Experience · Food · Travel · Vietnam

Mui Ne – A Short Getaway

Have you been to Mui Ne? Do you know where Mui Ne is? To be honest, I never heard of this city before. I heard it from my friends and they said it’s really nice to relax there. Mui Ne is a small city in the north of Ho Chi Minh City. You can reach there via train or car. I used a car, and it took me around 4 hours of driving. There are some hotels which allow pet as well. One of them is the place where I stayed, Canary Beach Resort. They allow pet in the resort and their private beach, but preferably small pets.

Many expat friends recommended Coco Beach resort for being pet friendly. I checked their price and it was very expensive! USD 510 for 3 nights for a 3-star hotel. While at Canary Beach Hotel, I spent USD 240 for 3 nights. Although we didn’t have our private bungalow, I think the room is very comfortable and big! I asked for 2 single beds, and I got 2 queen-sized bed! We have our own balcony as well with sea view (yes, I chose sea view over garden view! :D).

Our hotel area is not big but really nice. It has swimming pool, breakfast buffet and private beach.

At first I wanted to make a day-to-day journal for this trip, but I will skip it and just make it easier to look at, which is where to eat and what to do in Mui Ne. That is the most frequently asked question when we go on a trip 😀

Now let’s start with what to do in Mui Ne. The city is small so there aren’t many things to do there. These are what we did on our trip :

  • Relaxing on beach, enjoying sunset

Of course! It’s a trip to the beach.You can’t miss the sunset (and sunrise, if you want). Relaxing on the beach, or swimming, or playing with sands, anything!

 

  • Red Sand Dunes

This one is a must-visit spot in Mui Ne. A beautiful red sand dunes in the middle of city. Don’t go there between 10.00 am til 4.00 pm because it will really hot. We went there around 10.30 am and the sands were really hot! Use sandals when you come to this place. There were some local people trying to get us rent a board for sliding on the dunes. I bet it’s really fun to do that, but we couldn’t do it because we had our dogs with us and it was very hot as well. Didn’t want to get a sun burn. A sunblock cream / lotion is a must here. We also read on some reviews that this place is good to enjoy sunset.

 

  • White Sand Dunes

White Sand Dunes is a little far from resort area. It’s about 30 minutes to get there and need to ask the way from local people. I think google map has it as well but it was different location, better ask local.

It’s also known as white lake, because there is a beautiful lake next to it. We need to pay for entrance ticket and parking ticket (if you bring car). The lake is really beautiful. I couldn’t stopped taking pictures.

We can rent an ATV. There are 2 types of vehicles, small one and big one. They have different price, and it depends on how long you rent it as well. We didn’t rent it because we were in a hurry when we were there (it was 12.00 pm! hungry tummy :()

We kept walking on the sand between trees until we reached the dunes. It was really beautiful! It must be nice to stay longer there and explore around with the ATV. Maybe next time I’ll do it! They said that it is a good place to watch sunset as well.

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  • Fairy Stream

This place has many entrance which are connected to each other. You can go from any entrance you want. Just find the one nearest from your resort. We found one very close from Canary Beach Hotel, it was on the opposite side. We need to pay for 5.000 vnd for them to keep our shoes/sandals. Note : better use sandals if possible. And then you just need to follow the path there (or follow the people :D). We had no idea which way to go, but we saw many people went to right direction, so we followed them. And it was the right decision! First part will make you question what’s so special about this place. Just a normal river with very shallow flowing water.

And slowly you will enter a new area with natural stones, amazing job by nature.

And next up is the most beautiful part of Fairy Stream. Sands, stones, water and grass all together making a very beautiful view.

My friend read on one of the review that there is a mini waterfall at the end of path. So we tried to reach there but we gave up on the way. Too much water and the area was not nice anymore. We took a note that after the first area where you need to cross a knee-high water, just go back to entrance because there’s nothing to see anymore. The mini waterfall also less tempting compared to avoiding the muddy water on the way.

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Stop after you see this area.

 

  • Champa Temple

Champa Temple is a bonus visit. We didn’t plan to go here, but since we’re in the neighborhood we stopped by. We had to walk to the hill to see the temple. After the entrance there is an area with many statue and intended for praying.

And at the top, there are 2 temple and a rest area. It has a beautiful view to the city.

 

We also need to know places to eat around Mui Ne. I used Tripadvisor and Foursquare to find a restaurant and see the review or recommendation. These are the restaurant we went during the trip :

  • Sandals Restaurant @ MIA Mui Ne

This restaurant has a really good review. It is located inside MIA Resort, a 4-stars resort. The resort looks really nice and clean. We didn’t find this on our search before because they don’t allow pet here.

It looks luxurious lol. I told my friend this restaurant can’t be cheap by looking at the exterior of this resort. But at least the reviews said the food is good.

