Mui Ne: Dunes, Kites and a Kremlin of Russians
Red meets white at the strangely diverse Vietnamese town of Mui Ne. This small fishing town was introduced to backpacker hostels and kitschy souvenir shops after two notable discoveries were made: surfers found the wind conditions perfect for kite surfing and Russians just plain found it. Suddenly this lazy, lapping village, with its notorious backdrop of red and white sand dunes became front and center in Vietnamese tourism.
Being non-Russian, we went to Mui Ne for its other main draw – kite surfing. JD impressively taught himself to kite surf while we lived in Blouberg (kids, don’t try this at home; take a lesson). Our trip to Mui Ne in November was his first time at it again in the three years. He was quickly out and the water and up in the air while I watched from the beach and was flooded with good memories of our time in Cape Town.
When kiting was over we looked round and discovered not one but two Mexican restaurants, both of higher Vietnamese-Mexican quality (tallest midget situation, but at least there was cheese!). Delighted by both tacos and ubiquitous oddly named hotels and stores, we walked the Mui Ne strip only to find that unless you are there to kite or be Russian, there didn’t seem to be much to do. That is, until a xe om driver misunderstood when we asked if there was a sports bar in town and took us to a raging Russian Halloween /rugby party on the beach. That was fun.
Back at our fantastic hotel built with a cool pool center and view of the whole town, we caught up with fellow Danang-ian friends. Unlike most Western tourists to Vietnam, this trip was less about experiencing Vietnamese culture and more about just relaxing. We can eat banh xeo in Danang, so were more interested in trying Mui Ne’s version of falafel.
However even we been-there-done-it expats were drawn to those famous sand dunes where we hiked, sand sledded and, naturally, met an Italian who introduced us to her French and Irish friends’ new hostel. As the first guests ever to the hostel bar we were treated to awesome food, cocktails and a panoramic view from the deck of fishing boats, sea and dunes.
Mui Ne was a wonderfully fun combination of the relaxing, the beautiful and the eclectic; white, red, Russian and strange.
Wow. Sounds amazing, a complete cultural crash. Awesome photos!
Cultural crash is a good way to put it! Thanks, Eliot!