And this paradise-like place in Southeast Asia is none other than.... beautiful Mui Ne.
It's a stretch of beach set to the North-east of Ho chi Minh just a short 4-5 hour coach ride away, perfect for a weekend getaway from crazy HCM... 

How to go: You can get in by bus, train or taxi, but via train you would still need to transfer to taxi, and for taxi the cost is rather steep so i would advise you travel via bus. Many tour agencies and hotels offer the service of helping you book the coach/bus ride to Mui Ne, and it costs a mere US$6 approx. details here
For those who want a more comfy ride there is also the option of a 'sleeping bus' (US$10 approx), which gives you slightly more leg room, but not necessarily better space... Look at the photos and you will see what i mean: 

enjoying the reclining 'sleeping bus' seats

caucasian tourists not enjoying the 'sleeping bus' as much...

It was a pleasant coach ride for us short Asians but I could see clearly from the back the caucasians/taller Asians were visibly uncomfortable, shifting in their seats, having to bend their knees and change their sitting position from time to time. The bus ride will take you through phan thiet, a nearby town, first, picking up/dropping off more passengers along the way before reaching Mui Ne.

what the seats look like 

At Mui Ne there are a wide variety of seasports you can engage in, most interestingly, you can do kitesurfing there due to the strong winds along the coast. Kite surfing instruction is available at approximately $60USD hourly from November till March. We weren't feeling particularly adventurous so we just took a nice stroll on the beach instead and gave the kitesurfing a miss. 

Aside from seasports and the sandy beaches, Mui Ne is most famous for it's sand dunes. One can easily book a day tour from Ho Chi Minh or with a hotel/tour agency in Mui Ne that will take you to all the attractions, including the white sand dunes, red sand dunes and fairy springs. We booked ours through out hotel (review of hotel below), and it cost us US$40 for a day trip for 1 jeep (max 4 people excluding driver). 

First stop they took us was to see the sand dunes at sunrise. You need to get up really early like 5-6am for this, so be sure to have rested well the night before otherwise you'd be grouchy and tired at the dunes, which is a huge waste. 

watching the sun rise over the dunes

this is not photoshopped... surreal right?

The White dunes are actually quite a cool place for a wedding shoot. We saw a couple take some there and the photos looked really dreamy. 
After the sunrise at the white dunes, we were whisked off to the red dunes. By the time we reached it was mid morning and the sun was scorching hot. 

kids at the red sand dunes

Interesting thing is, at the red sand dunes, there will be some local kids who follow you around, asking you if you would like to rent a slide from them so that you can slide down the red dunes. The couple who followed us around we really cute and one could speak in English surprisingly well. eventually we caved in and rented 1 slide so 1 of us could slide down. If you want to try sliding down the dunes this is actually quite a good idea because if you rent it it’s for unlimited times of sliding down, however much you want, but it’s the climbing up part that’s really tiring… or so said my friend D. 

Following the red dunes, we made a short stop at the local fishing pier. I actually liked this the most. 

The interactions of the locals, and the way they went about their daily activities was really interesting, and totally untouristy, unlike the rest of Mui ne which I find rather contrived and ‘made-up’. The short half an hour we spent walking around here, observing the locals gave us an insight into their daily lives. 

Finally we were dropped off at the fairly springs, the last stop of the day tour. The rock formations there are interesting and the spring water is really nice and cool, great to take off your foot wear and soak your feet in for a while, but the attraction itself was nothing amazing. 

After our tour we went back to our hotel, packed our bags and waited for our coach back to HCM. Mui Ne was quite a bit of fun and we were all reluctant to leave but we had already booked our hotel for HCM  for 1 more night. All in all, though it was only a 2D1N trip, we really had a good time and I would definitely recommend others to visit Mui Ne if planning a trip to HCM.  

Hotel Review: We stayed at the lovely Mui Ne Hills, which is a semi-hotel/bed and breakfast establishment, perched on a small hill just a short 10 minutes walk from the main beach. 

Walking up the alley, you will see Mui Ne Hills 2 first

About 100m further up is Mui Ne hills 1, the original 

poolside at night

Mui Ne Hills is ranked 1st on tripadvisor, and it was easy for us to see why- affordable price at 70USD per night for the 3 of us (sometimes they have promotions, it’s even cheaper!), prompt replies/emails, quirky location with a great sunset view of Mui Ne, excellent service from the staff (Erik, and another dude, from Germany, whose name I forgot), nice pool and lounging chairs and sumptuous breakfast!

My only irk was that our room didn’t have air conditioning, which wasn’t a problem at night but meant the room felt like a sauna with the afternoon heat emanating through … Luckily we were out for most of the bit, and only returned at night, which then the lack of air conditioning wasn’t a problem. 

checkout the scorching sun...