Mixed Feelings in Mui Ne, Southern Coast of Vietnam

We had been really excited about seeing the ocean again and certainly we were excited about extending our travels along the southern coast of Vietnam.

Tiah had found us a really sweet motel-style place just outside Mui Ne. The staff was incredibly helpful and sweet and we enjoyed where we were despite it being about a kilometer walk into the village. Mind you the village is a fishing village and doesn’t really cater to tourism, so being on the outskirts didn’t bother us at all. What bothered me was the beach.

Now don’t get me wrong. The sands and the ocean were beautiful but it bothered me that there was a lot of debris. I use the word debris because it wasn’t the same as the garbage we’d seen in Thailand, where careless, thoughtless tourists had left their stuff. On the beach at Mui Ne the garbage was things that had been washed up by the sea. It was as if the sea had spewed up everything it didn’t like and it was left strewn on the sands. I think this is the first time in a very long time that I’ve been on a beach that has not been cared for by the people/hotel that have their property right on it. In this sense there was no one picking up anything.

Added to this, Mui Ne is a fishing village, so when the boats come in and off load their catch, they dump it on the sand and leave anything they don’t want. There was a lot of undesirable things dragged up and left, including dead rodents!

My overall thought was that it made the area and the beach seem dirty and uncared for but when I told Tiah this she disagreed and said I should think of it as a natural beach. I liked that.

In the end we spent three days in Mui Ne. It was very hot so whether I liked the thought of the beach being natural or not I still spent a lot of time in the water – I quickly learnt to avoid the spots where the fishermen off loaded and where the beach cows strolled!

We had one day where we walked into the village, which was cool to see. I have never seen so much fresh seafood/shellfish. At every restaurant there were tubs full of the catch of the day – that part was heavenly. Mui Ne is famous for its fish sauce and there is a pungent smell of it, that lingers in the air as you walk along the road not so heavenly.

We had another day of sight-seeing, which involved a trip to both the Red and the White Sand Dunes and the Fairy Stream, which was a cool and unexpected place.

It was a super fun day out. The owner of our hotel arranged for us to have a guide who drove us in an open air Land Rover to each of the sights. Our first stop was The White Sand Dunes and we held on for dear life as we drove down the coast to this impressive landmark.

Once at the dunes we rented an ATV and drove over the sand. Very, very cool. As the sand was whipping around us in the wind I figured – this is what it probably feels like in the desert.

Next stop was The Red Sand Dunes, which were equally impressive in their own right. The dunes are smaller and you walk on them or you can rent a plastic sheet/sled and slide down. The minute we got out of the car we were accosted to rent a slide but we declined and enjoyed watching our feet sink into the dark red sand. It felt very biblical to me, somehow!

The Fairy Stream was the most unexpected place we went to, in the sense that we’d had no idea what to expect. Essentially it’s just a stream in a kind of valley with red sand/clay banks on either side. You take off your shoes and walk through the gentle, shallow stream. It is wonderful and serene and yes, magical in a way. At the beginning of the path there are ‘street’ vendors and towards the end there is a cafe and petting zoo. It was a lovely experience to walk through the water.

Our trip ended with a stop to watch the sunset over the bay. Very beautiful, very impressive and very popular with the tourists.

We also had one day of complete and utter laziness, which was most welcome after our hectic time in Ho Chi Minh. One of the things I enjoyed the most was collecting shells with Tiah. In some spots the sand was tattooed with shells.

We spent hours walking the beach and found some of the most interesting and fun shells that I have ever seen. We then spent equally as long scrubbing and cleaning them and putting them out to dry.

There was a lot I liked about Mui Ne but did I love it? I don’t think so. I think I’ll give it an “I-liked-it-a-lot”.

in a place of beauty
feelings are mixed –
the difference between love and like

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