Mui Ne, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Let’s get the latter out of the way first. Mui Ne has sold out to tourism on a big scale. With around ten kilometers of resorts lining the water’s edge it was never going to win my heart in the way it does for some. The one saving grace is that Mui Ne town seems to carry on quite happily in isolation to the terribly overdeveloped tourist strip. Look at maps of Mui Ne and they show sand stretching all along the coast. In reality most of the resorts back onto a concrete flood barrier. I could make out the beach in the distance, but considering just how far the area stretches, it was going to take quite an effort to get to those few meters of white sand.
The ugly was not a surprise, I was well prepared for the tourist development. The bad however was less expected and in many ways contradicts my general hopes for each place I visit. I thought when I was in Saigon that there were not a lot of tourists. Well in Mui Ne, there didn’t seem to be anyone at all! Due to the extent of the development, any travelers there were seemed to be occupying a resort or guest house to themselves, which created a very isolated and largely ghost town feel to the place. Low numbers is not a problem at all in my book, it normally creates a nice community atmosphere, however dare I say it, Mui Ne is the exception to the rule. It needs people! There is a chance they may have been up the other end of the strip, but that might as well be another town! I was apparently staying opposite Mui Ne’s most happening bar 2010/11, when I was there it seemed to be just me and the tumbleweed.
Now for the good, and it is a very good, good. Mui Ne has some rather wonderful sand dunes. I thought the ones I saw in Jaisalmer were great, but here, well blind fold me, gag me, then when releasing me tell me I was in the Sahara Desert and I’d believe it. Traipsing up and down the dunes, admiring the view out to the ocean, made the journey to Mui Ne worthwhile.
That was my snapshot on Mui Ne. I didn’t stay long, the absence of people and the overdevelopment was depressing. Still it is a must see in terms of those rather wonderful sand dunes.