Before going to Mui Ne, there were a few things we knew we wanted to do – chill by the beach, take a cooking class and visit the famous sand dunes. I mean, how cool isn’t a desert right next to the sea?! We simply couldn’t miss out on that.
There are several ways you can get to the sand dunes. If you prefer to go on your own, you can either rent a motorbike or a bicycle. Just be prepared for a long, windy and sweaty ride if you go by bicycle as it’s a roughly 34 km long ride from the resort street, Ham Tien. Since we can’t drive a motorcycle, and we didn’t really feel like biking 30+km at 4 in the morning, we decided to go with a tour.
After some dithering back and fourth, we decided to go with on a private jeep-tour instead of with a group tour. This was partly because we were three people, so the price difference wasn’t that big, partly because we prefer to take our time and not having to adjust to others.
We did some research and decided to book a jeep tour around Mui Ne, including a visit to the sand dunes, with Mui Ne Go. The booking process was very simple. We contacted Mr. Trong (the man who handles all the bookings) through WhatsApp (+84907142011 – Viber, WhatsApp. Line, Wechat, iMessage) and soon thereafter our booking was confirmed. At 4.30am sharp the morning after, we were picked up in a jeep by Mr. Vuong. He greeted us with a “good morning, Mui Ne Go?” , without introducing himself. I’m guessing he simply isn’t a morning person, as he during the day was very friendly, gave us facts along the way and took lots of photos for us.
We had lots of fun during our tour and would love to share it with you!
The White Sand Dunes
The tour started with a pretty long drive to the White sand dunes. Maybe we should’ve realized this before hand, but it was so cold! The sun hadn’t risen (obviously, it was 4.30 in the morning) and the jeep had no windows or walls. We were freezing. I continued freezing even after the jeep had parked at the sand dunes, until the sun had risen. So, a very useful tip – bring a sweatshirt, a hoodie or whatever that can warm you up a bit.
Anyways, we reached the White sand dunes. Here visitors has two options – walk up the sand dunes or pay for the jeep to take you up to the top. We went up with the jeep, to not have to climb huge hills of sand at 5.15am, in the dark. Our driver parked on the top and told us to go and enjoy.
We tried to find a spot where there were less people, to get some nice pictures during sunrise. This was more or less impossible. There were people everywhere. It was as if every tourist in Mui Ne had decided to visit the white sand dunes at the same time.
Anyways, we found a spot that was good enough and waited for the sun to rise. It sure was a gorgeous sight, and the warmth from the rising sun was very welcoming. I do however believe that the sunset would’ve been even more beautiful.
Once we had got our pics we got back to our driver and he took us down the sand dunes to the lake right next to the dunes. There, a man waited for us. We were going on a quad bike!! First he took every one of us on a ride. I was the first one. Oh. My. God. He was driving so fast! He drove up the sand dunes and down the steepest hills, speeding as he went. I had to hold on real tight not to fall off. It was so much fun!
After we all had had a go, we got to drive ourselves. Pajam went first, then Liv (my sister that is visiting at the moment, for those of you who didn’t know) and then me. To drive ourselves was even more fun, even though it went way slower. Apparently, I drove as a great grandmother according to Pajam and Liv…
Our jeep-driver from Mui Ne Go was amazing. He took lots and lots of picture of us while driving. He even took the opportunity to get some shots of the surroundings while we were on the quad bike.
The price for renting an ATV depends on the size of the bike. If you rent through Mui Ne Go, you get a really good quad bike. We can ensure that it goes really, really fast. You get the ATV for 30 minutes. The small ATV (max 2 people) is 20usd and the big ATV (max 3 people) is 38usd.
After 30 minutes we unfortunately had to give the quad bike back… I could’ve continued for a lot longer!
The Red Sand Dunes
We got back into the jeep and our driver drove to the red sand dunes. Now, when the sun had come out, we could actually enjoy the drive. We even got to stand up in the jeep and enjoy a 360° view, while he drove. We reached the red sand dunes and our driver parked at the bottom of the dunes. This time he wouldn’t take us up. After walking up these dunes, we were really glad we took the jeep up the white sand dunes. It’s not a walk in the park walking up big hills of sand, let me tell you that.
The red sand dunes is a bit smaller than the white sand dunes. However, there were litter everywhere. I really don’t get it. Whats wrong with people? Hold on to your garbage and throw it in a garbage bin – it’s really not that hard.
