Our first bus journey in Vietnam took us from Saigon to Mui Ne. A five hour journey on a bus filled with sleeper seats. Liam and I spent the journey laying down at the back of the bus eating mini pancakes and watching Bob’s Burgers. Needless to say, the journey flew by! Mui Ne is a town known for its vast stretch of beach, relaxing environment, and sand dunes. Something we didn’t really expect to come across in Southeast Asia!
Walking on the white dunes of Mui Ne!
Our bus dropped us off at the bottom of the hill and we made the five minute walk up to where our hotel was, but instead of a reception desk we were met with a pile of building materials. My mind started thinking up worst case scenarios, “is this why it was only £7 a night? Do we sleep in a half constructed room? Did we just get scammed?” when a man showed up and led us up a side path to Mui Ne Hills – Bliss. Turns out the place we booked was a sister hotel that was under renovation and that we would be staying at the nicer hotel. With a room upgrade to boot! We had a massive room, a balcony that had a hammock and a huge circle lounger, and the resort had a lovely pool with a bar that had 50p beers during happy hour. For £7 a night. Turns out this was the best case scenario! We couldn’t have asked for a better place to stay in Mui Ne.
Cheers to our amazing accommodation in Mui Ne
We had our tour to the sand dunes booked for the afternoon during our full day here so we decided to head down to the beach in the morning. There are several resorts set up along the edge of the beach and based on how many signs were in Russian it seems to be quite a popular vacation spot for them! After a wander along a section of the vast stretch of this soft white sand beach we decided to head back to our amazing hotel and chill before getting covered in sand all over again.
Enjoying the last of our quick trip to the Mui Ne Beach
Before hitting the dunes our tour took us to “the fairy stream”. We pictured sparkling water, cascading greenery, a secluded piece of paradise. Instead we arrived and paid the extra fee, which was only a dollar, and began to walk through what looked like ditch water. Ten minutes in and we were knee deep in warm silty water, but there were some cool staggered red and white sand formations to the left. But then you look to the right and see a row of restaurants and think “am I just walking through their waste water?” Probably. Finally we made it to the end. An anticlimactic dropping of water that I guarantee no fairy would want to spend time around. I’ve seen Peter Pan, so I know.
Why they included this stop in their sand dunes tour, we’ll never know
Back on the bus and heading to the dunes, our next stop was a brief detour at a local fishing village. The sea was covered in over a hundred colorful boats, we could see local fishermen and women walk up the stairs with buckets brimming with crabs and clams. No tourists. No hospitality industry. Just real coastal Vietnam. Being able to see this piece of local life was amazing!
Fishing boats in the afternoon coming back in to sell their catch of the day
Finally we made it to the white dunes. We took off our sandals and walked up the soft white sand, with nothing but rolling dunes ahead. It genuinely feels like you’ve been transported to the Sahara. Or Tatooine if you’re a Star Wars nerd like Liam. We had an hour here at this adult playground, running up and down the sliding sand was exhausting and exhilarating! The glare from the sun was unreal and whenever the wind picked up we were beaten by thousands of individual pellets. Slightly painful, definitely hard to breathe, but oh so worth it!
It was both our first time visiting sand dunes that were this vast, an unforgettable experience
Back on the bus, we headed towards our final destination on the tour, the red dunes for sunset. The sand was still soft and vast, but its definitely more of an orange than a red. There was also quite a bit of trash scattered amongst these dunes that made it a bit of a let down. As the sunset our view was completely blocked by the clouds so instead of seeing the glorious colours in the sky we just sat in the sand and watched it get dark. Back at the hotel we had a laugh and a few last happy hour beers with a couple from our tour. We may have missed out on the perfect sunset photo, but it was still a perfect way to wrap up our time in Mui Ne. We’ve been pretty spoiled with sunsets recently anyway!
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Sand dunes are amazing, even if you keep finding sand on your stuff for days after visiting