This is gonna be my first blog post ever for my South East Asian Trip series! So, finally after two years, I went for a solo traveling trip (again) *proud to tell ya*. Actually this trip is a bit in rush, I haven’t plan anything specific of what to do, where to go, what to eat… All I did was booked a ticket to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia without a flight back. I can’t believe I did that now, lol. I actually didn’t even know that I would go that far to explore Vietnam. Good to know that I did now because Vietnam is extremely beautiful! Psst, and affordable too!
I went to explore Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam and will post my backpacking experiences all around that countries one by one. Why Mui Ne first? Because it is a hidden gem! Not all travelers know about Mui Ne and so did I actually. I got this information from my instagram friend saying that I shouldn’t missed this place. At that time, I was in Saigon, nearly booked my bus ticket right to Dalat. But after got that information and saw how exciting it would be in Mui Ne, I added Mui Ne to my itinerary list before heading to Dalat.
HOW MANY DAYS NEEDED TO EXPLORE MUI NE?
If you are a budget traveler or didn’t have plenty of time on your holiday, 24 hours is definitely enough to explore Mui Ne. I didn’t recommend you to be here more than a day because this place is a bit outlying and didn’t have a nice beach view compared to Nha Trang. I even want to continue my journey to Dalat after going around from noon to evening but because there was no night bus to Dalat, I have to stayed over. Unless you are in your slow-mood holiday, you can enjoy your time here.
HOW TO REACH MUI NE FROM SAIGON?
I asked my hostel owner in Saigon about this information and decided to go by his advice by bus. In fact, that was the easiest and most affordable option to reach Mui Ne. I chose to use Futa Bus, which was told to have comfortable sleeping bus compared to others. They have a booking online options but because the office is close from my hostel, I decided to buy right away in the counter to get my ticket printed. Ticket fare from Saigon to Mui Ne costed 103.000 VND one way. I departed from Saigon in early morning at around 6.30am and arrived in Mui Ne around 12.00pm. The nicest thing using this bus was they dropped their passengers one by one to their hotel! So, you don’t have to worry about how to get your hotel when arrived.
WHERE TO STAY IN MUI NE?
Since I did a solo-backpack in this trip, I love to stay at hostel which is way cheaper compared to hotel. I suggest you to get your hostel booked before departed to Mui Ne because if you travel this place in one day, your schedule gonna be a bit packed. Booking your hostel in advance will also help to save your time and money because your bus from Saigon can drop you right a way. I did a booking by using Traveloka (Indonesian travel apps) and stayed at Mui Ne Xua Hostel for around 150.000 VND. My number one consideration picking this hostel out of others was because it’s 2 km away from The Sinh Tourist Office where I booked my tour.
I’m a bit surprised when arrived at the hostel because from the outside, you’ll only got to see a big outdoor cafe. But after walked and asked the staff there, they’ll guide you to the hostel which was located a bit private inside the area. And guess what, I was the only guest at the dorm. Hem?
What I didn’t like about this hostel was it’s manual (yes, hand writing!) check-in. They did confused at first when I showed my booking proof but finally after several minutes interrogated me, they wrote it down on a piece of paper. And that check-in process was not in the lobby! It’s in the kitchen. Traditional one, with a soil ground, lol. Where did I stay again? Gosh.
Anyway, since I booked it online, I didn’t notice the details about this hostel. It turned out that the hostel was a traditional bamboo house with an open door dorm. Actually the bamboo house was quite nice, it was open air and clean as well. Your beach lyfe experience was completed. But remembering I was the only guest and there is no door at the room, I couldn’t help myself to be scared. HA! But seriously, it was a nice traditional bamboo house though! And they have a proper bathroom as well with hot water. They provide you a locker but you’ll never use it since it was too small. I ended up tied my backpack with padlock and chain to secure my belongings while I was away.
Referring to my experience, if you are traveling in a group and open to a rural-traditional-stay experience, this place should be fine. I went to plenty hostel like this when traveling from beach to beach around Indonesia. But if you are a solo traveler it’s better for you to find another hostel. There are plenty of it in the area, but be mind for it’s location. For me it’s best to close with the tour office so you could easily walk without having to find transportation in your limited time either for your tour or even catching bus for the next trip.
HOW TO GET AROUND?
