We visited Mui Ne in November 2017, arriving there some days earlier than we had originally planned. We had fled from the bigger beach city of Nha Trang in horror, after an awful apartment experience and discovering that Nha Trang was our least favourite destination in Vietnam. Mui Ne is far smaller and has many more unique charms. We visited for a week, including our unexpected extension. However, 3-4 days would be enough to see everything that Mui Ne has to offer. In this post, we will share with you our top 8 things to do in Mui Ne.
About Mui Ne
Mui Ne Vietnam is a fishing village and beach resort town on the south coast of Vietnam. It is accessible from Ho Chi Minh City, which is about 4 hours away, or the same along the coast in the other direction from Nha Trang.
Mui Ne first became popular after it received swathes of visitors in 1995, once scientists had proclaimed it one of the best places to see the solar eclipse. Since then, it has expanded outwards along the coast in both directions but more significantly to the east.
What most guide books and tourists refer to as Mui Ne is actually a 5km stretch of beach formed of three different wards. Most of the main resorts are around Rang beach in Ham Tien ward, immediately east of Mui Ne village itself.
Many visitors to Mui Ne come only for Mui Ne beach and almost year-round sunshine. However, the village and surrounding area feature a number of geological anomalies. These anomalies form the backbone of our list of things to do in Mui Ne.
Things to do in Mui Ne
1. Walk up the Fairy Stream
This totally free activity is number one on our list of what to do in Mui Ne. One of the afore-mentioned geological anomalies, the Fairy Stream Mui Ne is a small, very shallow river that is walkable north from the beach. Walking up it, we passed limestone cliffs, sandy dunes, giant boulders and green foliage – totally unexpected combinations in nature. At one point, we thought it even looks like the planet Tattooine from the first (or fourth, depending on your viewpoint) Star Wars movie. At others, it looks more like a jungle.
The stream itself has small cafes at different points where you can get cold water, a fresh coconut or a beer if you wish. At the end, after about 20 minutes of walking, we found the small waterfall.
We found the entrance to the Fairy Stream next to a small bridge about 2km east of the edge of Mui Ne village. There is a gate marked as the entrance. We had read some reports that the kids that hang around there may ask for money. However, entrance is completely free. The kids did ask us if we wanted our shoes looking after, but we just took them with us. The stream is never more than about knee deep, except at the waterfall where it can go up to waist level. The riverbed is mostly soft sand, and really easy and pleasant to walk along. We loved the experience of the Fairy Spring Mui Ne, and we would recommend it to anyone looking for things to do in Mui Ne.
2. Visit the amazing Red and White Sand dunes
This is actually two separate activities. However if you take a tour, you will usually visit both Mui Ne sand dunes together via jeep. The Mui Ne dunes are another of the geological phenomena that feature high on any list of Mui Ne attractions.
The Red Sand Dunes Mui Ne are one of the major sights. They are located only about 5km outside Mui Ne center along the coast on the west side – you could cycle there, although we rented a tour jeep with a driver.
When we arrived, our driver gave us a few tips in warning. There are a lot of local people offering pieces of vinyl on which we could supposedly slide down the dunes. Once you take someone up on this offer, a helpful kid will come and offer to relieve you of your bag so you can slide down unencumbered by your stuff. Suffice to say, you will remain unencumbered by your stuff indefinitely if you hand your bag over to one of these kids! The people we saw who had taken the pieces of vinyl could not really slide down properly anyway.
Our advice is to just sit back and enjoy the amazing views. We had taken the drone with us for this trip and got some amazing footage and photos of the sunset over the red sand dunes. With the colours in the sky matching the colour of the sand, it was a stunning sight to behold.
The White Sand Dunes are another top Mui Ne attraction and are around 25km outside of Mui Ne to the north-west. So you either need to rent a scooter or take a Mui Ne sand dunes tour with a jeep like we did. When you get there, you can rent a quad bike and go zipping around over the white sand dunes Mui Ne, either by yourself, or with a guide. We took advantage of the opportunity to fly our drone over the white sand dunes Vietnam to capture some footage of this mesmerising landscape.
