Sleeper Bus to Mui Ne

Trip Start Sep 19, 2012
Trip End Jul 22, 2014

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Flag of Vietnam  , Binh Thuan,
Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mui Ne

After a walk about the city and eating some good food I am ready for my Sleeper bus ride to Mui Ne which is scheduled to leave at 3 pm. Once again the bus is late and am pleasantly surprised when I board the bus. There are three rows of sleeper pods consisting of an upper and lower bunk. Blankets and pillows are supplied and at first they look quite comfortably. The main problem is that they were designed for little itty bitty Asian people so you can't fully stretch out. Secondly you have to recline as you can't move the seat into an upright position. There is also not much padding in the mattress but it is not too bad. What really freaks me out are bright blue, yellow and pink lights every where. Let the journey begin, I have been in a lot worse situations.

We pull out from the bus station and slowly head out of HCMC. The traffic is chaos and the scooter drivers seem suicidal. The road leaving the city is 6 lanes wide in both directions. Two lanes are for the exclusive use of 2 wheelers and the others are free for all kamikaze road race. The road eventually narrows down to two lanes and we drive past kilometres of yards housing all types of earth moving equipment. It is mind boggling seeing literally thousands of different machines most of which look like they haven't been used for some time.

While I mention kamikaze I believe this is where our driver learnt how to drive. Once we are out of the city and on the highway he is off like a bat out of hell. Maybe it just seems that way as I'm on the top bunk of a double decker bus and maybe it is just swaying a lot. He thinks hopefully. It's 215km to go and should take about 4.5 hours so I'm not going to have chance to sleep as we scheduled to arrive at 7.30 pm. It is pleasant reclining back and watch the sunset over the rice paddies.

We eventually arrive in Mui Ne at about 8.45pm. The bus literally drops passengers off at their hotels and will arrange a pick up from the hotels or hostels. All very convenient. Mui Ne seems to be one long street running parallel to the beach and lined with restaurants, bars, accommodation and shops. Lots of bright lights but has a small village atmosphere. I find a great room with a proper bath, which is a luxury in Asia. It is situated above an optometrists and am assured when I check in that I can have a free eye test in the morning. 

After dropping my bags in the room I walk up and down the Main Street. Not many people about and most of the restaurants are deserted. A lot of the menus and signs are in Russian so I guess this is the next area that they will invade. The Russians seem to be traveling more and more and in greater numbers. I have met some wonderfully friendly Russians but the vast majority come across as rude and unfriendly. They seldom greet you or even smile. Not sure why but no offence to the few friendly ones that I have met.

Besides the beach, that isn't that great, one of the main attractions in the area is the White Dunes. This is a large stretch of desert like dunes along the coast. There are plenty of organised jeep trips but I have rented a scooter and plan to explore on my own. I will get up early so that I can watch the sunrise in the morning. it's dark when I start off in the morning and the roads are deserted. I keep having to remind myself to keep on the right hand side of the road. The weather is overcast so I'm not going to get much of a sunrise. There are no sign posts anywhere and I keep having to do double back when I realise that I've taken a wrong turn. The road snakes along the coast and when it starts to get light I stop on watch the fisherman returning in their coracles. Some of them still have traditionally built wooden ones but more seem to have upgraded to fiberglass. 

I carry on my way and ride through a little village. An old wizened lady frantically waves me down and when I stop to see what she wants I see she must be about 150 years old. She tells me that I passed the turn off to the dunes and she points me in the right direction. When I thank her and am about to turn around she then offers to sell me some weed. The road she has directed me to is just a dirt track alternating between loose sand and horrible rocky areas. The poor scooter I have rented bounces and slides along. A young Japanese guy comes racing past me on a scooter and a few minutes later as I come around a bend I find him and the scooter spread eagled in the road. Fortunately he is not badly injured but has a lot of cuts and scrapes and is dripping blood everywhere. After a wash down there is nothing bad so we carry on.

The dunes are rather impressive and the great thing none of the organised tours have started to arrive. It is quiet and peaceful and the wind and rain from last night have removed all the footprints and tracks. The solitude is good and I spend a few hours walking around this little desert. Once the tour groups arrive it becomes chaotic as most people hire quad bikes to go racing about the sand dunes. After a quick breakfast I decide to leave as the weather seems to be getting worse and it looks like rain. Half way home the heavens open and I get drenched before I can get my plastic poncho on. Now I'm wet and flapping around in what seems to be a bin bag. By the time I get back to the hotel the sun is out, I'm dry and the poncho has disintegrated.

There are some very strange menu items in some of the restaurants. Most specialise in seafood and have tanks and buckets with all kinds of marine life. Various fish, a selection of prawns and crabs, eels, clams and somethings I don't even recoganise. There are also restaurants that have crocodile and these are displayed outside on the pavement. They are either spit roasted or the meat is cut up and cooked in a stew in the up turned skin of the crocodile. Snake and geckos are also popular items but are very expensive...should you wish to eat any.

i have enjoyed my stay here but the main attraction is the beach and the weather has been dull and overcast most of the time. So the next leg on my sleeper bus beckons and the next stop will be Nha Trang.

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Grant on

Hey Padda - Don't bypass Hoi An - very interesting and scenic! Enjoy - Sing Chow.

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