Actions speak louder than words at Mui Ne

9 Sep

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS AT MUI NE  It started with a night on the toilet and ended with a bottle of vodka and a talent show. I had one of the greatest times of my life during a week at Mui Ne on the south coast of Vietnam and I have my new Vietnamese friends to thank for it.

Games on the beach were great fun. We built the house in the background.

I don’t remember ever being as excited as when I arrived on Mui Ne beach to the loudest doof doof music, flags, tunnels and a number of games that had been set up along the beach especially for us. I felt like I was part of a crazy television game show, except I didn’t understand the rules or instructions. Despite the language barrier between myself and my friends, I contributed to the games by following demonstrations from my peers. However, I felt like a real burden when we played the spiderweb game … A game which requires lifting people through a puzzle of strings … A game which was not designed for Vietnamese people and full grown westerners. I claimed the biggest opening right from the start. Nonetheless, my team managed to win and we were rewarded with some wine.

I joined a group of Vietnamese men for a night of drinking and singing.

To bask in our glory and to enjoy the prize, I was invited to “the party room” that night. I arrived early to find just three men sitting on the floor with their shirts off, drinking rice wine and munching on some snacks that smelt distinctively like dried shrimp. I felt like an arts student who just walked onto the soccer field – we all knew I didn’t belong there. It was only a matter of time before the room filled, though, and we sung songs for hours. We shared rice wine and vodka and I fell more and more in love with Vietnam’s culture and people.

Mui Ne offered some major experiences and lessons that are key to life in Vietnam. I had a bumpy start, with a few illnesses and adjustments. But I’ve learnt a lot (did I mention I learnt tango dancing for a talent show at Mui Ne?) and I continue to be amazed at how inclusive and welcoming people are, even when I feel like I might be in the wrong place. It doesn’t matter if you can’t speak the same language as actions speak louder than words.

Me and my friends at a Cham temple in Phan Thiet near Mui Ne.

About Mui Ne

Mui Ne is an infamous kite surfing destination just five hours north-east of Ho Chi Minh City by bus. It’s dominated by a number of large resorts along the beachfront that vary from basic to elite. Phan Thiet is just ten minutes from Mui Ne and has a number of sights including the Cham temple pictured right. Another major highlight of the region are white and red sand dunes.

Getting there and accommodation

I caught a tourist bus alone from Pham Ngu Lao in Ho Chi Minh City which costs just US$5. The journey took around five hours and the glorious destination was worth every minute of the bumpy ride. There are dozens of tour companies on Pham Ngu Lao street that operate daily buses to Mui Ne and Phan Thiet.

I stayed at Sunny Beach Resort which is picturesque, charming and very, very peaceful (especially compared to the mayhem of Ho Chi Minh City). The resort is located on Mui Ne beach, it has two large pools and a restaurant that must be complimented. A variety of rooms are available, from beach view bungalows to budget twin share.

By Marissa Toohey


2 Responses to “Actions speak louder than words at Mui Ne”

  1. Mike Yupangco September 12, 2010 at 5:44 AM #


    I stumbled on your blog via an expat web site. I am very impressed with the time and energy you put for this site with your experiences in Vietnam

    I see that you moved to Vietnam.

    I am from Toronto Canada. I am interested in moving to Saigon, and I want to teach English or find an English-speaking job.

    I am really interested in knowing how you survived in terms of finding a job, language, etc.

    It scares me that shared houses are not common in Saigon.

    I hope to hear from you soon


    mike.yupangco at

    • theBubbleBuster September 12, 2010 at 10:52 PM #

      Hi Mike,
      Don’t be afraid of making the big move. There are hundreds of friendly and supportive expats you can draw on in country. I have met dozens of teachers at networking events and they are all having a great time here.
      Your consulate is the best place to start when you arrive as they can put you in touch with professional networks and many consulate staff are involved in events too, including sports on weekends.
      Most expats live in guest houses or with Vietnamese families. But it is possible to find a share house. It just usually takes a while to find one. Real estates are helpful when looking for apartments as well.

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