Drama On The Road To Mui Ne

Trip Start Jan 03, 2012
Trip End May 02, 2013

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Flag of Vietnam  , Kon Tum,
Monday, February 20, 2012

We looked into bus options the day before we were set to leave Vung Tau for Mui Ne. We wanted to go with Phuong Trang, a bus company recommended by locals in the tourist industry that we were familiar with from previous experience, but sadly learned that they don't go that route.  There was only one option.  We purchased our tickets from the bus station and got on a cramped, mid-sized, slightly dodgy-looking bus.

Just before we reached our guesthouse in Mui Ne, we got the bad news that Sylvia’s backpack was 'lost’ along the way.  The bus conductor told us via translator that the pack slid out when the rear trunk door opened due to a faulty lock; not the kind of news you want to hear when you’re five weeks into a six month trip. 

Later in the evening the bus conductor came back to tell us that the pack had been found in a town nearly 100 km back.  We had given up hope of it being found so this was surprising and welcome news.  He dropped off the backpack the next day, but it was far from the condition in which we had left it.  Some items were missing (Swiss Army knife, travel pillow, hoodie, backpack rain cover, cash) which wasn’t a huge surprise but the most frustrating part was it had clearly been vandalized.  The backpack was torn, buckles were broken and nearly every item inside was damaged down to the ripped wrapper on each tampon.  Fortunately the things that were stolen were not essential to this part of the journey, most of the damaged items could be replaced and we were able to repair the pack to useable condition with the help of our trusty duct tape.  Most importantly we are safe and healthy.  We have no intention of letting this get us down or stop our travels but we did learn a valuable lesson to avoid shifty bus companies even if it means extra cost and time!!!

After losing the first day and a half in Mui Ne recovering from this incident our surroundings started to win us over.  One street stretches out over 12 km, with the beach bordering the east side and plenty of delicious and reasonably-priced food available.  The vibe was very laid back, just what we needed at the time.  There was a large kite-surfing competition going on one day which was exciting to watch.  The water became progressively rougher during our five days, making entering and exiting it major challenges.  Jason’s attempt to bodysurf a 10-foot wave resulted in a few minor scrapes and bruises.

Our place overlooked the water and was a short walk to the beach in one direction and seafood restaurants in the other.  Of all the places we’ve stayed so far, this one seemed to encourage the most interaction between guests, and there were lots of Canadians about.  We sought out the empathy of other travellers and had dinner and drinks as a group of six, exchanging stories of highs and lows on the road.  The guesthouse also suffered some damage during our stay, with the crashing waves bringing down the concrete terrace facing the sea.  Both of us pitched in a little with the repairs by filling sand bags.

We took a jeep tour that included four stops at the Fairy Spring, fishing village and both the white and red sand dunes.  At the first, we walked through a trickling stream banked by massive white and red sand formations.  After a few photos at the sleepy fishing village we moved on to the main attractions.  The white dunes are a long way out of town but worth the trip.  We wasted a few dollars on some useless crazy carpet-like plastic sheets that we attempted to ride down the hills but only achieved a snail’s pace on the steepest slopes.  It was way more fun to jump off the ridges into the soft cool sand below.  Heading back toward town we stopped at the red dunes to watch the sunset.  Despite being overcast for most of the day, the sun broke through just in time for a colourful finish.

After planning our next destination we actually had some time to truly relax, which we thoroughly enjoyed.  Well done Mui Ne!
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ivy on

awww - that really sucks but i guess your surroundings make up for the losses! glad you guys are thoroughly enjoying yourselves :D

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