Mui Ne is a traditional fisherman’s village situated in the south-east of Vietnam, 200km’s north of Ho Chi Minh city. If you’re staying in or near the capital and require a seaside retreat, this small town is just for you. Mui Ne has plenty of inexpensive beach villas offering spa treatments, poolside lounging and spots on the white sand beaches.
It’s a place where you catch up on some reading and watch kite surfers zoom up and down the coastline. 2-3 days in Mui Ne is enough time to unwind and sightsee. Below is a complete guide on everything you need to know before visiting this location.
How To Get There
There are three transportation options for getting to Mui Ne from Ho Chi Minh City. All three modes will take approximately 5 hours of travel time.
Ride By Bus
Travelling by bus is highly recommended and will probably be the most cost-effective and direct way of getting to Mui Ne. Tickets cost around 150,000 VND/person and are easily arranged through your accommodation or the site 12go Asia. 12 go Asia shows multiple bus company options, their prices and most importantly-drop off addresses.
With this site you can pick a bus company that’s starting and ending points best suit your current location and final destination. Khumo Samco Buslines arrives at the closest drop off point for Mui Ne area.
Take The Train
Riding by train is a very popular choice and an experience you ought to try at least once when visiting Vietnam. It’s also the cheapest way to reach Phan Thiet from Ho Chi Minh. The seats are spacious, food and drink are available onboard (as well as toilets) and there are very few stops along the way.
The only downside of taking this mode is that the train station in Phan Thiet is still a 50 min drive away from Mui Ne. To get to Mui Ne you’ll need to pay for a local taxi (or grab if one’s available) to complete the trip. As a result, your overall trip cost could rise to well over 600,000 VND!
The best way to book train tickets is through 12go Asia. Make sure you opt for a route taking you to PTH Phan Thiet, Mui Ne and not MMA Binh Thuan, Mui Ne, which is a further 11km away.
Limo-Vans, Minivans And Taxi’s
These options are the most expensive but will more than likely pick you up at your doorstep and deliver you straight to your hotel in Mui Ne. Even though the cost is higher, this mode offers the most comfortable and hassle-free experience. If you’re travelling in a large group (around nine people), minivans are worth considering as the price is for the whole vehicle and not per seat. You can view van options through 12Go Asia or bookaway. We’ve had excellent experiences with bookaway and find them to be very efficient and helpful. Their call centre agents speak English making it easier to connect.
Things To Do In Mui Ne
Below are just a couple of things to do with your time in Mui Ne. Check out our full article on Top 12 Things to do in Mui Ne for a more comprehensive list of activities offered in this little town.
Lounge About On The Beach
If your holiday goals include lounging about and doing the bare minimum, this seaside town caters well for that. The beach in Mui Ne has long stretches of white sands and calm seas. Lounges and umbrellas fill the coastline and can be rented for a low price.
Learn To Kite Surf
The continually blowing winds in Mui Ne makes it a popular spot for kite surfers and sailors alike. In peak seasons the beachfront draws in big crowds of water sports enthusiasts, eager to conquer the windy sea. If you’re the active type, you might consider trying your luck at kite surfing or sailing. There’s an abundance of tour operators and kite schools (right on the beachfront) offering lessons.
Venture Down Steep White Sand Dunes
Visiting the vast white sand dunes is top of our list of sights to see in Mui Ne. The towering dunes are epic and reach far wide, creating an unexpected desert-like scene in such a small town. It costs 15,000 VND entrance for unlimited time there. If you have extra cash, splurge on a jeep tour or quad bike ride through the dunes. The drivers have no mercy as they venture down steep sandy hills at max speed.
Sunset At The Red Sand Dunes
Not as majestic as the white dunes but still a fun outing and nearby excursion in Mui Ne. Even though the red dunes are inland, they’re close enough to the ocean to offer dreamy sunsets as the sun slowly disappears over the horizon out at sea. The dunes are available to the public at no cost and found on the side of a busy intersection. This intersection is where the police like to hang out, looking to fine tourists and collect ‘bribe’ money.
Walk-Up The Fairy Stream To Its Spring
The fairy stream is an enjoyable walk that starts in the middle of the towns centre and ends with a small spring trickling into a rock pool. Lots of barefoot tourists enjoy the walk upstream, admiring the different coloured sand along the way. Locals sit along the river bed and offer snacks, ice-cream and cold drinks to passers-by.
Stop By The Vietnamese Fishing Village
There’s a section on the side of the road where you can pull over and admire hundreds of local fisherman boats and the smaller basket boats called Oothung Chai. It’s quite a scene when you see all the baskets stacked next to one another and the sun setting behind it makes it even better!
Getting Around Mui Ne
Grab and Gojek
If you’re not yet familiar with travelling around SE Asia, you’ll want to download the Asian versions of Uber. Mobile apps like Grab and Gojek are becoming more popular in these parts and are usually a lot cheaper than hiring local taxi companies. You have peace of mind knowing the total cost of your trip before it begins and don’t need to worry about having cash on hand.
Rent A Scooter
If you want to explore the area, there is no better way to do so than by renting a scooter. It’s the best way to explore the less frequented places and secluded beaches in Mui Ne. Scooter rental is available throughout the small town and costs 150,000 VND/day. Be warned, police are known for fining tourists in this area, mainly if found without an international drivers’ licence. The fine for such an offence is 1,200,000 VND whereas the bribe starts at 1,000,000 VND. If you’ve mastered the art of negotiation, you might be able to squash the price. Try to avoid interactions with police by making sure you wear your helmet at all times and drive slowly and sensibly. The frantic roads are a mess and accidents occur daily in Mui Ne.
