Vietnam days 26-27: sand dunes and beach time in Mui Ne

The last two days were spent in a chill beach town in Southern Vietnam called Mui Ne. I was eager to visit a beach towards the end of my trip, but to be honest, there weren’t many options to choose from as Vietnam isn’t known for having the most pristine beaches like Cambodia or Malaysia (in my humble opinion). But I landed on Mui Ne after hearing about its unique sand dunes and after getting enough validation from other backpackers who visited. I ended up having a lovely, relaxing two days and even bumped into friends from my previous travels.

Day 26: sand dunes at sunrise + Fairy Stream hike + beach day

I arrived at Mui Ne from Da Lat the evening before by bus – about 5 hours. I checked into Eva Hut Mui Ne Hostel and said hi to my two German friends, Nele and Finja, who were also in town. You might remember them from my Ninh Binh and Hoi An posts – we’ve overlapped in 3 cities in Vietnam, and we were excited to catch up since the last time we saw each other.

The next morning, we got up bright and early as we had something fun planned together…a sunrise Jeep tour through Mui Ne! We were out of the hostel by 4:30am and hopped into our bright lime-green Jeep.

Our first stop was the white sand dunes, a popular spot to see the sunrise/sunset. We first hopped onto ATVs, where locals drove us to the designated photo spot. They drove SO fast and I legit thought I was going to fall off. Nothing like some adrenaline to wake us up at 5 o’clock in the morning. 😉

From there, we joined a crowd to watch the sunrise. It was a cloudy day, so the sunrise was just okay. The sand dunes were large and actually quite impressive. Of course, it wasn’t the Sahara Desert, but for Southeast Asia, I’ll take it. 😉 My only complaint was that everyone got dropped off at the same spot, so despite the desert being pretty large, there was some competition to get the prime photo-taking spots. Like many things in Vietnam, it was classic Instagram versus reality.

Finja, Nele, and I still had fun with our photoshoot while we watched the sunrise. It was all about the right camera angling or else you would see a bunch of people in the background. 😛

After the white sand dunes, our driver took us to the red sand dunes, a highlight of Mui Ne and key attraction for tourists. The red dunes were smaller, but they let everyone roam around so it felt like there was more space for everyone. Also, the sand looked more orange versus red, but that might be because the sun was hiding.

After meeting so many people on the backpacking trail, it was so nice to see Nele and Finja again, and I’m grateful for our time together in Vietnam! There’s something comforting about seeing people you met previously while traveling, like you’re seeing an old friend. Even if you only met for a few hours before, in travel-land, it feels like you’ve known them for way longer.

After the sand dunes, we headed to our next stop – the fishing village. This one was interesting as locals were selling their fresh catches of the day right on the beach.

I’ve been to several fishing villages this year, and I’ve noticed that they always have a major trash problem.

With the fishy smell and trashy beach, I was eager to leave, but Nele and Finja stayed behind to collect seashells to bring home. I found it so beautiful that they found something positive and were able to make a good memory out of this fishing village. After 8 months of traveling, I admit I can be jaded, but that’s why I love traveling with others as it opens my mind to new perspectives. One of the most precious moments in Vietnam. ❤

Our last stop of the day was the Fairy Stream hike. This was my favorite stop as I’ve never seen anything like it. There was a shallow, gentle stream leading us along a beautiful hike with large formations around it. We left our shoes behind and hiked the entire thing barefoot. 🙂

At each stop this morning, we bumped into a sweet girl from Sweden named Johanna. By the end, we adopted her into our group! I’m telling you, travel relationships form quickly. 😉

After a full morning, I basically did everything I wanted to do in Mui Ne, and it was only 8:30am. 😉 The four of us got brunch at a food court near our hostel. We took our time as we each ordered multiple dishes and drinks…the sunrise wake-up call gave us a big appetite.

After brunch, I said goodbye to Nele and Finja as they headed out of Mui Ne. They were heading back north while I was going further south, so it was our final goodbye! Afterward, Johanna and I headed to the beach for a lazy afternoon. The beach in Mui Ne was alright, but I was just happy to have some downtime near the ocean.

Johanna and I chatted away and took a nap on the sand. I loved talking to Johanna because despite being from two totally different countries, we had a lot in common. We swapped stories about our home lives, traveling, jobs, relationships, and everything under the sun.

After beach time, we said our goodbyes as Johanna headed back to Ho Chi Minh city where she lives as an expat. For dinner, I ate at the same food court as brunch. I really loved it here and ended up taking every single meal here while in Mui Ne. If it ain’t broke. 😛

My evening ended with playing with the hostel cats (I haven’t seen many cats in Vietnam so I was super happy), watching Netflix (currently watching On Becoming a God in Central Florida…absolutely love it as it features Kristen Dunst and lots of 90s nostalgia), and sleeping early.

Day 27: short scooter adventure + chill day

The next day was my second and last day in Mui Ne, and I had a lovely time. I relaxed in the morning, got coffee, caught up with Joe, and hung out with my furry friends.

Then, I got brunch at the food court, and I befriended the owner who was an expat from England. I asked him for tips on things to do as I didn’t have any plans today, and he gave me directions to a local village that was off the tourist trail. I took some mental notes, rented a scooter, and was off for a little adventure!

Because I saw the main attractions in Mui Ne yesterday, I didn’t have much of an agenda on the scooter today. It was just nice to drive around as the streets of Mui Ne were relatively chill.

First, I visited Poshanu Cham Tower, which Johanna recommended to me yesterday. These were ruins from the 9th century from the Champa Kingdom. To this day, this group of towers worships one of the gods of the indigenous Cham people. It was a peaceful spot to walk around as I had it all to myself.

After Cham Towers, I tried looking for the local village that the English expat recommended earlier. I felt like I was in the 90s following verbal directions without any online map. There were like 10 steps to remember, but somehow, I actually found it! I have to say, I’m pretty good at directions (humble brag). 😉 It was cool to drive through this village and see this community of locals, as the rest of town was full of resorts and restaurants.

After my scooter adventure, I headed back to the hostel and laid low for the rest of the day. Mui Ne was rather dead when I visited, so I enjoyed time alone and making final arrangements for Vietnam.

What a lovely, relaxing time in Mui Ne. Next up, I’m heading to Ho Chi Minh City for a short 24 hours before flying back home! Hope to see you back here for my last Vietnam post. 🙂

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