Welcome to Mui Ne
Kitesurfing is a huge draw – there are several excellent schools and world-class wind conditions between late October and April. One major problem the area faces is the steady creep of coastal erosion, particularly around Km 12.
It’s almost impossible to get lost in Mui Ne, as everything is spread out along a 10km stretch of highway.
Table of Contents
Feature: The Mui Ne Strip
Heading east from Phan Thiet, development is sporadic until the Km 8 mark and the rather splendid-looking University of Phan Thiet. After this, there are several resort hotels, restaurants and a golf course, as the main strip takes shape.
From Km 10 to Km 12, Mui Ne has quite a Russian feel, with souvenir shops and spas galore emblazoned with Cyrillic script. Km 12 to Km 14 is where many of the popular midrange resorts and restaurants are found. From here there is a break in the resorts, with a strip of seafood stalls and some late-night beach clubs before another cluster of backpacker accommodation and restaurant-bars around the Km 16 strip. This is where the village of Ham Tien (the original settlement) starts before giving way to more backpacker accommodation around Km 18.
Look out for superb views over the Mui Ne fishing fleet around Km 20 and you’ve arrived at the end of the strip.
Mui Ne is the adrenaline capital of southern Vietnam. There’s no scuba-diving or snorkelling to speak of, but when Nha Trang and Hoi An get the rains, Mui Ne gets the waves: surf’s up from August to December.
If playing in the waves sounds like too much hard work, you can simply lounge around on the beach or indulge in a spa treatment or yoga session. There’s an excess of spa/massage places – at least 25 or so – along the Mui Ne strip. Most are low quality, offering body massages from as little as US$8 per hour.
For kitesurfers and windsurfers, the strongest gales blow from late October to late April, when swells can stir things up big time.
Consider investing in a short kitesurfing lesson before opting for a multiday course, as it’s a tricky skill to master. Bear in mind it is an extreme sport and most places will not offer a refund for anyone who drops out.
Mui Ne also has an excellent sailing school.
Most accommodation is either right on the coastal road or just off it, with a few good-value places in the hills behind town. Wherever you are, you won’t be far from the beach. Most accommodation lines the beach, while restaurants and shops are on the inland side.
Really rock-bottom rates are tricky to find, but Mui Ne does have a couple of hostels with dorm beds.
The incredible selection of restaurants is mostly geared to the cosmopolitan tastes of its visitors, with Russian, Italian, Thai and Indian cuisine. Sometimes it’s trickier to find good authentic local food, though seafood is always fresh and flavoursome.
Wherever you dine, expect to pay more than you’d expect elsewhere in Southern Vietnam – Mui Ne is an expensive place to eat out.
Periodically, the famous but illegally built seafront shacks (located around Km 15 on the strip), collectively known as the Bo Ke restaurants, are closed down by police. They always seem to reemerge in time for high season.
The goat restaurants in Ham Tien, around Km 18, are another local experience, featuring barbecued goat or goat hotpot, herbs and all.
The nearby town of Phan Thiet also has lots of great seafood places.
There’s a cluster of bars and beachside clubs around Km 15 on the strip.
Feature: Drunk & Disorderly
Perhaps due in some part to the insane drink promotions on offer in Mui Ne nightspots, the odd fight breaks out. Incidents are rare but it’s wise to keep your distance from trouble, especially if it involves local Vietnamese, as you don’t know who they are, how many friends they have or what they might be carrying in their pockets.
There’s an excess of minimarts along the strip selling travel essentials.
Car & Motorbike
The local police fine tourists riding motorbikes in Mui Ne without the correct documentation. However, dozens of visitors still rent scooters, which cost from 100,000d per day.
Traffic moves very fast along the main strip. Take care.
Taxi and Xe Om
Xe om drivers charge 25,000d or so for a short hop.
Mai Linh operates reliable metered taxis.
2.2 Flights & getting there
Flights to Mui Ne
Open-tour buses are the most convenient option for Mui Ne, as most public buses only serve Phan Thiet. Several companies have daily services to/from HCMC (110,000d to 135,000d, six hours), Nha Trang (from 112,000d, 5½ hours) and Dalat (125,000d, four hours). Sleeper open-tour night buses usually cost more.
Local buses (9000d, 45 minutes, frequent) make trips between Phan Thiet Bus Station and Mui Ne, departing from the Coopmart, on the corner of Ð Nguyen Tat Thanh and Ð Tran Hung Dao.
The nearest train station on the main north–south line is Muong Man, 29km west of Mui Ne. It’s not served by public transport; a taxi costs 470,000d to/from Mui Ne.
It costs around US$100/130 to rent a car/minivan for the run to HCMC (five to six hours).
If you’ve a little more time, consider hiring a car to take you along the scenic coastal road to Vung Tau, perhaps stopping at the Ke Ga lighthouse en route. A one-way trip (five to six hours for a leisurely drive) costs US$100. Regular buses connect Vung Tau with HCMC. This is a far more relaxing way to travel to central HCMC as it avoids the chaos of Hwy 1.
Easy Riders operates from Mui Ne, although there are not as many riders as in Dalat or Nha Trang. One of the best trips to experience by motorbike is actually the triangle between these three destinations, as the mountain roads from Mui Ne to Dalat and on to Nha Trang are some of the most dramatic in the south.
A xe om ride from Phan Thiet to Mui Ne will cost around 80,000d