These are the food we ordered that night. The grilled scallop was so-so, but risotto mushroom was really really yummy! I was never a fan of risotto, but I like this one very much. Their brownies was so-so as well, too sweet for my taste.

  • Bao Tran Restaurant (Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street)

We were looking for Bao Tram (from Foursquare), a Vietnamese restaurant, but ended up at Bao Tran, also selling Vietnamese food. The owner was really friendly and helpful. The food was so-so, but good price. _DSC5552

  • Bao Tran Guesthouse (89 Huynh thunc khang)

This one is close from our resort. It was quite famous in backpackers group. We tried fried fish and also veggies spring roll. Food was so-so, but cheap. Maybe we should’ve tried their grilled fish. It looked delicious and smelled yummy as well!

 

  • Sindbad (233 Nguyen Dinh Chieu)

This restaurant is number 1 on tripadvisor for restaurant in Mui Ne lol. A middle east restaurant, selling kebab. But I must admit their kebab was really tasty. It also come in big portion, even for the small size. And the price was quite cheap as well, so it was really a good deal for meal.

 

  • Bo Ke Lam Vien

There are many seafood restaurants along Nguyen Dinh Chieu street. We had a hard time to pick one because all of them looked crowded. Our driver dropped us at Mr Crab, he said it is the most famous restaurant there. But I was hesitating because the review of that place is so-so, and also the night before I saw another restaurant really crowded. So we decided to move to Bo Ke Lam Vien.

 

 

We ordered several dishes for just the 2 of us! They cooked it very well. Our favorite was scallop with butter and green onion, and grilled squid. The fish with lemongrass was actually not bad, but it was a bit bland, need to add some soy sauce. Shrimp tempura was so fail in term of shape lol. It was not like the one we were imagined. The last dish, baby squid with lemongrass, chilli and garlic was good to eat with steam rice. We didn’t order rice so it was tasted a bit too much of spices for us. But overall the foods were yummy! Happy tummy on last night in Mui Ne.

 

That’s all I can share about my trip to Mui Ne. Thank you for reading this very long post lol. Will update you on my next trip 😉 Ciao!

Food

Ru Restaurant – First Try

Update 7 March 2018: This restaurant is permanently closed. 

I wonder why I’ve never heard about this restaurant before. In Tripadvisor, it has higher rank than cuc gach quan! I’m guessing there was some changes in this restaurant that made it more famous now. This restaurant is like a hidden gem. Located in small street and on 2nd floor of diet center (Yea i know, they are tricky right?! Make you eat a lot and feel guilty then you will join their slimming program xD ). Their address is 27E Trần Nhật Duật, Tân Định, Hồ Chí Minh. Open from 10 am to 10 pm everyday.

Their main dishes are Vietnamese food. I heard their com tam (broken rice) with grilled pork is good, so I ordered that. While my husband ordered their lunch set. As you can see below, they have 6 sets for lunch, for 99k vnd (including vat). It consists of appetizer, main dish and drink. Quite a bargain! (Update : Last time I went there, they changed the lunch set menu. It only has Set 1, 3, 4 and Veg Set)

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Lunch Set Menu @ Ru Restaurant

The first dish has come!

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Deep Fried Spring Rolls

This spring rolls are awesome! Really really good! Crispy but not overcooked, and it tasted really yummy (yes it made me smile!). Must order this one again next time, but not from lunch set because it’s only 2 pcs 😦 I want moreee~!

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Sauteed Pho Noodle with Australian Beef

For this menu, the waitress asked if we want normal noodle or dry noodle. Since we saw a review about crispy noodle being recommended, we ordered with crispy noodle. I love this dish as well. The veggies are nicely cooked. The beef were juicy and seasoned perfectly. When you eat it all together (crispy noodle + beef + veggies), it’s really delicious. Yum~!

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Broken Rice with BBQ Pork

This one is my favorite. Well-cooked broken rice, and that BBQ pork… tastes like heaven! I can easily cut it, and very juicy. It almost melt in my mouth. The side veggies was not my favorite.

It is a really nice place to have lunch or dinner. You should try it. I definitely will come back!

Food · Ho Chi Minh City · Vietnam

The temple club – Vietnamese Restaurant

Sometime a fancy restaurant doesn’t look like it from the entrance. This is the case with the temple club as well. I’ve never been here so it’s exciting to try it out. The entrance is small and looks like an entrance to a temple. There are statue on both sides of the way. The restaurant is on 2nd floor, we went up through a stone stairway. This place is famous because Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had dinner there on their visit in 2006.

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Once you are inside the restaurant, you can tell that this is a high-end Vietnamese Restaurant. Expect high price on menu 😉

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We had lunch there because it is near from my husband’s office, so it’s very convenient for us and our guest. It’s a very cozy and relax restaurant. Quiet, not too noisy. We ordered several dishes and shared it.

