Another bus trip, only 5 hours this time. But buses in Vietnam are scary. When the driver decides to overtake (which is a lot) they do encounter some near misses with other vehicles, mainly trucks. At these moments, I grab my seat for dear life and hope the bus makes it, Diarmuid being the bigger man laughs at me and sees the fun in it as if we are on a rollercoaster. So we arrived in Mui Ne at 1 am and checked into the Mui Ne lodge. We had gotten a great recommendation about this place from a 63 year old Irish man in Nha Trang. He said it is a lovely place to stay, very affordable and right on the beach.
Now this man had lost his wife somewhere in South East Asia after she found out he was having an affair, but hey the Irish are always trustworthy. And the Mui Ne lodge was just brilliant. After checking into our room we looked out our door and ten yards away was a neon sign on an arch saying ‘Mui Ne Lodge‘. We wandered through the arch and there was our own private beach. Epic. After a very enjoyable but hectic 5 weeks, we both knew this beach would provide us with some serious relaxing time. All we needed was some long awaited sunshine.
So the next day we of course used our private beach. The lodge had around 6 or 7 rooms and so the beach was pretty much ours, the odd day there might be 2 or 3 others but that was it! That night we went to discover the Mui Ne nightlife. Disappointingly, it wasn’t great. The Mui Ne strip is about 15 kilometres long and I don’t think we ever made it more than 5 kilometres. So the bars were a bit crap but we had our beach! We thought ok we’re not going to meet many people here but surprisingly the next day we did. We were at dinner and the waiter ushered us over to two French girls sitting across from us, Elodie and Camille. Of course we had noticed them much earlier 😉 So we had a great chat with them and we told them about our private beach at our hotel which clearly impressed them. They asked could they come over and make use of it the following day as they were staying right across the road. We said yes without any hesitation!
So the next day the 4 of us lay on the beach for the day and being great fans of Irish people they came out with us that night. The four of us got on great, found a nice bar right on the water’s edge. Good food, cheap beers, the waves crashing 20 yards from us and the stars over are our heads, epic. And so our daily routine in Mui Ne involved a morning swim, a few hours laying under the sun with our ipods (we also had wifi on the beach so we of course sent on pictures of paradise to friends and family freezing cold back in Ireland), the most beautiful sunsets in the world, nice restaurants and our seaside bar. That was our Christmas, the strangest Christmas we ever had.
We did venture out one day on a tour with a very nice tour guide who took us to a fishing village, to Mui Ne’s famous sand dunes and to a very cool looking canyon. The sand dunes were amazing, it looked like a mini Sahara desert. We rented quads and drove around the dunes, this was followed by dune sledding. Which was not actually successful. As the pictures show, we didn’t actually sled anywhere, we just lay on the sleds trying in vain to push ourselves down the slope. Our tour guide thought we were hilarious so at least someone enjoyed it.
So Christmas Day was just like any other in Mui Ne, relaxing on the beach! Just for the occasion, Diarmuid and I bought each other presents. We both needed a new pair of shorts so in the shop we paid for each other’s and exchanged them back at the lodge. Ridiculous but it’s nice to keep the tradition going! So our French friends stayed with us in Mui Ne til Stephens Day and we all got the bus to Saigon together. Thank God we didn’t have to leave them just yet because one of us was getting very attached to Elodie… We really fell in love with the place, so much so that we made a Youtube video, MTV Cribs-style just to show people how brilliant our little lodge was! Strange but amazing Christmas.