US or AU $'s
Absolutely no problems with Au Dollars in Vietnam. If you organise for you hotel to pick you up from the airport you will be fine to change Au dollars after checking in and unpacking. I would not suggest you use US Dollars when shopping etc, you will get a better deal using Dong. Waking up in our Beach front Cottage while staying in the Little Mui Ne Cottages we were greeted with Cow's walking along the beach, no noise just the beautiful balmy morning a few dozen cows and their owner, cows on the beach was the last thing I expected, my 6 year old grandaughter was delighted.
Comments to the guidebook (Lonely Planet)
Page 96: We stayed at the Lotus Guesthouse, which is family run but very run down. The small rooms are hardly rooms, but the bigger ones are ok. They held our luggage for us (which is a very common service for most hotels) when we went to Halong Bay and they are very nice people. We also stayed at Thu Gian which has helpful staff and is familiy run too. It is a bit run down but a nice place.
Page 100: We ate at Dinh Lang Restaurant which was the most expensive meal we had on the whole trip. It is very overpriced compared to the taste of the food. Presentation is very good though.
Page 102: The Tamarin café serves only the purpose of selling trips. Avoid their restaurant. It is very overpriced compared to what you get.
Page 107: Water puppets. Consider buying your tickets a few days ahead – it apparently is a very popular show.
Page 109: Markets are very good, but generally sell the same. If you have seen one, you have seen them all. You can buy silk sleeping bags. Consider buying in Hanoi or Hoi An. Beyond Hoi An we did not see these bags so frequently for sale.
Page 111: The Vietnam Airlines Bus explained – when you leave the arrival area in Hanoi airport there will be a lot of people trying to grab you. Go for Vietnam Airlines minibusses. It´s $2. They will drop you of at the main Vietnam Airlines Office in Hanoi, but before they do that a man enters the bus and says that “all foreigners should stay”. Seeing that there are a LOT of Vietnam Airlines signs in Hanoi you don´t know where the drop of is, but your cue is when the man enters – then get off instead of being driven around town looking for hotels. 10-15 people at the stop will try to grab you and get you to a hotel. Just tell them that you already have room at Lotus or whatever.
Page 130: For a small group tour it is around $37 to $50. the boats are ok, but the fans and aircon are only powered at night and they shut of early in the morning. Some parts of the tour is very touristy and prices for water and drinks can be the double. It´s still cheap though. Going to Halong Bay is a great experience and take three days if the weather forecast is good.
Going from Danang Airport to Hoi An cost us $10. We shared the taxi with to other travellers to save money. Our taxi driver tried to get us to one of his commisioned hotels and from what we have been told, he gets his commison just for bringing us there. Afterwards he will take you to your prefered location. So don´t worry if the driver makes deviations in order to make af small stop – he will get you to where you want afterwards.
Page 233: Touts are on the loose again in Hoi An.
Page 240: We stayed at the Thien Nga Hotel. We paid $10 for what we consider worth $20-25. This is a very good option. The correct adress is: 52 Ba Trieu St.
Page 245: Cua Dai Beach (http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i17/rkhanen/8013360f.jpg)
is the best beach we saw on our trip. You can easily get there with a bycicle and it´s a pretty trip through rural areas (http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i17/rkhanen/IMG_0903.jpg). When you get there you are “forced” to park your bike in some “offical parking lot” which costs 2.000 VND. You can maybe avoid it by taking another route than the main road like we did.
Page 246: The trip to My Son (http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i17/rkhanen/IMG_0870.jpg) was very interesting but short. Remember that you have to pay an additional 60.000 VND for the entry eventhough you have already paid for the tour. The guide will collect the money and we have checked: the entry fee is 60.000 VND so he takes no “commision” :)
Page 262: There is no longer any Mr. Lang´s Book Exchange seeing that the war memorial has been replaced by some horrible building that is no constructed yet – the city has run out of money! There are a lot of other book exchanges though.
Page 261: The service on the beach is not incredible – it´s annoying…massage is very good though. Beach chairs cost 25.000 VND for one day and you get disturbed all the time by vendors. Food from the beach chair rental place is horrible and expensive. Bring your own water & food. All restaurants can arrange take-away for you.
Page 269: There are not so many boat tours that are worth taking, and taking a non “charter boat” does not give much extra. Apparantly the authorites have imposed very hard restrictions on where the boats can go and stop, so it´s not like in Thailand where you can hire a long tail boat to cruise you around to magnificent beaches. In Nha Trang everybody has to go to the same places – tour or no tour. We tried several things and the best was our morning trip with a dive boat (Octopus Diving, 62 Thran Phu) where you get dropped of at 2 places for snorkeling if you´re not going diving. We paid $7 pr. person and it was worth it. We could have paid less but felt very confident with the staff at Octopus Diving (http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i17/rkhanen/IMG_1275.jpg).
Page 271: We stayed at the Blue Star Hotel which has nice people running the place and it is located in a good spot in town. Lower rates ($10) do not include breakfast.
Page 276: the airport has moved!! It is now located far from Nha Trang an you are forced to take a taxi. No motorbikes…no nothing. If you can hook up with other people you can hire a minivan for 200.000VND (6 people). We had to argue a lot to get this price and people where not nice at the airport.
