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MUI NE BEACH

mui_ne
When one talks about Vietnam’s tourist attractions, it’s deficient if we don’t mention Mui Ne as one of the most beautiful beach destinations of Vietnam. Mui Ne is a coastal resort town in Phan Thiet the capital of Binh Thuan province, about 4 hours by bus Ho Chi Minh City.
 
The name ‘Mui Ne’ interestingly has many origins. The first meaning comes from the fishing people in the past. They usually faced sea storms, so they used to hide in a cape, which was called ‘Mui’ in Vietnamese, and ‘hide’ meant ‘Ne’. The second one originated as the name of the youngest daughter of Cham King - who was known as the owner of this land. Her alias was Ne, therefore, the cape where her temple was built, was called ‘Mui Ne’.
 
Mui Ne is a tropical beach with wonderfully warm weather, which is ideal for swimming. However, since the area from the central stretch to the northern end is dominated by fishing industry, the southern part is more suitable for swimming.
 
With strong sea breezes, Mui Ne is most famous for kite and wind surfing. Days from November to March have clear skies with perfectly strong winds from 11 am until late evening. The rock-free water makes it relatively safe for the kite surfers. There are also some Kite Surfing Schools, in which kite surfing starters are helped to launch the kite by beach boys. For starters who want more self-practice, you can try the western part front around Kite Surfing School Windchimes, where there are not many surfers, so that you can avoid unwanted accidents.
 
Obviously, lots of beautiful spots in Mui Ne attract domestic as well as international tourists, such as Ca Na Beach, which takes a 2-hour drive from Mui Ne and provides probably the best coral reefs and diving opportunity in Vietnam, Fairy Springs (Suoi Tien) a stream where people can sightsee the local wildlife (birds, crabs, fish, frogs, many exotic flowers, etc.), Fish Sauce Plants, where famous Phan Thiet fish sauce (nuoc mam) is produced and sold all over Vietnam, Phan Thiet Water Tower, designed by Prince Suphanouvong of Laos also the symbol of Binh Thuan province, Takou Mountain 1-hour drive from Mui Ne Beach, which has not only beautiful tropical rainforest, but also an old pagoda on top of the mountain, PoShaNu Cham Tower a relic of Cham culture built in the 8th century, which should not be missed, etc. The most must-see one is the Sand Dunes (Doi Cat), where the dunes turn from white to gold (red dunes can be found further south in Mui Ne Village).
 
Tourists arriving in Mui Ne can also enjoy the atmosphere in Mui Ne Village Market, which sells lots of fresh fruits and inexpensive clothing. Best time to visit is early in the morning.
WEATHER
Mui Ne lies in the monsoon tropical zone, with 2 district seasons. The rainy season is from May to October and the dry season from November to April. Dry season normally means NO RAIN. Mui Ne lies in the emerging Binh Thuan Desert and is prone to drought. Onset of rainy season can bring flash flooding and extensive errosion. Rainy season brings lush green foliage, and the return of birds, butterflies and other wildlife (and takes away the tourists). Rain is usually for an hour, once or twice a day (typically afternoon and evening), during the rainy season. The yearly average rainfall varies between 50 and 100 cm. The average relative humidity is 79%. Binh Thuan Province (where Mui Ne resides) is the driest region in South East Asia.
 
The average temperature is 27°C. Visitors will be comfortable in short pants and short-sleeve shirts during the day. Bathing suits are not appropriate away from the beach and topless bathing is not allowed. Light jackets and pants may be desired during the evenings in late December and Early January (the coldest time of the year). Because Mui Ne receives very little rain, it is also sunnier, and thus feels hotter than Nha Trang or Ho Chi Minh City.
 
There is little variation in sunrise, sunset and daylight hours. Sunrise is around 5:30 am and sunset around 7 pm. The average total sunny hours are 2,459/year.
 
