South Vietnam Beaches: Sand Sledding & Midnight Swims

sand dune sledding

Rhys or Superman?

As far as beaches in the South go, Mui Ne is Ho Chi Minh-ers best choice of beach to crash at for the weekend. Around a 5 hour bus ride away, it provides visitors with a long beautiful stretch of white sand, warm, CLEAN water, kite surfing, and peace away from the craziness of Saigon life.

We went into Sinh Tours (the office is in Pham Ngu Lao, Backpacker’s District) to book an overnight bus to the sleepy coastal city. Neither of us like tour packages at all, so when the Sinh employee handed me a pamphlet about their various Mui Ne options,  I immediately handed it back, and she insisted we have a look at it. We were both blown away at the prices, they were cheaper than what we could do on our own living off rice with no beer! It was $30 a day and included both of our 5 hour bus rides, accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a 40 minute bus out to Mui Ne’s famous white sand dunes. The icing on the cake was that we had full use of their resort! We stayed in the guesthouse across the street, but were allowed to use the resort’s pool, lounge chairs, and all of our meals were at the resort. HUGE 3 course meals, breakfast was an all-you-can-eat buffet! We were both blown away with the ‘special‘ treatment we received once we were there.

We did absolutely nothing in Mui Ne, besides relax, indulge in everything around us (food, beer, and sunshine!), and have a great time drinking the day away on the beach with friends. It couldn’t have been a better weekend getaway! There’s a small but still lively nightlife, and endless options of restaurants. Like all places in Vietnam there is a 11:00pm curfew to close up shop, but bars and clubs always seem to get around it (thanks to crooked bribed cops!) When 11 came around the bar we were at folded down tarps, to hide the dancing and drunk fest going on inside.

beach and beer_mui ne_vietnam

We even dug a hole for a beach beer cooler!

We made the mistake of having one too many drinks and jumped at the chance to do a little midnight swimming in Mui Ne’s calm water. Unloading our pockets of everything important on the beach in a pile of t-shirts and shoes, we dove into the dark waters with the moon’s reflection dancing around us. I kept a close watch on our things that we left on the beach and saw nothing to worry about. We were the only people on the beach for as far as any of us could see. I saw no reason to suspect anything! Surprise, surprise, we came back to my phone and Rhys’s wallet missing. Thankfully, we only lost about $25, my $30 phone, and Rhys’s driving license. No big deal, all things that are replaceable! We got stamped with the big “DUMB ASS” mark that so many guidebooks warn you about, don’t go for a midnight dip! The locals are always watching waiting for you to make a careless mistake! Oh, well… live & learn… next time I’ll dig a hole, hide everything in it, and than take off for the swim or stuff dog poop inside baggies and put it in my pockets for the little thieves to take!

Regardless, Mui Ne is a beautiful beach and I highly recommend it! It might not be as impressive as Nha Trang, but the 5 hour drive makes it possible in a weekend compared to Nha Trang’s 10 hour ride from Ho Chi Minh City. Plus, the sand dunes are a must see. Around a 40 minute bus ride from the city center, these huge white sand dunes make you forget you’re in Vietnam & had my mind drifting away to magic carpets, Princess Jasmine, & Arabian nights. We even did a little sand sledding– sounds a lot more fun that it is! In the end I was covered in sand from head to toe with grains flying in my mouth and than had to walk back up a sand mountain. Walking up sand hills are worse than running bleacher stairs on a 90 degree morning for soccer practice. It was not worth the walk back up or the mouthful of sand I was chewing on!

sand dune_mui ne

Mui Ne's beautiful white sand dunes

As far as a beautiful beaches & peacefulness is considered, Mui Ne fufills those categories for a weekend trip from Ho Chi Minh. For anyone interested in a beach scene that’s a little closer to Ho Chi Minh than Vung Tau it is. I wasn’t impressed to say the least [of Vung Tau], and since going to Mui Ne the slight interest I had in Vung Tau has all but disappeared. Vung Tau is a 1.5 hour ferry ride away or 3 hours on a bus from Saigon . It’s much closer, and the hot spot for Vietnamese tourists from Saigon. The beach is packed and polluted. We did enjoy a tandem bike ride around the short coastal road and I definitely wasn’t complaining about the seafood and beer served on the beach at night. However, the 6 hour bus ride is definitely worth it to catch some rays at Mui Ne’s white beaches vs. Vung Tau’s dirty ones!

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One Response to “South Vietnam Beaches: Sand Sledding & Midnight Swims”
  1. Thorsaurus says:

    Your posts have completely changed my perception of Vietnam. Thank you.

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