Feeling sand beneath our feet once again… Lots of it!

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Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Binh Thuan » Mui Ne
August 24th 2013
Published: February 5th 2014
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Having in mind that we would be arriving in Mui Ne around midnight and searching for a place to sleep at this hour simply didn’t seem too appealing, just in case we had booked a night in one of the guesthouses online a day before. We mentioned to the bus driver where we were staying but weren’t sure whether the nodding meant that he understood what we were saying or whether he was just trying to get rid of us. The latter one seemed more probable to be honest… We arrived in Mui Ne a bit later than planned as it was getting close to 1.30 when we reached the town. Driving through empty streets, we were looking on both sides making sure we haven’t passed our guesthouse yet but we were driving so fast that it was simply impossible to check out all the names we had passed along the way. I started having serious doubts and already was imagining both of us wandering around the empty streets until the morning searching for our guesthouse… And then suddenly Grant saw a little sign which kind of looked like the name we were looking for… We were about to run up to the driver and ask him to stop but we didn’t even need to do that as the bus stopped anyway. Maybe the bus driver understood us in the end? But then it looked like he was picking up somebody there, so probably that was the only reason for him to stop right there... Still we just couldn’t believe how lucky we were to be dropped off right there as the sign indeed turned out to be pointing to our guesthouse so a few minutes later we were already freshening up in our room and ready to sleep. Still if Grant didn’t see that sign, I wondered what would have happened then… The town was in deep sleep and there was not a soul in sight even to ask for directions. Thankfully luck was on our side… So far so good!

We were planning to check out the dunes the next day, but since we only went to sleep around 2am there was no way we would make the sunrise trip. In the end we were quite happy that we decided not to do it that morning as the sky was very overcast when we woke up – the storm was coming for sure! We would just have to chill until afternoon and maybe do an afternoon trip instead? We found a nice and cheap place to eat very close to our guesthouse which turned out to be our main attraction that day as once it started lashing there was no end to it. We watched a few brave surfers trying to improve their skills catching some of the big waves, to me it just looked plain crazy getting out in the sea in weather like that to be honest… But then that’s when you get the chance to catch the big ones right? Well… I’ve never tried surfing before and to be honest I seriously doubt I ever will… I am definitely much happier watching others surfing through the waves rather than doing it myself… Well… Different things make different people happy right? The weather wasn’t looking any better in the afternoon and the idea of getting soaked while driving and walking around dunes didn’t sound to appealing so hoping for the best we decided to stay another night in Mui Ne and try our chances the following day.

As soon as I woke up the next morning I jumped to the window raising the curtain up hopefully… Well… not exactly what I was hoping for… It was still drizzling and there was no piece of blue sky in sight… We would just have to figure out what to do next over breakfast. We headed to our favourite restaurant – the favourite part certainly didn’t have anything to do with the fact that we spent half a day there the previous day. 😉 As we were sitting, enjoying our noodle soups and watching the shore, the weather started picking up a bit – looking promising actually… Straight after breakie we headed to our guesthouse to book our sunset trip. We asked the owner what the weather forecast was for the afternoon and he said that it might rain… but then it might not… Who knows? Haha! Sounded like Irish weather forecast to me! 😉 I never took forecasts into consideration when planning my day in Ireland, so in this case there was no point sitting and wondering whether it was going to rain or not either. We had to leave the next day to Saigon as we only had a few days left on our visa and still so many things to do and see… Rain or no rain, the dunes either would have to happen that afternoon or just wouldn’t happen at all! So we booked the trip and since we still had a bit of time before we were picked up, we went for a nice stroll on the beach. Straight away we knew we made a good decision – the sun was slowly coming out, the wind was blowing the clouds away and soon after we had beautiful blue sky over our heads once again. Mui Ne seemed to be a true paradise for kitesurfers – lots of schools around! Even found an ad in Polish! Who would’ve thought? 😉

Jeep was waiting for us at the guesthouse right on time – nice surprise, especially that we had a busy itinerary it would seem – fairy stream, fishing village, white dunes, red canyon and sunset at the red dunes… No time to waste then! First we headed to the fairy stream. We thought that our driver would be walking around with us, but instead he just pointed us in the right direction, said ’15 minutes!’ and that was it… Well… not that I need to be dragged by the hand around, but some kind of information would be very welcome. Ah well… Let’s just enjoy it shall we? 😊 As we were about to step into the stream we saw a few young men next to the ‘entrance’ with funny looking board right next to them saying: ‘Keep your shoes, please pay 5,000 per pair’. Haha! Sorry fellows, but I can carry my own flip-flops with me – for free! Nice try though… So we walked along the stream for a while – can’t really say it was a jaw dropping experience, but then maybe we didn’t walk far enough? As it certainly didn’t look anything like the pictures we have seen at the travel agents… Nice cooling experience though… For the feet at least! 😉 Next we headed to the fishing village but since the road to the village was blocked by two trucks dumping ice (fishy smelling ice to be exact) right next to the road, well… we just decided to leave it for later – it looked like it might take a while anyhow… Off to white dunes then! You can rent quads at the bottom of the dunes or rent one of the plastic slides from one of many young boys around. We weren’t interested in either of them though, walking around the dunes would do just fine! There sure was a lot of sand around! We walked up and down a bit, then jumped around feeling like kids again, watched the people and scenery around us, made some photos, then made some more photos and it was time to go to another location... On the way to red dunes we stopped at the ‘red canyon’. Well I wouldn’t exactly call it a canyon – it just looked like a riverbed as if they used to drain the water from the nearby fields by letting it flow through here... So now dry, it ‘kind of’ resembled a canyon. Not really worth a stop here to be honest. First difference about white and red dunes was definitely the amount of people visiting each place. Since red dunes are right next to Mui Ne this place is basically swamped with people – so many footsteps around, no undisturbed piece of sand in sight! not to mention all the trash scattered all around! It was quite disappointing to be honest… and really filthy! We even saw used condom lying in the sand! No comments… That’s just sad… We decided to walk away from the crowds and as soon as we moved further from the main street once again we could enjoy clear sand. Since the sky was overcast it didn’t look like there was going to be any decent sunset that day so for our last stop we headed to the fishing village. Well, you could definitely smell where you were, but beside that it looked like everybody packed up for the day and left already, a few small boats on the shore and a few more on the sea and that would be it… It looked like we came here a bit too late… Ah well… It was time to head back to our guesthouse anyway. Enough excitement for one day! 😉

As much as we enjoyed ourselves in Mui Ne, even despite the weather!, the dunes were a bit disappointing to be honest, especially the red ones. It really was a shame that they were not doing anything to try to keep them clean at least, maybe putting a few bins around would help? One thing that we really enjoyed here were our walks along the beach. Even though you could spot some exclusive hotels here and there, and some more coming soon, the beach still had a bit of a wild vibe to it, palms all around, rough sea, I definitely liked this place much more than Nha Trang. On our last morning we went for a final walk on the beach, admiring some people showing off their skills while kite surfing. Since we only had a few more days on our visa, we couldn’t spare any more days to stay here. It was time to head further south. Next stop: Saigon!

Additional photos below
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6th February 2014
at the white sand dunes around Mui Ne...

Sand dunes
I love this photo.
6th February 2014

I have nice memories from Mui Ne, a place to recommend. I had a great time over there on a very nice hotel, close to the beach, where I could see fishermen after the daily routines. Nice.

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