Vietnam Diaries: Mad About Mui Ne-A A +A
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
AFTER a not so scrumptious lunch at the hotel's restaurant, we headed straight out to see the much raved-about red canyons and sand dunes of Mui Ne.
For US$14 per person, we boarded a Ford Everest with excellent working air-conditioning to take us through the whole five-hour tour. Not too shabby since I was expecting a world-war II remnants of a jeep.
First on the itinerary was the Fairy Stream where you have to pass through a fish sauce factory with it’s over powering smell clinging to the hairs of your nostrils for hours. The Red Canyon is stunning and the stream flows between the rock and sand formations. A couple of kids were overly eager to assist us but went stomping their feet leaving us behind when they couldn’t guilt us into tipping them more than 50,000 VND.
Mui Ne is seeing some serious developments, so before the total wipe out of the charming fishing village, we stopped by for a few minutes and a succession of camera clicks.
From there, it’s a 45 minute scenic ride to Bao Trang or the white sand dunes, our non-English speaking driver had to avoid many meandering cows while singing to the tune of ABBA's "you to me are everything the sweetest song that I can sing ohhh baby." Our driver, apparently doesn't speak English, only ABBA.
Our excitement went up a few notches upon approaching the very picturesque massive Saharan dunes framed with a small field of pine trees and a lake covered with lotus flowers. The sand is powdery soft between our toes and thankfully not scorching hot, having gotten there past the hour of five.
Of course I had to try sand-sledding (sliding down from the top of the steep sandy slopes while sitting on a squat position on a rented flexible thin plastic sheet) for 20,000 VND or a few cents over a dollar and had great fun. However after taking some amazing shots and sledding, there was little else to do so we made our way back to the stores at the entrance and had some coconut ice cream before settling in the jeep to leave for our last stop before going back to the hotel.
The Red Sand Dune was located at the side of the road facing the ocean. I actually thought it was the national park since it was populated with locals. The dunes were much smaller compared to Bao Trangs, but the deep orangey-red sand offers a nice contrast. We were hoping to catch the sunset there but it was overcast. Nevertheless, we were impressed!
Mui Ne has certainly lived up to its expectations.
Now I know why those bloggers who has been to Mui Ne are so damn persuasive!
WARNING: If you plan to visit the fairy stream, you will have to walk in water (not over it, you're not Jesus) so expect to get those feet soaked. Take rubber flip-flops with you and leave those tired and worn-out sneakers in the jeep. Like I said, leave those shoes in the JEEP, not in the HOTEL. You might be needing them again at the sand dunes as they can get scorching hot!
TIP: The sand dunes is best seen in sunrise or sundown.
HOW TO GET THERE: From Ho Chi Minh you can either take the train and get off at the town of Phan Thiet and take another 30 minute motor ride or you could get on a Tam Hanh bus which will take you straight to Mui Ne.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 02, 2012.