Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mui Ne: Where to Stay

If you haven't already booked your hotel, I would very happily suggest Bien Xanh, also known as the Blue Ocean Resort. It is an absolute retreat, with bungalows opening up directly to the ocean. You can watch the fishermen head out at day break and come in with their catch.

They also offer on-site laundry service, which was very convenient, especially when traveling light. Bien Xanh has a beautiful, crystal clear swimming pool with a swim-up bar. Perfect for those lazy afternoons. The breakfast is a full buffet of local fruits, custom-made omelets, tables of side items, and a barrage of fresh juices.

Relaxing in the gorgeous pool and...


There is also a great restaurant located beach side offering great snacks, both American and Vietnamese. So if you are craving that pepperoni pizza, but also want some pho, this is your place. I am starting to sound a bit like an advertisement. But actually, I was just really amazed with the quality and service at the resort.

There were also other resorts within walking distance. So if you want to change it up or meet your fellow tourists, most of the resorts do have nice, moderately priced, restaurants and bars.

Pho please!

Also, watch for the happy hour. In Mui Ne, they do it right with buy-one-get-one-free drinks, 3p.m. - 8p.m. at most lounges.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mui Ne, Vietnam: Getting Away to the Beach

When you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of busy HCMC, hop a bus and visit Mui Ne Beach, where you will find beautiful blue ocean, red sand dunes, and friendly locals more than happy to show you around.

Enjoying the blue ocean view

Mui Ne is a coastal resort town in the Binh Thuan Province of southeastern Vietnam, located on an arm of the South China Sea. The town is close to the city of Phan Thiết, the home of fish sauce, so be sure to try every varietal of fish they offer. It is fresh and the sauce is incredible!

Colorful boats line the shoreline

By bus, Mui Ne is about six hours from HCMC, making one stop at a fuel station, allow for a quick restroom break, ice cream and cookies. If this won't keep your belly full, you are free to bring your own food and drink on the bus, but be sure to purchase it the night before, as the bus leaves around 6 a.m., before most stores are open.

The bus ride was around $35 per person, round trip. The tickets can be purchased at most travel agencies in HCMC. We simply walked in one near our hotel, and the next day we were off to Mui Ne.

Our bus was equipped with a/c, which was a big plus from those Cambodian bus rides! The seats reclined, but it is close quarters and like many buses, the multi-colored cloth seats end up in the persons lap behind you when you decide to recline, so keep that in mind.

Docking time in Mui Ne

Upon arriving to Mui Ne Beach, the bus will drop you off at a fairly inexpensive hotel with small bungalows and offer you the "lowest rates." If you have not made reservations and need a place, it did look clean and many backpackers decided to stay.

However, don't feel like you need to get roped in to the drop-off hotel. There are many great hotels in Mui Ne, offering beachfront bungalows, and a reasonable rate. So in my opinion, do your research and book online before you get there. You will get a better rate and a better location.

You will notice that there are no cabs in Mui Ne. This is because it is such a laid back beach lifestyle. You can simply flag down someone on a moped and offer them some money. They are more than happy to take you to your hotel. Just be ready to pile all your bags on the moped with you and hold on tight!

If you are interested in renting a moped, ask your driver. It was our experience that for about $10 a day, the driver rented out his personal moped and helmet, no credit card, no deposit, no hassle.