At the travel agency in Nha Thrang they told us that the bus would drop us of at our hotel. That´s not really correct. They completely ignored our several requests. When the bus arrives next to the T.M. Brothers café in Mui Ne they leave people who are going to Saigon to go get lunch and tour around with you for commisoned hotels. So get of and let yourself be grabbed by a motorbike driver if your hotel is far away. The drivers will of course try to get you to their commisoned places and try to arrange all sorts of things with you. It´s up to you what you want :)
Page 285: To give ourselves a treat and seeing that there is not much to do in Mui Ne besides sand dunes we stayed at Little Mui Ne Cottages. For $60 you get a very nice beachfront cottage (http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i17/rkhanen/IMG_1402.jpg). The free Internet and bycicle is not worth it but everything else is. Their seafood is very good, but stay away from other dishes in the menu which are not vietnamese. Breakfast consist of a nice buffet. Prices in the restaurant are steep, but there is a very good and cheap restaurant just opposite the hotel
When we were there, the beaches were filled with garbage – we have never seen anything like it (http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i17/rkhanen/IMG_1480.jpg). My friend told me though that when he was there last year the beaches where clean. Maybe the wind and currents were different…
Not much to say – great city. We stayed in the minihotel alley in the Pham Lao Ngu area. Everything was booked so we had to rely on a tout. For $12 we got an ok room with friendly staff even though our hostess insisted on that we had to leave at 9:00 in order to be in the airport for our flight at 12:30. we arrived at 9:30 in the airport – three hours before departure :)
mui ne beach
has anyone stayed at the bamboo village resort in mui ne beach and if so, what did you think of it? planning to stay in on off the bungalows if we go there.....also what of the little mui ne cottages?
RE: mui ne beach
you can try this link to get information
Christmas in Mui Ne
We have booked a resort called little Mui Ne cottages. Can anyone tell me about this resort or a bit more about Mui Ne. We plan to stay for 5 nights, is this too long.
RE: RE: Christmas in Mui Ne
I've been to Mui Ne in August 2003, I spent 5 nights or so in a beachside resort. Beaches are really really nice, because it's the sea (big waves!).
According to a native vietnamese, Christmas is celebrated more and more in Vietnam, but obviously not as much as their new year.
You'll have a wonderful time in Mui Ne because once you get bored of the beach action you can go to nearby Phan thiet, they have discos/restos/etc
RE: Christmas in Mui Ne
I didn't get there myself but I've been told Mui Ne is becoming a center of watersport and sailing activity because of very consistant winds.Ive been told it's a great spot for windsurfers and kitesurfers.Definetly smaller and less built up than Nha Trang.5 nights too long?....You can never spend too much time on the beach.--Cioa
Mui Ne questions
We are staying 2 nights at Little Mui Ne Cottages.
They do not have sports activities on the resort so I was wondering where we could go in the area to do:
windsurfing, surfing, kitesurf, body boarding, wakeboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving, jetskis, golf.
What else do you recommend doing/seeing in Mui Ne/Phan Thiet?
Is it better taking the train or car service from HCMC to Mui Ne? I hear there is a rail service from HCMC to Phan Thiet.
Re: Mui Ne questions
Ocean Dunes Golf Club, Phan Thiet http://www.vietnamgolfresorts.com/index.php?id=7
expect sea breezes to be a slight challenge.
The only water sport I've seen in Mui Ne was waterboat kite flying. There must be other sports but I haven't seen them.
Re: Mui Ne questions
I stayed at the Little Mui Ne Cottages about 1 and a half years ago but alas it was only for the night,we left the next Morning, I do wish we had more time there, we enjoyed the hotel our bungalow on the beach was a wonderful position. However we did have a car and a driver which I find better as you can change your mind and take detours if you like, also easier with luggage. Sorry I couldn't be much help.
Re: Mui Ne questions
Regarding transportation from HCMC to Mui-Ne: The sleeper-bus (used mainly by tourists) is your best choice, read my tip under "HCMC transportation": http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/d29d6/167100/9/
As for what to do in Mui-Ne: Besides the sea (breezy!) and the water sports, visit the red sand dunes, read my tip under "Phan Thiet things to do":
You can also rent a jeep+guide and go to the white sand dunes, about 20 min from Mui Ne. Definitely go and visit the Mui Ne fishermen village, which is still authentic and unspoiled, better early in the morning when the boats come back from the sea. You can watch my videos:
Another nice place to visit is Fairy Spring, with a short trek in a small canyon with colored sandstone walls. It is easily accessible on foot from the main coast road.
If you want to see an example of Cham temple architecture visit the Po Shanu Cham Towers, halfway between Mui Ne and Phan Thiet. They can be reached by public bus + a short walk, or by bicycle /car / motorbike from Mui-Ne.
In Phan Thiet itself I would recommend the market (very authentic)and the picturesque fishing harbor.
Re: Mui Ne questions
Sports hit Jibes, no scuba in Phan Thiet. Night life in Jibes is also pretty good. Think the previous posts covered the sights, though if your up to it hire a bike and do the cham temples and dunes yourself, bit more fun.