After 4 days in Saigon, we were ready to leave the chaotic city and hoping for some time on the beach and beautiful landscapes. The next stop on our journey from south to north was Mui Ne, a small coastal town about 4-6 hours due east of HCMC (time may vary, depending on driver, weather, traffic, etc.). Mui Ne is best known for its sand dunes and kitesurfing beaches. The first thing we noticed when stepping out of the bus was the intense smell of fish which we found everywhere drying by the side of the road. After all, Mui Ne is a fishing village!
We had booked a cool AirBnb called Conect Mui Ne without doing too much research and found out upon arrival that it was a little further from the center of town than expected. Nevertheless, we would definitely recommend staying there as the service was great and despite not being very fluent in English, the family was extremely helpful! If you’re planning on staying outside of the town center, we’d suggest you rent a scooter for the duration of your stay.
The Best Food in Mui Ne
We preferred the food we had around the Mui Ne market than the food at the touristy spots in Phan Thiet. We tried various street food stands at the corner of Che Lan Viên and Huynh Thuc Khang. Look for:
- Desserts/smoothies at the southeast corner
- Banh mi at the north east corner
- Pho bo on Huynh Thuc Khang, a few steps north of the intersection
- Shrimp pancakes a few steps south on the western side of the street
What to Do in Mui Ne
- Sunrise Sand Dune Jeep Tour: we booked our tour with Lacky Tours, just across from the Sinh Tourist office for 110 000 VND per person. The couple behind Lacky Tours were some of the nicest, most helpful people we have met in Vietnam up to now! Our tour included pick-up and drop-off at our AirBnb, the white and red sand dunes, a small fishing village and the fairy stream. While we found the red sand dunes, fishing village and fairy stream to be underwhelming, sunrise at the white sand dunes really makes the whole tour worth it.
Getting Around Mui Ne
- Local buses 1 and 9 (red and blue) will get you from Mui Ne to Phan Thiet easily for around 9 000 VND per person (they will probably try to charge you more).
- A motorbike is probably the easiest way to get around.
- Taxis from Mui Ne to Phan Thiet run for anywhere between 100 000 to 150 000 VND. You should always try to set a fixed price before getting into taxis in Vietnam because drivers will often take a longer route when the price is dependent on the meter.
We booked bus tickets to Nha Trang with Lacky Tours for 110 000 VND per person, including pick-up at our AirBnb.
The bus from Mui Ne dropped us off about 1 kilometer away from the beach and once we dropped off our bags we immediately got out to make the most of our 24 hours in Nha Trang.
Nha Trang is located on a beautiful stretch of coastline and has thus inevitably become a very developed resort city and you can find accommodation, food, drink and activities to fit any budget. Because peak tourist season is coming to a close, for us it was the perfect time to find a last minute deal right on the beach. After only a few minutes of browsing we found a place on Airbnb for under 30 USD, with a sea view, on the 39th floor and right on the beach!
During our short stay in the city, we caught an incredible sunrise from our room, sampled some great local food, took a few hours to relax on the beach and a few more to work from a cute little coffee shop. All in all, Nha Trang was a great stopover on the journey from Mui Ne to Hoi An. We can’t say that we would have stayed much longer because other than the free beach, most activities are quite expensive by Vietnam standards.
Here are some of those spots we would absolutely try again the next time we come back.
- Restaurant for supper : Nem nướng Đặng Văn Quyên for the nem nuong (grilled pork that you wrap in rice paper with herbs and vegetables). The beer is cheap and all the ingredients were all very fresh.
- Restaurant for breakfast / brunch: We stopped at Alpaca, a beautifully decorated two-story cafe a short walk from the beach, for a 10/10 brunch. The price was very reasonable for western food, more expensive of course than a local Vietnamese choice but oh so worth it. The portions were huge, we both got the english breakfast which came with three perfectly fried eggs, your choice of meat, a selection of fresh breads along with some homemade jam and pate.
- Accommodation: Unless you’re in Nha Trang during peak tourist season, we’d suggest trying to find flash sale on sites such as Booking or Agoda. We stayed at Handy Apartment Nha Trang and while the apartment felt somewhat dated, it was quite alright for one night. The room was clean and the view for sunrise is spectacular.
Getting Around Nha Trang
As Nha Trang is a pretty small town and everything is concentrated by the beach, we found that for our short stay, the best way to explore is by foot.
We took an overnight bus from Nha Trang to our next destination, Hoi An with The Sinh Tourist. The ticket was 250 000 VND per person for an 11 hour bus ride. The bus leaves from the Sinh Tourist office which, conveniently, was a two minute walk from our AirBnb. We had heard horror stories from sleeper buses in Vietnam but our experience with this company was pretty good. If there is one thing we’d recommend reading up on before coming to Vietnam its the company you chose for transportation as your experience can vary greatly from one company to the other.