Enticing Mui Ne

We pulled into town on the afternoon bus from Saigon. Heat waves shimmered off the pavement, and the smell of pungent fish sauce assaulted our sinuses. Saigon, our entry point into Vietnam, had been sheer chaos. Amazing, intriguing, delicious and dripping in history to be sure, but absolute chaos. After risking our life and limb on a daily basis exploring the city, we were more than ready for a different type of traffic jam. Enter Mui Ne.

Mui Ne Vietnam

A scenic five hour bus trip from Saigon, Mui Ne sits picturesquely on the beach. As the self-proclaimed “fish sauce capital”, the odor is…. memorable, if the breeze is just right. While many of our fellow backpackers scattered in search of budget accommodations, we headed right to our flashpacker abode at Mui Ne Cottages. Low slung bungalows bordered a refreshing pool. Palm trees swayed in the breeze, revealing the lush sand beach just beyond the pool.

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The town offers a few sightseeing options, combined with a typical SE Asian beach culture. More cows than people crossed our path those first few days. After the emotions of Cambodia and the pace of Saigon we were content to not stray far from our home. Our days were spent lazing in the pool or on the beach, watching villagers pull in their fishing nets, a joint effort shared by dozens.

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Young boys scampered effortlessly up coconut trees to toss down the fruit. We watched as they swung their machetes within inches of their bare feet in wonderment, idlely discussing the disparatey between how “protected” US children are, in comparison.

Morning and afternoon, farmers drove their cattle along the beach, shuttleing them from one pasture to the next. Just the type of entertaining traffic jam we had come in search of.

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We headed to the Doi Cat dunes for some sand sledding, only to be abandoned when our 7-year old “guide” demanded more money in tips than we were willing to pay. Finding our way back, in a slightly meandering fashion, we were in awe of the vast beauty, so unexpected so close to the sea.

Mui Ne Vietnam

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We cooled our feet walking along the Fairy Stream, admiring the lush beauty, unexpectedly so close to the arid dunes.

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We spent hours observing the local fish market, hovering close to attempt to better understand the proceedings and vigorous bargaining.

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Eventually, our time at the beach ended, and we headed north to explore more of that complex, gorgeous, frustrating country. But for a little while, Mui Ne was exactly the soul soothing stop we had hoped for.

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8 thoughts on “Enticing Mui Ne

  1. Vietnam has long been on my list of places to go and it seems that every blog post I read about it, whether it is on the history, beaches or food (!!) my desire to go only grows stronger!

    • It’s a country with a lot going for it. Truly gorgeous and oh, the food!!! Having said that, we were more frustrated with feeling cheated there than anywhere else we’ve been (except maybe Egypt) so it’s a catch 22. Absolutely worth it and I would go back in a second, but it is often challenging! But hey, that makes for the best stories right? 🙂

    • I am with you, Emily. I have never been to Asia and the only two countries that I want to visit are Vietnam and Cambodia. Seeing Vietnam in these photos (and the cone hats) is not helping at all 🙂

      • haha.. well, it is certainly worth a stop. I must say, out of all of SE Asia, Laos is our favorite spot… but having spent a lot of time in the “big 4” of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia & Vietnam, I must say I love them all in their own way.

  2. Great pictures. We were in Mui Ne around this time last year and we also found it a good spot to reflect and relax in, the sand dunes were amazing too, if a bit of a tourist trap!

    • Glad you enjoyed it. The cities of Vietnam are so energetic that we loved a few days of laid back lifestyle!

    • Hi Andy ~ our time in Mui Ne was actually a few years ago, when we were in the midst of our RTW. Glad you got to enjoy it and enjoy Hanoi. A huge, bustling city, but great food, people watching, and things to see! We spent Christmas there that same trip after we left Mui Ne (via Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, etc)

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