After having not such a great time in Ho Chi Minh, we decided to venture north and stop at Mui Ne, apparently a beach side town with sand dunes as the main attraction.
We booked our tickets, which were very expensive, as we happened to be travelling on New Years Day. The ticket office we booked the tickets with said it would be a large bus with seats you can lay down in. Great we thought, we’ll be able to get really comfy and even have a sleep – oh how wrong we were…
We left our lovely hotel, Gia Vien (probably one of the nicest we’ve stayed in) and arrived at the bus stop, along with another French couple who had bought tickets from the same place. We queued up to hand our luggage over and after checking our tickets; the guy told the other couple to wait for the next bus but took our luggage and told us to board. We climbed onto the bus where a lady checked our tickets again and told us to get back off and wait for the next bus. We felt slightly confused but given that we’d always arrived at the correct destination in the past we decided she must be right. So off we got, retrieved our luggage out of the hold and waited for the next bus. Once it arrived, we queued again to stow our luggage and climbed onto the bus. We found our beds – 17 & 18A and climbed in. They were quite comfy but didn’t really allow you to stretch all the way as they just weren’t long enough. It was bad enough for me, let alone poor Barry. There was also no real place to stow any hand luggage, so this just had to sit on the bed with us. We’d just managed to get comfy when the French couple got on and started walking towards our seats. The next thing I knew the woman said to me ‘you’re in our seats, we’re 17 & 18A’. I checked our tickets again and we were in the correct seats. Turns out we’d both been given the same seats. Barry was adamant we weren’t to move as we had got there first and were already laying down. I looked at their tickets and noticed that the time for their bus said 7:45 and ours said 7:40. I suddenly realized that perhaps we should’ve got on the first bus and that the woman had made a mistake. I told Barry but he said it wasn’t our problem we just did what we were told so were going to stay put and not give up our seats. I agreed but had a feeling that this wasn’t going to end well for us and I knew the next bus wasn’t until 7:40 that night. The French couple started acting like crazy people, running up and down the bus shouting for help. Eventually they got the ticket man to come over. He looked at both our tickets and told Barry and I to move to the back. Although it was a pain, we were relieved not to have been kicked off the bus! So we moved to the back where there were 5 sleeper beds just lined up next to each other. This meant we would be sleeping next to total strangers in a very cramped space and as we were in the middle they would have to climb over us if they wanted to get out – really not our idea of fun!! To top if all off, my chair was broken so wouldn’t stay up, meaning I had to lay down the whole way, most uncomfortable!!
5 hours later, we finally arrived in Mui Ne and were so glad to be off that bus, vowing never to go on a sleeper bus again. Mui Ne was just one long road lined with restaurants, bars, and hotels. Typically, the bus stopped at the furthest end away from our hotel – The Golden Sail, so we jumped in a cab. We’d only planned on being in Mui Ne for one night, just a stop off to break up the long journey to our next destination, which was a further 5 hours away. So straight after check in we went for a wonder down the street to look for somewhere to book our next bus ticket. It was blazing hot sun and we’d run out of sun tan lotion, (which resulted in Barry getting a lovely redneck style sun burn on his neck and shoulders!!) We walked for what felt like hours, firstly to try and find anywhere that sold tickets and then to find somewhere that would sell them at a good price. The road ran parallel with the so-called beach – so called because it was filthy and was a very narrow piece of sand. There wasn’t even a pathway anywhere to get onto it. We were less than impressed. The pavements (when there was one) were lined with cow dung as cows were just randomly roaming the streets. Giving into the heat, we stopped for lunch. Barry decided to be all exotic and go for Ostrich, which was actually very tasty. After lunch we managed to book some tickets (annoyingly all they had left was another sleeper bus) and with bugger else to do in this no point town we went back to our hotel.
Whilst I was in the room, Barry, who was sitting outside, managed to get talking to our neighbour, a lovely girl from Belfast. I heard him talking so went out to see what he was doing. I was most surprised to see that he’d made a friend – Barry hates people and socialising so I was shocked. This was the first time he’d independently spoken to anyone so far on this trip. We sat and had a few beers with her whilst exchanging travel stories. She was stuck in this town for 4 nights so we were grateful we were out of there within 24 hours.
Feeling a bit tipsy we headed out for dinner. We ducked into the first restaurant we found, which was next door to our hotel, as there was no way we were going to walk miles again. Barry said he wasn’t very hungry so ordered a Vietnamese seafood salad – he couldn’t even finish it, as it was so spicy! I ordered steamed crab. The menu said the price was charged by weight so I asked the waiter how much and he said 100,000D for 1 kilo. Sounded like a good deal, so I said I’d have 1 kilo for 100,000D, he agreed and off he went. When the crab arrived, there were 5 of them all staring at me. Barry had to help me out and after we devoured them, we asked for our bill. It arrived and we been charged for 2 kilos. We sent the bill back and when it came back for the second time it said the crab was 600,000D. Knowing that this wasn’t what we agreed to, we pointed it out to the waitress who said it was 600,000D for 1 kilo. Barry started to argue with her and then the man came over who had quoted us the other price, only he denied it. So a full on row between Barry and the waiter commenced. I didn’t know where to look and started to worry that they were going to call the police. Scenes from Banged Up Abroad were flashing through my mind, but we were so adamant that we weren’t going to be ripped off again that we stood our ground. Barry threw down enough money to cover the bill for the crab being 100,000D and added in a little bit extra. Barry said, “That’s all you’re getting” and with that we walked out…at high speed. Barry said to me quick, walk fast and don’t look back. I really thought they were going to chase after us or jump on their bikes and follow us, but we got back to our hotel without being stopped. We ran into our room and locked the door. I felt bad for the man but he definitely said 100,000D and Barry heard the same.
That night we had a terrible nights sleep as we kept waiting for a knock at the door and to be dragged out by the police. Luckily that didn’t happen and after a quick breakfast in the hotel, we were out of there and on our bus.
So in answer to this blogs title – definitely NOT Mui Ne!