Mui Ne is a popular beach resort in South East Vietnam, around 4 hours away from Ho Chi Minh City. The town itself was a little too commercialised for us, but we really enjoyed our visit to the nearby Sand Dunes. I was slightly skeptical beforehand, wondering if the stop in Mui Ne would be worth it, but after seeing the dunes, I realised it definitely was.
DIY or Organised Tour?
We chose to take an organised ‘tour’ of the sand dunes through our hostel but it was not a real tour, but transport to the different sites, and we had to pay extra for tickets into some attractions like the Fairy Stream (15,000 VND / 50p ). Note: if your tour also includes the Fairy Stream, don’t feel obliged to go, it is very over-rated.
If I were to do it again, I would go for the DIY option – transport is easy enough to source with motorbikes and buses / minivans available. Organising it yourself gives you more flexibility with times and you will probably end up saving a bit of #
White Dunes (Bau Trang/White Lake):
It is roughly a one hour drive (26km) from the centre of Mui Ne to the White Sand Dunes and definitely worth the journey. Try to visit early in the morning, or later in afternoon as the sand can get very hot during the day.
The photos I had seen before visiting the White Sand Dunes really didn’t do the place justice – it was even more pristine and beautiful than I imagined.
You have the option of walking around the dunes, or you can rent an ATV (with driver) to whizz you around. We went for the former and although it was tough on our legs at times, it seemed more relaxed than the noisy ATVs.
The Red Dunes are a 20-30 minute (17km) drive from the centre of Mui Ne. The sand is less of a vibrant red and more an orange-brown colour, which was slightly disappointing. The White Sand Dunes were more spectacular to look at, but I preferred the red as we were given time to watch the sunset (which was amazing!)
Again, you can walk around the dunes, or you can rent a plastic sled from one of the many sellers and slide down! Our friends tried this, but it seemed to work better in theory than in practice…