Saturday, August 1, 2009

Heading to Mui Ne

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I pre-booked the bus ticket to Mui Ne from Sinh Cafe at Pho Duc Chinh office the day before when I was at Ben Thanh Market (5 minutes walk). The bus fare for return ticket for 2 persons is USD21 or 360,000 VND. The bus will depart at 7.30pm; therefore we reached at Sinh Café main office at De Tham Street around 7.15am. Mui Ne Beach is around 220km from HCMC and the bus ride took around 5 miserable hours for such a distance. But I can tell you, the bus driver drove very slowly though the road was free of traffic.

De Tham Street is famous backpacker area and there are many bars, restaurants, travel agents and cheap guesthouses or hotels.

De Tham during the night and this is one of the most happening club here.

Opposite Sinh Café, there a stall selling Banh Mi, a long bread loaf stuffed with ingredients like ham, cheese, cucumber, carrot, scrambled eggs and etc. This food is common everywhere in Vietnam as a favorite of factory workers and students, and eaten for any meal of the day, commonly breakfast and lunch. The price is varies depending what ingredients you put.

After 2 hours bus ride, we stopped at the rest stop in Thong Nhat District, Dong Nai Province. It consists of convenient stores, restaurant, resting area, insurance service and even post office.

What caught my attention here was the washroom. We need to take out our shoes and change to their dedicated sandals before entering the washroom. I noticed the cleaner mop the toilet very frequently. I guess this must be the cleanest washroom I ever encountered and you can even sleep on the floor or forget about the 3 second rule if your foods drop on the floor, haha.

Books sold at the walkway of the rest stop, emm…Vietnamese version of Bruce Lee

Upon arriving at Mui Ne Beach, the bus stopped us right in front of Hanh Café (another famous travel agent) and we just check-in to Sand Dune Hotel where the reception is on the 1st floor. The price is USD12 per night for double bed with balcony but no breakfast. There’s no kettle or complimentary water provided. Make sure you get load of water.

Not a bad hotel, but my wife and I are the only occupant that day.

Incidental price? The price is similar what other shops are selling along Mui Ne Beach.

After unpacked our luggage and shower, we engaged the travel agent at Hanh Café for the city tour at 2pm which consists of a cable car ride to Ta Cu Mountain (cable car fare not included), dragon fruit gardens, local market and Cham Tower for USD20/person and tomorrow sunrise Sand Dunes tour (White Sand Dunes, Red Sand Dunes, fishing village and Fairy Stream Walk) for USD15/person.

My wife and I got into the back of the jeep, and it was drizzling that day. The travel agent told us, it won’t be raining when we reached our tour destination and I followed his advised. Unfortunately, the rain getting heavier when we were about to reach the cable car station and worst still, it was closed due to the bad weather. We had no choice but to instruct the driver to send us back straight to the hotel. The driver asked if we want to stop at one of the dragon fruit garden and purchase some dragon fruits on the way back and we said no. Both of us including the driver got wet badly due to the leaking canvas roof of the jeep. The water keeps dripping from every corner. My wife had been nagging and jokingly about this unfortunate event. We use the tissue paper to wipe the water on the canvas but in vain, within seconds the tissue got soaked. I remembered that my wife bought along a magic absorption solution, a sanitary pad. My wife took it out and used it to absorb all the dripping water and finally we had a ‘dry’ journey back. Upon reached the hotel, I spoke to the travel agent and requested for a refund, but he mentioned he needed to pay for the driver transport so he gave me back only USD20 after some bartering debate without any hard feelings. Without any hesitations, I quickly took the money.

After showered, we hit to the road and walked around hunting for a good seafood restaurant. On the weekdays, the street along Mui Ne beach is literally quiet and free of traffic.

We found Lam Ton restaurant that offered a cheap and satisfying meal. This is a traditional family run Vietnamese restaurant with an extensive menu of noodles, soups, hotpots, seafood and meat/fish dishes.

We got a nice table next to the sandy beach under a shelter hut

Insect repellent, colorful liquid into the plastic bag

We ordered butter shrimp, sorry for the shaky shots. I’m too hungry at that time to concentrate on the photo shooting. Guess I’m not eligible to be food photography.

Fried noodle with seafoods

Hotpot seafood soup

And chicken claypot, the chicken is a bit too salty

The total bill came to 180,000 VND (~USD10)

After dinner, we walked along the street heading to the North and back to South to our hotel. There were many bars, stores, massage parlours and even travel agents which opened till late night.

This is the windmill spinning and I took it with a slow shutter speed on my camera.

If you are into drinking mood, you can head to the Jibes, next to Lam Ton restaurant. Jibes is a café cum bar cum kite surfing school and also nightclub.

Inside the compound of Jibes during the day

Both of us wanted to go for a drink at Jibes, but unfortunately we have to wake up around 4am in the next morning for the 4.30am sunrise sand dunes tour.


  1. very nice, keep up the good work pal

  2. Hi there,

    I can't find any info about the Sand Dune Hotel on the internet...Do you have their contact?Care to share it with me?=)

  3. Based on the accidental price list image, it's stated 0084623741168.

  4. Hi Andy, I just stumbled onto your blog. Thanks for the great pictures and details on hotels, restaurants, and menus.