Today Drifter arrived and much of our time has been shooting the **** and I have a feeling that the next few days will be busy. I will do my best to keep up.
We board out open tour bus tight in the thick of things in the tourist area in District 1. How convenient, no taxi’s or busses to hop. Some of them will even pick you up at your hotel. What better service than that. The bus is large and air- conditioned. It will be a bit of a slow way to travel, but we want to see all of the sights, so off we go. The drive takes us through house lined streets and business, even past a large Disneyland like theme park called Suoi Tien not far from Saigon. A little further and we are into the country to see the sights. The bus passes rice fields, small towns, and eventually enteres an area of desert like sand dunes. We must be getting close to Phan Thiet.
Located in Binh Thuan province, Phan Thiet is 200 km from Saigon and lies south of Cam Ranh bay on the southernmost stretch of Central Vietnam. Binh Thuan was once a part of the Cham kingdom. In 1692, Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu captured the area and named it Binh Thuan Dinh. Binh Thuan is quite important in Vietnam’s history, as it was because of this area that in 1306 King Tran Nhan Tong agreed to the marriage of princess Huyen Chan to King Jaya Sinhavarman III of the Cham Kingdom. During
the revolution against the French, it was in this area that the two patriots Phan Chu Trinh and Tran Quy Cap had their start. Furthermore, according to local lore, the area around Phan Thiet is where Han Mac Tu, the disfigured poet, spent his time forlornly as he waited for Mong Cam, the lady of his dreams. Bai Rang or Rang Beach is probably the most beautiful beach in Phan Thiet. It is located 15 Km northeast of Phan Thiet and is described by the locals as the beach that is nestled in the middle of a coconut palm forest. Other landmarks in the area of Rang beach are Da Ong Dia (boulders of the Earth God), and Suoi Tien (Celestial stream). By far the most popular area among tourists are Mui Ne Sand Dunes and Mui Ne Beaches located 12 miles East of Phan Thiet. The sand dunes in this area are shaped by the elements of the wind and therefore are a spectacular site to the visitors. Mui Ne has had a number of resorts claim the beaches and a person can spend a very relaxing couple of days enjoying a beach holiday with water sports. It can be windy there and that makes Mui Ne very good for parasailing, wind surfing and other sports. The sand is a bit courser than some of the other beaches in Vietnam, but still beautiful just the same.
I have had a bit of a conflict as t the meaning of Mui Ne with a Destination expert for the area. I have been told by more than one source including a person who was born and lived there that the word Mui = mosquito and the word Ne is away from the wind. So the translation means “no mosquitoes” That made sense to me with the wind there, but then I was informed by the “local area expert” That in
fact the translation was Mu~i meaning nose or peninsula and Ne meaning to duck or to take shelter. Hmmmmm I guess maybe there is an old and new interpetation.
After spending the night, (or two or three if you wish) it is back on the open tour bus to head up to NhaTrang. A person could have flown from Saigon to NhaTrang. It is not expensive at around 40 dollars, but with so much luggage, I did not want to pay the extra charges. (Sometimes I fly with two bags and have not been charged for the extra bag. I do not know why, and I am not gong to question it.) From Saigon, I could have also taken the train
for about fifteen bucks or so, but it travels at night and I would have missed all of the sights that I was interested is seeing, so back on the open tour bus I go. The total cost to NhaTrang on this mode of transportation was about eight dollars. I did a little research on hotels on the internet and had decided on a place that looks good. I arrive in NhaTrang near the tourist area and am greeted by taxis and motorcycles all looking for a fare. Great!! I hire one to take me to my pre arranged destination, but I am advised that for some reason this is not the place to go. In their expert opinion, I would be much better off in another place. Tired, I agree and end in a nice, but not what I chose hotel. The taxi driver goes away happy that he made a fare, and a commission from the hotel he delivered you to. Too bad for the place you had planned to stay. A good night sleep and now what are we going to do? We are in NhaTrang. The city that almost all Vietnamese flock to for R & R.