Vietnam was celebrating its 40th anniversary of independence (victory over the Americans), and we both got a week vacation from our schools. We decided to head to Mui Ne, one of the spots we had so far missed.
Mui Ne is about 6 hours away via bus. You can take a bus or train from Ho Chi Minh City, but since it was a holiday, the train was all booked up for the week. We got lucky and snagged bus tickets from a couple that couldn’t go on their trip anymore, so we got a good deal. We used The Sinh Tourist bus line and we’d highly recommend it. It was a very comfortable and safe(ish) trip.
Known for its red and white sand dunes, Mui Ne is nestled in a rain shadow right beside the ocean. It has both the sea and the desert sand, making it a popular vacation spot for foreigners and locals alike.
On our first day, we rented a motorbike and drove to the white sand dunes. We had lathered on sunscreen, but we burnt to a crisp anyway. They were HOT. We enjoyed seeing them, but couldn’t stay too long since it felt like we had been left to die out there in the heat. Luke gently reminded me that we were only 30 feet from the shade, but I still hold that I nearly died out there.
Later, we went to the red sand dunes, which I really preferred. I think they were much more beautiful, especially if you venture away from the crowds. It’s possible that the red sand doesn’t reflect as much heat, too. At about 4pm when the sun is going down seems to be the best time. The sunset is breathtaking and the sand is cool enough to explore in bare feet.
For cheap, you can rent magic carpet boards from kids to sled down the sand dunes. Note that you will get sand absolutely everywhere, so think hard before taking part. It was definitely funny to watch the Asians sliding and screaming, though.
The next day, we went to the Mui Ne Harbor where you can see the blue ocean and boats that seem to go on for as far as the eye can see. It’s fun to see but really only worth a quick stop to take a photo and move on.
Later in the evening, we went to the Fairy Spring and walked along the bed of the creek, directly beside large, red-sand dirt walls. Since the sun was setting, it was the perfect temperature to be exploring the Fairy
Spring, and it wasn’t rammed with people either. We enjoyed our slow walk taking in all of the scenery.
On our final day, we spent the morning at the hot spring center. For $40 total, we both got mineral mud baths, a mineral pool soak, some time in the steam room, and an hour-long massage. It included lunch as well. We lounged in the pool and enjoyed our lunch and free smoothie. It was the perfect way to end our trip in Mui Ne.
For dinner, we went to the crab markets to have dinner like the locals. We settled on a plate of shrimp, since crab was a bit pricey. It was an interesting experience, but our dinner the night before at Sinbads was the highlight of our trip. It was much more affordable, and incredibly flavourful/filling.
On our way to our guesthouse, we stumbled across Pogo Beach Bar, which had beanbags and cabanas on the beach for lounging while they played some really good music. We sat on a rooftop on beanbags and took in the ocean air, saying goodbye to an absolutely perfect vacation.
If you come to Vietnam, do not miss Mui Ne, whatever you do! And again, only pictures can really do this place justice.
2 thoughts on “Mui Ne and the sand dunes”
Hi, Luke and Sami. What lovely pictures you have from Mui Ne. Thank you very much, am enjoying your reports from so many places. I had an interesting vacation in Iceland and Greenland, it was much more than I expected. Love Oma
That’s so good to hear! Hopefully you have some pictures to show for your travels as well. Which cities did you visit? We look forward to sharing stories when we get back. Love you Oma!