Flying kites and reading books.

Trip Start Jun 25, 2006
Trip End Aug 01, 2007

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Saturday, April 7, 2007

He Said:

After a few days in bustling Saigon anyone would be ready for a break. Since we were suffering acute beach withdrawals (our feet hadn't touched sand in almost two weeks!!!) we figured we'd better head east to the sea before we started having spasms. During my prior visit to Vietnam, by this point in the journey I was weary of long bus rides and a bit crunched for time so I opted to fly over this part of the country. In the intervening years I had a few friends who visited this region of the Vietnamese coast and give it an enthusiastic thumbs up (props to Hood River Jim and John Mc from NC!). In particular, the beach at Mui Ne had come highly recommended, so we figured why not? I don't imagine there are many places on earth where you could stay in a charming, three-star resort, on a beautiful beach, with a great swimming pool, for only $30 a night, including a super breakfast. And $30 is considered midrange in price for this area!!! If that's what you are looking for, then Mui Ne is your place!

Besides the great beach, Mui Ne is also a popular place to kiteboard/kitesurf (a relatively young sport that is similar to wakeboarding except instead of a boat, you use a large kite for propulsion). Katie encouraged me to give it a try, so I signed up for a five-hour intro course. My instructor started me on a small 5' kite and I eventually worked up to one that and 27' wide, harnessed to me with a wide belt. After getting the basic maneuvering, safety procedures, and steering techniques down, I did some dragging through the water without a board just to get the feel of it, learn know to get the kite re-launched if I crashed it (something that happened often!) as well as show I could steer myself back to my board if it fell off. Unfortunately my lesson timing sometimes coincided with less than optimal conditions (light breeze or absolutely howling winds) so I was only able to a little less than an hour actually with the board. But hey, I got up for about 25' and I have the essentials down, the rest is up to me. Next time I have an opportunity to do it, I'm definitely trying again!

Anyway, like so many of the other charming beach towns we've stopped at on this trip, we got "stuck" here a bit longer than we originally planned. Still though, I think we could have easily spent another whole week here without getting bored.

She Said:

We originally planned to spend 4 nights in the beach town of Mui Ne, and then another 4 nights in the much larger beach town of Nha Trang. Well, as each day passed full of cloudless skies, crashing waves, cooling breezes and free tropical fruit filled breakfast buffets, it became harder and harder to leave Mui Ne. We got quite comfortable in our lounge chairs under a giant thatch umbrella and spent our time finishing off a number of books that we have been carrying around for the last month or so. The little town is cute and laid back, and it is easy to get into a vacation routine....walking down the beach, eating at a different seafood restaurant every night, swimming in the warm was so nice, and the incredibly inexpensive prices made it even nicer!

For several nights while eating dinner, we saw other couples ordering a dish called a Steamboat, which is a "hot pot" or similar to fondue except the pot is full of a boiling broth instead of oil or cheese. It looked so good, and like it would be fun to cook your own food (romantic and all that) and we debated each if we should order one, but always decided that it looked like too much food. So finally one night, we decided to go for it. Unfortunately we didn't think it through clearly... it was a very hot and humid night, and for some reason there was almost zero wind (which was odd for a town renowned for its windsurfing). We were sitting at a table out of reach of the ceiling fan, and we were both warm before we even ordered. Enter the Steamboat cooking device - a large burner lit by some kind of fuel that looked like wax chunks, which puts out one hell of a large and super hot flame. Next came the boiling pot of broth. I looked up at Todd and noticed a few beads of sweat dripping down his face. Then our waiter came over and turned up the flame even higher, as it was necessary to keep this pot on a rolling boil. As the minutes passed, we got progressively sweatier and sweatier, until it seemed that there wasn't one inch of my skin that wasn't covered in sweat. And Todd was starting to look like he had just gotten out of the shower. Our hands were so wet that we could barely hold on to the chopsticks, and our eyes were stinging from the sunscreen that had migrated down on the sweat train. We went through at full basked of paper napkins trying to keep our sweating down to a respectable restaurant level of wetness, but it was no use. We finally reached a point where we were hysterically cracking up because the whole thing was just so sweaty and ridiculous. The staff of the restaurant kept coming over to the table telling us that we didn't have enough vegetables in the pot, or not to put shrimp and squid in the pot at the same time (something I was calling "eating management"), when what they really should have been worried about was these two sweaty white people having a heat stroke and passing out on the floor. Regardless, the food was great, and we went back the next night and ordered the exact same thing, and we made it through with out even feeling warm. It is amazing how great the breeze can make you feel!

Every day I decided that we would add another day to our stay, until it was the eight day and we had no choice but to leave or risk skipping out on some of the other Vietnam "must sees". So we reluctantly purchased a bus ticket to leave this little slice of paradise and head northward for the not relaxing beach scene of Nha Trang.
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