One of the best spots I visited in Vietnam was the White Sand Dunes located in Mui Ne, 5 hours from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon: old name). After walking barefoot at the fairy stream and a quick stop at the fishing village, we proceeded to this beautiful destination and welcomed all the dust along the way. hehe.
White Sand Dunes in Mui Ne, Vietnam
February 8, 2012
Beautiful White Sand Dunes
It was a hot and dusty road to the white sand dunes so better be prepared with sunblock (if you plan to hire a motorbike instead of a jeep) and a scarf or headware to cover your nose and mouth. Other than that, just enjoy the view along the way. The ride went on for about 45 minutes. At the back of my head, I thought wouldn’t it be nice to go on a road trip here.
road to the White Sand Dunes
Bunch of Cows
I came across Ron & Monette’s blog post about the White Sand Dunes and I knew I wanted to visit this tourist spot when the opportunity came. Aside from the sand dunes being an attraction itself, I wanted to see herds of cows on the road.
Mui Ne cows
True enough, we passed by cows along the way and I wondered how the sun, the sand, and the dust made it look like scenes from Africa. There were areas of pure soil and the sun intensified the color of the sand. The animals walking together felt like we were in a safari.
cattle on the road in Mui Ne
Cemetery and Swastikas
Still on the road, I spotted cemented figures from afar. When the jeep was getting close, we found out that this was a cemetery and these figures were graves. I was confused because these tombs had what seemed like Swastika symbols on them. I became curious what a Nazi sign was doing on the graves. I’m not good with History, but I sort of knew that carrying a swastika symbol is taboo because of it being associated with the infamous Hitler and World War II.
graves with swastikas
To easily distinguish, these symbols on the cemetery are the swastikas of which arms are bent 90 degrees whereas the infamous symbol is tilted a few degrees to the right. Dunno if I explained it clearly but I’m trying to wipe my nose from blood just by explaining it. haha.
dusty road and a cemetery
On with the trip. You can rent a motorbike if you have more time, but be careful as it can get tough in some areas especially where there are lots of sand. I’m glad we took the jeep as it was more convenient and comfortable.
Tour Fee of the Half-Day Tour
45 USD – 4×4 jeep
10 USD/person – motorbike with driver (you can also rent motorcycles by yourselves (I just don’t know how much)
2 girls, 1 scotter – stuck in the sand
Near the white sand dunes, there’s a lake where you can also stop by to take photos. It is sometimes called the Lotus Lake because of so many lotus flowers on the water. We didn’t bother stopping by though, as we knew we were running out of time.
there’s a lake and pine trees too! Reminds me of Anawangin Cove in Zambales, Philippines
The White Sand Dunes in Mui Ne was really gorgeous. Upon arrival, I was jumping around and rolling on the ground because the space is really huge! I’ve been to the Suba Sand Dunes in Ilocos Norte, Philippines, but this was different because of the color of the sand.
It’s very wide and might I say, very clean. You can rent ATVs and motorbikes and ride on the vast open area, but I forgot to ask the cost of renting these four-wheelers.
Mui Ne, White Sand Dunes
Be careful when you’re on the higher portion! Short sandstorms occur and they hurt badly! Tiny particles of sand, millions of them hitting your bare skin is really painful. Better if you bring a scarf or something for cover. Also, be careful with your cameras as the dust particles might go inside these devices.
notice their feet covered by the sandy wind?
Sandboarding is Not Fun as it Looks!
You will notice kids carrying thin metallic or plastic sheets for sandboarding. I didn’t rent one thinking that the sheets were flimsy and too expensive to use for a few minutes.
Basically, you’re just going to use the sheet as you glide your way from a hill. Sounds fun eh? I had this image of myself gliding really fast while shouting to show how much I enjoyed the ride.
a used sandboard left by a tourist
I saw a few tourists who were trying it out and somehow just left their sandboard behind. I asked one of them if I could borrow it and he told me to just get it from the sand. I was happy that I didn’t have to pay for it since it was already used by someone else – or that’s what I thought at the beginning.
other tourists climbing while covering themselves from the sandstorm, looks tiresome eh?
The image of riding the board was fulfilled, but I only glided a few meters down. It’s funny because after sliding down, you have to climb your way back up which was a little tedious considering that your feet will sink in the sand. I tried a couple more times but still I didn’t slide fast enough. I gave up afterwards.
I may look like I was having a grand time but this was not fun at all. hehe
Angry Kid Seller
One of the kid sellers appeared out of nowhere and demanded that I pay up. I was taken aback, since I used a board that was already paid for by another tourist and who just left it on the sand. But he wouldn’t budge. Scary that he was charging towards me fuming mad. He was already shouting “Money! Pay Me!”, as if those were the only English words he knew. Instead of trying to argue that the sandboard I used was from another tourist, I gave him a few thousand Vietnamese Dongs just to calm him down.
So be careful guys, those kids can get annoyingly aggressive!
more photos of the vast landscape
We headed back as it was getting late. I couldn’t help but admire the landscape that I still took a few more photos. This is such a beautiful place! You have enough space to have your “footprints in the sand” emo shots here. hehe
Also, here’s a short video of combined clips I took of the place. Pardon the bad editing – I didn’t have much time or I was too lazy. haha. Notice how strong the wind is.
Clip 1: view of the sand dunes
Clip 2: a tourist sandboarding
Clip 3: jumping around and rolling on the ground
Clip 4: shouting and laughing in pain because of the sand hitting my skin
I always recommend checking out the White Sand Dunes whenever people ask me about places to visit in Vietnam. If you booked a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon, the 5 hour drive to Mui Ne may be a bit long; but I tell you that it’s truly worth it!
shadows on the sand
At the entrance, our driver said that we needed to proceed to the last stop if we still wanted to catch the sunset. Knowing that we took the afternoon tour for the sunset, we quickly got back to the 4×4 jeep to head to the Red Sand Dunes.
Mui Ne is five hour by bus from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Check out my other stories of Mui Ne here:
- Half-Day Tour of Places to Visit in Mui Ne, Vietnam
- Walking Barefoot at the Fairy Stream in Mui Ne, Vietnam
- Quick stop at the Fishing Village in Mui Ne, Vietnam
- Happy and High at the White Sand Dunes in Mui Ne, Vietnam
- Chasing the Sunset at the Red Sand Dunes in Mui Ne, Vietnam
- A Few Tips about Mui Ne, Vietnam
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soloflightEd.com is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines and the rest of Asia. He just started his backpacking trip across Southeast Asia in order to live as a digital nomad. Read more about the beginning of his delusions of grandeur here.
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