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Mui Ne - Vietnam's Seaside Paradise

VIETNAM | Tuesday, 10 July 2007 | Views [1786]

Mui Ne is an idyllic little beach community strung along a coast of fine white sand and turquoise waters. It reminds us a bit of Baja, Mexico. As we cruise the stretch of coastline, there are rolling hills, sand dunes, low lying shrubbery, palm trees and cactus. While everywhere in South East Asia it is humid, this place seems to be relatively more dry. The beach area is a long strip of sand, a good running route at low tide, which I more than take advantage of each day. It is also ideal for early morning yoga sessions, as the sun rises at 5:30 a.m. over the ocean, a serene and tranquil experience.

Little fishing villages dot the coastline here. The boats are so colorful and full of "rocker" making them look like weebles wobbling from front to back on the waves that rolled through. These fisherman also use round "bamboo baskets" to fish from - it's like they're out there in a little bamboo rice bowl, navigating with such skill. If it were me trying to paddle the round bowl, I'd get stuck just going in circles.

The locals and Vietnamese tourists are the only people I see on the beach at day break. They're up enjoying a swim before the sun heats the day, catching fish and exercising along the sand. Groups of young Vietnamese boys play soccer on the beach, and ladies cruise the beach selling yummy sweet fruit, handicrafts, massage and manicures. The beach touts here are pretty laid back and relaxed with their selling approach. The same cannot be said for the moto drivers, however, who have overpopulated the main street with their cheap Chinese motor bikes that will last them a year if they're lucky. Not just one, but several approach us simultaneously. "Today you go to dunes? Rent Moto? Rent my moto? Maybe later? Tomorrow?" After we politely decline the first one (the others having heard the whole conversation), another one tries, and then a third. Their big eyes and warm smiles make us wish we could help them all out, a ride with each so they could bring home a meal to their families this evening. It's low season here, so the mass of underemployed moto-drivers are finding it tough to make ends meet.

Mui Ne is a beach sport enthusiasts delight. There's all sorts of rentals here, from kite boards, to wind surfers, jet skis, surfboards... you name it, you can play it out in the water. Periodically throughout the day, the sky darkens with thick black rain clouds, moving in fast from the south. Lightening splinters through the sky, the clouds open up and dump down a welcome warm tropical downpour. Running on the beach in the rain here is a magical experience in itself.

Our little slice of paradise on this beach is called IndoChina Dreams. A small guest house with six bungalows made of stone and thatched roofs, inside are beautifully appointed with beds draped with mosquito nets, Asian artwork and a bathroom with a separate shower! For the first time we don't have to sit on the toilet while showering. Our room even has A/C, cable TV, a fridge and cool mexican paver tile ocean view patio. We're just steps from the beautiful beach, and despite having the windows shut for the A/C, we can hear the surf pounding the shore break. Most startling are the lights and mirrors in the bathroom. We've grown so accustomed to not really seeing what we look like on this trip, as most places we stay have no mirror, or else it's very small and so dirty you can't quite use it. Darrin's first reaction, "I can't believe my hair is so long!" When I take a look close up, I gasp, "I can't believe I've sprouted so many grey hairs!" That's ok, with a good mirror and light, I'll have all those grey hairs removed by morning, and will be back to my youthful self again in the morning.

Tags: Budgets & money


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