In May we went to Vietnam for five days over the Labor Day weekend. Some friends of ours had recommended the Sailing Club in Mui Ne, a beautiful beach resort on the South Coast. Mui Ne is located 200 km northeast of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) which is a 4-hour taxi ride from Ho Chi Minh airport. The taxi drive was a bit grueling and at times quite scary (they drive like maniacs) but once we got there we felt that it was all worth it. From the street the hotel doesn’t look like much, but when you enter the gardens and the beach you feel like you ended up in paradise. The Sailing Club is a small and cozy resort right on the beach, with beachfront and garden bungalows designed and furnished to complement the traditional culture. The resort is set in stunning landscaped gardens with relaxed but attentive service.
We recommend that you stay in a beachfront bungalow. The view from the balcony and the breeze blowing in from the ocean was heavenly. We paid US$ 100 for a beachfront bungalow, the garden bungalows cost about US$ 60-70. We felt that it was worth the extra money.
Many nice resorts line the beach side of Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, but we feel that the Sailing Club who opened in 2002 is one of a kind; we checked out the other hotels and did not think that they were as nice as ours. We were surprised to find so many Scandinavians at the resort; it seems to be the choice for expat families from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland living in Asia.
There are no ATM's in Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, or anywhere in Binh Thuan Province. Banks can issue cash advances on credit cards (Visa and Mastercard). American Dollars are generally accepted in Mui Ne, but some shops only accept Vietnam Dong. It is nearly impossible to get change for something bigger than US$ 20. Try to carry lots of $10, $5 and $1 bills.
Some facts about Mui Ne:
Mui Ne has always been a small fishing village in southern Vietnam's Binh Thuan province, a 200 km trip northeast from Ho Chi Minh City. The wind, blowing in straight off the South China Sea, molds and remolds the white and gold sand dunes that surround Mui Ne. It frustrates the fishermen, who make a living catching squid and tuna on the horizon. But in recent years, the wind has altered the landscape of Mui Ne in a different way - by luring windsurfers and kitesurfers from all over the world to its 20 km of gently arcing beach. It is said to be one of the five top places for sailing in the world, and it's definitely the best in Asia. Mui Ne is quickly becoming known as the kiteboarding and windsurfing capital of Vietnam.
At Mui Ne Beach you can enjoy the finest weather in Vietnam as it has the lowest annual rainfall in the entire country. Mui Ne is relatively "undiscovered" and is much more relaxed than other costal areas in Vietnam, and perhaps the friendliest. You won't be pestered by street venders here. Mui Ne is a relatively new community. The neighboring Phan Thiet is said to be less than 100 years old. In contrast, much of the resort areas of Mui Ne are less than 5 years old..
Mui Ne Beach and the surrounding Binh Thuan province have everything to offer. Enjoy fine dining or local street food. Spend an exciting day of windsurfing or a reclusive morning at the White Sand Dunes. Shop at the Mui Ne Village Markets for cheap clothing and local produce, or visit the Phan Thiet City to shop for traditional Vietnamese arts and crafts.
For those of you who like to play golf; only 15 minutes away is a beautiful golf course designed by Nick Faldo. The Ocean Dunes Golf Club is said to be one of the finest golf courses in Vietnam. It is sculpted out of the coastal dunes with coastal breezes shaping its character day by day.
We really recommend a trip to the Sailing Club in Mui Ne, the resort was wonderful. It was the most relaxing holiday we have had in a long time. The part we liked best was the breeze blowing in from the ocean; it was a refreshing change from KL. The only thing we regret is not having time to stop in Ho Chi Minh City. We drove through the city on our way from and to the airport, and it is such an exciting city. A combination of Mui Nu and Ho Chi Minh would make a perfect holiday.
Visa to Vietnam is no longer required for the Nordic Countries for stays up to 15 days and with a valid return ticket.