Tuesday, May 3, 2011


(PICTURE: I didn't take this picture but I did see FOUR tires on the beach!)

There's a Vietnamese saying: "To find a tourist spot, follow the trail of trash." With an idiom like that, it's almost like the Vietnamese take pride in littering. I'm gonna have another blog in the future about trash in Vietnam, so this one is only about the trash at Mui Ne beach.

Three years ago I came here and wrote that the water was pretty dirty. Well since I came, Mui Ne has turned into a multi billion dollar resort town. We talked with a tour guide here who told us that there are probably 80% more hotels, restaurants, shops, etc. then when I first came. Honestly, I could barely recognize the place when we pulled into town because of all the lights and resorts.

On our first two ventures out to the beach, Huyen and I saw a considerable amount of trash on the beach. It was significant enough that a little kid was walking the beach, filling a garbage bag with plastic bottles he could redeem for money; his bag was full. Despite this, Huyen and I still took a dip in the ocean. Yesterday though, was the tipping point. It's Indipendance weekend here which means there are A LOT of HCMC people in town. Every single hotel on the beach side is sold out. When we went to the beach yesterday it was covered in trash. We took a few steps into the ocean and had plastic bags wrap around our feet. Frankly, it was fucking vile.

The thing is though, the trashing isn't just from the tourists. The locals are just as guilty. Huyen and I went to a local seafood place next to the ocean and we literally saw restuarant patrons throw multiple pieces of trash into the ocean. And it's not just the public beaches, either. Yesterday we went to the beach behind two four star resorts. This beach was pretty empty compared to the others and it was still covered in trash.

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- if you are coming to Vietnam for the beaches change your plans! Sure, there's a couple beaches here and there that aren't garbage dumps but really, it's only a matter of time.