Tucked away in a quiet rural part of Vietnam’s south central coastline, Mui Ne is a small beachside town known best for watersports and wind.
Up until the early 2000’s, Mui Ne was little more than a simple fishing town. Flash forward a few years to when the wandering watersports community caught on to the awesome conditions here, and Mui Ne quickly developed into a windsurfing and kitesurfing haven.
Today, Mui Ne is a mishmash of culture; while the Ham Tien part of town is mostly dominated by foreign tourism and the watersports community, you only need to take a spin 10 kilometers up the road to find the ‘real’ Mui Ne, where fishermen and simple lifestyles still reign supreme.
Long considered a favourite spot for seasonal sports people looking to take advantage of Mui Ne’s strong winds and easy way of life, it’s a perfect spot for digital nomads who value sun, sea, and a mix of adrenaline-fuelled outdoor activities.
Wifi in Mui Ne has been catching up in speed recently, and you will find a minimum of 10 Mb/s almost everywhere, while some already enjoy fiber optic up to 50 Mb/s. The only issue here is the occasional power black out that can last anywhere from 10 mn to a full day, and will surely be a pain if the place you’re working at doesn’t have a generator.
Also due to occasional breaks on sections of the AAG Trans-Pacific underwater cable system, which connects 8 southeast asian countries, internet speed can be temporarily affected in the whole country. The last break occurred on December 23rd 2017, and shall be fixed by January 7th 2018. See more here.
3G/4G in Vietnam averages 5.4 Mb/s, which is lower than the Asia-Pacific average of 9.69 Mb/s. Vietnam’s 4G networks cover 95% of the nation’s population and there are no known dead spots anywhere around Mui Ne. The main 4G providers in Vietnam are Mobifone, Viettel and Vinaphone. See a full guide on Vietnam’s Sim cards options here or there.
Having hosted an event from the Kiteboard Tour Asia and earning itself a reputation as one of the windiest spots in the region, Mui Ne is- first and foremost- a kitesurfing town. There’s now around 15 kitesurfing schools dotted along the beach here, all of which offer full instruction, rentals, storage, and beach facilities.
The main kiting season runs from October until April (peaking from December-February), with reliable wind blowing almost daily from 10am-6pm. The most common kite sizes during the season are 9 and 12 meters, but on a strong wind day it’s not uncommon to see a few 7 meter kites zipping around. Big kites are rarely used, and when they are it’s usually during unreliable wind periods- so they probably aren’t worth bringing with you.
It’s not the easiest place in the world to kite; the conditions can be pretty hardcore with strong wind, choppy water, and a shore dump. However, plenty of people learn to kite in Mui Ne, proving that if you’re willing to persevere on those tough days you’ll be rewarded for it.
Foiling is slowly starting to catch on in Mui Ne, and the calmer morning waters and light winds make for perfect training conditions. Mui Ne is also one of the few Asian locations to have its own CR:X Convertible Kite Racing Chapter (at C2Sky Kite Center) where anyone can come to try out the gear, train, and participate in regular ‘friendly’ race days.
For more info, lessons, gear rental and advice, we recommend:
C2Sky Kite Center: Having recently celebrated their 10 year anniversary, C2Sky is one of the longest standing kite schools on the beach. They also enjoy the biggest beach front of any of the schools in town. Liz, the Dutch owner of the center, is a fantastic person to know; she can help you out with everything from kite gear to sunset SUP sessions, visa application, and accommodation.
Source Kiteboarding & Lodge: Set 7 km out the road, away from the main tourist area, Source is jointly run by Julian and Siobhan- a French-Irish couple. They take their customers kiting at the nearby Malibu beach spot, which offers cleaner waves and a bigger beach area than you’ll find in most parts of Mui Ne. On top of that, their club has the best rooftop bar in town- perfect for enjoying a couple of drinks while the sun goes down.
It’s not exactly 5 meter barrels you’ll find here, but if you keep your eye on the weather forecast you’ll see that Mui Ne’s waves are worth waiting for.
