In one of my previous posts, I said I was going to try and title all future blogs with song names. I have decided that this can include lyrics from songs as well. This one is a bit of a play on words from Nelly’s 2001 hit ‘Ride Wit Me,’ where, in answer to questions including; ‘Why do I live this way?’ there’s the response of ‘Hey, must be the money.’ Sing it to yourself but change ‘money’ for ‘Mui Ne’ and hey presto, you have the new blog’s title. It’s like something the Daily Star would do. Clever hey? We could even have a bit of a competition, whereby I put the title of the blog as a song lyric and you, the reader, can message me and let me know what the song is and who the artist is. From the correct answers, I will pick one lucky (unlucky) person to cook for. Who likes beans on toast?
The end of my last post said I had arrived in Mui Ne (I can’t think of the place now without thinking of Nelly and singing that line in my head). I had left Hoi An at about 5pm and was on the bus until 6.30am the next day. At that point I stopped in Nha Trang for an hour and a half, until boarding another bus to Mui Ne. That part of the journey took another five and half hours and I eventually arrived in Mui Ne at about 1.30pm. A mammoth journey, time wise, but it wasn’t so bad to be honest. I watched the Kevin MacDonald film ‘Marley,’ about the late, great Bob Marley. Then I listened to some music and got some sleep until I stopped in Nha Trang. The majority of people who I spoke to about Nha Trang said ‘Don’t go there, it’s full of Russians.’ I don’t know what people’s beef is with Russians. I wonder if, in Russia, people say ‘Don’t go to Benidorm, it’s full of English.’
Nha Trang wasn’t really on my itinerary, but I was here to get a connection bus, so I had some breakfast and spoke briefly to a girl from Ireland called Kerry. She was kind enough to let me charge my iPad with her charger, so I could use it for the next part of the journey. Upon boarding the bus to Mui Ne, I watched three quarters of a documentary film called ‘Gil Scott-Heron in Black Wax.’ Directed by Robert Mugge and filmed on location in Washington DC, the film follows Gil Scott-Heron on the streets of the capital and captures footage of him and his 10-piece Midnight Band performing some of his songs and poems. Due to the travelling, I began to nod off, so turned it off and would catch up with it later on.
I got off the bus in Mui Ne and booked a hotel. I had been in hostels from the beginning of my trip, except the couple of nights in Matty’s apartment in Dubai and had tried to book a hostel here called Mui Ne Hills Budget Hostel. There was no rooms available, but one came up for it’s sister hotel Mui Ne Hills Villa. It was a bit more expensive, but I thought I’d treat myself for the night. I jumped on the back of a moped and sped off along the main road in Mui Ne. If you look to the right of the road, there’s hotels, bars and restaurants and to the left, the blue sea continues to the horizon. Before coming to Vietnam and looking into the trip, I never imagined there would be places like this here. I don’t know why. I suppose the perception I had of Vietnam was all from what I’d learned in school, about the time of the war. I thought it’d be quite a grey place, but Mui Ne is far from grey.
The moped turned up a steep road to the right and dropped me off to get checked in. The staff said they’d give me a free upgrade and sent me over to the nearby Mui Ne Hills Bliss Hotel. This was the third property of the Mui Ne Hills chain. They also had Mui Ne Villa (where I was initially booked in) and Mui Ne Hills Budget Hostel, where I had tried to book a room online earlier in the day. The hotel was fantastic. Those who are friends with me on Facebook will have seen a video of me showing the apartment. It was complete with double bed, clean bathroom, walk-in shower, two chairs (which I sat on both to get the use out of) a dressing table, which I had no business with but got a photo there anyway and a balcony overlooking the sea. It was beautiful. What made it better was the weather was fantastic. Here was the view from the balcony.
I sorted my my stuff out and headed up for the pool, where I was going to chill for the day. The lads from France were staying across the way from here in the hostel, but had access to the same pool and they were there when I arrived. I sat on a sun bed, poolside for a bit and nodded off after my long journey and little sleep. It was probably the first time that this adventure has felt like a holiday. The hostel in Hoi An had a pool, but still felt like a backpacker’s place. Here it was a lot more relaxed. Jazz music played repeatedly as the sun shone on the pool.
There was a good selection of food available for reasonable prices. That evening I ate with the French lads and they headed off to a nightclub. I was knackered and resisted the urge to party, in favour of an early night in my massive room. Here’s a picture of me, delighted with the fact I had a double bed, earlier in the day.
The next day I was up early. Breakfast was included in the price of the room. It was lovely. I had eggs, ham, cheeses, yoghurt, fruit, coffee and water. I sat eating breakfast, overlooking the ocean, the same jazz music from yesterday played on a loop and the sun was shining. Not a bad start to a Monday.
I got in one of the pools, to be told it didn’t open until 10am, but that the other pool was available. I made my way there and sat reading my book and catching some sun. It was so peaceful. It’s amazing getting up early, feeling fresh and enjoying the day. As the morning drew on, people surfaced stroking their heads after a heavy night. Here was the other pool, with some of the beds and a pair of legs doing their best to get a few rays on them.
I had booked to go on the Jeep Tour in the afternoon. There was quite a few people from our hotel who were going, so we congregated at the bottom of the steep road and then boarded our jeeps. The first part of the trip was a stop at Fairy Stream. This was a natural flow of water, which flowed through a bit of jungle-like terrain, and then into orange sands and rock stone.
