Mui Ne: Sand Dunes and Seafood

Mui Ne was a spot that Braydon and I used as a bit of a rest-and-recovery spot.  After some issues with hostels being booked solid–note: if going to Mui Ne, book ahead of time, even in low season–we found a little hotel where we had a large, clean room, for about $10/night.  There isn’t that much to do in Mui Ne, but we managed to use up a few days there.

While there we did do a tour out to the white sand dunes, red sand dunes, a fishing village and Fairy River.  I had never been to any kind of sand dunes prior to this, so it was a neat experience for me.  We went on the 4:30am tour, which I highly reccommend.  Yes, it is horribly early.  Yes, when you leave you will think “Why…. why did I sign up for this”.  But you’ll appreciate it for a few reasons:

  1. You’ll be one of the first groups out to the dunes, which means fewer people wandering around, and fewer quads being driven on the dunes.  Those buggers are loud!
  2. You might be lucky enough to catch the sunrise at the dunes.  It’s a beautiful view.
  3. You avoid the heat.  Every day we were in Mui Ne the temperature got up to about 35 C, feeling more like 38 with the humidity.  You do not want to be on sand dunes in that temperature.

The dunes themselves were not huge, but were very pretty and we spent some time just taking in the sights.

white sand dunes

The White Sand Dunes as the sun came up.

headstand sand dunes

Notice a trend? I love being upside-down!

white sand dunes

The White Sand Dunes early in the morning.

sand dunes

There are women and kids all over the dunes offering you a chance to slide down the dune on a crazy-carpet. After we politely declined this woman’s offer, she promptly turned around and slid down herself.

We also stopped at a fishing village and spent a few minutes taking in the huge harbour.


A busy spot.

round boats

These little round boats were all over in the harbour as well as around the water in Mui Ne. I figure they look like small kiddy-pools that float on the water, but the locals maneuver them easy as anything.

My favourite part of the tour was the visit to Fairy River.  It’s a small river, almost more like a stream, that you can walk through up to the waterfall at the end.  It offered stunning views, a chance to cool our feet, and some tricky footwork (at one point I stepped in a wrong spot and wound up in thigh deep mud.  That was fun.)

fairy river rocks

One of the rock formations along the walk.


Braydon walking up the river.


A little stream that fed into the river. The water was significantly warmer than the river, and ran with a red tinge to mix with the sandy water of the river.


It was absolutely beautiful walking. And it was stunningly quiet.

Water falls

The falls at the end of the walk. It took us about twenty minutes to wander through, the last little part got a bit rough but was well worth it.

After finishing our tour, we spent most of the day napping and enjoying the blissful air-conditioning in our hotel room, a sanctuary of coolness in the middle of 38 above melt-your-skin heat.

Oh wait, that’s not what happened.

We arrived back from the tour at about 9:00am, and sat and had breakfast at the hotel restaurant.  At that point it wasn’t too terribly hot.  Then Braydon noticed that only one of the many fans in the room was running, and after watching for a few minutes realized that it wasn’t actually turned on–it was simply catching the breeze right to make it seem so.  It took a few more minutes to realize that there was no power to the hotel.  At all.  Oh well we thought.  We’ve learned that losing power in Vietnam is inevitable, and happens quite frequently.

The power didn’t come back on until about 5:00pm that evening.  So instead of napping in blissful air-conditioned coolness, we napped in sweltering heat with zero air movement.  It was our own personal sauna.

General backpacker advice in Vietnam:  pack a headlamp or flashlight.  Because the power will go out.

The other highlight of Mui Ne was the seafood dinner we had on our last night.  To lay out the situation, our hotel was on west side of the street.  On the east side there were tanks full of the catch-of-the-day from the fisherman’s nets, which you could see off the beach, full of lobster, scallops, mussels, and various other kinds of seafood.  After that were tables and chairs, and then the beach and the water.

We wandered over, looked at a menu and perused the tanks with dinner in them.  We then found a table, made our order of a kilo of mussels and some scallops, and enjoyed the view.  The people working then go, scoop out what we ordered from the tank, and carry it across the street to be cooked, then carry it back for us to enjoy.  It was absolutely delicious.

More updates to come!


2 responses to “Mui Ne: Sand Dunes and Seafood

  1. What a wonderful entry. I love the descriptions of the dunes and all your sights. The thigh deep mud was a hoot. I would have loved a picture of that. Take care!

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