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Written by Savi, 56 Comments

Oh what do we tell you about Mui Ne and Phan Theit?! These tiny fishing villages are nestled between turquoise beaches that line the Eastern coast of Vietnam. The area is just 4-hour train ride away from the chaos of Ho Chi Minh City but seems like a different world altogether. There are endless reasons for visiting Mui Ne and Phan Thiet. We found it tough to choose between gorgeous sunsets, glistening beaches, surreal scenery, and picture-perfect villages but we managed to restrict ourselves to listing just 10 Things To Do in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet

 

Things to do in Mui-Ne and Phan Thiet
There are endless things to do in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet, but we loved the beaches and villages

 

Before we tempt you with some amazing things to do in Mui Ne, let’s get the slightly boring stuff out of the way 😉

 

Accommodation in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet

We would strongly recommend staying in Mui Ne as Phan Thiet can get crowded and busy. We stayed in a very nice beach-side resort called Pandanus Resort . We have written a detailed review of the property along with pictures – you can read it here.

 

How To Get To Mui Ne And Phan Thiet

Although a bit convoluted, it is possible to get a Vietnam visa on arrival (for which you must apply online first). Once you are in Vietnam, It’s fairly easy to  get to Mui Ne / Phan Thiet from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). On our way to Mui Ne, we took the train from Saigon that departed at 06:50 a.m. (eek!) and brought us to Phan Thiet in 4 hours. We could have taken the bus, but our hotel staff  suggested that the train would be more comfortable. Right they were 🙂 From the train station, we were ferried to our resort in Mui Ne by the pre-arranged pick-up driver from our resort. In total, it took us 4.5 hours to get to Mui Ne. Train tickets, including reserved seating, cost $16 . More details can be found here.

On our way back from Mui Ne to Saigon, we decided to take the bus. Our hotel arranged the bus tickets with a company called Hanh Cafe, which we later found out did not have good reviews 😉 It was too late to change our booking but thankfully our experience was not bad at all. We were picked up from our resort hotel and after picking up a gazillion other tourists from different hotels in Mui Ne, we were driven to Saigon through the choked roads and highways in a little over 5 hours. We preferred the train, but the buses offer more flexibility in terms of schedule.

 

Top Things to do in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet

 

1)     Rent a bike

You are in Asia. This is a no-brainer. If you want to explore the area, there is no better way to do it than by renting a bike. Bike rentals in Mui Ne cost anywhere between $8-12 per day. Traffic can get crazy in this part of the world, so be careful. Bus drivers seem to be on a mission to demolish anything comes in their way. Another piece of advice – always have your helmet on or you’ll definitely be stopped by a cop which will result in a lot of discussion and eventually, bribery.

 

Renting a bike will give you the flexibility of exploring offbeat places in the area, discovering hidden beaches, and exploring local markets.

 

Things to do in Mui-Ne and Phan Thiet
A bike is the cheapest and best way to explore the area around Mui Ne and Phan Thiet

 

Things to do in Mui-Ne and Phan Thiet
Guess what Vid’s favourite part of the trip was 😉

 

 

2)     Go Quad biking at the White Sand Dunes

We’ve already introduced you to this geographical wonder in our write-up on the White Sand Dunes Of Mui Ne. If you’ve rented a bike, getting to the White Sand Dunes is a joy ride in itself. It will take you through unpaved roads and gorgeous stretches of Vietnamese countryside. Once you are there, enjoy the dunes on a quad bike – everything from gentle bumps to stomach churning bends are on offer.

 

The white sand dunes of Mui Ne are approximately 25 km. away from the centre of Mui Ne – once you have had your share of fun at the dunes, just walk over to the lotus pond and spend the afternoon watching the sun go down.

 

White Sand Dunes Mui Ne
Ever seen sand dunes next to water and grasslands?

 

Things to do in Mui-Ne and Phan Thiet
The White Sand Dunes, one of our favourite things to do in Mui Ne, Vietnam

 

 

3)     Visit the early morning fish market of Mui Ne

Mui Ne’s chaotic early morning market provides a fascinating peek into the lives of local Vietnamese fishermen. Every morning they get their catch to the shore. Their wives and family members sort out the catch and sell it to the local traders, restaurant owners, and street food vendors on the spot. It’s like a trading floor right out of a Wall Street institution.  Expect to find fishing nets full of seafood, buckets overflowing with fish, shells strewn everywhere, raucous conversation, and plenty of photo-opps (It was tough to tear Vid away from the market 😉 )

 

Things to do in Mui-Ne and Phan Thiet
Early morning fish market at Mui Ne

 

 

4)     Sunrise and Sunset at Mui Ne

Early morning isn’t the only time you should visit Mui Ne. This little village is absolutely magical at sunrise and sunset. Dozens of brightly coloured boats adorn turquoise waters. Everything is bathed in a luminescent light – highly recommended!! In fact, this might be our favourite thing to do in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet.

