Mui Ne travel guide - Rusty Compass

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Mui Ne travel guide

Mui Ne Introduction

| 03 Aug 2017
Last updated 03 Aug 2017

Things change fast in Vietnam and Mui Ne’s short life as a beach destination has seen plenty of ups and downs. 

As Vietnam races to develop its beaches at breakneck speed, development in Mui Ne suddenly looks restrained. Blissfully free of high-rise developments, it suddenly feels more laid-back than many of the better known places that can't pour concrete quickly enough.

I’ve just spent another few days in Mui Ne in what is the depths of the low season (always a favourite time for me) and after being a little  non-plussed about the place for a few years now, I came away with some renewed enthusiasm.

When Vietnam opened its doors to tourism in the early 1990s, there wasn’t a single development on Mui Ne beach. A small fishing enclave eked out a living from the bay and the beach was left to the palm trees.

By the second half of the 1990s, beach starved Saigon expats were making regular weekend pilgimages to a handful of basic resorts and Mui Ne’s transformation began.

Coco Beach Resort, started by a German couple Jutta and Daniel was the first resort to open on the strip. They set a high bar and Coco Beach’s remains a favourite resort.

Mui Ne’s development gathered pace and its credentials as a beach destination were sealed when kitesurfers started arriving a decade ago. Consistent on shore winds for six months a year, have made Mui Ne beach one of Asia’s most popular kite surfing spots. Their dominance is so complete when the winds are right, that swimmers need to take care to stay out of their way.

The most recent wave of tourists to leave their mark on Mui Ne have been the Russians. For a few years, their presence was so overwhelming that there wasn’t much room for anyone else. By 2014, the Russian infatuation with Vietnam was fading. The crash of the ruble that same year was the final blow.

Mui Ne is still popular with Russian package tourists - but it's diversifying.

Mui Ne’s charms have been under assault from more than tourists. And the loss of half of the beach to erosion has been another blow.

Mui Ne may may not be amongst Asia’s finest beach destinations but the beach is better than OK, the development is mostly low rise and there are some nice, well-priced resorts. The local seafood’s delicious too. 

So, if you’re in Saigon and desperate for a beach, Mui Ne is 3 - 4 hours away and can be a nice break from the city. It’s also a good spot for a couple of days R and R for those overlanding between Hanoi and Saigon.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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