Mui Ne offers the best conditions in all of Vietnam for wind/water sports. Mui Ne has an average of 227 days per year of wind over 12 knots. November through March (Dry Season) is windiest. Dry Season ranges between 18-30, with gusts up to 40 knots.
HOW TO GET THERE ?
From Ho Chi Minh City, it is a 5 hour bus to Mui Ne. Book Phuong Trang or Mai Linh or any open bus tour on Pham Ngu Lao Street and the price is more or less the same ($4.5). You can request for a stop at your hotel to avoid extra-transfer.
 
From Mui Ne, there are buses to Da Lat (4 hours), Nha Trang (4 hours) and destinations in between these sites. Bus tickets are for sale at your hotel or travel agency along the coast.
WHAT TO SEE ?
Vietnam’s landscape is a source of endless fascination, with a huge variety of climate and scenery ranging from long beaches and endless rice paddy to the cool mountains of the Central Highlands.
 
In the Mui Ne-Phan Thiet area alone, you can see stunning beaches, tropical forest, Sahara-like sand dunes, a beautiful harbor and ancient buildings such as the Hindu Cham towers and the Van Thuy Tu Temple. All of these create unique opportunities for visitors to explore in and around the area.
 
Phan Thiet Harbour 
Phan Thiet Harbour is at the mouth of the Ca Ty River (formerly known as the Phan River). The harbour, with its hundreds of colourful fishing boats, is a delight for photographers. Also, check out the bridges and parks around the harbor, which are delightful, especially at night. Exploring the town’s many good shops and restaurants will occupy at least half a day.
 
Takou Mountain 
Takou Mountain is a must for any visitor. About one hour’s drive from Mui Ne, it has its own special magic. Hike up the mountain or take the gondola through beautiful tropical rain forest full of birds and wildlife to the Mountain Pagoda at the peak. Here you can see tomb towers, a cave and what is said to be the largest reclining Buddha in Vietnam, measuring 49 meters in length.
 
The Phan Thiet Water Tower
The Phan Thiet Water Tower was built between 1928 and 1934 and was designed by Prince Suphanouvong of Laos who, at that time, was chief engineer for the Vietnamese government. The elegant tower is the most important landmark in Binh Thuan Province.
 
The Prince's Castle
The Prince’s Castle is on a hill overlooking Phan Thiet. The “castle” is in fact the ruin of a large French estate house built in 1911. On the hills in the same area are Cham towers (built in the late 8th century AD), a pagoda and the tomb of a famous poet. From the hills there are fine views of the town and the surrounding countryside.
 
The Sand Dunes of Mui Ne
Many visitors enjoy a trip to these surprisingly Saharan-like sand dunes located not far from Mui Ne’s important beaches. There are the two fascinating spots to check out; the white and the red sand dunes. The White Dunes are by far the larger dunes and are known by locals as Bau Trang or White Lake. There are quite a few small stands selling food and drinks to visitors within the area along with pine trees offering much-needed shade.
 
The Red Dunes, as the name suggests, features reddish-brown sand that makes them a more popular place for photography. Smaller than White Dunes, they are easier to reach. Sand-sledding is a common (and fun) activity here, but it is hard to nail down where the best location to do so is as the sands shift from season to season so it’s best to look around. Dry sand is much more enjoyable to sled on.
 
Visitors can rent plastic sleds and it is a wise idea to check the price and agree on it beforehand. Some travelers have had unpleasant experiences with the youngsters renting them out so be alert and keep cool. Another interesting activity is kite flying as well as catching the beautiful sunset here. These dunes are a popular picnic place for locals too.
 
Van Thuy Tu Temple and Whale Museum
Van Thuy Tu Temple, built in 1762, has a special claim to uniqueness: it is the final resting place of more than 100 whales, whose skeletons are on display, the largest being 22 meters long. Whales were believed by local fishermen to be helpful and benevolent animals, and whenever one became stranded on the beach, its body was taken to the temple, which is on Ngu Ong St (Fisherman St).
 

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