Mui Ne is a small coastal town in southern Vietnam famous for its dunes and bustling fishing markets. It is visited by travelers looking for a beach getaway and adventures. What used to be a place bustling with tourists and rows of hotels and restaurants, Mui Ne has become a quiet town greatly affected by the pandemic.
We were lucky enough to revisit Mui Ne after the lockdown in 2021. Even though the effects of the pandemic are evident, this coastal town is still as charming as we remembered. So if you are considering to add Mui Ne to your Vietnam itinerary, here is the ultimate guide to help you plan your trip.
We have the most updated information you can find on the best things to do in Mui Ne, including where to stay and many tips from our recent trip. We hope that this guide will provide you with all the necessary information on the top 8 things to do in Mui Ne.
Table of Contents
1. Watch the Sunrise at the White Sand Dunes
The white sand dunes in Mui Ne is of the most visited places in Vietnam. Located about 30 km from the main strip in Mui Ne, visitors book a jeep tour either for sunrise or sunset. Though the white dunes tend to be busier during the sunrise, we still recommend it over sunset as you get more time exploring without being too hot. You can try sand-boarding or enjoy the fine sand with lots of great photo opportunities. There are also many tour companies in Mui Ne offering tours to the dunes and other tourist areas starting at 25 USD per person.
However, you must note that most of the jeep tours do not take you directly to the dunes. They will park at the entrance and you will have to walk to the dunes yourself. This can be quite challenging and time-consuming, especially if you want to reach the top of the dunes for sunrise.
In our experience, we’ve booked a private tour with Muinego tours and our jeep driver drove us to the dunes but did not go very far. We paid around 850,000 VND (38 USD) for the whole tour including red and white dunes, fairy stream, and fishing village.
If you don’t mind driving around 30 minutes on a bike, especially in the dark, we recommend heading there yourself. If not, book a private tour. Doing this will allow you to take your time to appreciate the dunes. And if you want to have the optimum experience, we recommend renting an ATV by the entrance. The price depends on how long you will want to rent it out, which can get quite expensive. However, this will allow you to see most of the dunes.
2. Sand Boarding on the Red Sand Dunes
Apart from the white dunes, you also have to check the red sand dunes which are more convenient to get to from the main town. And unlike the white dunes, the red sand dunes are smaller in size and are more accessible to discover on foot. Also, most jeep tours in Mui Ne stop here so it can get busy but we recommend getting there for sunset. If you are feeling adventurous, try out sand-boarding. There are many local women on the dunes where you can rent a board for cheap. A board shouldn’t cost you more than 20,000 VND (0.90 USD) for a 30 minutes rent.
Also, look for the women selling food on the side of the streets and try the Bánh Bột Lọc. This specialty food of central Vietnam has a soft and chewy crust filled with shrimp and pork. It is also served with sweet and sour fish sauce that blends perfectly with the chewy taste of the crust and the salty taste of the filling. One box of this snack costs around 20,000 VND (0.90 USD).
3. Take a Walk at the Fairy Stream
Discover the unique beauty of Mui Ne as you walk along the Fairy Stream. This is a winding shallow stream that is famous for its romantic and dramatic landscape of reds, oranges, and pinks. The stream also has this gooey sand texture that flows through bamboo forest and is bordered by red and white sand dunes.
Depending on the season, the stream can get as high as your ankles, which is why it is recommended to walk barefoot. There is an entrance fee of 15,000 VND (0.66 USD) to visit which is included if you book any of the jeep tours. If you are heading on your own, you will need to pay 10,000 VND (0.44 USD) to park your motorbike at the entrance. This also includes the fee to keep your shoes at the front. We recommend visiting in the early morning or towards the sunset to avoid the midday heat.
4. Visit the Fishing Market
Get a chance to witness the colorful boats coming back into the shore after a night catch. This fishing village offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of the local Vietnamese fishermen. The best time to visit is early in the morning or around sunset. This is a great time for photographers to get the best lighting and when the market is at its liveliest. Apart from that, you can enjoy the expansive coastline with hundreds of colorful boats in the sparkling blue water.
In the morning, you will see fishermen bringing their catch while women wait by the shore to sort and sell the seafood. You can expect to see buckets full of fish, shells, and crustaceans everywhere. This is also where local restaurant owners, street food vendors, and residents come and buy their fresh seafood as the prices are reasonably cheaper. It is also quite interesting to see all the haggling and exchanging by the locals.
5. Watch the Sunset at Ong Dia Rock Beach
End your day watching the sunset at the Ong Dia Rock Beach. Plenty of locals and visitors head to this beach to enjoy swimming and surfing towards the sunset. There is plenty of space to lay down by the beach and have a picnic.