 

Things to do in Mui-Ne and Phan Thiet
Colourful fishing boats dot the waters of Mui Ne

 

Things to do in Mui-Ne and Phan Thiet
Sunset in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet is spectacular to say the least

 

 

5)     Visit the Red Sand Dunes of Mui Ne

Another great place to catch a gorgeous sunset are the Red Sand Dunes of Mui Ne. If you don’t have the time to venture out to the White Sand Dunes, the Red ones are just a couple of kilometres from the centre and can be reached on foot as well.We still can’t get over the wonders of nature in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet – sand dunes that make you feel like you are in a desert right next to the beach?!

Read our post on the Red Sand Dunes of Mui Ne for detailed information and photographs (opens in new tab)

 

Things to do in Mui-Ne and Phan Thiet
The Red Sand Dunes of Mui Ne, Vietnam

 

Things to do in Mui-Ne and Phan Thiet
Sand Dunes next to the beach – ooh yeah!

 

 

6)     The Fairy Stream

When we first heard about it, we were apprehensive about this being a tourist trap. But we were wrong!! This aptly named stream is another wonder of nature. Tucked between beaches and fishing villages, this gurgling stream is surrounded by amazing limestone formations. You can deposit your shoes at the entrance or carry them along with you to explore this muddy stream. Make your way through colourful limestone formations, warm water, and bright green trees to reach a waterfall.

 

Things to do in Mui-Ne and Phan Thiet
Vid at the Fairy Stream, one of our favourite things to do in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet

 

 

7)     Treat your nostrils at fish vats 😉

Mui Ne and Phan Thiet are famous for being the home of fish sauce. This popular condiment might add a great dash of flavour to Asian food, but it doesn’t smell particularly pleasant. In fact, the word vile comes to mind – fermented fish in huge vats – doesn’t exactly remind you of perfume, does it 😉 There are a number of factories in Phan Thiet, but if you are in Mui Ne, you can witness the action close to The Fairy Stream.

 

Things to do in Mui-Ne and Phan Thiet
Huge vats of fermented fish sauce

 

Things to do in Mui-Ne and Phan Thiet
Fermented fish sauce and dried fish – sounds amazing, doesn’t it 😉

 

 

8)     Find a secluded beach

There is no shortage of things to do in Mui Ne but it is easy to spend languid days at your hotel’s beach. But we suggest taking your rented scooter out for a spin and exploring the area. There are a number of isolated beaches perfect for an impromptu picnic or skinny dipping, if you enjoy that sort of thing 🙂 Our favourite secluded beach is the Hon Rom beach which can be reached by driving past the Red Sand Dunes towards the White Sand Dunes.

 

Things to do in Mui-Ne and Phan Thiet
What’s a beach holiday without some beach bumming 🙂

 

 

9)     Learn Kite Surfing

Mui Ne and Phan Thiet boast of a number of windy beaches that are perfect for kite surfing.  In fact, the area is one of Asia’s most popular sites for kitesurfing. There are a number of Kite Surfing schools in the area that offer courses for amateurs and beginners at extremely competitive prices. Moreover, there is no shortage of wide, sandy beaches to practice the sport

 

Things to do in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet
Kitesurfing is just one of the dozens of things to do in Mui Ne

 

 

10)  Binge on The Food

Aah, the best for the last 😉 Mui Ne offers scrumptious seafood for dirt cheap prices. Grilled Red Snappers for £3 and clams and mussels for £2 often crop up on menus. If you’re adventurous, there’s snakes, crocodiles, and turtles on the menu. Freshly BBQ’d scallops with spring onions and peanuts drizzled with a lemon, sugar, and salt dip were my favourites. Mmmm, I want to go back for some more.

 

Then there are the fruits – everything from litchis and mangoes to mangosteens and papayas are on offer. Mui Ne’s morning fruit market is the equivalent of a candy factory for fruit lovers. The pick of the lot? Fuchsia-coloured Dragon Fruit. You’ll see entire orchards of Dragon Fruit on the way from Ho Chi Minh City to Mui Ne. No wonder it tastes better here than in any other part of Asia. Our friend Jodi talks about some great eating options in her Crash Course on Mui Ne 🙂

 

Things to do in Mui-Ne and Phan Thiet
Pick your own sea food at cheap prices – That’s Mui Ne for you 🙂

 

Things to do in Mui-Ne and Phan Thiet
BBQ’d Scallops – DIVINE!

 

Things to do in Mui-Ne and Phan Thiet
Fresh Fruits – nom, nom, nom!

 

 

Planning a trip to South East Asia? Don’t forget to read our tips on accommodation, street food, and sightseeing

Need some inspiration packing for Asia? Hop over to our favourite outfits from Vietnam and Cambodia

56 thoughts on “10 Things To Do in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet, Vietnam

    1. Thanks Snig. The only problem is one needs a LOT of time to explore South East Asia. There’s so much to do in every country! 🙂

  1. this post is very much convincing and amazing .!! nd yes , not to forget , savi looks amazing in all the photos 🙂

  2. I just started being a reader of your blog….and it is fun, interesting and the pictures are beautiful. You are a great photographer, you don’t touch them much right? because the places look amazing. So happy for your travels. Not on my list….yet, got too many other places that I must visit first. Thank you and Happy Travels.