We came to a fenced off area which housed ostriches. Here you could pay to ride an ostrich. Absolute madness. An ostrich would not appreciate me on its back I’m sure. I did sink to the same level I previously had in Chaing Mai Zoo and took a picture of one of the ostriches.
Outside of where the ostriches were, there was a cow sitting off. It looked peaceful, so I thought I’d get a photo with it. I missed an opportunity for an Alan Partridge moment here. I could have said to it when I had finished taking the photo, ‘I’m leaving you, you cow!’ Partridge fans will get that reference. I didn’t do this, however. I just took the picture, looked at it and got up. I’m sure it wouldn’t have wanted me to shout Alan Partridge quotes at it, neither would the other travellers. I can revel in the brilliance of the idea in my head and here on the blog.
Whilst I was stooped down, there was a family of about 5 adults and 6 children who all asked for photos with me. I lined up individually with a few of the adults and they ushered their children to get a photo with me also. The kids looked happy apart from one who wasn’t keen on getting her picture taken with me. Im not sure why they chose me. We said within our group, perhaps it was because I was the biggest and was double the size of the tallest adult in the group. There were other westerners around, so it wasn’t as though I was the only one. It could also be because they’ve seen my name advertised on the boards of the Claughton and other establishments of Wirral. Who knows? I was happy to oblige. We ventured further along the path. There was little spaces within the rockery which made for a good photo. Here’s one…..
Entwined on a tree over the other side of the bank, was a little snake. I utilised my selfie stick to capture a shot of it. Moments before seeing this, I’d said to Lauren, one of the girls with us, I wonder if there was snakes in the shallow stream we were walking through. We agreed there would undoubtedly be some amongst us. The photo isn’t the best but the little white thing on the branches is the snake. I couldn’t help but think on the way back that anything that touched my foot in the water was a snake or other sea creature.
We made our way back to the jeeps and headed further down the road. The sun reflected off the blue stretch of water. We pulled up at what appeared to be a fishing village. There was many boats docked in the sea and on the beach stood little huts where locals prepared fish they had caught. The boats were very colourful. It looked like a postcard.
The next part of the trip was the sand dunes. We first headed to the white sand dunes. There was the opportunity to hire quad bikes and ride around the dunes, but the queue was quite big, so we decided to walk instead. We set off in the blistering sun. It felt like being in the desert. Not that I’ve ever been in the desert (actually I have in Dubai, but not like on the sand). Whenever I’ve seen deserts or sand dunes on TV programmes, I’ve always thought they looked fake. This was no exception. The sandy hills looked like they’d been stuck onto the landscape with the bright blue sky in the background. It was an amazing site. We headed to the top of one of the dunes in the 40 minutes we were allocated there. The views were breathtaking. I posted a video of this on Twitter and Facebook and got carried away and ended up just screaming ‘Yes,’ not quite believing what I was seeing and having to release the joy in some way. It was another one of those moments where I was just in the moment and felt fortunate to be able to be experiencing this. Here’s a few pictures from up on the White sand dunes.
The final part of the trip was to head to the red sand dunes about 15 minutes away, where we would sit and watch the sun set. The first thing which struck me when we arrived here was the contrast in colours of the area. Where I was stood was orange/red sand and then across the road was green grass next to the blue sea. These colours against the sky set the scene perfectly. Here’s a few pictures from the red sand dunes and the sunset. The pictures were taken on my phone and really don’t capture the beauty of what the sun set was actually like.
The sun disappeared behind a hill in the distance. It was a special moment. It reminded me of a time when I was in Ibiza in 2008. I sat on the beach and watched the sun set and on that occasion people clapped. Clapping nature. It too was a nice moment, which has stayed with me. To experience a sun set like this is wonderful. The sun at times looked close enough to touch. We headed back to the jeeps and made our way to the hotel. It was a fantastic day with a great group of people. That night we headed out to a nearby local restaurant for something to eat. Whilst there, we came across these two who had come to join the party.
After dinner, we headed back to the poolside bar for a while. My bus was due to leave at 1am from the booking office which was about a 5 minute drive from the hotel. I headed down to the main road in the hope of getting a taxi. There was a couple of people waiting for the bus there. It transpired later, they got on the same bus as me. So I went further away to come back the same way and pick this group up. Probably could have saved myself 30,000 Vietnamese Dong which I eventually paid a local to take me to the booking office on his moped. I had my big backpack on me, it was dark and there was other bikes whizzing past in both directions. Falling off would have been somewhat inconvenient. I gripped the poor fella tight between my legs. I was like Cobra on Hang Tough, on the Gladiators. Those who remember the Gladiators will know what this game entailed. Thankfully, we got there safely.
I boarded the coach and settled in with some music for the four and a half hour journey to Ho Chi Minh. I arrived in Ho Chi Minh at about 5.30am and made my way to the Hideout Hostel where I am staying for my duration here. This is another Hostel which comes well recommended here in Vietnam. Amongst backpacker’s and travellers. I will blog about my time here in a future post.
Thank you for your interest in the posts and of course, as ever, thank you for the feedback. It’s nice to see people commenting. I love the fact that Angie Hawkesworth has messaged me on the site (twice). Ange, maybe you could text me off your Nokia 95-8-B-Turbo Power Handset. It will cost you about 50p per text though because you’re there and I’m here. Don’t forget I want the biggest roast dinner off you when I’m home. Who’s onion rings are these?
Until next time folks, stay blessed