If you are like me, you picture Viet Nam to consist of busy cities, rice patties, and dense green jungles… and you would not be wrong in describing the north (and most of the south, to be fair). However, I betchya didn’t know there are large, desert like, sand dunes in Mui Ne, an area in the south of Viet Nam! Mui Ne is a common vacation destination for many Ho Chi Minh City dwellers loooking too escape the chaos for a long weekend. It sits only about 3.5 hours away from the city and offers many resorts.
We were on a time schedule (as my visa’s expiration date was quickly approaching) so decided to go straight to Mui Ne from Hoi An, as opposed to stopping in Da Lat (where canyoning is a popular activity). I was more intrigued by these sand dunes I had heard so much about.
After a 17 hour night bus from Hoi An, we arrived in Mui Ne. We opted for a sand dune tour* the next morning, to catch sunrise (and to avoid the treacherous heat in the afternon). At 4:30am a group of us jumped into a jeep that looked like it was right from the war times. This took us to our first destination where we could rent quad bikes to ride up to the top of a sand dune for the sunrise. Amber and I spent the money to get a quad (300THB) only to get it stolen by one of the workers when we got off for 5 seconds to take a picture. We were to tired to fight it and people were struggling to make it up the dunes, anyways (they weren’t very powerful). Big tourist trap. The way to go looked like it was to pay a Vietnamese guy with a more powerful quad to take you on a “ride” down the larger dunes
Next, we went on to more dunes, with more tourist traps…that we gave into. Sand sledding. Basically, little kids are selling waxed pieces of plastic roofing to sled down the dunes with for 20THB (well 80 at first but they even know thats a rip off so it didn’t take long to get them down to 20).
Successfully coated in sand, we made our way to Fairy Creek, but first stopped in the village to snap a few pictures of the brightly colored fishing boats anchored close to shore.
By the time we arrived at Fairy Creek it was about 11am and starting to get unbearably hot, so a stroll through water was welcomed (however, the water was a peculiar shade of brown… I ignored it).
The tour lasted about 7 hours, getting us back to the hostel around 12:30pm. Giving Amber and I a few hours to cool down by the pool before boarding our bus to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) that night.
If you are looing for something out of the ordinary, for Viet Nam, Mui Ne deffinitly fulfills that. They are no Moroccan desert sand dunes, but the picturesque setting on the ocean make them pretty spectacular in their own way.
* Our hostel (Backpackers Village) organized the tour for us. They have sunrise and sunset options. It cost 700THB.