Anyways, once we had reached the top, we took the opportunity to chill for a while. We lay down in the sand and enjoyed the moment. Since we went on the ATV at the white sand dunes, we arrived to the red sand dunes a bit later than everyone else. Therefore, we could enjoy the peacefulness of the red sand dunes. All this laying around in the sand, however, made us long for the beach, so we made our way back to the jeep to continue our tour.
Mui Ne Fishing Village
The next stop was the fishing village. As soon as we caught a glimpse of the hundreds of boats lined up in the ocean, both Liv and I literally went “WOW”. It was so colorful and beautiful somehow. And there were so many boats! On the shore there were ladies selling fish and seafood in masses. In the water were men in both big and small fishing boats. Our driver told us that the fishermen take their boats out to start fishing in the middle of the night, and go back early morning.
When we arrived, they were about to call it a day. The men in the small, round fishing boats were cleaning their boats, their equipment and themselves. It was cool to see the boats and the locals doing their thing. However, the shore was filled with dead and half dead fishes, crabs, shrimps and other animals that had been thrown away for some reason. It broke my heart to see them flounder around, trying to find the water…
Once we had taken our pictures and couldn’t stand being on that beach any longer, we got back to the jeep. It was time for the last stop. The time was now 8:15am and we still had one stop to go. The group tours are usually back in Mui Ne at 8:30am. This is the best thing about private tours – we get to do the tour in our own speed.
Our driver took us to Fairy Stream, which we had no idea what it was. He parked the car and followed us to the entrance. There he said “don’t buy a ticket, it’s fake and don’t give money to kids, it’s not good”. We had no idea what he talked about but we said okay and walked down the stairs. Just at the foot of the stairs sat a boy in the age of 14, and he tried to sell visitors tickets. The people in front of us got a bit confused and didn’t seem to know what to do. We walked passed him.
There was a small stream of water, or rather a creek perhaps, that looked a bit dirty. Later we understood that the water gets the reddish color from the clay and limestone particles from the rocks and sand on the shore/sand-wall. We saw people walking through the creek without their shoes. What was this?? Well, they must be walking towards something, we thought, and started walking. At first we tried to walk with our shoes on, cause the water wasn’t exactly deep. We soon abandoned this idea though cause people kept on telling us that it’s not possible to walk all the way with shoes on. So we started walking barefoot in the water. It was actually quite nice.
We kept on walking, not knowing what we walked towards. It was starting to get really warm outside now and we were very pleased with our choice of starting our tour at 4.30am and not 1.30pm, which is the alternative. Eventually we reached a pretty cool view. I really don’t know how to explain it but it was like a huge wall. It looked like a mountain, but really the majority of the wall was made out of sand. The wall was also filled with very uniquely shaped rocks. It somehow reminded me of Grand Canyon. We took some pictures, walked back, bought ice creams and got back into the jeep.
By now, I was really longing for breakfast and some sleep. Our driver dropped us off outside our guest house. We thanked him for a great morning and wished him a lovely day. We ate some watermelon and mango for breakfast and accidentally napped a little longer than expected. The tour around Mui Ne really took the most out of us.
The price for a private jeep tour around Mui Ne depends on how many people you are. For two people or less, the price for a 4 hours long private tour is 45USD. For 3-6 people the price is 50USD. If you’re more than 6 people, you’ll need more than one jeep. Check out their website for exact prices for big groups. This jeep tour includes the following:
- Jeep + driver (not a tour guide)
- Hotel pick-up and drop-off
- Jeep up to the hills of the White Sand Dunes (instead of walking up)
- Entrance fees.
Depending on whether you go for sunrise or sunset, the order in which you visit places differ. However, you will be visiting the same things:
- White sand dunes (here you watch either sunrise or sunset)
- Red sand dunes
- Fishing village
- Fairy stream
About Mui Ne Go
Mui Ne Go is a tour company located in Mui Ne. They offer several different tours in Mui Ne, Da Lat, Ho Chi Minh and Mekong Delta. They also organize transfer and transportation, either private or by ordinary bus.
To see what Mui Ne Go offers more in detail, and the prices, check out their website.
DISCLAIMER: We were welcomed as guests by Mui Ne Go. As always, all opinions and views remain our own.