Sand Duning in Paradise: Mui Ne, Vietnam

Mui Ne, in South East Vietnam is a fantastic little get-away for people en route to Saigon from Nha Trang. We decided to stop here for one night, not only to break a potential 10 hour bus trip in two but because we saw the photos of it on the internet! As soon as the bus approached the coastal road to Mui Ne, I knew that this blog title had to have the word ‘paradise’ in it!

All you can see for miles is bright blue sea, rocky coastline and pristine beaches without a soul on them. We were booked into the Mui Ne Resort & Guesthouse, at the quiet end of town – it took around 5 hours to get there from Nha Trang so we checked in at about 12.30, with plenty of time to sort out our ‘activities for the day’.

Mui Ne Resort is owned by The Sinh Tourist, the same company who run the open buses all over the county. It was very nice, right on the beach, with a pool and restaurant serving really nice food. Our room was in the guesthouse over the road which was half the price of the rooms in the resort itself but we were still able to use all their facilities!

After lunch (a pack-up in our room!) we went and booked a bus ride out to Mui Ne’s star attractions, the White and Yellow Sandunes. This was much easier than getting a moped and driving out there ourselves as no-body in Mui Ne seemed to be able to give us a consistent answer as to how far they actually were, and our only ‘map’ of the area was a hand-drawn couple of lines, sketched on a piece of paper!

On the way to the White Sandunes – the largest and most impressive of the two dunes – we stopped off at a fishing village to watch the men at work, rowing out tanks of fuel and other items on traditional basket boats to their fishing boats which were moored off coast. Despite the fishy smell it was great to walk along the sand and see how the local people lived.

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After that, the bus took us around 30km out of Mui Ne town and up a sandy dirt track towards the white sandunes, situated by the White Lake (also known as Lotus Lake). The lake is around 28 metres deep and very pretty – its shores are covered in Lotus plants (hence the name!).

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Our plan for the sand dunes was to slide down them as fast as we could on plastic sheets. There are a bunch of kids at the dunes who run up to you telling you to slide while holding out flimsy-looking blue sheets of plastic with a handle on for you to purchase. It’s only 20,000 VND for a sheet so worth doing – we just got one to share. Other options for people to take advantage of are quad-biking on the dunes, hiring a jeep or riding a horse – but I wouldn’t recommend the horse option, the poor things are all skin and bone, so just leave them be to wander by the lake in peace!

We chose what we hoped would be the fastest place on the dunes for us to slide down – they had rains a few days beforehand, making the sand more compacted and much more slippery. It was fun to do and we got absolutely covered in sand! Richard had about 5 goes which resulted in him literally tearing the plastic sheet to pieces. Oops. Well they were very flimsy!

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Once we’d had our fill of the sand we wandered around taking some photos of the rest of the sandunes – they really were cool and not something we’d initially expected to see when we visited Vietnam.

On the way back to town, we stopped at the Yellow Sandunes (also known as the Red Sandunes, although we can tell you that they are orange!!). These are slightly less expansive than the white ones, but I preferred the colour of these. They looked particularly dramatic, especially next to the dark blue, thunderous rain clouds that began looming over them! We stood on top of the dunes for a while, watching as a storm approached – the lightening bolts in the distance were quite spectacular, but we didn’t want to stand there for too long in case the heavens opened!

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Back at the resort, we decided to take an evening dip in the pool to wash off the rest of the sand, before having a delicious noodle dinner in the restaurant (yes, we do eat a lot of noodles, but they are so nice we are just gonna keep on eating them until they bore us silly!)

The next morning, we got up bright and early, had a small but healthy breakfast of bananas and Alpen bars before heading over the road to hire some bicycles for the morning. We biked up to the Fairy Stream (Suoi Tien in Vietnamese), another Mui Ne ‘attraction’. This is a small river that winds its way through bamboo forests, boulders and the dunes behind the town. The water is shallow enough for you to wade through making a pleasant a 30 minute walk, surrounded by dramatic looking red and white sand cliffs before reaching a small waterfall.

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We were lucky enough not to meet any other tourists on the way, only a couple of cows grazing on the banks. It was great fun walking in the water – apart from a few rocky bits that were impossible to see due to the sandy colours of the river but it was also hard work and very hot! The waterfall at the end wasn’t the biggest, but it was still pretty.

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Back at the resort, we had lunch before checking out and handing back the bikes – we were catching the 1pm bus to Saigon, our last stop in Vietnam, which would take just over 6 hours. We’re looking forward to experiencing Vietnam’s biggest city, after getting a reprieve from city life in the last two beautiful beach resorts we’ve visited…


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  1. February 11, 16:12 #1 Rick

    Such a beautiful place isn’t it. Quad bikes are a great way of exploring. Like you say, the horses don’t look like they’re upto it.

  2. October 11, 19:29 #2 margaret D.

    Loving everything so far keep it comming. What a wonderful World we live in.) keep well keep healthy and God Bless!!!!