I’m backtracking here again…back to Mui Ne. Right now I’m in bed with feet raised trying to get the fluid to subside in my ankles and legs. A nasty side effect to the heat rash in Nha Trang and medication I was taking. Dacey has had a bad tummy so she’s in bed early with Billie while Steve, Charlie and Ashley are out and about in Saigon at the market.
So the truth about Mui Ne. At first it seemed a quaint and quiet township on the coast. But our second day there, we hired a jeep and went exploring into the main city and beyond to the great white sand dunes. And this is what we discovered outside of the little quiet oasis we found ourselves staying at in Mui Ne.
It’s big. The Russians have definitely made their mark with big hotels and shops in the past 7 years. I can only imagine what this place will look like in another 5 years. As we traveled past big land developments for shopping malls and boutique Western stores, I couldn’t help but feel sad for the locals who will be pushed out of their thatched roof homes and land.
It rains. While we stayed in Mui Ne (only 2 nights) it rained and got quite cold. It was the first time we rugged up and all of us put a jumper on. The wind here picked up too, obviously why it’s a popular tourist surfing and kite surfing destination.
Rubbish alert. As we know, Asia can come across as neglect and dumpy due to an issue with household rubbish disposal. Well Mui Ne was no exception. Bags dumped on the side of the road full of waste, the beach near where we walked along the Fairy River loaded with rubbish and debris. It was terrible. Also looks like they have an issue keeping their beaches from mother nature. Much of the tourist spots along this particular beach had been swallowed by the sea, and it felt like a ghost town with nobody around.
However, Mui Ne did offer some great experiences for us.
Go wild. We hired an undecked (ie metal) out jeep with a driver for 4 hours that took us out of town to visit sand dunes that made us feel like we were actually in the Sahara Desert. We hired quad bikes and zipped round the sand dunes for 20 minutes which was fun and something different. Of course the girls loved it and wanted to drive their own bike, but we said no! I really don’t know how they’re going to follow rules back home.
Next was the red valley and red sand dunes. The look of the red valley was of Central Australia but the sand was soft. The kids got to hire a slider and go down the dunes before a storm hit us. A bit of fun but with lots of sand getting into every part of their face and hair = meltdown. The local kids hire out the plastic slides and boy are they tough salespeople.
Rivers flow. Last stop was the Fairy River. Nice enough but we realized we walked downstream towards the sea, whereas you’re suppose to wade upstream to view the magnificent scenery. It was pleasant enough until we reached the rubbish dump at the mouth of the sea.
Seafood. That night it was Steve’s turn to choose a restaurant…seafood coming right up! What an extravaganza of fish, sea life and beachside positioning. We sat right above the crashing waves (unfortunately with the myriad of rats) and chose our own fresh seafood to be BBQed – prawns, calamari, rainbow fish, scollaps and the big one a fresh lobster. We splurged out a bit, costing us nearly 1.5million Dong altogether ($70) but that’s including drinks. The kids loved the scallops so much we ordered more! They also offered frogs, eel, turtle, shark, snails (large and small), catfish (which we were witnesses of its clubbing out the back). Big business, lots of Russians, lots of cash changing hands.
The home to our little bungalow for a sweet sleep and up the next morning for our final 5 hour bus journey to Ho Chi Minh City. We’re nearing home. Can’t believe it.