The town of Mui Ne is a mini beach resort that extends 10 km past the southeast coast of Vietnam. Mui Ne has grown in popularity as of late, serving as a getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. Beloved for its arched crescent of clear waters and sandy beaches, the town exhibits a tranquil and friendly vibe. You can get from Ho Chi Minh City to Mui Ne by train, car, or bike.
Before it became a resort, the quiet town of Mui Ne derived its primary income from fishing. After surfing was introduced, though, tourism began to rise. People flocked to Mui Ne because the weather conditions were consistent for six straight months. Mui Ne went on to become the go-to spot in Asia for kitesurfing. The tourism influx led to a development flurry. The structures are low rises, mostly, and don’t conflict with the charming atmosphere (a stark contrast to other towns in the country).
A second popularity wave arrived in Mui Ne courtesy of Russia. While the amount of Russian visitors have gone down over the years, their influence on Mui Ne is apparent on signs and menus, which still feature the language.
In addition to relaxing on a beach and diving into the ocean, there are plenty of activities for tourists in Mui Ne. Visitors can engage in watersports, explore the ruins of ancient Cham civilizations, or walk through an array of sand dunes.
The seasons in Mui Ne are either dry or rainy. Mui Ne’s dry season starts and October and ends in March. On average, temperatures hover around 27°C. Mui Ne’s dry season starts in April and ends and October. The weather is mostly comprised of monsoon rain (occasionally bringing flash floods with it). In the dry season, strong winds are apparent, which results in powerful waves, which makes it the most optimal time to engage in watersports.
Mui Ne’s beach is susceptible to topography changes in every season. Its almost as if forces of nature is playing a catch-and-throw game with sand stretches. There’s plenty of room on the beach for tourists of all crowd sizes. The high temperatures and laid-back atmosphere during the dry season is what makes it the perfect area to relax in.
If taking it easy on a beach isn’t tranquil enough, a number of spas are situated on the central strip. All of them provide relaxation and beauty treatments to reduce the stress of any patron. They are wonderful places to have your muscles pampered after a long day of watersports.
For those who want to engage in more adventurous watersports, you’ll have no shortage of choices. Kite surfing is the activity that started it all. Today, there are a slew of water-centric activities to pick from. In the high season (between November and April), the transparent blue waters become awash with colorful, undulating kites that tow expeditious surfers. Water waves are dominated by kite surfers who dip and rise with wind gusts. Stand up paddle-boarding and surfing are also popular activities on the beaches of Mui Ne. Such adrenaline-pumped sports tend to be enjoyed off the beach’s shore. If you want to engage in a particular activity but don’t know how or lack the equipment, there are classes and equipment rental booths along the beach to help you.
Having fun in the outdoors isn’t restricted to Mui Ne’s waters, though – there are a number of outstanding sand dunes a short distance away from the town’s main area.
You’ll find red dunes about 20 to 30 minutes away from Mui Ne. Their sloping appearance is a startling contrast to the landscape. The red dunes were named for their fiery sand colors, which define its strange look. The red dunes are a great area to see the sun go down, as the entire area becomes vibrant with a strong orange shade. You can explore the area on foot, though you will be confronted with many children who will take you down the red dunes on plastic mats for a small fee.
About one hour away from the town are some amazing white dunes. As the name implies, these dunes are comprised of bright white sand. The area looks completely different than the rest of Mui Ne. The sand dunes look like a rolling desert based on the way they are molded into the banks (because of heavy winds). The banks have ponds filled with lotus flowers. You’ll often find people exploring the area in either four-wheel-drive vehicles or quad bikes (for the former option, someone else can do the driving while you take in the settings).
You’ll find several golf courses in this area, making Mui Ne an enticing destination for putters. The golf courses have a variety of challenging setups that overlook the gorgeous arching bay.
