We began our journey to celebrate Christmas in Mui Ne Beach from Hue on Monday 19th of December. On that day we took an early train to Da Nang in order to see a lot praised scenery between these two cities. Unfortunately, the weather was still a bit rainy and cloudy making it difficult to enjoy beautiful landscape along the way. Anyway, the much-vaunted journey was definitely worth to make during the daylight!
We decided to stay one more night in Da Nang. One of the reasons were our willingness to see the new Star Wars Rogue One movie on 3D. For some reason, they showed the movie on 3D only in the mornings so we needed to wake up quite an early in order to get there at 9.30 am. After the nice cinema experience, we hung around the Vinh Plaza Shopping Mall rest of the day. We worked a couple of hours at the coffee shop, played various old school arcade games and ate a lunch in the food court. In the evening we had a wonderful late Korean street dinner before heading to the Da Nang train station in order to get the night train towards the south Vietnam.
Night Train Journey from Da Nang to Binh Thuan
Our night train from Da Nang to Binh Thuan departed at 1.30 am. After a long but fun day in Da Nang, we were so exhausted that we fell asleep almost instantly. Even though the train was so full that we only managed to grab second class basic soft seats amongst the locals, we slept quite a well. After traveling 14 noisy hours without seeing any Westerns at all in the train we reached Binh Thuan train station (formerly known as Muong Man station). It was a truly local Vietnamese experience to travel in and wouldn’t change it to the isolated sleeper couch at any price.
Binh Thuan train station appeared to be nothing but a huge tourist trap.
It’s located approximately 35 kilometers from Mui Ne Beach and 15 kilometers from Phan Thiet city center. There is only one taxi company (white Sun Taxi) offering rides away from the station. With that being said, you’re forced to choose one of their taxis if you don’t have any local knowledge or help to be gotten. If you have used to choose Mailinh (green taxi) or Vinasun (white taxi), you’re amazed how fast the meter of Sun Taxi rises up. Our journey from Binh Thuan train station to near Phan Thiet City center cost almost 250k dongs (10€). That might not sound a lot for people in the West but in Vietnam it most certainly is.
Getting to the Phan Thiet from Binh Thuan Train Station
When we got to the Phan Thiet city center we had read there would be local buses going to the Mui Ne Beach. We wanted to grab one of those because the fee is low comparing to the taxi and we had the time to do so. If you prefer to pay a little bit more for convenience and comfort, you should definitely take a taxi straight to Mui Ne from Binh Thuan train station. But we don’t mind to get involved with the local lifestyle and saving tens of thousands of dongs in the process. Local buses should cost 13 000 dongs per person from Phan Thiet to Mui Ne but we paid 30 000 dongs because we had big backpacks with us. Having said that, we had to take four seats in total so the fare seemed fair.
We reached our hotel in Mui Ne around 7 pm on Wednesday evening on 21st of December after traveling around 18 hours altogether. We just grabbed a late dinner at the restaurant nearby and went to bed early. Anyway, we were at Mui Ne Beach now and eager to go swimming to the sea during the next morning!
First Day in Mui Ne Beach
On Thursday we began the day by walking along the Mui Ne beach and swimming amongst the huge but warm waves. Wife’s parents, my in-laws, would arrive at their resort later tonight so we had plenty of time to work and relax. After checking the location of their resort we decided to rent a motorbike in order to travel the seven kilometers journey there. It costs pretty much the same amount of dongs to rent a motorbike for a day than to take a taxi both ways. The cheapest way to go there would be with the same local bus we came to Mui Ne in the first place. Nevertheless, with a scooter, we had a chance to explore surrounding areas better so we did that.
We had a warm rendezvous and tasty dinner in the evening with the in-laws.
After dinner we let them go to sleep and trying to beat the jet lag.
Christmas in Mui Ne Beach
Christmas was just behind the corner on Friday when we were driving around the beach road in Mui Ne. There were Christmas decorations everywhere which look kind of funny out here with the palm trees and the ocean. Usually, we spend Christmas with plenty of snow in cold, frost weather in Finland so these past few winters have been warm exceptions for that. We have to admit we miss part of that snowy Christmas spirit with wonderful food and opening presents amongst the close people, though.
We spend the Friday in the resort by swimming both in the private pool and in the sea. Of course, we had some time to work too. In the evening, the in-laws had booked a dinner arranged by their travel company which we could take apart as well. There were plenty of delicious seafood and local dishes offered such as fried frog and squid. It was an exceptional experience to eat those dishes with traditional music playing in the background. After the dinner, we continued the night by playing pool and grabbing few drinks.
Christmas Eve began with changing accommodations
Our Christmas Eve began with changing the accommodation because Minh Hung Hotel got fully booked through online reservation websites before we went to ask extension. That didn’t matter though because there are countless of guest houses along the beach road which we can choose our next place to stay. We found a wonderful place with own sea view balcony for the Holidays after visiting in few of them. It was more than pleasant to work few moments in the hearty breeze even though it is Christmas after all…
During the Christmas Eve, we enjoyed ourselves by taking a moonlight swim. In addition, we had a possibility to take part of the Christmas party of the resort in-laws stayed.
What a great evening we were having!
We tried to sleep as late as we could on Christmas Day. However, it isn’t that easy because the sun rises around 5.30 am. That brings the daylight a little bit too early in our point of view. Ok, it helps you get up easier and began the day with a refreshing jog along the beach. Then you’re ready to work a couple of hours before start wandering around the surrounding areas. Having said that, on Christmas Day we tried not to think about the working and were just laying on the bed and balcony.
Astonishing The Bar – restaurant in Mui Ne Beach
We also had a wonderful brunch in The Bar – restaurant which we have been visiting almost every day since coming to Mui Ne. They have astonishing delicious Western and Vietnamese food together with amazingly low prices. Furthermore, they have a well-conditioned pool table which isn’t something you would find in many restaurants, especially in Vietnam. In conclusion, they have everything you would need and expect from a five-star bar/restaurant combination.
After brunch, we took a cheap local bus to the Phan Thiet city in order to get some shopping done. Unfortunately, Phan Thiet turned out to be lousy location what comes to shopping. We went to a big shopping mall as well as central market and both sold only bad quality fake clothes. Only seller speaking English in Phan Thiet market said us that we should go to Mui Ne in order to do the shoppings. With that statement on our minds, we fade out from Phan Thiet quickly. Out of the frying pan into the fire might an Englishman say.
On Boxing Day 26th of December, we decided to switch our accommodation again even though we had a great sea view balcony like previously mentioned. The Lu Hoang Guest House turned out to be very dirty since they provided no cleaning services at all. In addition, we found many other disgusting things which are better to leave unmentioned in this blog.
Now that we have gone through Christmas in Mui Ne Beach, we’ve still a week left here. I will share you rest of our time in Mui Ne including New Year’s Eve and Day in the following blog post.