When travel to Vietnam is talked about, the names Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Hoi An always come up but Mui Ne.
Mui Ne is a beach resort town in Southeast Vietnam.
The town is a long stretch of sand and steady wind conditions, making it popular among kitesurfing, sailing and other water sports enthusiasts.
Mui Ne is a four-hour ride from Ho Chi Minh City.
Its distance from the capital is probably the reason why most tourists skip the town.
But actually, they shouldn’t.
Mui Ne is a wonder in itself.
There are places in Mui Ne that closely resemble some international destinations.
Sahara Desert (Africa)
Desert adventures are popular in the Middle East and Northeast Africa.
But we don’t have to go far to experience sand dunes.
When in Vietnam, you don’t need another visa to hop on a plane for a Sahara desert experience.
Mui Ne’s Red Dunes are steadily gaining popularity among tourists.
Shutterbugs and sandboarding buffs flock to Mui Ne to marvel at the vast Sahara-like landscape.
Locals by the entrance offer plastic sleds to rent for a fun-filled sand surfing experience.
Finer than white dunes, the reddish-brown dry sand is much more enjoyable to sled on.
But if sand sledding is not your thing, you can take a dune climb through the wind-blown sand.
Climb up to the highest part of the dunes and just look around, it’s pure bliss!
The dunes are favorite picnic spots for locals too.
The only thing missing in Muine’s red dunes is a camel.
Jeep tours and motorbike rentals are available, but a cab can take you to the Red Sand Dunes.
Best time to visit is either early in the morning or late afternoon (around 4 or 5 pm) as the sand can get very hot during the day.
White Sands National Monument (New Mexico)
There is an even more spectacular attraction in Mui Ne, the White Sand Dunes (Bau Trang).
While it cannot equal New Mexico’s gleaming, snow-white dunes, Mui Ne’s white dunes are really breathtaking.
It is surrounded by a stunning lake and a small pine forest.
If you want to capture the most pristine hour of the White Lake, visit either early in the morning or during the golden hour in the afternoon.
The White Sand Dunes is 50 kilometers away or an hour drive from the center of Mui Ne.
Many tour operators offer organized day trips to both the Red and White Sand Dunes.
You can also rent ATVs for a more fun experience on both attractions.
Few small stalls sell food and drinks to tourists.
Grand Canyon (Arizona)
Not far from the Red Sand Dunes is the Fairy Stream, which is a mini version of the Grand Canyon.
The stream is ankle-deep and visitors are encouraged to follow the inlet stretch.
Stunning rock formations surround the stream, making it more appealing to visitors.
Jungle-like vegetation surrounds the Fairy Stream.
The spring is actually bordered by bamboo forests, swanky flora, and orange sand dunes.
It’s best to skip a midday visit as the hot sand can be unbearable for a barefoot climb.
You can either take a bus or a train to Mui Ne.
There is no shortage of hotels and resorts in this town.
Eating options are plenty.
There’s a whole strip of delightful seaside spots for local and western options.
Seafood, barbeque, and a wide selection of local dishes are on offer.
I think I only had a little problem with finding a good breakfast spot.
Nevertheless, Mui Ne is worth a visit.
If you’ve been to Mui Ne and there’s someplace you think deserves a mention, give a holler in the comments!
Sheila, a.k.a. The Solo Tripper. Former news desk editor, full-time traveler, freelance writer.