Sun, sea, sand and wind; these four natural elements are the main attractions of Mui Ne, though a great choice of lodgings and a growing restaurant and bar scene doesn’t hurt either. For expats, its proximity to Ho Chi Minh City is vital, making a visit for a weekend escape feasible, and its micro climate, which brings less rain here than in nearby areas, is another definite plus.
Many visitors to Vietnam plan to spend some time on the beach, but given all the other places worth seeing, few travellers spend time on more than one beach, so for many it’s a straight choice between Mui Ne and Nha Trang.
Nha Trang is better if you’re looking for a wide range of budget accommodation and a late-night party vibe; Mui Ne is preferable if you prefer somewhere quieter and more comfortable, or if you’re into wind-surfing or kite-surfing.
Most people spend their time in Mui Ne on the beach, either snoozing on the sand working on their tan, or, when the surf’s up, riding the waves in the bay. Lots of people come here to practice wind-surfing, though increasing numbers come to master the skills of kitesurfing or kiteboarding. This exhilarating activity that involves taking off from the crest of waves, flying through the air, then landing on the water or the beach, preferably without breaking your legs in the process.
Instruction is available through several resorts, though the longest established and most reliable is Jibes. Another popular place is Storm Kiteboarding. Rates at both places are around US$40 an hour for wind-surfing tuition or US$60 an hour for kite-surfing.
Golf in Mui Ne
If you like your exercise to be a little more sedate, go and check out the beautifully designed golf course at the Sea Links Golf & Country Club on the road between Phan Thiet and Mui Ne. The challenging course has fabulous views over the ocean and green fees of around US$50.
What to See Around Mui Ne
Mui Ne’s one historical site is also located off the road to Phan Thiet; the Po Shanu Towers are situated on a rise above the ocean and are worth a look if you haven’t visited any other Cham buildings. There are two large brick towers and one small one here, but they do not compare with monuments like the Po Klong Garai tower near Phan Rang.
There’s still a fishing village at Mui Ne, though it’s separate from the resorts, and can be very photogenic in the morning and evening as boats leave and return to the harbour. There are also several fish-sauce plants along the road near the village, easily identifiable by their stench.
The biggest nearby attraction for most foreigners though are the sand dunes that create a desert landscape around the resort, with both red and white sand producing some dramatic sights. These can be visited by rented bicycle or motorbike, or as part of an organised day trip to explore the nearby countryside.
For an independent outing, look for the small lane beside 63b Huynh Thuc Khang and follow Fairy Spring, a stream that flows down through a memorable landscape of white and red dunes.