I've always enjoyed taking the road less traveled. And this time around, that road led me to a fishing village five hours northeast of Ho Chi Minh City. Yes, I found myself in Vietnam once again. And I was going to the beach! How we got to Mui Ne in Binh Thuan Province was an adventure in itself.
Because one of our low-cost carriers arrives in HCMC or Saigon at such an unholy hour, there is a big risk especially if you need to travel outside city limits. Our problem was the first bus to Mui Ne wasn't going to leave until 6 a.m. So we had to wait several hours before we could even start our five-hour journey by land. We decided to wait in Pham Ngu Lao, the backpacker area of HCMC.
While asking around, we were badgered by xe om (motorbike for hire) drivers who said that they knew of a bus to Mui Ne that would leave much earlier in the Binh Thanh District of HCMC about 8km away. It was a risk, but for some reason, we trusted them. And they dropped us off in front of a bus station that looked closed and told us to wait in the coffee shop in front of it. At least it was a bus station. And so we waited and had some local coffee. Until finally, a van passed by and people inside started shouting something in Vietnamese. Unable to comprehend, we asked the lady at the coffee store if that was the vehicle to Mui Ne. And she signaled us to get on board.
All was well until they stopped somewhere to load newspapers at the back. It turns out, aside from taking in passengers, they deliver newspapers as well! So we were on a newspaper van that left at 4 a.m. We arrived in Mui Ne at about 7:30 a.m., earlier than expected. Mui Ne and neighboring Ham Tien Ward are very popular for their beach resorts. But what struck me about this town were the colorful fishing boats in Mui Ne Harbor and the vicinity. And I leave you with pictures of them.