DISCOVER

"Open your eyes and heart for the blind"
 Ever wonder what if would be like to be blind? Get a chance to open your eyes and heart in their "dark" condition at a special dinner event called "Dinner in the Dark" by Zoomanity Group. This great cause will give you  a unique experience of dining in total darkness and understand how it is to be blind.
Zoomanity Group, one of the leading companies in the park industry, hosted a series of "Dinner in the Dark" for the benefit of the visually impaired people thru Zoomanity Foundation. The exceptional event aims to create awareness amongst us what it is like to lose our sense of sight and appreciate it even more. Guests had a 30 minute orientation before the dinners that was held in different Zommanity parks and restaurant. During the  dinner, the participants' sense of sights were totally diminished then their other senses took over was heightened. Wonderful scents and sounds, and beautiful music, were experienced. Our visually impaired brothers and sisters assist, guide and entertained us throughout the experience.

This special dinner offer was held from 5-7PM (including pre-dinner orientation) on the following dates:
October 26, 2019 - Unlizity in San Pablo, Laguna
October 26
, 2019 - Zoobic Safari in Subic, Zambales
October 27
, 2019 - Zoocobia Fun Zoo in Clark, Pampanga
Another Dinner in the Dark event will take place on November 9, 2019, from 4PM to 6PM at Zoori (Zoo at Residence Inn Tagaytay).

For tickets and more information, please contact the Zoomanity Group at (02) 847-0413, (02) 8899824-28, (02 895-7142, 0915-8904728 or email zoomanityg@gmail.com

FOOTNOTES:
Photos by Rae Argallon | Samsung Note 9 | Subic, Zambales, Philippines | October 2019
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Mekong Delta is a series of steams branching out throughout the southwestern areas of Vietnam. According to our guide, the stream has a mud-dish color since it passes by China, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia.
Mekong Delta: southwestern region in Vietnam
Country: Vietnam
Coordinates: 110.0634° N, 105.5943° E
What to eat: Seafood, Pho (rice noodles), Coconut mouse, fruits, etc.
What to do: nature exploration, boat rides, trekking
Ideal time to visit: November to March to get the warmest temperature and good wave conditions
Language: Vietnamese/English
Currency: Vietnam Dong. (Philippine Peso: 53PHP = 1USD = 26,000 VND)

Iain at the Vĩnh Tràng Pagoda (c) Jovelle Palicpic Photography

Iain, Nathan, Cheloi & Renz (c) Jovelle Palicpic Photography
Monks at the Vĩnh Tràng Pagoda (c) Renz Mina Photography
HOW TO PLAN YOUR MEKONG DELTA DAY TRIP:
1. DIY
A do-it-yourself trip is always the best way to imerse within the community. The trip is based on your own pacing and interests. To know how to travel to Mekong Delta on a day trip, you may read Mekong Delta DIY Tour by Frugal Frolicker

2. BOOK WITH KLOOK
For a hassle-free trip, we booked with Klook. It is our go-to travel app when for tours. They offer arranged trips where you can visit the sites with fellow travelers. For Mekong Delta, they offer two trips that can suit your interests:

Full Day Excursion To Mekong Delta - 832PHP +/-

🚩Vinh Trang Pagoda
🚩Boat ride along the Tien River
🚩Lunch at Tortoise islet
🚩Boat ride to An Khanh in Ben Tre
🚩seasonal fruits & honey tea snacks with Southern Vietnamese folk music performed by the locals
🚩Visit a coconut candy family business

Our Tour Guide (c) Jovelle Palicpic Photography
Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta Day Tour from Ho Chi Minh - 3,068PHP +/-
🚩Exploration of the tunnel systems &  introductory video about how the tunnels were made and how Vietnamese people survived in the harsh conditions during wartime in Cu Chi Tunnels
🚩Special tea and cassava snacks similar to guerrillas’ food during the war
🚩Lunch at a local restaurant

🚩Boat ride along My Tho River

🚩Short bicycle ride around the village in My Tho city
🚩Visit a coconut candy family business
🚩seasonal fruits & honey tea snacks with Southern Vietnamese folk music performed by the locals

Why book with Klook? 