Surfing along the main beach doesn’t happen very often, only if a mega storm front has blown through and left behind some clean breaks. Generally speaking, there are three other surf spots in town worth visiting:
Malibu: Set 7 km away from the main “downtown” area, this huge stretch of beach gets some decent swell and nice clean waves. Works best during high season (November-April).
Suoi Nuoc: Located in front of Mui Ne’s famous white sand dunes, this is the host spot for the town’s annual Sunrise Surf & SUP wave riding competition. On a good day, Suoi Nuoc enjoys some sweet little barrels.
Little Buddha: Just outside of town, this spot came into being after the nearby Sea Links resort built a walkway that juts out into the bay. A happy accident for local surfers, perfect little waves form after hitting the walkway. Suitable for beginner and intermediate surfers.
With so many different alcoves dotting the coastline, taking out a SUP is an awesome way to explore Mui Ne from a different perspective.
For rentals and information we recommend:
C2Sky Kite Center: Club owner Liz and her fantastic team of beach boys offer daily SUP tours through Mui Ne’s fishing village at sunrise and sunset. Usually flat water at this time of day- good for beginners.
Jibe’s Beach Club & Bar: Conveniently located in the center of town, the club is equipped with a mix of inflatable and solid Starboard SUPs. Slightly more challenging conditions, especially if there’s a hint of wind.
Though the road that runs through Mui Ne is less than ideal for cyclers (think potholes, swerving drivers and lots of horn beeping), the back roads just outside the village offer some beautiful routes for a two-wheeled adventure.
Head up to the new highway overlooking the village and you’ll be greeted with: #1 panoramic views of the coastline below and #2 not a single vehicle in sight. This “highway” connects the fishermen’s end of Mui Ne with Phan Thiet, and at the moment very few cars and bikes drive this road- plus the new tarmac makes it ideal for cyclists.
If you fancy taking things off the beaten track, take one of the small side street turns off the highway (on the other side of the road than Ham Tien/Mui Ne) and head off into the jungle brush to discover some of the tiny local villages.
You can even take these little snaking roads all the way back to the coastline just north of Mui Ne, where you can then continue onwards to Phan Rang or even Da Lat. It might be a long journey, but for a seasoned cyclist it’ll be no sweat (and extremely rewarding!).
For bicycle and mountain bike rentals in Mui Ne, check out the small rental shop on the main road opposite Novella Resort.
Life in Mui Ne is easy and laidback- as most beachside towns tend to be. Early risers taking a stroll through town will often find they’re the only ones around, the rest of the town either still sleeping off last night’s party, recharging with a sunrise yoga session, or stocking up on supplies at the early morning wet market towards the end of the village.
The entire town runs along the length of a single road, where you’ll either be on “the beach side” or “the not beach side”. Because of this, there’s no real ‘center’ to Mui Ne; at the same time this means that nothing is too far away- walking the length of the busiest part of town takes about 40 minutes.
Mui Ne is a seasonal tourist town, at its peak between November and April and quietest during the rainy summer months. Most nomads head to town during the high season, with a few choosing to stay full-time throughout the year.
Although it has become quite a hub in recent years, Mui Ne is a good 4-5 hour drive away from Ho Chi Minh City (south), and 3-4 hours from Nha Trang (north). However, it’s down to this central location that you can easily reach other fantastic nomad-friendly spots, such as Dalat and Phan Rang.
Digital nomads in Mui Ne have plenty to pick from when it comes to finding a home-away-from-home. As you’d expect from a tourist town, there are tons of hotels, hostels, guesthouses, and resorts- of varying standard and price.
Short term travelers (less than one month) can rent a private room for as little as $8. For this price, expect something simple but comfortable, with wifi as a given and possibly even access to a communal kitchen. Of course, this is the starting price so if you’re willing to part with a bit more cash you can find yourself some pretty luxurious digs- think swimming pools, full Western amenities, and beach views.
