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Phan Thiet City

Orientation

One of southern Vietnam's prime slices of beach real estate, Mui Ne is a kilometres-long sweeping bay boasting a huge range of guesthouse and resort options, with the actual village set at the far northern end of the bay.

The accommodation and services scene, heavily influenced by its proximity to Saigon which is a mere four hours away, has developed rapidly in recent years and now offers some outstanding mid-range resort options, and while the options for budget travellers have dwindled somewhat, there are still some get budget haunts worth seeking out.

The beach itself is yellow sand with a semi-fine grain. While the central stretch of the beach through to the northern end is poorer quality and dominated by the fishing industry (ie there's a fair amount of refuse, netting, dead fish and other fishing paraphernalia), the southern stretch is better suited to swimming, sun-baking and deck-chair reclining. Obviously the bits of beach right out front of individual resorts is better kept than the more deserted stretches.

Famous for its wind- and kite-surfing, in season, the winds here are as reliable as clockwork, though if you're planning on spending a prolonged period of time doing either, bring your own gear as the prices are not cheap.


Away from the beach, the key attraction of Mui Ne are its sand dunes, of which there are three sets which can easily be visited from Mui Ne, either independently by bicycle or motorbike or by motorbike taxi or jeep.

While not of Lawrence of Arabia proportions, they are nevertheless very photogenic and with a bit of trick photography, you too can be Lawrence.

Best visited in the late afternoon when the light is sublime, you can also catch the sunset from above Mui Ne village which, with its bevy of fishing boats, is particularly scenic.

If you're accustomed to beach towns you can easily walk around, Mui Ne takes some adjustment. Most of the accommodation and places to eat are spread out over a good ten kilometres of beach front. If you want to stay put, pick a spot near the services and restaurants you think you'll be patronising. The really cheap rooms are further north, nearer to town, and if you stay there, a bike or motorbike rental will be invaluable. Xe om are available, but can be hard to find later in the evening and along certain stretches of the road. The town itself isn't of much interest, and you won't be missing out if you never venture that far to the north. The road changes names somewhere in the middle -- the bit closer to Phan Thiet is called Nguyen Ding Chieu, and closer to town it's Huynh Thuc Khang.

There's a centrally-located 24-hour Vietcom ATM right next to the Saigon Mui Ne Resort. There's also an Incom bank closer to town -- it's east of the road to the white sand dunes, 60 metres to the north, and there's a sign on the main road clearly marking it. IncomBank will exchange most major currencies, and there's a 24-hour ATM on site. They don't cash travellers checks -- try one of the big resorts.

There's plenty of internet access available, rates ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 VND per hour.

- Transport -Train

Mui Ne doesn't have its own train station -- the closest is in Phan Thiet. There is a daily service from Saigon to Phan Thiet -- leaving at 07:30 and returning at 14:00. Tickets cost 60,000 dong. Onward trains to Nha Trang leaves once daily at 14:00

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