It was easy and accessible since we booked it online and received the confirmation instantly. It is actually cheaper compared to other tour agencies-- you can see how much you've saved, and this spared us from booking scammed tours. So in all our travels, we trust Klook!
Honeybees (c) Jovelle Palicpic Photography
Cheloi holding the honeybees (c) Renz Mina Photography
We booked the Full Day Excursion To Mekong Delta since our goal for the day was Mekong Delta.

VINH TRANG PAGODA

Vĩnh Tràng pagoda is one of the intricately-designed pagodas we've seen in Vietnam. 

Reclining Buddha at the Vĩnh Tràng Pagoda (c) Renz Mina Photography



Vĩnh Tràng Pagoda (c) Jovelle Palicpic Photography

Jovelle at the Vĩnh Tràng Pagoda (c) Jovelle Palicpic Photography
TIEN RIVER & TORTOISE ISLET
We cruised for 30 minutes along the Tien River towards Tortoise Islet for lunch.

View while cruising at Tien River (c) Jovelle Palicpic Photography
View while cruising at Tien River (c) Jovelle Palicpic Photography

Our lunch (c) Jovelle Palicpic Photography
CRUISING TO ALONG MEKONG RIVER
This would be the highlight of the Mekong Delta trip, although, cruising along the streams was too short-- probably less than 10 minutes.

Kat cruising along Mekong River (c) Renz Mina Photography
Vietnamese woman driving a boat along Mekong River (c) Jovelle Palicpic Photography
Rae, Cheloi, Iaian, Jovelle cruising along Mekong River (c) Renz Mina Photography
COCONUT CANDY
After our boat ride, we were dropped at a local stop where a family creates coconut candies. We got a chance to taste not just coconut candies, but also different fruit flavored candies. They were also selling coconut oil and even make-up made of coconut!
Nathan with a python, a pet by the local familu (c) Renz Mina Photography
Creating coconut candy (c) Jovelle Palicpic Photography
Dead Snake & Scorpion Wine (c) Renz Mina Photography
Dead Snake & Scorpion Wine (c) Jovelle Palicpic Photography
FRUITS, HONEY TEA AND SOUTHERN VIETNAMESE FOLK MUSIC
Our first stop was at a local community where they harvest honey. We got to taste local-grown fruits served with homemade tea mixed with honey which has the perfect amount of sweetness. We felt welcome as they serenade us with southern Vietnamese folk music.

Honey Tea (c) Jovelle Palicpic Photography

Vietnamese Musicians (c) Jovelle Palicpic Photography
Vietnamese Musicians (c) Jovelle Palicpic Photography

Vietnamese Musicians (c) Jovelle Palicpic Photography
It was a brief visit and although we went to different locations, we knew it was not enough to see and experience of Mekong Delta. Mekong Delta is a unique destination and we can't wait to explore it more!


FOOTNOTES:

Photos by Jovelle Palicpic and Renz Mina | Shot with Canon 70D and Samsung NX300 | Mekong River Delta, Vietnam | Aug 2019

RAESCAPE contains affiliate links in the website. By clicking and purchasing through this links, I get to earn a small commission to help me run this website without extra cost to you. Thank you for helping a fellow traveler and say yes to adventures!

Read about the Disclosure and Disclaimer here.
Two Vietnamese vendors sharing conversations
Two Vietnamese vendors sharing conversations (c) Jovelle Palicpic
Mūi Né is located in the city of Phan Thiet in the province of Binh Thuan. It is a fishing town located in the Southeast Vietnam and is the closest beach to Ho Chi Minh City.

Mui Ne Vietnam travel blog
(c) Jovelle Palicpic
Mūi Né: town in Vietnam
Country: Vietnam
Coordinates: 10.9332° N, 108.2872° E
What to eat: Seafood, Pho (rice noodles), Banh Mi (Baguette Sandwich), Banh Xeo (Crispy Pancake), etc.
What to do: surfing, nature exploration, ATV and sand boarding
Ideal time to visit: November to March to get the warmest temperature and good wave conditions
Language: Vietnamese/English
Currency: Vietnam Dong. (Philippine Peso: 53PHP = 1USD = 26,000 VND)

District 1 to Mui Ne Route, Source: Google Maps
Mui Ne is a coastal town which is famous for its beaches. Two beaches, Ganh Beach and Suoi Nuoc Beach, house a lot of resorts and restaurants which are perfect when staying for two days.