For nomads planning to stick around upwards of one month, you’re best off either finding an apartment to rent or negotiating a deal with a guesthouse for a good monthly rate. The most basic studio apartment might cost you as little as $120/month, while a fully furnished 2 bedroom house tends to start at $250/month.
While the coworking wave still has yet to hit Mui Ne, there are a handful of digital nomad friendly cafes and beach clubs where you can pull out the laptop and clock in some hours.
Jibe’s Beach Club and Bar: Originally established as the main windsurfing hub in town (which it still is today, in case you’re looking for gear/rentals/lessons), Jibe’s is a big, open-air beach club, restaurant, and bar. Good wifi, plugs, tasty grub, lots of feet-in-the-sand chairs and couches- and it’s one of the few places in town with a backup generator (so no panic if you get caught in the occasional power out).
Choi Oi: Miss Thuy and her family just opened this cheap-and-cheerful restaurant late in 2017, and they’ve already earned themselves a reputation as one of the best eateries in town. Free wifi (and plugs) and chilled cafe vibes- not to mention awesome food!
Backstage: Centrally located (on the “not beach side” of the road), Backstage has big comfy couches and reliable wifi.
Apart from the resorts, Mui Ne’s main street is lined with all kinds of shops and restaurants. Catering to a mix of international flavours, you can eat pretty much whatever you fancy here: Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Russian, Italian, French, fresh seafood, BBQ, vegetarian/vegan… You name it.
There are two main wet markets in Mui Ne for fruits, veggies, fresh fish and meats; Ham Tien Market (3km away from “downtown”) and Mui Ne Market (8km away). Best go between 6-9am for the freshest pick!
In terms of shops, you’re limited to the basics; although if it’s sunscreen and inflatable pool toys you’re after- you’re in luck! There’s at least two dozen shops that have your name all over it.
There’s also a couple of ‘essentials’ shops where you can get basic food and household supplies; you’ll need to go to Phan Thiet (12 km away) for everything else. Phan Thiet has two big supermarkets, the Co-op and Lotte Mart. Between the two of them, you can find most things (including some imported products like cheese, wine, pesto, butter, pasta, and cereals).
If you can’t find what you’re looking for up there and you really have a craving, Annam Gourmet Market in Ho Chi Minh has indicated that they will make deliveries up to Mui Ne as long as the customer pays the cost of putting the goods on the bus/train (approx. $5). Contact their customer service for more details.
Vietnam’s biggest airport, Tan Son Nhat (Ho Chi Minh City), is a 4-5 hour drive away from Mui Ne. In terms of transport, there are three options:
Bus: departs from District 1 (30 minute drive). Starting at $7 this is the cheapest option. You’ll get a sleeper seat which you can (kind of) stretch out in, as well as air-con (and sometimes wifi). There are loads of companies driving this route, with little variation in price or service. Popular companies are Sinh Cafe, Hanh Cafe, and Tam Hanh. Daily departures from 7am-8pm.
Train: Saigon Railway Station is 20 minutes away from the airport. Trains in Vietnam aren’t the fastest, but they do offer stunning views of the passing scenery. Tickets start at $14, and the ride takes anywhere between 3.5-5 hours.
Private vehicle: There are a slew of companies ready to pick travelers up directly from the airport and drop you right on the doorstep of your new Mui Ne ‘home’. Definitely the most comfortable and convenient option, prices start at $75. 5/7 seaters and minibuses all available. Put up a post on Mui Ne Buy and Sell and wait for the bids to start rolling in.
Once in Mui Ne, you’ll quickly find the most cost effective (and convenient) way to get around is to rent a motorbike/scooter. Just take a walk down the main street and you’ll see plenty of local guys ready to hook you up. Prices average at $6 with discounted rates available for long term rent.
If motorbikes aren’t your thing, you can also rent bicycles/mountain bikes for comparable prices. Taxis are also cheap and easy to come by. Local buses are also dirt cheap and can be hailed anywhere along the side of the road.