Hire A Jeep
Another great option of getting around would be to hire a jeep for a couple of hours as you explore the variety of dunes in the area. The price for the car hire is around 30 USD for 5 hours and arranged through Your local booking
Alternatively, a day trip excursion in a shared jeep will cost you 8 USD per person and will take you to all the Mui Ne sights within a day. Multiple online tour sites offer this package, and your accommodation could probably arrange it for you.
Walk Or Bicycle
From one side of Mui Ne to the other is approximately 10km’s so it’s possible to walk or cycle around this small town, as most tourists do. Riding bicycles can become tricky as pavements and road space isn’t always available. You won’t be able to visit sights that are further out of town like the white sand dunes, so consider other options when heading out that way.
Where To Stay
I’ll admit we were quite confused when researching where to stay in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet. The two places seemed to be interchangeable. To clarify, Mui Ne is a ward of Phan Thiet. Phan Thiet covers 60 kilometres of coastline, and Mui Ne is one of the five wards of Phan Thiet that run along those 60 kilometres.
We would strongly recommend staying in the Mui Ne area of Phan Thiet. It offers a variety of 4 and 5-star luxury resorts to mid-range bungalows and even a couple of quirky hostels. Most accommodation options face the ocean and provide front row seating on its white-sand beaches.
Our biggest recommendation is to book at one of the many mid-range resorts located right on the beachfront. Most of these resorts provide spa treatment facilities, fresh, tasty food and both reasonably priced. Things become less inviting the further you move away from these beachfront resorts. Villa Aria Mui Ne is a stunning resort on the beachfront, in an excellent location.
If seaside accommodation options are out of your budget, we highly recommend staying at one of the many hostels in the area. Mui Ne is a trendy area for backpackers with plenty of hostel choices available. The best hostels offer sea views and poolside hangouts. Even if you’re not the backpacking type, you might want to pop past a hostel and enjoy the company of laid-back holiday goers while drinking ice-cold beers with them. We met some great people at iHome Mui Ne and enjoyed their spot right on the beachfront. Other great hostel options in Mui Ne can be booked through Vietnam backpacker hostels.
Choosing where you stay in Mui Ne can hugely impact your overall experience. Whether it be a five-star resort or a budget hostel, we highly recommend paying a bit extra for a spot on or near the beachfront.
Best Time To Go
The south of Vietnam doesn’t experience the usual four seasons, but rather a wet or dry one. The wet season runs from June through to September, but rain in Mui Ne is light and infrequent. The high and dry season is from December through to Feb. Even if you prefer quieter places, this town isn’t the busiest so having others around you is not such a bad thing. We recommend going mid-January to early February for best weather conditions and vibe.
Where To Eat In Mui Ne
The restaurants along the main road provide mediocre local dishes with substantial Russian influence. A few seafood restaurants scatter along the main stretch providing ocean views but not much in terms of atmosphere or comfort. We didn’t have much luck aimlessly wandering around Mui Ne hoping to find great dining options.
The best meals we ate were at beach resorts and villas we visited along the coastline. Not only because the meals are more imaginative but also because these resort restaurants draw you closer to the ocean and further away from the noisy main road in Mui Ne. At Villa Aria, a beautiful beachside resort, we enjoyed a large fresh fruit platter, creamy homemade yoghurt, banana and chocolate crepes and coffees all for a reasonable 180,000 VND.
If you’re looking for cheap but tasty food options, the most popular spot to eat at would be at the Dong Vui Food Court located on the main road of Mui Ne. 16 restaurants come together here and offer a variety of flavours and dishes. You’ll have no problem finding local Vietnamese favourites as well as Indian curries, Mexican dishes and great pasta options too. This spot is also one of the few local places offering vegan and vegetarian meals. A popular bar joins these restaurants together and provides reasonably priced beer, cocktails and smoothies.
If you’re looking to splash out and eat somewhere special in Mui Ne, Muine Swiss House is Probably the best Western Restaurant in the region and offers a European and Vietnamese menu, with craft beers and wines. This is especially great if you’ve been travelling around Asia for some times and need a break from the usual noodle and rice dishes. Their selection of high-quality swiss cheeses and imported cuts of meat will leave your taste buds tantalized.
Where To Buy Groceries
We decided to add in a section in our articles on where to buy groceries. If you’re staying in accommodation with a kitchenette and plan on preparing your meals from time to time, you might find this helpful.
When it comes to shopping in Phan Thiet and Mui Ne, the local markets are the best source of fresh fruit and vegetables. Markets are a great place to visit if you’re looking to experience the local lifestyle of this seaside town. The better of the two markets is called Mui Ne Fishermans Village Market, located next to fisherman’s village and is used by locals and tourists.
If you’re looking for meat to cook, good luck! Unless you’re making a trip to the biggest mall in Than Phiet, 40 km away, you won’t find fantastic cuts of meat. You might feel comfortable buying meat from roadside markets along the main strip; it’s not for everyone, though.
For household groceries, we only saw one Vinmart, and it offered basic condiments / canned food/ sauces etc. A 24-hour Mui Mart was very helpful and stocked imported Italian salami, fresh rolls and imported cheeses. (And not at exorbitant prices either). There was no big grocery store in Mui Ne, and we eventually gave up looking for one.
We would’ve loved to drone areas like the white and red dunes and the massive group of kite surfers along the shoreline. It just wasn’t possible with the gale-force winds in this little town. Fisherman’s village was the only area we could fly at, and even then, the winds were troublesome. Unfortunately droning proves quite difficult in this town and that’s why not much drone footage is available online.