I've noticed that during my travels I felt more contented if I reached the countryside. This is where you see a country's authenticity especially with your interaction with the locals, with their food, culture and tradition. It is way better rendered in the province compared when in the city.
Before that let me tell you about something about me. When I was young me and brother would watched our VHS Tapes in the living room. He always allows me to watched my favorite Disney movies. I always picked the Little Mermaid and the Aladdin, I think he likes the Arabian nights compared to the underwater scenes too. Since then I've been curious of seeing the Sand Dunes plus with the great influence of the Disney Movie "Aladdin". I've always imagined the Arabian Nights a mysterious and dangerous place. However, I've still fancied to see these expansive piece of land despite the horrors I've seen in movies.
When I knew that Vietnam has this kind of place I've set out a plan and made sure to have it written in my itinerary. Mui Ne is a place located in the southwest region of Vietnam, 5 to 6 hours drive away from the main city of Ho Chi Minh, depends on the traffic. A road less traveled due to its distance which is energy and time consuming.
Ho Chi Minh Bus to Mui Ne
Bus fare: 140,000 VND
Travel time: 5-6 hours
We took the bus from HCMC by booking a day early in our hotel. On the way you can ask the bus driver to drop you off in front of your hostel. In the southern region of Vietnam the people still prefer to call Ho Chi Minh City or HCMC by its old name "Saigon". I will be using Saigon too this time around for my following post about Mui Ne.
We passed by several coffee shops outside the city. I've noticed one shop has a hammock inside the cafe and nearby the table just beside it, I thought that looked pretty cool. Then all of a sudden all the coffee shops we've passed by has it. People outside Saigon really knows how to have a good time. The bus service was comfortable, some seats lever were not working so if you managed to find a good one take it. It's a long ride ahead so being comfortable is your main priority. My mum and I transferred to the top bunker with a lever that pulls the chair to a seating position. We had one stop over for bladder break and for a short snack time.
After more than 5 hours drive we've reached our destination. For Hanh bus liner they stop at their headquarters approximately 200 metres away from Mui Ne Backpacker Village. An easy brisk walk to see nearby restaurants and shops before checking in the hostel. Some said you can actually take a train from HCMC to Phan Thiet. Then in the afternoon, you can take a local bus directly from the train station. If you arrive late you will need to take a taxi to Mui Ne. Anyways, I actually expected the bus to stop in our hostel but to our surprise it didn't. Good thing the bus has a wifi service so before heading down I google map our hostel indicating how far we were from the bus stop. It showed just a walking distance from our stop point and I double confirmed with the bus operators. When you often travel especially backpacking you will develop this travel instinct, a deep attraction to distance and place Or lets say here I go again with my imagination in my own world. Nah! Its really google map that showed me the right direction. Anyways, Always trust your instinct! the map showed me we had to go the opposite direction which contradicts with what the operator instructed us. I asked him again, showed the map and that's when he was convinced that he gave the wrong way, or simply agreed to get rid of one annoying big-eyed Asian. There are two Mui Ne Backpacker Accommodation: one is the resort and the other is the village. We passed by the resort first and just a few metres away across the street is the Mui Ne Backpacker Village.
Hotel Address: 137 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Ham Tien, Mui Ne, Binh Thian Province, N/A, Vietnam Hotel Phone: +84 62 3741047
3 days 2 nights
USD 54 / 1,178 VND (pay the amount when you arrive in the hostel, they do online booking just for reservation purposes. )
Walking distance from the hostel is the Tien Dat Mui Restaurant where we had our first Dinner in Mui Ne.
Mixed Hot Pot: 249,000 VND
Pineapple rice: 89,000 VND
Orange Raspberry Smoothie: 75,000 and Cucumber Juice: 30,000
The hot pot was too much for me and my mum, but to my surprise we've almost finished the whole thing. I love this restaurant for the staff showed genuine service. I've noticed the service attendant assigned to our table was hearing impaired , a hearing aid was attached to his ear. I'm not sure with the other staff but if they do support this kind of people. I salute to the managements good heart. No wonder the food taste great.