17.01.-18.01.2018 Mui Ne
From Dalat we took the bus to Mui Ne. I expected a bus like the Futa busses we were used to from the South but unfortunately that was not the case. We got picked up by a rickety minibus that seemed like it would not make the trip. First we were hoping that this was only the pickup bus and not the „real one“ but these hopes were finally destroyed when we left the city behind us. Our 4 h ride took us on small roads though the country, rattling and shaking continuously due to both the road and bus condition. When we arrived in Mui Ne, we were happy to see that the stop was only a couple of hundred meters from our hotel The Bay.
After checking in and having some lunch, we decided to check out the beach. Unfortunately it was high tide and there was almost no beach left. Also, weather was grey and rather windy. Even with warm temperatures I didn’t feel like staying in the water for long, so we watched the kite surfers for a bit and then headed back to our hotel. Since mum was a bit sick, it was good to take it slow for a day anyways. I also had some things to organize like booking the night train to Danang and the taxi to Muong Man station, our hotel in Hoi An and the „desert tour“ for tomorrow.
Next day, my dad and I woke up early and got picked up by a jeep which made our bus of the day before look like a Ferrari in comparison. Our driver was a grumpy young guy who didn’t speak much with us. He dropped us at the white sand dunes without another word, just pointing to the dunes. Not sure if we got ripped off, but every other tourist was driven into the dunes by their jeeps. But maybe this was really not included for us since we booked quite a cheap tour. In any case, we had to walk – and it was a long, hot walk through deep soft sand. We arrived on top of the highest dune quite exhausted and were suddenly surrounded by lots of Asian tourists in jeeps and on quads, screaming around and destroying the peace and beauty of the dunes with their loud quads and smelly jeeps. The dunes themselves were already underwhelming: not that big overall and we’d seen prettier ones in our life (e.g. in Morocco). On the way back to our jeep we got a bit lost and had to search for the correct parking lot since there are multiple ones. We then continued to the red sand dunes, much closer to Mui Ne again. By then, we were quite exhausted and the sun was burning down, so we only climbed the closest dune and took some quick pictures.
At this stage we were wondering why we even bothered to go on this tour: Unfriendly driver and underwhelming sights. The answer came when we visited the last 2 sights included in our tour: The fishing village / harbour was very picturesque and we quite enjoyed walking around between the boats and fishermen watching them work. There were also lots of pretty sea shells left behind and scattered all over the ground (such as crab skeletons and lots of waste sadly). I think we took much more time here than our driver wanted us to, but at this stage we didn’t care about him anymore. First time during a tour in Vietnam there was no need to discuss the tip for the driver/guide. Oh well, saved some money I guess!
The second very much worthwhile sight and also our last stop was the Fairy Stream. Basically you walk in a shallow stream for about 30 min (and back the same way) in the middle of pretty vegetation and awesome rock formations! It really seemed like out of a fairy tale. We also enjoyed cooling down our feet a little, overall a way more enjoyable and easy walk than in the dunes! At parts you were knee-deep in the water but mostly the water was ankle-high at most. At the end of the walk, there’s a waterfall – so if you’re wondering in between if you’ve reached the end yet: you haven’t until you’re stuck at the waterfall and need to turn around anyways. Dad then took a shower in the waterfall, which must have been nice and refreshing – so good idea to bring your swimsuit (I didn’t know about the option).
Since the last 2 stops of the tour ended up being quite nice, we felt glad to have done it in the end. Although, if I could choose now, I’d skip the White sand dunes and take the bus to the other 3 sights (which is easily possible). No need to even rent a scooter and risk being ripped off by the local police.
Since it was nice and sunny, we then joined my mum and sister at the beach for some sun bathing and jumping in the waves. Shower, late lunch and off we were again then… taking the taxi to the train station in Muong Man where we boarded the night train to Danang…