From the Heart of Darkness to the tropical beaches of Mui Ne

Mui Ne Travel Blog

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Michel's small café in Ho Chi Minh City serves delicious fresh fruitshakes.

I’ve slept well in our room with super air conditioning and we get up at 5.30 am, to leave Ben Tre at 7. First we have to drive in the wrong direction, to get to the ferry to cross the Mekong, before we can continue moving actually closer to our destination.

At first all the seats in the front of the bus are taken, but soon Michel announces that the guide’s seat will remain empty today, so I gladly move forward, because in the back nobody’s already enough awake to chat.

When we arrive at the ferry, our party is split in half. Some of us can go, the others can’t, because the boat is full.

The flower of the dragonfruit plant.
When we are reunited on the other side of the river, we go on towards Ho Chi Minh City, which is on the way to Mui Ne. When we get there it’s 10.15 am and we pause at Michel’s own bar called Mai Café. It’s a small place which is run by his wife when he is traveling. Here fruit shakes in every thinkable variety are served at ridiculously low prices, I have tasted several different ones and they are all delicious.

Michel starts telling about Vietnamese customs and such, he knows a lot about this since his wife is Vietnamese and he deals with it every day. One thing he and his wife cannot agree on is the custom not to exterminate cockroaches, but to feed them. So they have made a compromise: his wife can feed the roaches anywhere she wants, except for the kitchen.

We leave Mai Café at eleven and drive until one, when we stop for lunch in Hung Phat.

The harbour of the fishing village Phan ThiĂŞt.
Everyone orders for himself, which maybe was not such a good idea. The staff can’t really handle 20 clients at once and it takes a while before they have written down the orders correctly. And when it comes to serving the food, I get mine when all the others have already finished theirs. Fortunately it tastes rather good.

Off we go again, our stomachs filled, waiting for whatever surprises this country may offer. When our bus pulls over, on our right hand side lies a dragon fruit plantation. And we’re going to have a tour. We’re early in the dragon fruit season and the plants are still blooming. The few fruits that the plants are already bearing are still green, not the bright purple-ish pink colour that makes them so recognizable.

A little closer to Mui Ne lies the fishing village Phan ThiĂŞt, here we stop at the harbour to have a look at the fishing boats and their crew, who are already preparing for their next fishing trip early next morning.

The fishermen are working on their boats to be ready to set sail early next morning.
Some are cleaning their boat, others are repairing their nets.

From here it is some 15 kilometres to Mui Ne, a village that is known for its nuoc mam (fish sauce) which is a highly regarded product, and for its long sandy beaches. Tourism caused the village to grow, mostly resorts, and people who love sunbathing should certainly stay here for a couple of days.

It’s 4.30 pm when we get there, and while we are waiting for the key to our cottage, we agree with Caroline first to take a plunge in the alluring ocean, postponing dinner for a little while. We swim and splash about for a bit, feeling one with the sea and indulging in the surroundings, enjoying the descending sun and the shifting colours of the sandy beach with its palm trees in the fading light. We move to the resort’s swimming pool when it gets too dark to stay out in the sea safely (and the water in the pool is a bit warmer too).

After having washed up we cross the street to have dinner at Kim Loan’s. Dinner’s fine and the fruit shakes are great here, like everything has been freshly picked from the trees. Michel is here as well and he arranges a Xe Honda (rental moped) for me and a Xe Om (rental moped with driver) for Caroline, for tomorrow we will not be joining the rest of our group, but the three of us will be going to a large statue of a reclining Buddha. According to the drawn map on the wall of the restaurant it should be about 20 kilometres from here, so that’s quite allright.

We’re in bed by 10.30 pm and in spite of the heat (27 degrees Celsius) I fall asleep within minutes.

the_bloodsucker says:
vietnam is my next destination before europe. :-)
Posted on: Dec 26, 2007
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Michels small cafĂ© in Ho Chi Min…
Michel's small cafĂ© in Ho Chi Mi…
The flower of the dragonfruit plan…
The flower of the dragonfruit pla…
The harbour of the fishing village…
The harbour of the fishing villag…
The fishermen are working on their…
The fishermen are working on thei…
Mui Ne
photo by: TrudyNRonnie