20.03.2009 - 23.03.2009 32 °C
We arrived in Mui Ne around 2pm. This is a different city than any other cities in Vietnam, there isn't so much a city center but rather, the city is spread along one long road that follows the coast, hotels on the oceanside, restaurants on the other. We got dropped of at one end of the 4 mile strip and just decided to start walking looking for a hotel. They weren't as condensed as we had been hoping and after 20 minutes of walking, we hoped on some motorbikes who "knew a cheap place". This first hotel they took us to kind of sucked, really crappy room, no pool or beach so we had them take us to another. This one, the Hai Yen, was nicer, the room was cheaper than what we had been expecting, it had a little pool and a deck area that over looks the ocean. There is still no beach, but after looking up and down the coast, we determined that none of the hotels had great beach frontage. We quickly cleaned up from our long bus ride and hit the pool, the weather was amazing, blue sky, no clouds, palm trees everywhere and the sound of waves crashing along the sea wall. I have never seen water so clear and aqua it really looks like those pictures of paradise you see in travel agencies!
After a refreshing dip, we went out searching for a good meal, we were starving after only eating munchies on the bus. We went to Cafe Saigon which had amazing grilled mackerel, chicken curry and spring rolls. After dinner we found a bar on the ocean that had a buy one get one happy hour, we sat on hammocks and sipped drinks for a bit (until happy hour ended) then moved to our hotel where we went for a late night dip and then hit the hay, feeling happy and refreshed!
Our first full day in Mui Ne we decided to rent a motorbike, we got going around 10am, just outside of the resort area is a small fishing village, as we entered the village, we saw some commotion and stopped to investigate. We learned from a local that some sort of special fish had been found dead at sea. Each time this kind of fish is found dead, they bring it to shore, all the village people try to touch it for good luck, a priest blesses it and then it is given a proper burial. The whole ceremony was really interesting to watch, they had flags, drums, cymbals and incense. They put a special cloth over the dolphin-like-fish and carried it up the hill to the temple. It was a really great cultural experience that we just happend to stumble across!
Next we spent a couple hours just cruising the amazing coastline, every corner was a kodak moment! In this part of Vietnam, they have both red sand and white sand. We went to visit the Red Sand Dunes, they were pretty cool but we decided that the ones in West Michigan are probably cooler. We sat and had some ice cream, in hammocks of course, and after feeling refreshed we headed to the white dunes. These were less cool as you couldn't actually walk on them just look at them from the road, but the ride was beautiful and it was worth the trip. We headed back to the hotel for a bit to reapply some sun screen and then decided to check out the rest of the resort area. There are some amazing hotels here, all still relatively cheap, $80-$100 per night (way out of our budget for this trip!). We stopped along side the road when we saw a good spot and took a dip in the super warm water.
Then we had to head back to meet up with the guy we rented the motorbike from, we decided to rent it for the next day too, so he just let us keep it over night, which was great for us, we took it out to find a good seafood restaurant. We found one and Nate ordered 2 Tiger Prawns, which weighed 14 ounces, I couldn't eat them but he said that they were amazing! We also got some red snapper and chicken curry. Now, we are sitting at the internet bar trying to finish up all our past due blogs! We plan to spent one more day here in Mui Ne, tomorrow we will be laying out on a private beach for 2 =) then its off the Saigon!
So we woke up pretty today to get a good start on our laying out. We found a little restaurant that had excellent Pho (soup noodles with a special broth that makes or breaks the quality, this broth got an "A"). Then we headed off to find some quiet beach to veg-out on for the day. We found a decent place about 5 miles out of town, we were a little disapointed that it was difficult to find an area that was without litter, but we found a place that was acceptable and set up camp. We hung out and went swimming for a couple hours then decided to go a little further down the beach to see if we could find anything nicer.
We hopped on the motorbike, noticing that there were a couple of guys watching us do this, we didn't think much of it, people are always checking out what the "crazy foreigners" are doing. A minute or so later, the motorbike started to act a little funny and finally it died. We weren't sure what the problem was, we had enough gas and it had been running fine all day. A coupel minutes later, a couple guys stopped by to help us and they determined that it was a bad spark plug and they had an extra so they were just going to swap it out for us. After a couple more minutes, another guy showed up, one of the guys who had been watching us get started and we started putting 2 and 2 together, we were getting scammed. We knew for sure that this was the case after they had fixed the bike and asked for $12 for the spark plug! We were a little upset about the whole thing but were totally stuck, here we were in the middle of nowhere with a bike that didn't work, so we paid the ridiculous fee and left, not too happy that we had just paid more to buy our spark plug back than it cost the rent the bike in the first place!
We cruised the coast for a bit but neither of us was in the mood to lay out anymore, getting scammed always leaves a bad taste in you mouth for a while. So we decided to head back to the hotel and went swimming in the pool and tried to lay out although we were both restless. Finally we decided to get dressed and go out for some drinks, we just really needed a change of scenery! It really did the trick, we sat in some hammocks on the beach and sipped a bucket of vodka Red Bulls until dinner time, we went to Phat Burger to really top off the afternoon and then headed back to the hotel. The bad day was past and we spent some time reading and swimming until it was late and fell asleep with smiles on our faces again =)
Our last day in Mui Ne, we woke up early and got packed up, we had to check out of the hotel at 11:30 and we wanted to get some sun before then. We chilled by the pool until the last possible minute and then checked out of the hotel, we grabbed some lunch then headed back to the hotel to wait for the bus to pick us up. The whole bus thing was a little annoying, they picked us up and then 3 minutes later, stopped the bus for a "lunch break", not too pleasant for us since we had JUST finished lunch so we sat around a little bored but then we were off to Saigon!