July 4, 2010

VIETNAM DIARIES: Transit and Sleeping in Muine, Vietnam

Every blogger has written rather persuasively about how every tourist should see the White Sand Dunes of Mui Ne, a coastal province 200 kilometer northeast of Ho Chi Minh. And because every single blog ever written says that we should go, we packed our stuff and headed for Vietnam’s own Saharan –sandy paradise!

To get to Mui Ne, you can either take the train and get off at the town of Phan Thiet and take another 30 minute motor ride or you could get on a bus which will take you straight to Mui Ne.

We opted for the bus since our hotel offered to get the tickets for us for 6 USD per person. If your hotel doesn’t offer the same service ours did, you can get your tickets at Tam Hanh Travel office located at Pham Ngu Lao in District 1 for even a dollar less.

At a few minutes past 8 am, Tam Hanh open bus tours picked us up at our hotel and off we went, picking up other passengers from other guest houses along the way. For 6 USD you get a sure seat, albeit at the back in our case, a FREE bottled water and a blanket to keep you warm during the long drive.

The bus, as anticipated was filled with tourists of different languages and luggage’s of different sizes.

WARNING: because the bus is filled with tourists from all over the world, expect different types of smell, to be on the safe side, bring a face mask, it’s a long drive! I repeat, bring a face mask!

The 5-hour drive, crawling under an 80 kph speed wasn’t as bad as I had imagined, the road was surprisingly smooth all throughout the trip and what was even more surprising was we only stopped a total of ONE time for a toll. My Comfy-Pinoy ass was actually quite impressed. Back in the P.I. we had to stop a dozen times for toll before we got to our final destination.

There is only one pit stop, so you might wanna lay off those diuretics (e.g. COFFEE) before the trip. I had under-estimated the length of travel and my ignorant taste buds refused the lure of BANH MI (a Vietnamese sandwich traditionally made with baguette with some kind of meat filling, mayo and pate) during the stop so might I also suggest that you grab one before hitting the road again.

Regretting that bad judgment 5 hours and an empty stomach later, we finally reached the bay.

We didn’t make any hotel reservations in Mui Ne as we wanted to keep our options open in- case we find a cheaper hotel when we get there.

We resolved to walk the long stretch of resorts along Mui Ne as soon as the bus drops us off at the Tam Hanh tourist center. But because we wheeled in the center past 2 PM and the unbearable heat, our firm resolve quickly melted away and gave in to the 35 dollar hotel accommodation the tourist center offered us.

From the tourist center, we took another 5-minute drive to Thai Hoa Hotel, about 5 kilometers from the center of Mui Ne. Drenched in sweat, I immediately switched on the split type air- conditioning and preceded to its restaurant for a late lunch, and because we were in a hurry to catch the sand dunes before nightfall, I had no time to rummage through their menu and ordered the safest food my taste buds could handle, I ordered a fool-proof Chicken Sandwich!

And just when I thought I couldn’t go wrong with my food of choice, the waitress handed me a plate, two pieces of slightly toasted bread and in the middle was just plain fried little slices of chicken. No mayo, no pickles, just plain chicken with a little oil sipping through my now soggy bread!

No arguments, the food at the hotel was nothing special!

The hotel itself was OK, beach-front with palms\ of course. It has a bar and a pool which is open until 10 PM, WIFI and a lone desktop computer if you don’t have any computer with you. The room was quite spacious with a queen size bed, air-conditioned, with a mini bar, hot and cold
shower, and your own little patio. My only complaint were the sheets, the laundry seemed to have sucked-out all the cotton in it.  Oh well, its 35 dollars a night.

TIP: If you do not have hotel reservations, not to worry, the Tam Hanh Bus Services( assuming you’ll be taking the same ride) will take you to its tourist center and they will assist you with the accommodations with a slightly higher price (a dollar or two isn’t bad though). Or you could just walk around and look for cheaper hotels yourself.

written  by KIM


  1. whoa! we're like twin blogs. we're posting the same destination. hahaha
    by the way im missing that sandwich from the stopover!

  2. Ahhh that kinakamay na sandwich is so good it's haunting me!

    Really, hopping over to your blog now, can't wait to read your experience. Apir!

  3. Hi there, did you also take the bus going back to Ho Chi Minh? What time does it leave the next day? Thank you!

  4. Hi! We left the morning after. As soon as we got to the tourist center in Mui Ne, we arranged for our return transpo for the next day. The bus picked us up at our resort at 8 am. Hope this answers your questions:-D

  5. That Banh Mi photo makes my stomach churn, dammit. *drool* I bet I can live on Banh Mi, Pho and Spring Rolls for the rest of my life! Gaaahh...

    On another note, Mui Ne's sand dunes are gorgeous! Great photos. :)

  6. Hi Katerina! Ahh yes, their food! Still haunting us up to this date that we are planning a trip back just so we can gorge ourselves with those glorious food:-D

    The sand dunes are worth the trip, thanks!


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