HOW TO PLAN YOUR MÜI NÉ ITINERARY:
1. DETERMINE THE NUMBER OF DAYS YOU WILL BE STAYING.
Since we were short on time, we decided to make Mūi Né a side trip from Ho Chi Minh. It would be ideal to stay in Mūi Né for 2 days for a relaxed and slow-paced exploration.

2. DETERMINE YOUR HOTEL LOCATION
Mūi Né is also a beach town and it would be best to stay in beach-front hotels. Cheap 3-star hotels like NamChau Boutique starts at 788PHP per night and 4-star hotels like Muine Bay Resort starts at 2,700PHP per night.

View deck of the beach (c) Jovelle Palicpic
3. DETERMINE YOUR PREFERRED ACTIVITIES
Aside from beach activities, add destinations like temples, pagodas and scenic spots (like the red and white sand dunes) to your itinerary. Tours can be arranged in the hotel or online.

Fairy Stream (c) Jovelle Palicpic
Red Sand Dunes (c) Renz Mina
White Sand Dunes (c) Renz Mina
4. DETERMINE YOUR FOOD BUDGET
Prices in Mūi Né is roughly the same with Ho Chi Minh City. A meal costs as low as 15,000VND.

Tau Hu Nuoc Duong (tofu dessert in ginger syrup - similar to Filipino Taho) 25,000VND (c) Jovelle Palicpic
Quia Vac Cake (prawns and fatty pork with fish sauce wrapped and boiled with transparent wheat-flour dough) 20,000VND
(c) Jovelle Palicpic
Pho Bo and Crocodile Meat (c) Jovelle Palicpic
Seafood Fried Rice (c) Renz Mina
Banh Mi Stall, sandwiches starts at 15,000VND (c) Jovelle Palicpic
Vietnamese vendor selling Quia Vac Cake (c) Jovelle Palicpic

5. DETERMINE YOUR PREFERRED TRANSPORTATION ROUTES
From Ho Chi Minh: you may opt to ride a bus, a train or a private car.
- By Train: A trip from Ho Chi Minh to Phan Thiet has a daily schedule of 6:50AM-10:30AM and the return trip is scheduled at 1:10PM. One way costs around 400,000VND. From the train station, a taxi ride costs another 400,000VND to Mūi Né. Once in Mūi Né, you may opt to hail a private car to take you on tours or rent a motorbike.
- By Bus: I would suggest taking the bus if you are in a small group or traveling solo. For a hassle-free transfer, you can book online through Bookaway.

Getting around Mūi Né: you may opt to hail a private car to take you on tours or rent a motorbike.
- By private car: Renting a car would be cheaper especially if traveling in a group. In our case, we booked a tour that is inclusive of tours and transfers from the airport, to Mūi Né, and back to our hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.
- By motorbike: Renting a motorbike is cheaper than renting a car. Be sure to have an international driver's permit (IDP).



Jeeps on Mūi Né tour (c) Jovelle Palicpic


Iain Tyapon on our jeep (c) Renz Mina
PLANNING OUR MÜI NÉ TRIP
Mūi Né was the first on our Ho Chi Minh City itinerary. We were 7 in the group so we opt to get a tour which includes transfers, tours and entrances. We booked a tour with Hai Tuan Travel. We were picked up from the airport, had the Mūi Né tour and dropped at our Airbnb in HCMC.

Hai Tuan Travel
Contact Mr. Hai Tuan on Whatsapp: +84 93 125 26 83
Hai Tuan Travel Website

Tip: If you plan on going to Mūi Né as a side trip, I would still suggest booking a tour like this regardless of the number of persons in the group. It would be convenient, saves money on transfers and hassle-free.

