"Mui Ne - A Piece of Paradise in Vietnam" Hai Long by Martialsk

Hai Long Travel Guide: 1 reviews and 7 photos

Paradise personified

This gorgeous piece of coastline is about 5 hours by bus up the coast from Ho Chi Minh City. A tiny little piece of beach paradise which is on the trail, but not saturated by tourists. Some people stop here to break up the very long trip to Nha Trang - the party central ‘Ibiza’ of Vietnam! My idea of hell.

From the moment we arrived off that mangy local 'sleeper' bus - that had taken 5.5hrs of my very valuable life away from me - and met our fabulous landlord at a beach-side hostel named the 'Vietnam-Austria Guest House', I fell in love with this place and knew I would be happy here. After booking 2 nights, we ended up staying almost a week because of the people we met there, the relaxing environment and the sea. We needed to urgently replenish flat batteries. Travelling can be exhausting, continuously moving from place to place, dealing with constant new experiences - some good and a few bad. It gets tiresome and we needed this break.
Also, we’d heard that parts of the North were flooded so we opted to wait a few days. This was the perfect place. I could have easily stayed here for the rest of our Vietnam trip.

Every day just blended into the next - beach, sand, sun, cocktails, live music, beer, meeting new people, beach, sand, sun etc. You get the picture! This hostel was basically a posh backpackers run by an Aussie and his Vietnamese wife. Over the years, this lovely couple had had numerous issues with 'difficult' backpackers and as a result, this place had gradually moved away from that type of clientele, opting for the slightly more responsible and mature crowd. A really good guy, both socially and as our landlord, John kindly took us out to local places to eat, gave us some good advice re moving on and even let us drink some of his beers for free! We spent much time sitting around reception chatting with him and anyone else who opted to join in! We had hit the jackpot with this place.

Sitting on a sun-lounger in the dead of night, listening to the sounds of the water crash against the beach was the most beautiful sound that brought back many memories of my childhood holidays spent at the beaches in northern Kwazulu Natal. This water had the same ferociousness and impatience, bullish in its approach to everything and anything. My mind spun off like an old movie reel evoking very poignant reminders. At that moment I missed my Dad more than ever and wished that I could share my experiences with him. He would have loved this and would have lived every moment through me. Such is life I guess that inevitably we must say farewell to the ones we love.

Sand Dunes...Big Ones!

There were various excursions available and we only opted for a local half-day tour around the MuiNe area. My boyfriend opted to stay in the beachfront pub with his new friend ‘Saigon’, the Beer and his trusty book. My friend and I jumped into an American Jeep with 4 others from our hotel, including two solo travellers from the UK with whom we became fast friends! First stop was to the gorgeous Fairy Falls which were accessible via a walk along a shallow sandy stream winding through red/ orange sand cliffs. Afterwards we drove out to the white sand dunes about 40km from ‘home‘ following the dramatic and beautiful coast road. The white dunes were immense, the weather was coming over and it was viciously windy up there. The sand twirled around us, getting into everything, sharp like needles. Still we traipsed up and down, enjoying the scenery, laughing like little girls and embracing our new sandy feeling! It was liberating and fun - especially when my friend decided she would rather roll down a massive dune than run down like we did!
Our fabulously fun afternoon was marred only by a rude encounter with the local guys who operated the dune buggy rentals. They wanted to rip us off and we weren’t having any of it! So, we saved our money and walked up/ ran down/ rolled down the dunes instead! Much more fun!
Afterwards we visited the red sand dunes which were on the way home. Smaller and not as impressive that their white counterparts, the colour of the sand was nonetheless beautiful.
However, it was time to head home, freshen up and head out! Another night of eating, chatting, drinking daiquiris and listening to easy soul was on the menu. Joe's Place next door was the hangout!

More Sun, Sea and Sand

Other excursions involved the water. Mui Ne is an excellent location for the kite surfers and wind surfers because of the hectic winds but as swimmers one would need to be aware of aggressive water and rip-tides. The sea lets you in easily enough, but it doesn’t like letting you out again!!

On one particular occasion, my friend and I tried to get out, obviously strayed too close to the beach without paying enough attention, a couple of waves knocked us down, dragged us back in, dunked us face-first into the sand, chucked us out on the beach only to suck us back in again!!! What started out as a bit of fun turned into a bit of an ordeal…! All I can say is that there was a LOT of sand in places where there shouldn’t have been sand!

My only other excursion was Yoga practice with an Aussie ex-rugby player named Lex as our instructor. 2 sessions was enough to put my lower back into place and feel that stretch again. I have really missed my yoga sessions. They were always so calming and rejuvenating. Lex was extraordinary.

Now it was time to move on because time was swiftly marching and our time in Vietnam wasn’t forever.

Next stop - DaLat in the central highlands. A bus would take us there in about 5.5hrs…
*sigh*. I was enough of these buses already and we still had ages to go on this trip! They were truly horrible!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:tranquil, beautiful piece of paradise to stop and rest
  • Cons:not much to do, very isolated, can be expensive
  • In a nutshell:Stop...! And take a breath
  • Last visit to Hai Long: Nov 2011
  • Intro Updated Apr 6, 2012
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Martialsk

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