Southeast Asia is known for its many great views, landscapes, and tourist spots.Take, for example, Vietnam’s Mũi Né. When you think of the water and the coastline, you’d normally think of a line of sand and lush green land interiors. However, Mũi Né turns this around by having lines of lush green and interiors of sand instead! That’s right, it’s a combination of grassland, beach, and desert in one charming location.
Located in Phan Thiết, this attraction was once a fishing village. Today, it’s a very popular place especially for those who want to escape from the cold winters at the northern side of the globe. There are all sorts of things to do in Mũi Né, from water activities to tours of the locale’s unique geography.
How to get to Mui Ne
Mũi Né is accessible from Ho Chi Minh, making it ideal for day trips. There are various tourist buses plying the route, and you can buy tickets from the hotel you’re staying at. There are also the Hanh Tourist Café, and the Sinh Tourist Café, from where you can book tickets. I got tickets from the latter, and got a nice sleeper bus. You can also book online. There are buses that leaves at 7AM, at 2PM, and at 8PM — that gives you a lot of options on your tour! The ticket costs 99,000 VND, and the travel time takes around five hours.
These buses could drop you off back at the hotel, but if you’re taking the night trip makes sure the hotel knows what time you will be arriving. In my case, I was dropped off at the front of the walkway to the hotel, since the one I chose was up the hill.
Things to do
Once you’ve made your way to your destination, it’s time to check out the things to do in Mũi Né!
This aptly-named attraction is a stream of red flowing around the rock formations. The creek is formed by clay particles and limestone coming from the rocks themselves. There’s a 5,000 VN entrance fee, and make sure you’re not wearing shoes! Your feet will surely get wet. You’ll be asked to remove whatever you’re wearing anyway.
This is the heart of old Mũi Né, though to be frank there isn’t much interesting here for tourists. The beaches were not well-tended, and even though it could have been set up to be a good picture stop it hasn’t even become that. Oh, and I lost my phone here, too.
This is pretty cool, but it’s pretty similar to the dunes we have in Ilocos. You can also rent quad bikes for 600,000 VND (which is about 25 or 26 USD). It was pretty expensive, so we passed. We just walked around, and the view was pretty nice.
Yes, there’s another set of dunes here! This one seems more similar to the ones in Morocco. You can sandboard from a small hill at 20,000 VND, and though it isn’t so much to go for it’s still fairly fun. You’d want to prepare for the climb back up, though. You can buy drinks for your way up, and make sure to watch out for the blue horizon of the sea once you’re at the peak.
Po Shanu Cham Towers.
There’s a brick temple here, in between Mũi Né and neighboring Phan Thiết. It was built to worship Shiva, the Hindu deity of destruction. These are ruins, but still worth a visit if you’re up through some history — it’s one of the last remaining remnants of the once-great Chăm Pa Empire.
Where to stay
I stayed at the Mũi Né Hills Backpackers, and it was really great! It’s just 4 minutes from the beach, and has some good amenities. Here are some more reasons for staying here:
- The rooms are sprawling big! For a backpacker hotel, we had a really spacious chamber. Ruth and I had it to ourselves, and it wasn’t even expensive.
- The staff are amazing. The people are super cool, and I wish the staff at our Ho Chi Minh hotel are just the same.
- Discounts! If you stay here, you’ll get a discount at the Mad Monkey bar, which is the coolest bar around!
- The extras are amazing. You get good vibes, they can arrange tours, there’s a mean restaurant, and you get a good swimming pool, too!
The only drawback is that the hostel is a bit of an uphill walk. When we checked out, we had to ask for help and security helped us bring our luggage to the main road. If you’re staying here, it would be better to just wear a backpack (still tiring, but still better). This is a small price to pay for the quality of the hostel, though! The staff will gladly accommodate you for any help you need.
My Mui Ne Itinerary
We left the hotel in Ho Chi Minh at 7AM, and we arrived at Mũi Né Hills Backpackers at between 11:30 to 12. After lunch (around 1), the tour for the hills started for our group, though I was told there are tours that start as late as 2:30.
By between 5:30 and 6, we were back at the hostel and freshening up. After some rest, we joined the party at Mũi Né Hills! That was around 7:30, and it was a good cross between a dinner and a party.
On the second day, we left for Đà Lạt. We had some good time in Mũi Né (mainly because of the really cool hostel), but there are some high and low points as well. For one, we lacked the time to see all the things, but at the same time we had also seen enough for us to move on. There are also other things to do in Mũi Né we weren’t able to try, such as a visit to the beach and its water sports.
True, Mũi Né was not completely overwhelming far beyond the initial impact of the geography. It also didn’t go much deeper than the awesome time we had at the hostel. But it was a charming tour, and we could recommend it for those looking for something interesting outside Ho Chi Minh and Saigon!