Other than that, you can easily grab a plastic chair by the boulevard where food trucks and street vendors are. We recommend trying out the coconut ice cream or Kem Dua for around 30,000 VND (1.30 USD) for 3-scoop ice cream. You can also order different kinds of flavored ice cream.
6. Try Kite Surfing
If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try kitesurfing? As the kitesurfing capital, there are many resorts and shops offering lessons. You can find them along the Hamtien beach strip but we recommend learning with C2Sky Kitesurfing. It is one of the top-rated kitesurfing schools in Mui Ne and you can book with them directly at the shop or online. You can also head to Ong Dia Rock beachfront where you will find locals offering kitesurfing and surfing lessons.
7. Try Fresh Seafood
Being located on the coast, fresh seafood is abundant in Mui Ne. In fact, it is difficult to find bad seafood in town. From the many great selections of restaurants, here are some of the best places to eat seafood in Mui Ne.
For casual dining, head to Boke mr crab (Cơ sở 1) located along Nguyen Dinh Chieu street. They have a huge selection of fresh seafood which you can pick personally from the aquariums in front of the restaurant. The restaurant can get quite busy at night but the atmosphere is lively with views overlooking the sea.
For a variety of food options other than seafood, head to the Pit Stop food court. It has great selections of food joints including Vietnamese, Mexican, Italian, and German cuisine. This food court also has a great vibe, especially towards the sunset. It is located directly by the sea and you can hear the waves crashing as you dine. The prices are reasonable and they also have live music at night. Apart from that, the food court is connected to Nirvana Beach Club, where you can enjoy nice drinks and cocktails.
8. Discover the Coastal Town on a Motorbike
The best way to see more of Mui Ne, apart from the tourist destinations, is to rent a motorbike. This will allow you to explore more of the coastal town from driving to the small alleys to discovering empty beaches. Besides that, most of the roads in Mui Ne are paved and traffic is light. You just have to be careful on the road and make sure you follow the rules as Mui Ne is well known for traffic police stopping tourists.
Best Time to Visit Mui Ne
Mui Ne enjoys some of the best year-round weather with hot temperatures best for beach getaways and gets very little rainfall.
In general, if you just want to enjoy relaxing by the beach then visit from December to April. You can expect clear skies and sunny weather during this time. However, it can get very hot during the hottest months of April and May. If you are visiting to enjoy the water activities, then you should visit in November and March. During these months, you can experience bigger waves, perfect for surfing and kitesurfing.
How Many Days should you Stay in Mui Ne
You can decide on how many days to spend in Mui Ne depending on what you want to see and do. You will need a day to visit the main tourist attractions such as the dunes, fairy stream, and fishing market. If you want to have more time in between to relax and enjoy the beach and water activities, then we recommend spending at least 2 to 3 days in Mui Ne.
How to get to Mui Ne
The best way to reach Mui Ne is to take a bus. There are many bus companies offering direct routes to Mui Ne, especially if you are coming from Ho Chi Minh City or Dalat.
From Ho Chi Minh City, the drive takes about 5 hours depending on the traffic and a ticket costs around 140,000 VND (6.15USD). We took Futa bus company from Ho Chi Minh and we’ve booked our tickets online through their website. If you're coming from Dalat or other parts of Vietnam, you can arrange your bus tickets with your accommodation or you can easily find other transportation alternatives at cheaper prices at 12go.asia.
Depending on the bus company, you can ask the driver to drop you off at your hotel as long as it is on the way to the bus-station. So, find out where the bus is heading and communicate with your driver before getting on the bus.
Where to Stay in Mui Ne
Most of the accommodations in Mui Ne are located in Ham Tien along Nguyen Dinh Chieu road. This is a great area to stay in as there are plenty of restaurants and shops nearby. It is also along the coast so most of the places to stay are within walking distance to the beach.
During our visit, we have stayed at Minhon Hotel located just towards the end of Ham Tien, closer to the fishing village. The hotel is around a few meters from the main street, which makes it quiet. It has a cozy atmosphere with rooms surrounding the pool and restaurant area. The staff is also very accommodating and the restaurant has a variety of food options that are delicious and reasonably priced. During our 3 night stay, we mostly ate at the restaurant and relaxed by the pool.
Book your Mui Ne accommodation here.
How to Get Around in Mui Ne
If you are staying around the main beach town, you can easily discover the rows of restaurants and shops on foot. Another great alternative for discovering nearby places is to rent a bicycle. You can easily find rentals everywhere in Mui Ne and most accommodations offer them for free.
However, the best way to discover the neighboring areas is to rent a motorbike. This will give you the flexibility and convenience to go anywhere you want. A normal rate for a day costs around 140,000 VND (6.15 USD). Again, be careful on the road and avoid driving if you have no license as you might have to pay big fines.
We hope this list has helped you plan your trip to Mui Ne. Let us know in the comments which of the best 8 things to do in Mui Ne are you looking forward to trying the most.
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