  3. Great pictures and tips!
    For those who like the idea of the train but hate getting up so early, another option is to take one of the Reunification Express trains on the Saigon – Hanoi route and get off the train at Binh Thuan. I did this in February this year, we took the SE22 that departed Saigon Train Station at 12.20pm. From Binh Thuan we were picked up by our hotel. I would recommend pre-arranging transport to Mui Ne as there were not a lot of taxis and there doesn´t seem to be a regular bus. Binh Thuan is also the best train station to get out of Mui Ne if you want to travel north afterwards.

    1. Thanks for the information Edwina – it’s truly invaluable. We agree with you – pre-arranging transport to Mui Ne is definitely the best option

  4. Hi,
    Is it possible for me to use your post as a guide for the guests at our hotel in Mui Ne. I think they will love it. I will fully acknowledge the sources and refer them to your website. Btw, I love this article, full of joys.
    Thanks,
    Tri

      1. Absolutely, it was amazing !! I visited Saigon, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, Khe Ga (light house), Da Lat & Nha Trang… Favourite was Mui Ne for cheap sea food & relaxed atmosphere. 🙂

  5. Hi there, may I know which hotel did u stay in mui ne and was it close to the sand dunes? Was it also safe to ride bike in mui ne? TIA!

    Cheers,
    Alicia 🙂

  6. This is such a great guide, but the fish markets make me feel sick! I wrote a similar post on Mui Ne but unfortunately my travel partner got really bad food poisoning in nha trang and we didn’t get to see much of the town! I seriously wish I had made it to the sand dunes now 🙁

    1. The sand dunes were quite spectacular, Dannielle. Especially the white ones 🙂 Well, there’s always a next time !

  7. Absolutely love the post! Me n my girlfriend are planning to visit Phan Thiet, but we are staying at a place called Villa Del Sol, which is around 30 km south of Mui Ne.
    Was wondering whether it was easy to get a scooter, and also of course the best way to get from Ho Chi Minh to phan thiet as we would be arriving around 10am!
    Anyway thanks a lot for the post, helps a lot!

    1. Hey Sahil – we took the train from Ho Chi Minh to Phan Thiet and it was a smooth journey. It’s super easy to get a scooter, there are rental shops everywhere. Don’t forget to bargain before renting one 🙂

  8. Hi There! I’m arranging my trip to South Vietnam and that includes Mui Ne, bumped into your blog while googling and your blog is amazing 🙂 Definitely put your blog into our top list of reference. In Mui Ne, did you join a tour? And how do you recommend to pick the tour? from hotel or else? Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi Citra,

      We didn’t join a tour when in Mui Ne – we rented a scooter and drove around at our own leisure and pace. Hope you have a great time in Mui Ne!

  9. Hi, how much is the scooter rental? will be in Mue ni this coming december. i’ll be travelling alone. would you suggest just to rent a scooter or join a group tour?

    any tour agency can you suggest?

    TIA
    Jun

    1. Hi Jun,

      A scooter rental was around 2-3 USD a day in Mui Ne (it might be slightly higher in Phan Thiet). Do rent a scooter, but if you decide to go somewhere that is more than 20 Kms from Mui Ne, then join a tour 🙂

  10. Mui Ne is my favorite destination too. 🙂 Beaches are clean, roads are wide and empty, sand dunes are huge, food is fresh and cheap, resorts are beautiful and affordable. I miss this place already. :((. Another destination worth a visit is Sapa. This place is totally different from Mui Ne in Phan Thiet. You’ll see lush terraced fields, magnificient mountain ranges, minority ethnic and waterfall with colorful flowers. 😀

    1. Thanks for the suggestion Kim – will definitely look up Sapa the next time we’re in Vietnam. It sounds amazing 🙂

  11. VId and Savi…was a pleasure meeting you in Delhi at Guppy last week though I got to chat only with VId…thanks for the Vietnam tips and putting Mui ne on my agenda….am off soon! Let me know when you are n Delhi next, would lve to catch up.

    1. Dear Radhika,

      It was so good to see you 🙂 Hope you do make it to Mui Ne and like it as much as we did. Let’s meet soon!

      Cheers

  12. What a lovely post, this has reminded me how much I love Mui Ne. It was so wonderful to see the town in sunset, admiring unspoilt heritages by years of war. Thanks you so much for the post!

  13. Hi!

    Wanted to book the train tickets to Mui Ne. just wanted to check if you receive them almost immediately?
    🙂 Super nice place tho! cant wait

    1. Hey Belle,
      We made the reservations through our hotel’s concierge and we received the tickets on the evening of the day we made the booking. You can probably do the same? 🙂

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