This town has turned into a destination for tourists, and a majority of Mui Ne is dedicated to tourism in general. Conventional fishing life has not gone away, though, as you will see when visiting villages far from the central strip. Paying a visit to fishing villages close by is an optimal approach to taking in the culture and engaging with the natives. You’ll spot big fishing boats and colorful basket watercrafts bobbing along water waves – the reflections the boats make on the water under them are quite a sight to behold. In addition to seeing how locals live their lives here, such villages are ideal places to sample seafood freshly caught.
The town has other relics of Cham culture. Cham civilization began to populate in the second century and all the way to the nineteenth. What remains of the Po Shanu Towers shed light on their ancient culture. Much like the ruins found at My Son, the devastations of war and time have wreaked havoc on the towers, though their remains convey historical significance. You will see one small building and a pair of tall towers that pay tribute to Shiva, a Hindu god. These structures have intricate architecture that expresses the Cham civilization’s creativity. You can see remarkable views of nearby areas as the area is situated on top of a hill.
A conventional Vietnamese ceremony is held by the locals of Mui Ne called the Whale Worship Festival (Nghinh Ong). It is an opportunity for the natives to wish for prosperity, health, and happiness. Travelers come to Ong Pagoda every year between the lunar month’s 16th and 18th days to take part in the festivities. This event is comprised of traditional drama performances, songs, and dances. One of its highlights is the exciting and energetic dragon dance.
Mui Ne’s Cham Bani community celebrates the Ramuwan Festival annually. As the largest Cham festival, the celebration lasts a full month in the summertime. Patrons pray to ancestors for successful crops and happiness. The festival begins with families making offerings to the gods and visiting ancestors’ graves. People come together afterward wearing cultural attire to engage in sporting events, view artwork exhibits, and more.
The Kate Festival is a different Cham festival that transpires on the Cham calendar’s seventh month. It’s a musical and colorful celebration paying tribute to notable ancestors. The Kate Festival involves costume processions and offerings to statues. Varying cultural activities create a celebratory and playful ambiance all over town. Traditional dances and songs are especially contagious and uplifting.
As a holiday destination, Mui Ne continues to modernize themselves while honoring tradition. The Music and Art Festival in Mui Ne is the latest addition to the circuit. Ho Chi Minh City’s party producers developed the concept of this festival, which transpires over a few days on a hillside that overlooks the ocean and beaches. During this annual bash, patrons can descend towards the dunes and enjoy live performances and DJ acts. Without question, this festival allures travelers from all over the world (not just residents of Ho Chi Minh City, which is not too far away). All attendees let go of their pressures and stress at this festival.
Because of its coastal region and extensive fishing history, Mui Ne is the perfect place to sample mouth-watering seafood. You’ll find swaths of places on the beach to taste barbecued and grilled seafood. Fresh shellfish and juicy stuffed fish cooked in delicious Vietnamese sauces are the most popular dishes served here. In addition to being well-prepared and extremely fresh, the seafood options here are reasonably priced.
Most local specialties here are seafood-oriented. Mai fish salad is in an unusual dish served all over Vietnam. It is comprised of small fish served raw and mixed into a salad. The dish comes with vegetables and herbs, and is marinated in a dense, tasty sauce. Its ingredients are contained in rice paper, creating a treat with a fresh (albeit punchy) flavor.
A beloved dish among the natives here is oc huong (which translates to sweet sea snail). This dish can be prepared in multiple ways. It can be grilled, steamed, or baked (in addition to the garlic that accompanies it).
There are all sorts of strange dishes for tourists to try out in Mui Ne. Some menus contain small lizards (which are found in a couple of conventional dishes here). Dong lizards (grilled lizard) are either fried or grilled and contain a lemongrass flavor. You can fry, serve, or mince dong lizards and serve them with banh phong tom (a rice cake with a shrimp flavor that is initially deep-fried before fired up).
There are plenty of Vietnamese restaurants that offer cuisine from all over the world to accommodate the tastes of every tourist.
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