I just got back from my second tour in Vietnam and enjoyed this one even more than the first. The main reason was because there wasn’t as much structure. Out of the three days, only 5 hours was a ‘tour’. Even then, I got to do my own thing for most of that time. It would’ve been significantly cheaper if I’d just gone on my own, but this was definitely a fun experience and worth a little extra.
The destination was Mui Ne. The only reason I wanted to go here was to see the iconic sand dunes that lie some ways outside the city. It was an added benefit that I got plopped in an awesome beach resort with fully covered 5 course meals for the duration of my stay. I couldn’t turn anything down, and think I gained 10% of my body weight in the span of three days.
Aww, I’m so happy!
The day after arriving, I killed some time around the resort before meeting the rest of the tour group at the office. In a refreshing change from the last tour, there was only myself and three other people on this trip. We all piled on board an old school military jeep and headed out for the dunes. The landscape along the way was pretty impressive. The road hugged the coast for most of it, and alternating swells of white, yellow, and red sand rolled off towards the horizon on our left. At times, the terrain reminded me of Eastern Washington. The rest of the time it was like nothing I’ve seen before.
We stopped briefly at a little fishing village for some pictures. The harbor was packed with a variety of crafts bobbing with each cycle of the surf. The fishermen used little bowl-like vessels to awkwardly work their way out to their boats. It made for some cool photos, which some local kids tried to exploit. They kept offering to take my camera so I could get a picture. Haha. Nice try, little buggers.
Next came the best part. The white sand dunes! We drove past a brilliant blue lake completely out of place in the desert environment and arrived at our destination. There were some ATVs available to rent for the steep price of $15 for 20 minutes. Yikes! I was perfectly content hoofing it, so I ditched my sandals and set off into the dunes.
Well, I didn’t leave them THERE… but you get the idea…
The dunes made for some amazing photos and, for the time I wasn’t rolling down the dunes like a giddy school child, I spent much of the time taking some sweet photos.
Remember that lake I mentioned before? Well, I was pretty hot towards the end of my time at the dunes, so I scrambled over to the lake and dunked my head for some instant refreshment. The water was so cool and clear I was tempted to take a swig, but I didn’t push my luck. It just felt great to have something other than sweat and gritty sand on my face. Something tells me the Gobi Desert is going to be a fun experience for me…
There were some dogs by the lake too. I’ve noticed dogs tend to be pretty healthy and friendly in Vietnam. However, when I was talking to a German I met on the bus today, she remarked how you don’t see too many old dogs (they get eaten). So, we decided that Vietnamese dogs live happy lives for the time they have; then meet their fates swiftly and at the hands of a hungry passerby. C’est la vie.
The next stop was another area of sand dunes; red ones this time. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the white sand dunes for a few reasons. The size of the area was smaller and there were a lot more tourists milling around. Still, I was able to get some nice pictures of the area and run down a few dunes.
Overall, I loved checking out the dunes. It was a cool new experience for me and I really enjoyed acting half my age for a while. I’m gonna have to try that more often.