Incredible nature awaits your adventurous soul in Mui Ne, Vietnam! Just a five-hour bus ride from Saigon or a four-hour drive so it’s possible to visit the sleepy coastal fishing village as a day-trip, but it’s best to arrive in the evening and stay overnight so you can wake up with the sun at one of the impressive sand dunes. Here’s how to have the best day trip to Mui Ne, Vietnam!
WHERE TO STAY
I visited Mui Ne for a day during my trip with Vietnam Wine Tours and they arranged for us to stay at the stunning beachside SeaLink Resort which is home to one of the wineries we visited, RD Wine Castle.
The best part of staying at the beach-front SeaLink Resort in Mui Ne is that you’ll have access to a private beach that will be significantly cleaner than the public beaches. If you’re more of a pool person SeaLink Resort also has an enormous pool with multiple levels, waterfalls, and water slides!
Near the winery is also a darling swing that overlooks the grapevines and is a lovely spot for sunset.
Browse all accommodation options in Mui Ne on Booking.com.
EXPLORE THE RED SAND DUNES AT SUNRISE
As the red sand dunes (Google Maps) were located closer to SeaLink Resort we opted to start the day here rather than the white sand dunes, but it’d be fine to explore either the white or red sand dunes at sunrise. This scenic bit of nature is on many Southeast Asia bucket lists.
Arrive early to Mui Ne’s red sand dunes, or doi hong in Vietnamese, to stalk out an optimal spot among the dunes to watch the sunrise sans large groups of people and, of course, snap photos of the mesmerizing nature.
The red sand dunes are very easy to reach and free to enter–they’re quite large so head as far inland as you can manage, running around sand dunes it’s quite strenuous!
The sun will begin to rise over cliffs on the horizon and slowly change the colors of the sand as the sun rays bring the surroundings to life with luminescent light. The red sand dunes in Mui Ne reminded me of the rolling formations of the Moroccan Sahara Desert, but were much easier to traverse–and they’re right next to the beach!
VISIT THE MORNING MARKET AT THE MUI NE FISHING VILLAGE
The Mui Ne fishing village morning market (Google Maps) may be upsetting to some vegans. I was a pescatarian for 12 years but still found it difficult to see the way fish are haggled, killed, and sold here.
Fisherman work quickly to off-load the early-morning catch as women sort through the various fish and sell them to locals at a rapid pace. Tourists and locals alike sit on low slung stools and eat the catch of the day. Here fish is served at all times of the day, even for breakfast at 5 AM!
Discarded carcasses, seashells, and plastic litter the shoreline. It’s no secret that Vietnam is the fourth-worst offender worldwide of contributing plastic waste in the ocean so it’s incredibly important for travelers to cut back on single-use plastic. This sad reality that is vastly apparent in Mui Ne–especially at the fishing village.
What intrigued me most was watching the haphazard way that fisherman maneuver their basket boats–kind of like a see-saw. The round boats were introduced in order to avoid government taxes for straight shaped boats. Traditionally, the boats were only used by fisherman that catch anchovies for the famous Vietnamese fish sauce. At the Mui Ne fisherman village though it appeared that all sorts of fish and sea creatures were being caught by fisherman inside the odd-looking round boats.
WALK IN THE SUOI TIEN FAIRY STREAM
The massive red sand dunes continue to stretch along and eventually lead to the picturesque Suoi Tien Fairy Stream (Google Maps). Here you can stroll upstream barefoot and gaze in awe at the incredible red sand and white limestone formations. The beautiful creek leads all the way down to the South China Sea.
The entire path takes about 30-minutes to explore by foot and is quite well organized with a few stops along the way for fresh coconuts and other snacks. Don’t be a jerk and liter here, I was so disappointed to see several tourists tossing their trash into the precious stream. Also, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t ride the ostriches here that have been imported from Africa, right? If you think it’s okay to ride an ostrich or any animal, please read the Responsible Travel Challenge dedicated to ethical animal encounters.
The scenery at the fairy stream dazzled me with its rusty red and cream like colors coming together in the cool water we waded through–I absolutely loved taking in this stunning scenery.
PLAY AROUND AT THE WHITE SAND DUNES
The lakeside white sand dunes (Google Maps) are the furthest edge of town so they’re an excellent last stop on your day trip exploring Mui Ne–especially at sunset! The lovely lines in the sand are formed by the constant sea breeze.
The gigantic white sand dunes are called doi cat trang in Vietnamese. It will take you about 20 minutes just to walk to one of the first vantage points!
You can book a Jeep tour or rent a quad bike. Drive a quad bike with caution, we witnessed a terrible accident where several people were thrown from the vehicle while speeding down a sand dune. If you’re going to take the risk make sure you’ve bought an insurance plan from World Nomads!
Have you been to Mui Ne? What was your favorite thing to do in the Vietnamese coastal town? Tell us in the comments!
I was a guest at SeaLinks Resort courtesy of Vietnam Wine Tours. This post contains affiliate links. Please read the Miss Filatelista disclosure policy for more information.