It is very rarely that nature presents sand dunes next to the ocean. It is common to visualize ocean and sand dunes separately, but to see a sight of them together is quite special. Northern Africa is one such place where such sights are seen regularly, but for Indians, North Africa is a bit too far and hence I was very thrilled when I found such a place in South Vietnam.
This place is Mui Ne, located on the south eastern coast of Vietnam and kissing the waters of the South China Sea. This beach town is a hot favorite of the Russians, many of whom have made this place a permanent base outside of Russia. I guess the Russian influence came during the Vietnam war days and may be they liked the sun kissed beaches here and decide to settle down for good.
There is so much Russian influence in the hotels, tourist spots and restaurants here that it is a no brainer that Russians love this place. But, Mui Ne is not just about the Russians. It offers so much that all kinds of travelers and tourists will like it, especially nature and adventure lovers.
Mui Ne is famous for kite surfing. Apparently, the winds and waves here are perfect for someone who wants to learn to kite surf and wishes to indulge in some serious adventure. Basically, the place is a kite surfing mecca. There are different spots around Mui Ne for different levels of Kite Surfers. If you feel like learning this water adventure sport, avail the services of the many kite surfing schools based in Mui Ne.
In addition to adventure on water, Mui Ne offers interesting experiences on its land too. Near Mui Ne, there are two types of sand dunes. The red sand dunes that are located at about 15 kilometers from the city and the white ones that are located about 35 kilometers away. These are the larger sand dunes, but the small ones seem to be located all around Mui Ne’s landscape.
These sand dunes offer a great dune surfing experience. Either you carry your own dune surfing board or buy a piece of plastic and make it work like a surf board. It is serious fun to surf down these long and wavy sand dunes. The only issue is climbing up back to the top of the dunes as the fine sand keeps slipping under your feet and even a short climb can leave you gasping for oxygen.
These dune surfing activities are best done either in the early morning or late evening hours when the dunes are not overly hot and the sun and winds are gentle on the body. Apart from offering perfect conditions for dune surfing, these time slots also offer fantastic views of the South China Sea amidst eye catching colors of the sand dunes in the shining golden rays of the sun.
The best way to go around, visit all the hot spots and indulge in the adventure associated with it would be on a motorbike that you can hire at Mui Ne. The motorbike would also aid in carrying your surf boards and other gear. Plus, it will allow you to pick and choose remote adventure spots.
And once you are excited and tired after your adventurous day on either the ocean or the dunes, you can return to your beach house and enjoy a drink while enjoying the sunset in the distance. Great seafood and good nightlife is just the icing on the cake. But, Mui Ne’s foremost qualities are its rare sand dunes and its love for adventure.
How to get here: A 5 to 6 hour drive can get you to Mui Ne from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). There are many bus operators who take you right into the heart of the city. Train is also an option, though the nearest station is 45 minutes away from Mui Ne.