Even if I was on my backpacker trip, I didn’t want to lose my time wondering how to get where, what should I ride, etc. I always picked an option that make me enjoy my trip in affordable way. My best suggestion for you within your 24 hours in Mui Ne would be taking a tour. I decided to have one because there is no public transportation at all other than taxi and motorbike taxi in Mui Ne. You’ll get yourself called by several motorbike taxi while walking but don’t confused yourself too much for that because they couldn’t speak English and you don’t wanna bargain by using body language, right? They might charged you higher price anyway, especially when you’re tourist.
I decided to book my tour in Saigon after checked that Mui Ne didn’t have any Uber and Grab. Following my friend suggestions, I picked The Sinh Tourist as my tour agent for 549.000 VND. The office was so closed to Futa Bus as well! You’ll only need to pass across the road from Futa Bus counter.
The tour will only provided you only a big jeep car to drive you to four destinations around Mui Ne, not including tour guide. You won’t needed one though! Aside from that, I enjoyed myself walking around the place either to find food or to see the beach.
WHAT ARE THOSE MUST VISIT DESTINATIONS IN MUI NE FOR A DAY TRIP?
Basically, Sinh tour has a complete route to four must-go-destinations in Mui Ne that suits my itinerary. I started the tour at 13.00 and finished at around 18.00. Guess what? There was no other people in the jeep other than me, so I got my private driver! *traveling like a boss*. Here are those four destinations that I visited.
I clearly remember my first impression when my driver said, “You, go there. Put on your shoes and go there!” while pointed a dried river with ankle-deep amount of water. I’m so confused and could’t stop wondering what’s this place all about, like seriously? I had to walk inside the river while in fact it seemed a bit dirty? You really couldn’t expect anything when you stepped in the entrance, seriously!
I finally kept on walking following the stream and my hesitation slowly turned into a high expectation when I started to saw various of limestones with very unique shape. As I walked further, the landscape become more beautiful! Small limestones turned into limestone hills with very beautiful colour of white, pitted rock formations, and red-orange colour of sand dunes. The sand under the stream was also turned from brownish to orange-reddish. You could also climb to see the beauty of the streams from the top. That was unexpected!
It need around 45 minutes to get to the end of fairy stream where there was a small waterfall but sadly to say, I couldn’t reach there. It’s all because I saw a snake went from underbrush down to the water and I was the only one in that place at the moment. Nearly to waterfall, the ankle-deep water indeed become more higher to a knee-deep. I could’t make sure to avoid the snake since it’s not a clear water but it’s not funny to get bite while no one around, isn’t it?
Second stop was fishing village yet very close to Fairy Stream. It was an amazing view from the top where you could see hundreds colorful wooden boats parked along beach. I went down to beach side but the fishy smell was quite strong in the area. Too bad, there were many rubbish as well.
Afternoon was definitely not a right time to visit this place because you couldn’t see the fisher activities. I guess morning walk to this area would be better since at that time, mostly fisher would probably come back from the sea bringing their catch.
WHITE SAND DUNES
This place is my most favourite place among all. It need around 20 km or around 30-45 minutes to reach here from Fishing Village but you definitely could enjoy the views all the way from your jeep. It was pretty nice!
Unlikely two other places which were free of charge, in White Sand Dunes you need to pay more for a quad bike which was quite expensive. They offer everyone 200.000 VND to drive us inside the dunes to the top but I successfully bargain it to half price.
The view from the top was breathtaking! I know how fantastic would Sahara looked a like now – a vast expanse of barren land with incredible hills of sands that can shifts away following the wind. From the top, you could also see the greens and water flow from the beach.
RED SAND DUNES
Red Sand Dunes was final destination before I ended the my tour where it also located closer to the village center. It features reddish-brown sand and was perfect to visit during the sunset. I enjoyed my sunset here and it was anti-mainstream sunset I’ve ever had in my life. I will not forget how beautiful that moment when the sun went down and kissed the sand, the brown-color sand simply turned into red. It was magical <3
Here at the red sand dunes, I didn’t have to pay for a quad bike because it was smaller than White Sand Dunes so I could simply going around by walking and climbing.
Wherever you go, it will become a part of you somehow. My journey in Mui Ne was amazing! The nature is something I haven’t see before. People said why I travel thousand miles to see sands? But for me there’s nothing wrong with it! It’s beautiful as far I see and feel ❤️ Thank you Muine for the incredible day!