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Published: March 17th 2007
One of the girls at the sand dunes in Mui Ne, Kim, 15 years old and speaking better English than any Vietnamese I have met.
We arrived in Mui Ne after a sweaty bus ride - sweaty not because of lack of air conditioning, but because the seats in our bus were made of sticky plastic instead of fabric! Choosing the same approach as in Ho Chi Minh City, I walked across the road from the bus stop and into one of the many resorts that lie along the beautiful beach. There, I met a friendly American (possibly Canadian) who showed me the room and let us have it for USD 25. A fortune in Vietnam, true, but for us, this was a bargain. The room had high standard, we had a small balcony with beach and sea view and a fridge and a TV for those who desire those. Just outside there was a huge swimming pool. The man told me that they normally rented their rooms for 55-65 dollars, but the season was just over the top, and they considered it more important to fill up the resort than overcharge the rooms. We should still have paid another 6 dollars for the extra mattress in the room though, but the man instructed the receptionist to give us a discount! The name of the resort
Remi in a coma
Remi took the opportunity for a bit more than a nap on the bus to Mui Ne from Ho Chi Minh City.
is Ngoc Suong and I highly recommend it. The owner, Mr. Linh, and the resort can be contacted on email
. Going out
Mui Ne hasn't got much to offer in terms of night life. We went to a bar where they offered ladies free drinks between 6pm and 10pm (!) and during the same happy hour you could get two drinks for the price of one. Naturally, we had a few drinks, and I suppose Anne-Line was particularly happy with the deal. Afterwards we instructed three scooter drivers to take us somewhere with some life. They drove us all the way to the town of Phan Thiet, which was about 30 km away! There, they dropped us off at a disco where we drank tequila and watched Anne-Line dance with a local guy wearing a singlet. Surely, he must have had the time of his life as proven by the look on his face on the photo! Bored at the beach
Mui Ne is the place for a standard resort vacation. You relax on the beach, enjoying a cool drink and the sight of the many kiters out in the water. If salt water is not your thing
you just go for a dip in the swimming pool. If you want a bit of action, you go kiting yourself or rent a waterscooter. And yes, this was quite nice after having travelled intensely ever since The island of Ko Samui
in Thailand. However, it took me about 5 minutes on the lovely beach to get sick of it - my body was itching; I had to do something active. Leaving sunlicking Remi and Anne-Line behind, I hired a scooter driver to take me for a ride to see some of what Mui Ne has to offer apart from the beach itself. The sand dunes of Mui Ne
We drove about 5-10 km away from the resort and passed a picturesque fishing boat harbour on our way to the famous sand dunes. I told the driver to stop and took some photos of the harbour, of kids trying to sell snailhouses, and some hardworking women.
Arriving at the sand dunes, I was greeted by some kids. Their leader, a 14-year-old girl named Linh, spoke very well English; in fact, it was the best English I had heard since arriving in Vietnam, apart from her friend, 15-year-old Kim! They guided me up
the dunes with the purpose of letting me rent their plastic sliders and slide down the sides of the dunes. Being very polite and charming, there was no way that I could say no, and I willingly followed them. One of the girls then took some photos of me sliding down the steep sandhill before I had to repeat the process so she could videotape it too!
Afterwards I gave them 25 000 dong (about USD 1.5) and told the leader and another girl who had done all the talking that they should also give some to the three other kids, but they could keep the majority for themselves since they were the ones who had done the work. However, the five girls proceeded to split the 25 000 equally between themselves in true socialist spirit! Ho Chi Minh himself would have been proud! The Red Canyon
After taking some photos at the sand dunes I told the driver to take me to a "Red Canyon" that the girls had told me about and that was not mentioned in the Lonely Planet. I walked up the narrow track that split halfway into three separate ways to go. There,
I proceeded to walk and climb up each one and got some nice photos from the great view at the top. Walking up the Fairy Spring
To finish off, I went to walk up the Fairy Spring, which is a stream that flows through some interesting sand and rock formations. A kid offered to follow me upstream and I agreed, although he couldn't speak English and there wasn't much in it for me, but I thought it was an ok way of giving him money as a reward. And he did
carry my thongs though! Walking in the lukewarm water was refreshing. The kid showed me how there were several places where water came streaming out of the earth and into the river. We walked for about 20 minutes before we reached the end, or at least, as far as I was willing to walk. Here, there was a nice waterfall where I went for a dip and asked the kid to take some Pantene Pro V5 Formula photos for me. On the way back he showed me a restaurant overlooking the river. I bought an icecold diet coke and enjoyed the scenery before returning to the driver who
took me back. For the entire day trip he asked for 90 000 dong. I gave 100 000 and his entire face lightened up. The money corresponded to about USD 6. The night bus to Nha Trang
At night we caught the night bus to Nha Trang. Again, the bus had plastic seats, and this time, I didn't get any air condition either. The reason was that the air only came down on the window seat next to me where a Canadian girl was sitting. I said that I really needed some air because I was dying from the heat and turned the air con on (amazingly it was off). A minute afterwards, she started freezing (!) and put on a cardigan, whereas I was dripping with sweat because none of the cold air was hitting me! I turned my wet face towards her and said that she could just turn the air con off if she was freezing because I was not getting any cold air anyway. I also said that perhaps we could swap seats. She said that she was fine. Why couldn't we simply swap seats?! Then she wouldn't freeze and I wouldn't get a heat
stroke! I bit my lip salty with sweat and decided not to make a scene.
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