Deserts and beaches in the same location – who would have thought? Now there isn’t a need to travel to the Middle East just to admire the deserts. Vietnam is much closer. A 5-hour train ride from the bustling city of Ho Chin Minh (Saigon) to Mui Ne is an escape to a much quieter and serene location.
It’s 4am and we’re up, albeit groggy from a lack of sleep from the previous night. Our time in Mui Ne started as soon as we gathered our things and hopped on the tour jeep that our hotel had booked for us. The wind was flowing through our hair as our jeep made its way to the White Sand Dunes, the first pit stop of our 4-hour tour. There are actually 2 sand dune areas the tour offers among its other attractions.
The first orange-hued sunrise rays kissed the sand dunes as we stepped out of the jeep. It slowly rose as we made our way to edge of the slope. Looking out, there was a vast emptiness of sand that stretched for miles. The chilly morning wind breezed past us, picking up loose sand grains and depositing them further along the desert. It seemed like a scene out of a movie. We started running to the peak of the highest sand mountain we could see. The openness of the desert left us feeling like little children – excited about our new playground for a couple of hours. We kicked and ran around with such exuberance. Being totally encapsulated by the dunes, we overstayed our time at the white sand dunes area. Our driver panicked after realizing we weren’t back yet and had to send the locals on quad bikes to search for us.
We then proceeded to the fishing village where the locals participated in their daily routine of fishing and chatting. Life seemed to really slow down in Mui Ne, with locals usually sitting by the roadside while holding a cup of Vietnamese coffee. In reflection, Vietnamese coffee is a representation of the life there, slowly dripping into a cup half-filled with sweet condensed milk.
The rest of the days in Mui Ne were spent lazing by the beach, participating in surf lessons, and sipping on delicious Vietnamese coffee. Mui Ne is definitely a haven away from the chaos of Ho Chin Minh city.
Words & Photos by Kamal Tung