Kile and I had been counting down the days for this next chapter of our adventure — family time! The festivities were going to begin in Bangkok before moving on to Mui Ne, Vietnam — Kile’s brother Adam would be the first to arrive, then my Dad and stepmom Leslye, and finally Adam’s wife Monica (next post.)
Spoiled in Bangkok
After a few days partying with Adam on the infamous Khao San Road in Bangkok my Dad and Les finally arrived. It was such perfect timing for family to come and visit — we were halfway through our travels and not to mention, it was the holidays. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect Christmas present.
Once Dad and Les arrived we only had 2 nights to spend in Bangkok before hopping on a plane, then a train, to head to Mui Ne. And oh my goodness…we couldn’t have been more spoiled.
Dad and Les rented a couple hotel rooms at the Shangri La Hotel in Bangkok. It. Was. LUXURY. This is a side of life that Kile and I rarely experience. It was a 5-star hotel right on the Chao Praya river. Absolutely amazing. Unfortunately for Adam, he was down with a case of Bangkok belly during this time — but at least he could rest in a comfy gorgeous room!
Our brief stay in Bangkok was spent catching up with the fam, eating great food and tuk-tuking our way through the city. We even tried having a cocktail at the rooftop bar that was in the Hangover 2 but that was disastrous so we left (didn’t have the right dress code, tried to sneak in, they wouldn’t let us take a picture…it’s a story to tell you in person if I see you.)
Making Our Way To Mui Ne
Our Bangkok stay was over and it was time to head south to Mui Ne, Vietnam. This little beach city is located in southern Vietnam and it’s not the easiest place to get to, that’s for sure. We took a flight from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and then needed to hop on a train for a 4-hour ride. We were excited to finally have some adventures with the people we love!
The flight was sweet and short — about an hour from Bangkok. After a death defying taxi ride in Ho Chi Minh City (I thought my dad was going to have a panic attack) we finally reached the train station. Unlike the modern and fast trains we took in Malaysia — this train was…not that.
We rented out 5 beds in a 6 bed sleeper car — sounds spacious, right? Nope. With our luggage, all 5 of us crammed in the the little room, bought some beers, and off we went. A very lucky Vietnamese man was our 6th guest in the room but once he saw us…he grabbed his bag and went elsewhere. Can’t say I blame him.
The train ride was surprisingly great! Despite the fact that we were all crammed in one tiny room on a train that felt like it could derail at any moment…we really enjoyed it. We could walk around through the cars, grab some food at the dining car, and just nap as the train rolled through the Vietnamese countryside. Quite the pleasant journey!
Scootering Around Mui Ne
We all got settled in our incredible Airbnb that Dad and Les so graciously rented for all of us — again, we couldn’t have been more spoiled — and started feeling out the town.
Mui Ne is a touristy town (mainly Russian tourists turns out) and is just flooded with seafood restaurant after seafood restaurant. Surprisingly, this little town had a much different feel to it than our stay in central Vietnam. We spent the first few nights eating fresh fish and scoping out the local beach.
It didn’t take long to see what the little town had to offer so we all decided it was time to rent some scooters to expand our adventure radius. This is when things got really fun and really beautiful.
Mui Ne is known for the beaches, sand dunes, and seafood. In our 3 scooter caravan we pretty much explored all there was to explore. One day we rode all the way up to the Mui Ne peninsula which is more of the bustling and central part of the city — much more local. It was incredible to see how many fishing boats were in the harbor.
The sand dunes were beautiful but packed with tourists — we made a quick stop there just to see them. People were trying to sled down the dunes on cardboard and plastic…which never really works — still fun to watch though.
Luckily — there were some different sand dunes closer to our villa that were much more quiet and turns out, a great place to watch the sunset. We definitely took advantage of that. It was a blast to watch the local kids (and Kile) doing flips off the dunes into the sand.
Putzing around on the scooters is always a blast — it feels so freeing and amazing — especially when you’re with people that you love. But there were two highlights that we’ll never forget and they are must-sees if you’re ever in Mui Ne…
Red Canyon & Po Shanu Temples
Just south of Mui Ne is a canyon that’s not clearly visible from the highway but if you can find it? It’s so worth it. It’s called Red Canyon and it’s exactly that — the sand and soil that creates this canyon is bright red. It looks fake. You pay a small entrance fee and start hiking back into the canyon — at first you’re greeted by amazing pieces of sand art.
Then — it’s time to start hiking back into the Red Canyon. This is when things got AWESOME. The sand is surprisingly soft — it felt like walking in powdered sugar and you’d sink with every step. Turning our feet bright red, we all walked in as deep into each mini piece of the canyon before it would force us to turn around. What’s incredible is that since the canyon is sand — the canyon changes shape every time it rains. It made us wonder if one day the canyon might collapse and fully disappear. With that in mind — we took it all in and savored the moment.
This breathtaking canyon was by far one of the coolest things we had ever seen — we are so happy we were able to experience it with our family. Definitely a memory we’ll never forget.
Another highlight of our Mui Ne stay was the Po Shanu temples. Just north of the town — and a bit hidden away as well — there are a set of temples that date back to the 8th century! How insane is that? From the parking lot, you walk past a bunch of little shops that are selling handmade silk goods (of which we bought a few) and then you make your way up to a cliff that is dotted with these ancient gorgeous temples.
Time to Say Goodbye
It was a week and half that we’ll never forget. It was so nice to spend some seriously quality time with my Dad and Les — and they couldn’t have spoiled us any more. Truly. We had so much fun making breakfasts, playing games, and exploring Vietnam together. The only downside was that it was way too short.
It was time for Dad and Les to head back to Bangkok before heading home and it was time for Kile, Adam and I to meet up with Monica in Ho Chi Minh City for our next adventure…Phu Quoc island!