Mui Ne is a nice resort area in Phan Thiet, near Ho Chi Minh City (south Vietnam).
Mui Ne is a town and cape located 180 kilometers east of Ho Chi Minh City (220 kilometers on the current highway).
In 1999, the town of Mui Ne, plus the village of Hon Rom and Suoi Nuoc Beach north of Mui Ne were combined into one award and, along with a number of other communities along the coast, were annexed by Phan Thiet.
Given the choice, nature would move the sand around, much to the dismay of some developers. Beach sand tends to migrate up and down the coast seasonally, leaving some (but not all) spots with just a concrete breakwater rather than the sandy beach.
There is always a good sandy beach somewhere along this 10 km beach. If a sandy beach is important to you, some research is called for before booking a resort in Ham Tien ward.
Phan Thiet and most particularly Rang Beach in Ham Tien ward is very popular with Russian package tour tourists which mean most of the restaurants have signs, names and menus in Russian. With the decline of the Russian Ruble, Russian tourist numbers have dropped, but since late 2016, they are again on the rise.
Many overseas visitors reach Phan Thiet via "Open Tour" buses that run between Ho Chi Minh City and Phan Thiet or Nha Trang. Most depart from HCMC between 7:30 and 9:00 AM or PM (7:30 AM for Sinh cafe in an air-conditioned bus, arriving at Ham Tien at about 1:00 PM, same for the night schedule).
In the opposite direction, buses typically depart from Ham Tien around 2:00 PM or AM and arrive in HCMC at 7:00 PM or AM~ five hours at night or in the morning. Outside HCMC, the coach will stop at a petrol station with a pretty large shop and stalls selling snacks, drinks and fruit.
The cost is about US$6 each way. Public buses from both destinations also travel to Phan Thiet city center, though finding the departure stations and figuring out the schedule might be difficult for visitors. It's not worth the trouble unless you have a strong need to depart at a different time of day than when the Open Tour bus leaves.
A train runs daily from HCMC to Phan Thiet, departing at 6:50AM and arriving at around 10:30AM. The return trip leaves Phan Thiet at 1:10PM. The cost is around USD$8 per person each way for the air-conditioned chair car.
The railway station in Phan Thiet is about five km (150,000VND taxi ride) from the beginning of the Ham Tien resort strip, and taxis are abundant to take you there. Keep in mind that a ride all the way to Mui Ne costs up to 400,000VND from the train station.
There is a mid-sized red-color local bus #9 that waits at the train station every day to take tourists into Phu Hai, Ham Tien and Mui Ne wards. The cost is currently (2017) 35,000VND per person.
The train offers a great view of the countryside and avoids the endless honking of horns and seemingly erratic driving. The dining car sells food and beverages, including hot soup, and is a comfortable 'hang out'.
It takes about 3 1/2 hours driving from Ho Chi Minh city center to Phan Thiet. Taxis and private cars are available at all times of the day or night from the airport. However, arrangements must be made in advance if you wish to take a private car from the city center. From Muine to Nhatrang, Muine to Dalat you can arrange a private car.
- Po Sha Inu tower is a derelict remainder of the ancient Cham culture that was built in the 8th century.
- Fish Sauce Plants, where the famous nuoc mam (fish sauce) is produced. Big jars harbor the concoction that, after months in the blazing sun, is sold all over Vietnam to add some spice to the food.
- The famous Red Sand Dunes (Doi Cat), are located in Mui Ne on the main coastal road at the intersection with the four lanes (706) highway. The whole region is fairly sandy, with orange sand threatening to blow onto the coastal road in some spots, about 50ha (1/2km²) of open sand on a hillside with ten-meter undulations, staffed by dusty children with plastic slides who will offer instruction and assistance if you want to slide on the sand.
- There are also White Sand Dunes located 24km north of the red dunes. They are much larger than the red dunes, extending up to 20 kilometers along the coast, and vendors offer dune buggies for rent to drive around the dunes. There are also the omnipresent children with plastic sleds to rent, as well as ostriches to ride.
- Mui Ne Market and Harbor (Lang Chai Mui Ne). Don't miss out on an excursion to Mui Ne harbor and market. Near the northwest end of town is an overlook with a splendid view of hundreds of colorful fishing boats moored in the bay. Further along into town, just off the main road, there is a small but colorful market.
- The Fairy Stream (Suoi Tien) is a little river that winds its way through bamboo forests, boulders and the dunes, in parts resembling a miniature version of the Grand Canyon. Local kids will want to accompany you to show you the way (and of course earn a dollar or so), but since you're just following the stream, there's little need. For the most part, the stream is about ankle-deep and no more than knee-deep even at its deepest. It is sandy with few stones and can be walked comfortably barefooted. You can climb up the red sand hills overlooking the river valley and even walk there parallel to the river, however, the sand may be hot on a sunny day, so bring some footwear.
- Ta Cu Mountain, (About 30 kilometers west of Phan Thiet off of Highway 1A). An aerial tram takes you most of the way to the largest reclining Buddha in Southeast Asia. Spectacular views from the top of the mountain.