As I rode my motorbike down the Vietnam’s coast in Mui Ne, I felt nature blowing against my face. The wind was strong and the temperature was right. I thought it resembled the stretch of Pacific Coast Highway near Monterey Bay in California, but you don’t see occasional Mustangs or Camaros driving along. You see old scooters and a few tourist vans or jeeps instead. The traffic is not as crazy as the ones in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi either.
Mui Ne is a little town reachable via a 5 hours land transfer from Ho Chi Minh City, you will be greeted by miles of sweeping coastline, sandy roads and little shop houses by the side of the roads. Whenever someone mentions Vietnam, we conjure up images of Halong Bay and Mekong River in our minds. We always miss out the beaches of Vietnam, overshadowed by favorites like Bali and Koh Lanta. About 50% of Vietnam’s border lies with the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand, which means there are plenty of beaches of all sorts. This is a perfect getaway for secluded beaches with tropical waters.
People usually flock to Nha Trang for the beaches, especially the Russians. Similar to Nha Trang, you will see restaurants menus and signs around Mui Ne with Russian translations next to English. The lesser number of travelers also means that you to experience the real Vietnam. The further you travel away from the big cities, you get lesser people speaking conversational English, sometimes relying heavily on hand gestures and Google Translate. I had the whole beach to myself, occasionally bumping into some friendly Vietnamese family having their fun time by the beach.
Mui Ne is famous for the sand dunes, a surprising landscape in Vietnam or even Southeast Asia. The Red Sand Dunes are pretty close to the center of Mui Ne, about 7km away which is easily accessible by bicycles or motorbikes. There were groups of Vietnamese kids rushing to me to offer sand boards for sand boarding once I got there. Try it if you are up for a sandy experience. The White Sand Dunes are pretty far out, about 26km away. It is less touristy because of the location. There are quad bikes available if you are in for an adventure. Many hotels and agencies offer tours to the sand dunes which can be pretty expensive. And these are usually on old jeeps shared with other travelers. Go on a motorbike and you can save some money, although you end up riding on some crappy tracks near the White Sand Dunes. The good thing is that the traffic here are a lot better. When I got to the sand dunes, it felt like I was time wrapped into another country, it didn’t feel like I was in Vietnam any moment. Half of my time there, I was battling to keep the blowing sand out from my eyes and my camera.
I recommend to spend around 3 days in Mui Ne, one day for getting around the sand dunes, another one for exploring the beaches, the last one for checking out the fairy stream and fishing village. Don’t miss out the seafood feast there!
Are you ready for some adventures in Mui Ne?