ's, cocktails and day beds, it's a cool spot to check out if you are looking for a casual drink. In the day time, check out Joe's cafe (not to be confused with joes boutique hotel) for the biggest coffee you've ever had in your life (a large cappuccino mug was literally the same size of my hand!) We went here twice during our 4 days in Mui Ne and found it to be so chilled out. The "beer snacks" menu is amazing too and surprisingly full of healthy, yet unbelievably tasty options. We seriously recommend the chicken strips and the platter of peanuts, cashews, carrots and pears. They have live bands playing every night too from 7-11pm, so it's a great option if you are looking for more of a lively atmosphere!
7 - Check out the amazing Food Market
The food market is the go to place for food in Mu Nei, bustling every night with backpackers, locals and holiday makers. From steaks, chicken skewers, fish, through to omelettes, tacos and vegan superfood salads it caters to every type of foodie! Let your eyes feast on the food as you wonder round asking everyone and their dog where they got this and that. Its a great layout, lots of tables in the middle that don't belong to any specific vendor and you'll find yourself surrounded by quirky little food shacks. Order some food at the shack, grab a number and get your food served right to your table. As soon as we discovered this place we pretty much had dinner here every evening! Plus the biggest bonus - the food is really well priced. We'd recommend both the fish (any vendor) and the vegan superfood salad from the vegan stand.
8 - Ta Cu Mountain Climb
Feeling like we needed some adventure, we looked up what mountains there were to hike and came across Ta Cu Mountain. It took us about 40-50 minutes on the bike, a relatively easy drive (if you don't have one, you can easily rent a scooter in Mu Nei or grab a Taxi down there) to get there. Please, however you travel there, I recommend that you stop off at one of the million dragon fruit stands and buy one (or 3 like we did). Not only is this the cheapest dragon fruit you'll ever have, but if you're lucky like us, you'll get a load extra for free and even be given a good amount of free dragon fruit wine!
For anyone not tempted by the Hike but still wishing to enjoy the blissful views and see the enormous white Budda (59m long and 18m tall) at the top you can get a cable cart that costs 250,000VND both ways, with entrance.
If you hike, like we obviously did, then the the entrance price is 50,000VND and 5,000 to leave your motorbike. The hike isn't that hard, and we climbed it in around 35 degrees and it took us about an hour and a half but we stopped a lot to take photos, admire the scenery and go some vlogs. It is also well signposted so practically impossible to get lost! The hike itself goes through the jungle which is lovely and we saw some cool bugs and even some monkeys. The only part thats a little spoilt is all the rubbish left over from previous hikers at the rest stops. We were prepared for this and have made a habit out of bringing a bin liner and filling it with as many bottles as we can to take back down to bin. I suggest you do the same :)
As the top is as lovely temple and a stunning white Budda. Well worth the hike, but for us as always, the hike itself is always the reason for us. Overall a great day, with very few other tourists.
9 - Sand sculpture park - Forgotten Land
Oddly, both of us were surprised by how much we liked this place. It was 100,000VND to get in, (just over $4) which almost put us off going in. We're very happy we did though, the sculptures are literally incredible. Some of them have such amazing, minute details that you can spend several minutes spotting them all. Even better all the sculptures are based on fables and old wives tales, so each one comes with an accompanying story which is great to read! Well worth a visit, plus its totally empty and not well know about so you'll have the place to yourself.
10 - Rent a quad bike and hit the dunes
Obviously, this is a firm favourite for a lot of people. You get dropped off at the dunes by the tour guide and pay for multiples of 30 minutes. The price is around 50,000VND for 30 minutes, including pick up an drop off. Personally, after hearing some terrible reviews of this and deciding there was a million other places on our travels that we could go quad biking, we gave it a miss. We're actually quite glad that we did, we spoke with some guys who told us they got stopped and fined 500,000VND for "illegally riding" in Vietnam by the police checkpoint, which is sneakily set right next to the dunes. They also said the buggies were rubbish and weren't very fast (this is obviously not everyone's story, but it seems a common hearsay).
I wanted to list it (because unlike so many blogs we'll only recommend things we've tried and tested ourselves), just because usually we would love to do something like this, but we're both so glad we didn't this time.
Our own opinion - Mui Ne was a nice-stop off whilst we made our way through Vietnam from South to North. However, we are big lovers of the living alongside the real communities and cultures of the country we are in, or being nestled in a location that has so much adventure it wouldn't matter who was there. With numerous beach bars and 5 star resorts, we felt a world away from the real Vietnam and was excited to travel to more inland to Dalat after our 4 days in Mui Ne.
When we're free