Vietnamese Spring Roll Temple Club

Cha Gio / Fried Spring Roll

Their cha gio / fried spring roll is actually pretty good. But it was not special and the size was small. Eat it with the sauce. Yummy.

5 spices pork with rice noodle temple club

5 spices pork with rice noodle

This pork is very tasty. I like this one the best than other dishes we ordered. It has a similar feeling of eating pork satay, only without stick 😀 Very recommended to try.

Sauteed Chicken in Tamarind Temple Club
Cha Gio / Fried Spring Roll

Do not order this one. Well I’m not recommend it, but if you would like to try then it’s okay. For me, the taste was bland. Couldn’t enjoyed this one.

In conclusion from several dishes we ordered, this place is good for meeting up with people, but the food is so-so and the price is really high. I’m not sure if I will go there again anytime soon. Maybe if I have a visitor who wants to experience what Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt had experienced there 😉

Food · Ho Chi Minh City · Vietnam

Fried Crab Spring Roll @Wrap & roll

I’ve been in Vincom Center for several times, and spent most of the time on the basement because that’s where the restaurants are. Trust me, don’t go to the food-court on highest floor. If you’re looking for something to eat or drink, or just to hang out with friends, go to basement area. There are many restaurants and coffee shops.

This time I tried Wrap & Roll. I was tempted by the picture they put outside of the restaurant actually. There were only a few people eating when I came there. It was after lunch time at that time but I was so hungry. I sat down on one of the table. The waiter gave me the menu and it wasn’t long for me to decide what I want. Fried Crab Spring Roll. Yup, one of my favorite food in Vietnam.

Fried Crab Spring Roll Wrap and Roll
Fried Crab Spring Roll

It came in 2 pieces with soup and noodle. The portion is smaller than I thought, considering its price. The taste is delicious. It’s just too expensive xD

Sweet Banana in Coconut Milk Wrap and Roll
Sweet Banana in Coconut Milk

I ordered this dessert because the other dessert that I wanted was sold out 😦 This is a kind of hot dessert. It tasted really good, and rather heavy.

The total bill was 180.000 vnd. Quite expensive for Vietnamese food. But it’s worth to try if you hungry and see this restaurant nearby.

Wrap & Roll is a Vietnamese chain-restaurant. Can be found anywhere in Saigon, not only in Vincom Center. Visit their website: http://www.wrap-roll.com/  for more information. It’s in Vietnamese language though.

 

Food · Ho Chi Minh City

Ganh – Authentic Nha Trang (Vietnam) Cuisine

It was Sunday afternoon and we were gonna have lunch with noodle dish at Dong Khoi Street when we walked passing by this Vietnamese Restaurant, Ganh. It is said that they serve Nha Trang Authentic Food. My husband have been to Nha Trang before and he wanted to find a good Nha Trang restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City. So we’ve been wanting to try Nha Trang cuisine and didn’t expect to found one at 91 Hai Ba Trung Street.

View from our table
View from our table

The ambiance is really nice. I like the big painting on the wall. The waitress was very attentive. Once we sat down, they gave us the menu. We picked Nem Nuong Dac Biet (for share) and Bun Cha Gio (for me). They have Nem Nuong for one person as well. And for the drink, we ordered coconut and nuoc ep Ganh (Ganh special juice). Their menu has explanation in English, so it’s very easy for foreigner to order.

Bun Cha Gio (50.000 vnd)
Bun Cha Gio (50.000 vnd)

Their Bun Cha Gio is good. I like the deep-fried rice paper pieces. It’s salty and crunchy. The cha gio (spring roll) also good surprisingly. It is different than cha gio in other restaurant, but still taste yummy.

Nem Nuong Dac Biet (110.000 vnd)
Nem Nuong Dac Biet (110.000 vnd)

Nem Nuong Dac Biet came with a big plate of several items in it. Rice papers, lettuces, several types of leaves, scallions, deep-fried rice papers, eggs, 2 kind of barbeque meat (savoury and sweet), carrots, mangos, and cucumbers. The rice paper used in nem nuong is different than the one used in fresh spring roll. This one has a square shape, and no need to rub it with water. It’s already soft, so you can use it directly.

How to eat nem nuong
How to eat nem nuong

How to eat Nem Nuong : take 1 sheet of rice paper, put everything you want on top of it, roll the rice paper tightly, dip it in the sauce, and bon appetit. This one very delicious. I like to put mango inside. It tastes really fresh because of the sourness from mango (not that sour, don’t worry).

Coconut (30.000 vnd) and Nuoc Ep Ganh (42.000 vnd)
Coconut (30.000 vnd) and Nuoc Ep Ganh (42.000 vnd)

Overall the foods were good, but the price is a bit high for Vietnamese food. It’s about 150.000 vnd (or USD $7) per person. But this one is recommended to try if you want to eat Nha Trang cuisine.