Thursday, October 4, 2012

From Concrete City to Sand Town

Mui Ne. Six hours from Saigon. Or is it? Yes, the drive took 6 hours, but I think the bus driver's Filipino...the bus left 45 minutes late. So make that seven hours from Saigon.

Inside the sleeper bus bound for Mui Ne

The $6 bus fare includes a plastic bag and a bottle of water, which we sadly did not receive because the lady giving out the bottles got waylaid by the man, or "big boy" as he declared himself to be, sitting in front of us who asked to be transferred to another seat for he was too wide for the assigned middle seat. The plastic bag is not to be used as a barf bag, but instead it is to put your shoes in for it is mandatory to take off your footwear while inside the bus.

Too narrow for big boy

Three and a half hours later, the bus stopped for lunch at a huge place where food offerings were on display (carenderia style), no one spoke English, and only the menu gave you some vague idea of what could be brewed up in the kitchen.

Photo by H Bacordio

 The menu

Because the menu conjured funny pictures in our head, we just dragged the lady manning the counter down to the display and pointed to the food our eyes thought looked delicious plus ordered a serving of rice each. No one bothered to tell us we were buying a feast. Turns out each viand comes with soup, rice, and vegetables. The servers were laughing at us as they put all the dishes on our rapidly shrinking table.

A feast fit for 10 people

We arrived in Mui Ne a quarter before 3PM, too late for the 2PM Mui Ne tour offered by our resort, Mui Ne Backpackers. Luckily TM Brother's Cafe, just a few meters from the resort, offers tours at your convenience to the fishing village and the sand dunes for $6 per person.

 A Jeep to take you around Mui Ne

 Passing wide areas spotted with graves and spotted with cows.
Photos by H Bacordio

The Fishing Village
It is 3PM and the fishermen are having a siesta. No fishing boats at sea.

  Later in the afternoon fishing boats swarm the water. (Taken around 6PM, on the way back.)

We drive on in search of the...
White Sand Dunes

 Sorry for the colors. My white balance is off balance.

 The sand is white. Really.

ATV rides and sandboarding are offered for a fee (if I remember right it's 100,000VND for unlimited use of a board). The "board" is actually just a rectangular piece of vinyl that, according to two Australian ladies, don't go very fast. Other than that, the only thing to do at the dunes is to soak in the view while getting pelted by sand (which I discovered does sting) when the wind blows.

Red Sand Dunes
The sand pockmarked by footprints of locals and visitors.

A lady offering sandboard rides.

 Sundown at the red sand dunes.

At the red sand dunes, some enterprising Vietnamese offer sandboard rides. There are also ladies selling food and drinks and by the road, across the sand dunes, are small shops offering rest for the weary, coffee and cold drinks, and snacks.

 Hammock haven across the road from the foot of the red sand dunes

The sun turns into a red ball before disappearing for the day.

Mui Ne is a beach town. Many resorts offer windsurfing and kiteboarding. No time and no budget for any of these, we contented ourselves with strolling around Mui Ne.

 From L-R: Boards. No one cares if you walk the streets barefoot. And a mobile gas station.


Veni, Vidi, (South) Vietnam:
Do You...?
What's in a (Business) Name? Vietnam
Bed Hopping
Adopting a Fellow Traveler
Strolling Saigon


  1. Great account, buddy! Im a bit bummed that only got to spend 24 hours in Mui Ne. we had very identical Mui Ne experiences. Haha.

  2. Looks like you had awesome time in Vietnam! :)Nalingaw ko sa sleeper bus. I didn't know they have sand dunes there.

    1. Yes I did. It's a huge country and not meant to be explored in a jiffy. I wish I had more time there.