Ca Na to Mui Ne - 95km
This has got to be one of the most diverse sections of land we covered in Vietnam. It consists of small fishing communities, ghost-town roads and even a desert.
Brief: Good road conditions. First half of the day is easy with plenty of eating/drinking options and a reasonable gradient. The second part is dry - in every sense of the word. A couple of notable hills and a lot of barren landscape.
The morning starts on the QL1 for 20km before the option opens to turn off onto a quieter coastal road. On this turn off (Mười Bảy Tháng Tư) you will pass through a large town and there is plenty of options to replenish your supplies - we also chose to have a sweet Vietnamese coffee. Take Võ Thị Sáu south and you will eventually reach a cape.
We pass through several small villages, one that hosts a lot of Vietnamese tourists and is an interesting in site into their free time. It's a very sweet town and is like a surreal Asian version of Blackpool. We stop for a big lunch in the city of Binh Le (about 45km from Ca Na), visit the market and top up our water. It's the last opportunity for 25km, so it's wise to do so too.
The next section we took was strangely quiet - for a long time. There where no cafes, no shops and no other vehicles. With the iPod not following us, not a person in site and little on the horizon we started to question our route. With the heat of the day our bottles soon started to dry up leaving us very parched... But...The road was in superb condition with no one using it..!
The heat rebounded off the tarmac, making it swelteringly hot and with heaps of sand blowing across the road it really was like a desert experience. . Finally we approached a T junction with a small workers canteen. We dived into the fridge for something refreshing and filled up our bottles from the big blue tank.
Take the left at the junction, going uphill for a little while. When the road then drops down you are presented with a junction, straight on to go down to a beach. Or to the right to continue to Mui Ne. Carry along this road for another 10 km before the first scattering of accommodation appears. This isn't quite yet Mui Ne, and if you stay here you will be facing east - so without sunsets...and also far from the centre meaning less amenities too.
Carry on and pass through the town of Mui Ne to get to the west facing accommodation. On approaching the town there will be a 100m strip with touristic shops/restaurants and opposite will be another pile of sand, giving that desert like feeling.
After the sand dunes there is a roundabout, take the second exit - downhill, before turning on Huỳnh Tấn Phát, to pass through the city. Turn right onto Huỳnh Thúc Kháng to get to the bay - where most of the accommodation options are located.
We stayed in a guesthouse called Hoa Bien, we negotiated a price of 200,000 a night and were right on the beach.
This part of Mui Ne is probably the best placed, as too far along you risk not having a sunset and secondly and more importantly, the beach has eroded so much that there might not even be any sand left. The town of Mui Ne is definitely worth a day trip, see the market and some of the local life. We also went back to the sand dunes just before the turnoff and enjoyed the desert this time round.
We chilled in Mui Ne for a few nights before returning to the road to carry on South. Leaving without a clear destination we eventually got as far as the town of Lagi.