After the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh city, Cazzy and I were very excited to hit the coast and start our epic 3-week journey through Vietnam.
Situated roughly 180 km east of Ho Chi Minh was out first stop, Mũi Né. It really is a backpackers dream … and everyone else’s dream for that matter!
It was once just a small quiet fishing village. In fact, it still is, but it has also become a popular holiday destination.
It is filled not just with backpackers travelling through the country, but also with Vietnamese who want to get away from the city and enjoy the fresh air and gorgeous views.
If you’re lucky enough to be travelling through this part of the country, then here is your backpacker’s guide to Mũi Né and what you should do there.
Where to stay in Mũi Né
The great thing about Mũi Né is that you can pick up some really great accommodation at incredibly cheap prices.
Even though its a popular holiday destination, the hotels are still very cheap so it’s a chance to live in luxury for a few nights.
We stayed at Mũi Né Hills Budget Hotel for 2 nights and paid a grand total of just $24 for two people!
The resort has views right out over the ocean, 2 swimming pools, a gym and really cheap food and drink deals.
They even upgraded our room simply because there weren’t many people staying there.
Having visited in early September, nowhere in Vietnam was at its busiest. However, prices never seem to rise too high at any time of year.
As with most of Southeast Asia, I would recommend using booking.com to find somewhere to stay, as many places offer free or flexible cancellation in case something changes in your itinerary.
You should take advantage of this flexibility by booking as far ahead as possible to ensure you get a great place at a cheap rate.
What to do in Mũi Né
We spent just 2 nights in Mũi Né and found plenty to do to fill the time. Here’s what I recommend you get up to.
1. Visit the white sand dunes
There are two sets of sand dunes in Mũi Né that you should check out. The first being the white sand dunes.
Known locally as either White Lake or Bau Trang, check out the picture below, they really are breathtaking! You feel like you have just entered the Sahara desert as the dunes are rolling all around you.
When you get there you can have a go at sandboarding. If you try this and are successful please let us know below. I tried twice and just ended up tumbling down the hill filling my pants with sand!
You can also rent out quad bikes and drive them across the dunes. We didn’t do this but it certainly did look like good fun.
Just remember to take enough time to stop and get some pictures out over the dunes and the lake beside it.
2. Visit the red sand dunes
The red dunes of Mũi Né are located not far from the fishing village and are best seen at sunset.
This was the last stop of our day and we got there about 45 minutes before sunset so we could relax and cool off with a drink.
You can park up outside one of the bars opposite the dunes if you decide to rent a moped to get to them. It’s then only a five minute walk up the dunes to get a good spot to watch the sunset.
This spot is known for the beautiful sunset photographs you can get, though for us it was a bit cloudy that day so our shots weren’t the best.
3. Check out the Fairy Stream
Yes, a fairy stream is a pretty random thing to expect to see in Mũi Né, but it has become a massive tourist attraction. Whilst we were there, at least 2 or 3 coaches turned up full of people.
You can walk all the way along the stream with your feet in the water. It’s a great time to relax, chat and take in the Mars-like surroundings.
To keep up with how random this place is, there is a half-bar-half-zoo situated along the walk. They have a few interesting animals, and they’ll let you feed the fish if you want, they go pretty crazy.
Either way, I recommend stopping on your way back down the stream and having a drink as it does get pretty hot! For that reason, remember to take a hat and plenty of sunscreen.
4. Take a drive
Perhaps my favourite thing across all of Vietnam was driving to and from each activity on a moped. Mũi Né is no different in the amazing feeling this gives you.
They have surprisingly good quality roads and you can drive for miles along the coast or up the hills towards the sand dunes.
The only place I would avoid driving by is the fishing village. Though this is the traditional part of Mũi Né and why the resort exists in the first place, it does tend to get a little stinky.
5. Try some watersports
Mũi Né is a popular tourist destination for a number of reasons, one being the wide variety of watersports on offer.
We didn’t give any a go, but you can do everything from kitesurfing to jet skiing, and even surfing if the tides are right.
Or, if this is all a bit much for you, you can just try this next great thing to do in Mũi Né …
Mũi Né offers the perfect chance to just relax for a couple days and take a load off.
There’s no need to go paddle boarding or to spend time driving quad bikes over sand dunes.
The beach is beautiful in the daytime and you can relax on a sun lounger with a book in one hand and a cocktail in the other. Or simply stay up at your hotel and do the same by the pool.
Getting around Mũi Né
As you may have already guessed, we simply hired a moped for two days and used this to get around Mũi Né.
I would highly recommend this as hiring a moped is just as cheap as everywhere else in Vietnam and gives you the greatest level of freedom. Your hotel will usually be able to rent you one or recommend a good place to try.
As with renting a moped anywhere in Vietnam, first give it a test drive to make sure it handles okay and the speedometer actually works. Also, make sure the exhaust pipe has a guard on it as our friend had a nasty burn after slipping when getting off her moped in Bali.
For more advice, check out this post on renting a scooter in Southeast Asia.
Other than that, it seems like most other backpackers or tourists paid for package tours that take you to all the places mentioned above.
These packages are incredibly cheap. Below is a standard Mũi Né tour as offered by all hotels. 100,000 is a little over £3 (about $3.50!).
How to get to and from Mũi Né
Finally, no backpacking guide to Mũi Né would be any good if you didn’t know how to get there!
Well, when we were in Ho Chi Minh, we picked up a hop-on, hop-off bus pass that allowed us to travel the whole way up the country.
It cost less than $40 for 8 stops, is very comfortable and never let us down. So if you’re backpacking all the way through Vietnam then I would recommend this as your way to get about.
You can pick these up at a number of shops all throughout the city. Just ask your hotel or hostel owner for some directions.
Other than the bus, you can get a train that takes you from Ho Chi Minh to Phan Thiet, whereby it’s then only a short taxi ride to Mũi Né.
What to eat in Mũi Né
Mũi Né truly is a backpackers dream, as even the restaurants along the main strip are incredibly cheap.
For 5 or 6 dollars each, you can get a proper seafood meal, or anything else for that matter, along with a glass of wine or beer.
Just head along the strip and see what takes your fancy, there’s plenty to choose from.
We took a walk along the beach one night and checked out a couple of restaurants there, however they are much more expensive.
Though, in the grand scheme of things, they are still very cheap compared to what you might pay elsewhere in the world for top quality food sitting on a beach.
If you think that my backpacker’s guide to Vietnam is missing anything, then I’d love to hear from you below. Just leave a comment and I’ll be sure to check it out!
Other than that, have a wonderful time in the beautiful seaside village of Mũi Né.