One would assume that you can only see sand dunes in the Middle East, Morocco or even California. Well, there is absolutely no need to take the long haul flights now as there are (secret) sand dunes closer than you can imagine — and that’s in Vietnam. Here’s a basic travel guide on how to visit Mui Ne, a beach resort town that’s home to not one but two sand dunes, just a few hours away from the city of Saigon.
Read this too: Travel Guide to Ho Chi Minh: A Two-Day Itinerary
The nearest international airport to Mui Ne is in Ho Chi Minh City, and thereafter, you can take a 4-hour trip either by train, bus or private cab; perfect for nomads who love the scenic route.
From the city centre, there are trains that depart at Saigon Railway Station in District 3 and arrive at Phan Thiet, a 20km distance from the town proper where you’ll easily find plenty of metered cabs waiting. Travelling by sleeper bus is another option and it is also the cheapest way. Be sure that you will be able to tolerate the bumpy roads and you’ll do just fine!
Where to Stay
Mui Ne’s coast is packed with hotels but choose carefully as some resorts are great but some are pretty terrible. Our luxe pick to splurge and indulge on is the beautiful Anantara Mui Ne Resort. Set on a quiet beach location, the 90-room resort is composed of deluxe and premier suites including beachfront and family pool villas. After a busy day around town, do try their signature Anantara Spa or take a dip in the pool and simply let go of the travel planning stress.
What to Do
Time for action! Most hotels offer jeepney tours either starting from sunrise or sunset, letting you cover Mui Ne’s popular attractions in the best times possible. That being said, do make sure that you plan your trip well enough for the sun to actually be seen too (hint: Sunnier days from December to April, and avoid wet months from May to November).
Fairy Stream (Suoi Tien): Explore the magical Fairy Stream of Mui Ne, a tucked away ankle-deep stream surrounded by “rock” or sand formations and lush greeneries in between. No real fairies here, but the stream, whose entrance is hidden behind an alley, lets you take on a nice relaxing stroll to appreciate the landscape and even some parts of the sand dunes surrounding it. Carry your shoes and put on a friendly face as you’ll see a vast number of travellers making their way in and out too. You’ll never know who you’ll meet back in town.
Lai Chang Fishing Village: Mui Ne is best known for its fresh seafood. With a large variety of open-air restaurants, it is a good opportunity to savour the ‘catch of the day’ by making a quick stop at the Lai Chang Fishing Village. Aim to get there in the early morning to anticipate the local fishermen returning with massive hauls of scallops, crabs, shrimps and even stingrays, and no questions asked, you’ll be excited about dinner soon!
White Sand Dunes: And now the main reason for a visit to Mui Ne is, of course, the sand dunes. The biggest is the White Sand Dunes. Once you arrive, treat yourself to a little off-road adventure and hire an ATV bike (with a driver) that gets you the best spots in no time. Apart from taking Instagram-worthy photos, have fun sand dune sledging. Some braveheart souls will challenge themselves to drive solo, but these unfamiliar terrains will do no good. We had one couple in the group who hit a bush and got themselves completely turned over!
Red Sand Dunes: Our last stop was the smaller, yet equally beautiful Red Sand dunes. They say sunset is best viewed here so do try and get here on time! Once it gets darker, it will be rather difficult to appreciate anything.
Back to the city? How ’bout the beach?
If you’re looking to experience more of Vietnam, head back to Ho Chi Minh city and enjoy luxurious stays like no other. Do extend your holiday to include some vitamin-sea and travel to Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Ninh Van Bay!