We trekked through the perfect powdery sand to one of the high points and had great fun with the drone and taking pictures.
A visit to the Mui Ne desert at sunrise is recommended by the tour guides as one of the top things to do in Mui Ne. Tours are extremely reasonable at around $25 for a half day private tour. If you participate in a shared day tour, you can get on one for as little as $5. Given the reasonable price of these tours, they are a cannot-miss of the things to do in Mui Ne.
3. Catch a sunset at the beach
For some reason, sunsets in Mui Ne never seem to be anything short of spectacular. Most Mui Ne hotels are smack-bang on the beach, and therefore one of the most beautiful (and free!) things to do in Mui Ne is simply to kick back on the beach and wait for the sky to do its thing. We got some amazing sunset photos.
You can also enjoy the Mui Ne Beach Vietnam from one of the beach bars. We hung out at Pogo Beach Bar for an entire afternoon, chatting to the staff and catching up on some work with the beautiful views. Sadly Pogo closed it’s doors maybe forever in December 2017. In case you are looking for other beach bars or Mui Ne restaurants, then Dragon Beach bar and LineUp Bar & Grill both seem to have similarly good reputations.
You can see all of our top things to do in Mui Ne in our short video embedded below! (~4mins long):
4. Eat some fresh seafood
You only have to walk out of your Mui Ne resort and you will fall into one of the many hundreds of restaurants selling fresh seafood. Most have tanks outside, where you can pick your own crab. Many have an extensive wider menu of exotic varieties such as eel, frogs or even crocodile. Tom was in seafood heaven in Mui Ne.
Psssst. If you are not a lover of seafood (or eel, frogs and crocodile), a position with which I can fully sympathise, then check out newly opened Mr Burger. It’s located about 50m west of the Fairy Stream on the beach side of the road. Killer burgers and great fries. Just don’t tell any of the locals in Mui Ne that you don’t like seafood!
5. Go to the cape
At the far south end of Mui Ne village, a short ride out, you will come to the cape. We cycled there, down the road that leads to the west side of the cape, ending in the Sailing Bay Beach Resort. At one point, the road just ends. We left our bikes and hiked up the hill along the final bit of the coast. The area is rugged and beautiful, and we were rewarded with almost 360-degree panoramas of the coastline. It’s one of the free Mui Ne things to do.
There are graves dotted about here and there, which we guessed must be for those who were lost at sea. Many were marked with the Buddhist symbol of peace – a swastika. Yes, that’s right. The swastika as a symbol was not invented by Hitler or the Nazi’s. In fact, they appropriated an ancient and innocent religious symbol of peace for their despicable pursuits. The symbol for me, like many Europeans, conjures up immediate and horrific evocations of the Holocaust. However, it is important to remember that it’s usage in Buddhism (and Hinduism) is symbolic of peace – the polar opposite of the European atrocities of the early 20th century.
6. Visit the fish market and see how fish sauce is made
If your olfactory sensibilities can withstand it, then pay a visit to the fish market in Mui Ne village. You will need to go early morning to catch (pun intended) the action. On the way back, you will see hundreds of fishing boats in the harbour after their mornings efforts on the water. Mui Ne village itself has deep roots in fishing.
Another fishy fact for you – the area in and around Mui Ne is one of the major production areas of nuoc mam, or fish sauce. Anchovies are mixed with salt and fermented for months to produce the perfect ingredient for Vietnamese cuisine. You can visit the production facility in Phan Thiet – a short drive away from Mui Ne. A Vietnamese chef would no sooner cook without fish sauce than a Western chef would without salt. It is that important. Hence, Mui Ne is an important location for the Vietnamese, being one of the major fishing areas for the source ingredients of nuoc mam.
