I came to Mui Ne for beaches, for sand and sun, and to relax after the hustle and bustle of Saigon nearly ran me over. (Literally with a million motorbikes). But it turns out my favorite part of Mui Ne was our trip to the red and white sand dunes. We rented a motorbike for $9 for the day and started to follow the coast towards the fishing harbor and on to the red sand dunes. If you are not comfortable on a bike, you can hire a car or join a tour but it will cost triple and may be less of an intimate experience, but do what is right for you. Just because I am not a tour-y girl, doesn’t mean they aren’t a good fit for others.
I started to write directions for you, I came across a fellow blogger Vietnam720’s directions to the dunes, which are excellent and complete with photos for each turning point.
The red sand dunes are a real site to see. The lines in the sand, perfectly shaped by the elements, rolling with no end in site, the wind almost lifting me off my feet; it was perfect. I recommend trying to go during the week, we went on a Wednesday and were the only ones there. Children of the fisherman work the dunes as mini tour guides and will even show you how to sled down the dunes. Although I am morally conflicted with children working, and not being in school, the reality of the situation in most of the world, is that the money is in tourism and that supplement income is vital to the survival of families. Our little girl spoke perfect English and told us that after dinner, she goes to English school for 2 hours so she can advance in tourism business later. It may be different than back home, but she seemed healthy and very happy.
It was this little girl who gave us our next directions to the bigger and better, white sand dunes. These are a bit further, a relaxing 30 minutes down the coast by motorbike. And the directions go like this. “Take a left, a left and a right”. But how you say, and where?! That is what we said to our little girl guide when she repeated them to us three times over. So in the spirit of adventure, she took her word and at each crossroad, we did just that……..left, left, and right. And we found it! It was as easy as that. And it was simply breathtaking.
At the bottom you could grab a cold beer and just take it all in, which, of course we did first thing. Or you could rent an ATV for $30 for a half hour, a small fortune for backpackers, but WORTH EVERY PENNY! Remember my motto, balanced backpacking right, I budget, but I don’t go half way around the world to not splurge for a cold beer and watch everyone have the time of their live on an ATV. Sometimes you just got to do it!
All in all, to really experience the red and white sand dunes, it cost us $51 and 6 hours. $9 for the motorbike, $5 to the little girl guide, $3 for lunch a local spot, $4 for 2 cold beers at the white dunes, and $30 for the ATV. To go on a tour would have been about $60 for the two of us, so we saved a bit of money and got to have wonderful day full of incredible sites, kind people, and the freedom that comes from doing it on your own. I don’t know if it was the drive, the adventure, or the celebratory beer, but the Mui Ne Sand Dunes truly were magical.
Have you been to the Mui Ne Sand Dunes? Or any others like that? How was your experience?