Baywatch (2017) was just released in U.S. over the weekend, and is set to hit local cinemas 1 June. If you’re inspired to go on a beach holiday, you’ll be disappointed to realise that reenacting the iconic wind-the-hair moments at the exact filming spots in the U.S. (Deerfield Beach, Florida, and Tybee Island, Georgia) will be ridiculously expensive. Thankfully, Asia is home to many stunning coasts that you can experience at a fraction of the price (and flying time)!
Introducing… Mui Ne, Vietnam!
Located about 215km east of Saigon, Mui Ne is an up and coming coastal town. The beach stretches across 15km, with resort houses and restaurants dotting Vietnam’s eastern coast. While it’s not yet as commercialised as Bali, it has already made a great transformation—the village fishermen still exist, but are far outnumbered by the tourists.
There are two things Mui Ne is famous for: The beach, and the sand dunes.
Let’s talk about the beach first.
It’s everything like you see on TV—a beautiful sky that hangs over the brilliant turquoise waters, and pristine, fine sand that slip between your toes with every step you take. There’s just one thing to note: Enjoying the beach may not be as straightforward as you think. The many upmarket resorts that line the most prime areas of the beach often consider the beachfront as “theirs”. This means that the spots in front of their establishments are available for paying guests only. If you’ll be choosing a budget hotel instead, you will have to be careful about where you place your beach mat. Don’t let that deter you from visiting though! As long as your group is not rowdy or causing a nuisance, most “guards” will close one eye.
Mui Ne is great for water sports too, and the most popular one of all is kitesurfing. There are many stores renting these sporting equipment, so be sure to make some time for a big splash!
Now that we’ve introduced the beach, let’s talk about the real Mui Ne highlight:
The Sand Dunes!
We know, right? What a contrast from the sea! Many know of the Mui Ne beaches, but few know that the Vietnamese town is also home stunning deserts.
There are two types of sand dunes—white and red. The white desert is exactly the kind you’re picturing right now. It’s an impressively huge land of white sand, nothing else. The red desert is the same, except it features slopes of red-brown sand instead. Both have their charm, and are definitely worth a visit!
Once you’ve gotten over the sheer vastness of the deserts, you can get to experiencing it. Because they’re barren and massive, many tourists are under the misconception that there is nothing to do. But in fact, there’s more to do here than in the city center! The popular sports include all terrain vehicle (ATV) rides, and sandboarding.
Just nearby is the Fairy Stream, another natural wonder of Mui Ne. We recommend walking down the muddy stream, and enjoying the lush greenery and colourful limestone formations that line the waters, before reaching a magnificent waterfall at the end of the route.
We recommend travelling to Mui Ne by bus. There are several operators (you can Google to find which ones offer the best timings for your trip) and the average cost is around S$20 (US$15) for a one-way trip (from Ho Chi Minh). Most buses will pick you up at Pham Ngu Lao Street, and drop you off directly at your hotel. You may opt for a car hire (taxi) too, but that will set you back about S$150. The local train is another option, but the nearest station is Phan Thiet, from which you will need to take another 30-minute car ride to Mui Ne. However, do note that bus will take slightly longer than a car (about 5.5 hours compared to 4.5 hours).
Ready to embark on your adventure?
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