Hai Tuan Travel offers 2 tours for Mūi Né.
1. The Sunrise Tour
The tour starts at 12:40AM (Vietnam Time) to 2:30PM (Vietnam Time).
2. The Sunset Tour
The tour starts at 7:30AM (Vietnam Time) to 11:00PM (Vietnam Time).
Hai Tuan Travel prices:
From 1 - 2 pax: US$ 145 / whole trip for group of 2 people
From 3 - 6 pax: US$ 155 / whole trip for group of 6 people
From 7 - 10 pax: US$ 195 / whole trip for group of 10 people
From 11 - 14 pax: US$ 220 / whole trip for group of 14 people


Kat, Renz, Jovelle and Rae at Fairy Stream (c) Cheloi Marasigan
Renz, Cheloi and Nathan (c) Jovelle Palicpic
OUR ITINERARY
Our arrival in HCM was around midnight. Which was perfect for the sunrise tour of Mũi Né. Given that it was a pre-booked tour, our itinerary was all laid out:

Mũi Né Sunrise Sand Dunes tour from Saigon
🚩12:30 AM: Pick up at Airport by Ho Chi Minh-Mũi Né van
🚩4:30 AM: Arrival at Mũi Né and drop by Ho Chi Minh-Mũi Né van. Pick up by jeep for the sunrise tour.
- White sand dunes
- Red sand dunes
- Fishing Village
- Fairy stream
🚩10:30 AM: End of sunrise tour. Pick up by Mũi Né-Ho Chi Minh van
🚩2:30 PM: Arrival at Ho Chi Minh and drop at Ho Chi Minh Hotel

The tour includes private van transfers from Ho Chi Minh to Mũi Né and back and a private jeep that would take the group on the Mũi Né tour. It also includes all entrance tickets, a cool towel and mineral water. The tour will make stops for breakfast and lunch/dinner.



One of our photographers, Renz Mina
One of our photographers, Cheloi Marasigan
One of our photographers, Jovelle Palicpic
WHITE SAND DUNES
The white sand dunes has the highest dunes in Mũi Né. To enjoy White Sand Dunes, we rented an ATV which costs 38USD or 200,000VND for 30 minutes which is good for 2 pax. You can also enjoy the sand board which costs 9USD for one sliding board.
The vast sand dunes and the vendors (c) Renz Mina
White Sand Dunes (c) Renz Mina
RED SAND DUNES
The red sand dunes can be accessed by walking from the main road. It was relatively low compared to white sand dunes. They also offer sand boarding here.

Dunes and tourists (c) Jovelle Palicpic
A vendor at the dunes (c) Jovelle Palicpic
Vietnamese vendors (c) Jovelle Palicpic

FISHING VILLAGE
Since Mũi Né is along the coastal side of Vietnam, the fishing village serves fresh and cheap seafood. You can witness the local life and the sight of colorful boats along the shoreline.

FAIRY STREAM
The fairy stream is a unique experience. From the road line, we had to take off our shoes, walk a few steps down and walk along the stream. While walking in the knee-deep water, we enjoyed the view of reddish-white sand and rock formations. The stream colored by clay and limestone particles
 has its water coming from Dinh Mountain in Ham Tien.


Kat at the Fairy swing! (c) Jovelle Palicpic
Although the local tried to prevent the cow from going into the stream, nothing stopped him! (c) Jovelle Palicpic
Red-rock cliffs and rock formations (c) Jovelle Palicpic
We enjoyed Mūi Né even for a short while! There are lots more to see in Mūi Né.
- Po Shanu Cham Towers
- Hoi Tinh Pagoda
- Phuoc Thien Pagoda

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FOOTNOTES:
Photos by  Jovelle Palicpic, Renz Mina, Rae Argallon, and Cheloi Marasigan | Shot with Canon 70D, Samsung NX300 and Samsung Note 9 | Mui Ne, Vietnam | Aug 2019

RAESCAPE contains affiliate links in the website. By clicking and purchasing through this links, I get to earn a small commission to help me run this website without extra cost to you. Thank you for helping a fellow traveler and say yes to adventures!


Read about the Disclosure and Disclaimer here.