Both Mui Ne and Vung Tau are Vietnamese tourist locations with a primary offering of “beach”.
Traveling down the coastal region of Central to South Vietnam, I’ve been on a bit of a beach tear lately. Quy Nhon, Nah Trang, Mui Ne, and now Vung Tau. Each of these four cities have become tourist destinations because of its beach. (Actually – Quy Nhon isn’t a tourist destination at all, I ended up there on a complete whim after sitting on my motorbike for 7 hours and my ass couldn’t take anymore…)
I spent the last two days in Mui Ne – a city that is very much on the tourist map. Nearly every sign is written in English, Russian, and Vietnamese. “Russian!?” you say? Yes Russian. For reasons that I cannot understand, Vietnam is actually a very popular tourist destination for Russians. Their presence is quite overwhelming in Nah Trang as well, and that’s not just because they are all wearing speedos.
Anyway – my time in Mui Ne consisted of reading in a pool, walking along what passes as a beach, and watching people kite-surf. In fact – with the addition of drinking and eating, there isn’t a whole lot more to do in Mui Ne, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I finished both Treasure Island (a book that apparently doesn’t have Robinson Crusoe in it!) and finally finished The Omnivores Dilema. I downloaded and started two new books – Enders Shadow and …Robinson Crusoe.
Similarly notable in Mui Ne – the first night there devolved into a decent sized and fairly organized party. Four of us went through (nearly) two bottles of Vodka ($5 a piece) and an undetermined number of beers. This eventually transitioned into drinking with some locals and the hotel staff, and later on in the night finished with 9 half naked people in the pool around 2AM. (With such vigorous partying I was almost able to sleep past 7AM for the first time in a long while…)
I had planned to stay in Mui Ne for another night and use the following day to attempt to learn how to kite-surf, but the weather forecast was showing an abundance of rain for the following day. This is important – since I’m trying to NOT have to ride my motorcycle in the rain. As a result, I only stayed in Mui Ne for the two nights and took off this morning (once again as soon as the sun came up) for Vung Tau – another beach town – which keeps inching me closer to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
After getting lost a few times I eventually did make it to Vung Tau. It turns out that Christ The Redeemer – the famous statue in Rio de Janeiro, has a younger brother in Vietnam. I walked along the beach, climbed over a few areas of rocks I wasn’t supposed to go to, eventually caught up with the road, and wandered up the mountain to see lil’ Jesus. (While Vietnam is predominately Buddhist, roughly 10% of the population is identified as Christian.) There were a ton of statues of various Christian historical events throughout the entire climb up to the statue. Ironically – in looking online to find the exact number of steps that are required to get up TO the statue, I discovered that you can apparently pay to climb an additional 133 steps up through the statue to see a full view of the city. I’m a little bit pissed now and may have to go back tomorrow if I’m still here…which brings me to my travel plans.
I had originally planned to stay in Vung Tau for two full days (today and tomorrow). Unfortunately, like I’ve mentioned above – my travel plans are dictated in part by the weather. Tomorrow there is a 0% chance of rain in both Vung Tau AND Saigon. The day after – 90% chance of rain. As a result, I’m closely monitoring the weather and may end up leaving for Saigon in the morning.
While I certainly don’t have a schedule, the weather is about the only thing that can boss me around. I’ve included one picture of the statue below, but check out the photos page for the other pictures I’ve added of Vung Tau and the area he’s in.
Oh, and if I am here tomorrow – I’m totally going to the market!
Lastly, my hotel is directly across from a giant Karaoke complex and it’s nearly Saturday night. This is most likely my “can’t miss!” entertainment of the evening.