7. Eat at the food court
We were really surprised to discover that Mui Ne has it’s own little food court! Dong Vui Food Court is located about 2km west of the Fairy Stream. Different vendors and their stalls are circled around a big open-air seating area. There is enough variety here to keep you coming back for something different every night of your stay if you wish. There is a stand with the obligatory Mui Ne seafood and others with some standard Vietnamese specialities such as Pho. But we also found Indian curries, Spanish paella, Thai hot pots, Japanese noodles, burgers, pizzas, veggie and vegan fare… whatever takes your fancy.
You go and order from your chosen stall, and the vendor will bring the food to your table. There is a bar at the back serving a variety of drinks including cheap local beer, or craft beer for the more discerning drinker. Visiting the Dong Vui food court should be a top of any foodie list of things to do in Mui Ne.
8. Go kitesurfing
When we visited, the weather was unusually calm. However, Mui Ne is known for its strong sea winds. This makes it one of the top locations in South East Asia for kitesurfing, one of the best things to do in Mui Ne for waterspouts enthusiasts. Perhaps if we had seen more of it in action we would have been tempted, but the winds were not a surfers friend during our visit. However, Mui Ne kitesurfing is one of the major tourist activities in the town.
Although there are quite a few different schools around the area, many of them are only Russian speaking. This post from Nerd Nomads recommends Surfpoint Kite Surfing School as being a good school that takes English speakers. If we are ever back here, then kitesurfing will be one of the Mui Ne activities we try out first!
Getting to and around Mui Ne
Getting to and from Mui Ne
How to get to Mui Ne? You can take the bus from Nha Trang and Saigon to Mui Ne. There are various bus companies. We used Sinh Tourist on our way to Mui Ne from Nha Trang. No problems for us. However, many take exception to the fact that they do insist on a rest stop at one of their own cafes on the journey from HCMC to Mui Ne. We used Hanh Cafe for our exit journey from Mui Ne to Saigon and I can honestly say it was the worst bus experience in South East Asia we have had. No working aircon, kamikaze driver that smoked all the way there and the bus broke down twice meaning we arrived some 3 hours late.
Another option is train, although the train only stops in Phan Thiet meaning you have to take a bus or a taxi onwards to Mui Ne.
We use 12GoAsia to book all of our travel in SouthEast Asia. The booking process is quick and secure. You can browse available Mui Ne transport options by train or bus for your trip by using the search box below.
Getting around Mui Ne
Many people rent motorbikes to get around Mui Ne. We used bicycles which is also really easy, given that the entire beach strip is on one fairly flat road. Cycling is also one of the fun things to do in Mui Ne!
Taxis are widely available and supposedly metered. However, we found that the meters are probably often rigged as the prices came out vastly different for standard journeys. Get about by yourself wherever possible.
Where to stay in Mui Ne
We stayed in two properties in Mui Ne, one guest house and one resort. Of the two, we cannot recommend the Suoi Tre Guest House highly enough. Hosted by a local family, the rooms are spacious, well lit, exceptionally clean and well equipped. Our room had a beach view which we did not expect. There is a pool in the garden area, which is pretty and well maintained.
In addition to all this, our hosts were extremely kind, despite not being fully confident with English speaking. I was having a bad reaction to a sandfly bite during our stay and needed to find a pharmacy. The pharmacies close by were closed on Sunday but I needed to get more dressings. Yes, it was that bad! Our host got into his car and drove out to get me the things I needed himself. All this for $30 per night. This kind of outstanding service makes small guest houses like this stand out to us above. If you stay in Mui Ne, then consider booking a room at the Suoi Tre Guest House. For us it is the best place to stay in Mui Ne Vietnam.
If you prefer somewhere more luxurious (or more budget like a Mui Ne hostel!) then you can find the best places to stay in Mui Ne using our deals finder below.
If you are visiting other locations in Vietnam during your travels, then check out some of our other posts on this amazing country. We have explored the Street Food of Hanoi Old Quarter, cruised in Halong Bay and done a cooking school in Hoi An. And we have still more to share, coming soon!
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