Mui Ne was originally a backpacker hang out but there has been a lot of development and although the original fishing village is still there it is now also home to many resorts. None of them are huge but many have an upscale feel to them. There are several Russian hotels and in many places the menus were in Vietnamese , English and Russian. The area around Mui Ne is also world renowned for Kite Surfing.
We stayed at Thuy Gunter Garden Bungalow in a big bungalow with no AC for $35 US a night. It was bit dark and we had ants and a pet gecko plus one cockroach that we saw. We did not go looking for more. There was a full size fridge and basic cutlery and plates. and we had our own little outside area. It’s not on the beach which is a bit of an issue because most of the beachfront is big resort hotels. You can always sit on the beach in Vietnam and there are vacant lots here and there which the locals use for water access but in many areas the beaches have eroded and the hotels now reach all the way to the water.
The owner of our hotel spoke English but the rest of the family did not although they all tried to be helpful. There is a small local market just down the road it has the basics all day but it’s much better in the mornings when there are more vendors. There is also a “Food court” which is almost western. It’s full of budget level travelers and it’s actually not a bad spot for dinner or a social drink.
We went for a swim and then walked down the beach which you can do even when the resorts meet the sea. When we had to we just cut through the resorts no one tried to stop us.
We came back along the coastal road which is really the only main road. There are restaurants and stores the food was good and cheap. A 450ml beer was 10,000 VND. We bought eggs, coffee, buns, fruit and UHT milk which is almost the only milk we found in Vietnam with a plan to make breakfast the next day.
Breakfast the next day did not go quite as planned we discovered Vietnamese coffee is made with small metal filters which we never did figure out how to use properly. Our coffee was always cold by the time it made it to the cup. We could not get the stove lit so no eggs and we bought chocolate coffee by mistake which was cold strong and sweet. We ate the buns and mangled bits of mango because I did not cut it up well.
We rented a scooter for $7 US and set off to find an adventure. We had planned to go to the red sand dunes but the guy who rented us the shooter told us there were police road blocks that way set-up to fine tourists without international drivers licenses (we now have international drivers licenses). His suggestion was if you see a policeman by the side of the road with a clipboard turn around and go back the other way. We decided to stay local and rode back down the Mui Ne strip. There was nowhere to park without buying something. We had lunch at an independent seafood restaurant with a great view. The beach was limited and there were many sea walls because of the erosion. The water was also pretty rough so we did not swim. We booked a tour $6 US per person tour for the next day to the Red Sands, the local fishing village and Fairy Stream.
We eventually gave up and returned the shooter because it was too hard to park it.
We spent New year’s Eve in Mui Ne and unlike most of the other places we have been there was no big local celebrations. Many of the resorts were having big fancy gala’s so many of the locals were probably working.
There is a local bus which goes up and down the main road. As there is really only one main road we figured we could not get too lost so we took it. We paid 13,000 VND to go to the local beach which is on the opposite side of town to the fishing village. There is a look out, lots of kids and ice cream vendors.
We took a bus back for 16,000 VND (different operators, different prices but still really cheap). We did notice that the prices were charged were significantly higher than the rates posted on the buses.
On our final night in Mui Ne we made it down to the beach to eat. Definitely the nicest spot for it. We ate good food and watched small children playing on the beach in the sunset.