This Destination is part of a longer, on-going journey zigzagging through Asia.


16-Aug-2019 (Fri)

Journey To

Getting from Da Lat, to Mui Ne was on the day sleeper bus again. The bus, this time, wasn’t as clean, and I got allocated a “seat”, that had a pillar, which made it uncomfortable.

The route taken, is the kind of that is described as dangerous – the kind that have seen buses falling and killing everyone. I had a feeling this would be the case, since we are travelling from the highlands, to the coast. Thought doing the trip in the day should be safer.

The day-sleeper bus
Dirty and uncomfortable seat with the pillar
One of many zigzag turns down
One of many zigzag turns down
One of many zigzag turns down
Rest stop
Rest stop
Arrival & Lunch

The journey from Da Lat to Mui Ne was about 5 hours, and I arrived just after noon. I very briefly noticed an office that everyone on the bus was going into. I started wondering if the process was actually to then catch a smaller bus that brings you straight to your hotel. But I thought my AirBNB was only 3km, so decided to walk it.

Alighting point
The street towards my AirBNB

Realising it was lunchtime, I decided to stop first and grab some lunch at a seaside restaurant. It is customary to order seafood when at a seaside restaurant, especially when it has lots of seafood on display out front. But without realising, I had ordered fried rice with pork. Honestly. it wasn’t that good.. and I was kinda glad I didn’t try a more expensive lobster dish which may not have tasted too good as well.

Lunch by the sea
Fresh seafood on display

After lunch, I just sat there for a bit. I realised how much warmer and more humid Mui Ne was, especially after travelling through the highlands with cool weather. It also didn’t help that the walk back, wasn’t on any sidewalk, and so, no shade.

Google maps gives the impression that the road is by coast, and my assumption was that there would be a nice sea breeze. But actually, there are a row of shops/houses between the road and the sea, so you don’t get any views or breeze.

After just a few hundred metres, I felt I no longer could continue walking, and flagged a passing taxi to take me the rest of the way. This was also a good idea, cos the distance turned out to be 7km, and not 3km, as I had initially thought.

Street sights
Street sights
Russian signboards
Interesting selection of BBQ food
BONO Homestay

When I first pulled up at the front of the Homestay, along with the dust and heat of the place, I wasn’t expecting much from my room. I had a brief flash-back to my Coffee Tour Resort experience at Buon Ma Thuot.

The side facing the streets was a drinks stall, and to get to the rooms, you walk through a narrow walkway. When I was shown to the back where the rooms are, I was really impressed.

The first thing that got me, was the view, and the wind from the sea, making the area really cool and relaxing. When I was shown to the room, I was further impressed at how clean, comfortable and well-maintained it was. I was feeling really good.

View Location On Google Maps

Sitting area outside the rooms
BONO Homestay
BONO Homestay

17-Aug-2019 (Sat)

The Easy Morning

After a great night’s sleep, I spend a few hours in the morning at the sitting area outside the rooms, watching the sunrise. Today I was going on the Jeep Tours around the sights of this city in the afternoon, so wanted to have an easy morning.

I did consider going for a walk around, but because the area I was living in, was just one long street, I didn’t feel like too motivated. Plus the heat doesn’t help.

Sunrise at BONO Homestay
Suối Tiên Mũi Né | Fairy Springs (On Tour)

The jeep tour started at 2pm, when the picked me up at my place, and drove to the first stop – the Fairy Springs. This is a small stream, that is suppose to be “magical”, but I feel it was a place just chosen to be an extra point of interest. There were 2 reasons I decided not to enter and walk up the stream:

  • The entrance wasn’t free, and not included in the tour price.
  • I had to take my shoes off – which wasn’t an option cos I had a wound on my feet.

So instead, I spent my time at the cafe just outside the entrance, while the rest of my group went in. I also did a quick walk around the parking area, and noted there are quite a lot of jeeps.

My group came back out after about 30 mins, and they didn’t say it was too special. We then loaded back on the back of the jeep, and continued on.

View Location On Google Maps

Fairy Springs entrance and gift shop
Food and drinks
Jeeps of the jeep tour
Jeeps of the jeep tour
Jeeps of the jeep tour
Đồi Cát Trắng | White Sand Dunes (On Tour)

It was a 30km drive to the White Sand Dunes, where we stopped at one of many “stopping areas”. These were places to start our trek to the dunes, and they also served drinks, with places to sit.

We were offered the option to walk onto the dunes ourselves, or, pay to be driven up on an ATV. Here’s the catch: To walk to, up and back from the tallest dunes, would take you an hour. Except, we were only going to be there for 30 mins. So it was essentially a way to “force” you into taking the ATV option – just so you felt you maximised the experience.

Myself and 3 others in the group, opted to walk, and 1 opted to take the ATV. Walking to the dunes was quite nice, through a few tree lined, sandy paths. It was definitely a new experience, never been around so much soft sand, under intense heat. During the walk, I saw quite a few people going past on ATVs, and it was easy to see how they could get to the top easily. There was also a lake on the far side, but we could never make it there and back in time.

