Using Saigon as a base, we went to Mui Ne for a couple of nights. Easily accessible in a pretty luxurious mini bus (you had to take your shoes off before climbing aboard so that it stayed clean!), Mui Ne is by the coast. The beaches and coastline weren’t as beautiful as Quy Nhon in my opinion, but that’s not why we were there. We were there for the sand dunes. Here are my thoughts on Mui Ne.
Mui Ne – a ‘strip’ that isn’t that appealing, beaches that aren’t quite as beautiful as others… but we enjoyed what we came for. Your dunes – red and white – standing proudly against a backdrop of blue sky and sea. Almost a desert, though I’m sure a desert is even more spectacular. Sand stretches in every direction: vast, empty. A playground.
First, though, a fairy stream. I don’t see any fairies (but maybe they’re there…), but it’s beautiful just the same. I walk barefoot through the shallow water, sinking slowly before I take the next step. It’s hot, but the cool water surrounding my ankles is refreshing. Orange cliffs stand either side causing beautiful colours in the water.
The red dunes, smaller than its cousin, yet larger than any I’ve seen before. My bare feet sink into the deep piles of grains and grains and grains and grains as I walk to the highest point. Here, ladies covered in hats, scarves and layers upon layers to protect from the sun (but what about the heat?) sell mats for you to slide down. It doesn’t look that high, and it’s perhaps underwhelming compared to the white dunes we’ve just visited, yet it’s a new experience and one that results in laughter (and sand all over me). Golden hour in the orange sand, as children slide down swiftly, their weight not limiting them and their excited squeals a reminder of simple pleasures.
The white dunes – further away – cover a larger area, stand taller and offer a more exhilarating activity. Quad biking. Before I know it, we’re hurtling around, before any anxiety over the safety or how likely I am to die (not very, let’s be honest) overtakes me. It’s another new experience for me – so much so it’s only after a bump that I fall into the seat I’m actually supposed to sit on. As we career up and down these sandy mountains, bumping up and down, I realise this is fine. It’s better than fine. This isn’t scary. This is living and it’s exhilarating. I’ll never be an adrenaline junkie – I’m perfectly happy with a hot chocolate in a cafe – but on occasion, a bit of a thrill does a lot to remind me that sometimes a risk is worth it for the feeling it brings.
How do you feel about activities like this? Let me know in the comments or on instagram!
Read the rest of my ‘A Postcard from…’ collection here, including words about Mai Chau, Hoi An, Sapa, Saigon and Hue.
Find a range of posts about Vietnam here, from travel tips to photo diaries.