Diehard sunbathers can relax at Doi Duong, Hon Rom and Ca Na beaches but more desolate spots like Suoi Nuoc Beach are for those who prefer solitude.
Around 230km north of HCM City, Mui Ne is a sheltered peninsula, 24km north-east from Phan Thiet City, the latter known for its fish sauce (nuoc mam) as well as its pink-coloured dragon fruit.
In the short span of a decade, Mui Ne has gone from a sleepy fishing village to a popular vacation destination, due in large part to the 1996 lunar eclipse, the natural phenomenon that led countless tourists to the beachfront in search of clear skies to witness the event.
Sand dunes, which are at the end of the peninsula, look as if they belong in the Sahara rather than Vietnam’s southern province of Binh Thuan. Among the other sites are the Suoi Tien (Fairy Spring), Lau Ong Hoang (King’s Villa) and the historic Cham Towers.
On the way to Mui Ne is Lau Ong Hoang, a popular spotlight in Binh Thuan where reportedly the famous Vietnamese poet Han Mac Tu met his girlfriend Mong Cam.
As our bus entered the town, we could feel the cool breezes from the sea, see dreamlike rows of coconut groves, and smell tangy aromas from the fishing villages.
After arriving at the four-star Blue Ocean resort, one of a dozen high-end resorts on Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, we were welcomed by the friendly staff and were able to immediately unwind from our journey that had begun in hectic HCM City.
The resort was decorated with natural materials, offering tourists a tranquil atmosphere with garden groves and bungalows and restaurants overlooking the ocean.
For the first night at the resorts’ Senses Restaurant, we sampled the local seafood while watching a lively fire dance of local fishermen and traditional dances from ethnic Cham teenage girls. The rich Cham culture, which is prevalent in the area, is reflected in the 80 festivals and public activities held throughout the year.
At the break of day, local fishermen can be seen reeling in their catch of the day, nets full of freshly caught fish and crabs.
For touring, jeeps are available from Blue Ocean Resort. We first headed to Suoi Tien (Fairy Spring), 15km northeast of Phan Thiet City and 5km from the resort.
Suoi Tien has a magnificent mountain and deep waters. Standing on a small sand hill, looking down at the stream, we were impressed by the spectacle of red, yellow and white sands that had been shaped by the wind, sometimes called a mini Grand Canyon.
Suoi Nuoc Beach, northeast of Hon Rom Beach, is spectacular for visitors who enjoy isolated and windy landscapes. It is as long as Suoi Nuoc Beach, extending north to the village of Binh Tien, where the Dao Rua (Turtle Island) can be reached during low tide. Nearby is a semi-arid sight where local residents herd cattle across the hills and valleys of the white sand dunes.
As our two-day trip came to an end, we realised that we needed more time to explore Mui Ne and its surroundings and most of us vowed to come back as soon as we could.
(Source: Viet Nam News)
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