View Location On Google Maps

ATVs at the White Sand Dunes
White Sand Dunes
White Sand Dunes
White Sand Dunes
White Sand Dunes
White Sand Dunes
White Sand Dunes
White Sand Dunes
White Sand Dunes
White Sand Dunes
White Sand Dunes
White Sand Dunes
Stopping area
Stopping area
ATVs at Stopping area
Back on the road, towards the Red Sand Dunes
Red Sand Dunes (On Tour)

The red sand dunes was back towards the city, and we arrived at 5.30pm – in time to see the sunset. The dunes here were next to the road, which meant no “ATV selling up”, but there were a lot of peddlers, selling hats, sunglasses, and also boards to slide down the dunes with – but these were more for the kids.

The dunes here definitely felt steeper, and everytime I thought I was going to reach the peak to view a beautiful sunset, there would be another higher dune just ahead to get to. This felt to keep going endlessly, and I we ended up never really reaching the edge to view a sunset.

The Red Sand Dunes were also much more crowded than the White Sand Dunes, but I think it was just because of the timing. Am sure the White Sand Dunes would be just as crowded at sunset.

View Location On Google Maps

Red Sand Dunes
Red Sand Dunes
Red Sand Dunes
Red Sand Dunes
Red Sand Dunes
Red Sand Dunes
Red Sand Dunes
Red Sand Dunes
Red Sand Dunes
Red Sand Dunes
Red Sand Dunes

This was the end of the Jeep Tour, and from here, we were dropped back to our hotels. It was a pretty tiring day with all the climbing in the hot weather, so once back in my room, I didn’t feel like going back out. I had the instant noodles available in my room for dinner, and spent the rest of the evening in bed, watching TV.


18-Aug-2019 (Sun)

Mui Ne Fishing Village

Today was going to be travel day for me – taking the long bus to Ho Chi Minh Airport in the afternoon. So decided to just spend the morning in the room, packing and relaxing. At noon, I checked out, and left my bags with them, and took a walk around while waiting for the bus.

I went to the Mui Ne Fishing Village, which was also somewhere we had briefly stopped on the tour the day before. I really didn’t understand it though, cos there really was nothing around, and just had a bad stench of rotting fish and lots of mess. On Google Maps though, there are photos with far more activity, so it could just be off-season, or maybe I was there at the wrong time.

View Location On Google Maps

Mui Ne Fishing Village
Mui Ne Fishing Village
Mui Ne Fishing Village

From there, I continued walking up the same road, and stopped at a roadside fruit shop for a drink, where I waited till it was time to head back to take my bus.

Taking a break from the sun at a streetside fruit shop
Ride to Ho Chi Minh Airport

My ride to Ho Chi Minh Airport came around 4.30pm. I had initially sat at the back of the bus, carrying my bags – assuming it was going to be pretty empty. I had forgotten it was Sunday, and there would probably be a lot more people who had been here on a weekend trip. After a few stops, I realise the bus was actually getting quite fuller, and I went to ask the driver if I could put the bags into the luggage hold. He offered me the front passenger seat, which I was more than happy to take.

The journey was long.. but fast and quite “exciting”, when you can see out the front. The ride was continuous till the rest-stop, which we arrived at 7.30pm. The restaurant had a lot of buses out front, so this must be a popular stop for many bus services.

After about 30 mins, we got back on, and continue towards the airport. We finally arrived at the airport around 9.30pm. This was possibly my longest bus journey, sitting down.

My flight to Phu Quoc was only the next morning, so I spent the night just waiting at a cafe that was opened 24 hrs.

Ride to Ho Chi Minh Airport
Ride to Ho Chi Minh Airport
Ride to Ho Chi Minh Airport
Rest stop for dinner
My overnight spot at the Airport
Summary

The First Thing to note, is that Mui Ne has a split. The Western side has more of the higher end resorts, and the Eastern was the cheaper accommodation. Since I stayed and explored the Eastern side, I can only give my experience for that side.

Mui Ne struck me as a town that expected to be the next Nha Trang, but it didn’t have the right organisation or maintenance. But this could just be because they haven’t had the number of travellers they had hoped for.

The street layout seemed a bit wrong too – since it was a single road along the coast, yet walking along it doesn’t get you a sea view. This just meant when you walk one direction, your only way back, is the way you came. This also meant once you’ve walked in either direction, there isn’t much options to try a different route the next time.

The weather is quite hot and humid, and for some reason, there are a lot of flies around – which I am guessing comes from the litter from the seaside.

But, Mui Ne does seem to have a lot more to see, than just the places we were brought to on the Jeep Tour. I would not recommend the Jeep tour to anyone really. I think you are better off getting a bike to bring you to the places. That way you can really take your time to enjoy the places, for as long as you want. And if you had your own bike, there seems to be more places to visit, and nice cafes or eateries to try too.

~ END ~

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