16.08.2013 - 16.08.2013 38 °C
Today Chelsea was up bright and early sat on our balcony in the morning sunshine watching the horror of our hotel renovation begin. It seems that overnight a beachside paradise can turn into a building sight after all. It's not noisy but the whole of the garden and beach front is now lined with MASSIVE concrete tubes. We think they must be creating some sort of sun deck on the beach. Anyway after about an hour Chelsea woke Liam up and went out for breakfast. She brought back Bahn My sandwiches and passion fruit, mango and banana smoothies and we had breakfast on our balcony, close your eyes and you can still imagine the beautiful peaceful, beachside surroundings it once was.
Today we decided to rent a motorbike and do some sightseeing of Mui Ne. We had read that the sand dunes were best visited in the afternoon when the sun was going down as the light was beautiful but by 12.30 we were just itching to go and couldn't wait any longer. We rented a motorbike for 150000 dong, bought a big bottle of water and headed off.
We had researched where everything was and decided to go to the furthest away first, the White Sand Dunes. To get there you head down the main road towards the port until you see a church and you turn left. You then turn right at the roundabout and carry on all the way down the coast road until it ends. The coast road is beautiful and a lovely drive. You go through villages, farms and past people on the side of the road selling seafood. One thing we could not believe however when the view opened up was the amount of fishing boats on the sea, there must have been 500 plus, no wonder the seas fish are depleting!
Anyway it took us a fare while until the road ran out and then we turned right, up a hill. The first red dirt road after the petrol station takes you to the dunes.
You know you have it right if you see the lake on your left. On the way we called for some fuel and yet again the man tried to con us by not resetting the fare metre when he filled our bike up. Chelsea had noticed it had not started at zero and so we refused to pay for the fuel the man before us had used and only for the fuel we had used.... We know he was trying it on with us as he tried to bargain with us until he realised we were not paying a cent more and we were on our way.
Once we reached the lake we could see the sand dunes in the distance, they were pure white and really big. The road veered around the lake and we came to a car park. It costs 10000 dong (30p) each to enter and 5000 dong to park up the motorbike. Around the lake was really windy and we walked up to the dunes, avoiding all the people trying to sell us rentals of jeeps and quad bikes.
The dunes are amazing, it is like being in the middle of the desert. Huge white mounds of sand with the wind blowing them into beautiful patterns. It was really windy and Liam was not impressed, after all it combined his two most hated things....... Sand and wind and he suddenly transformed into Carl Pilkonton off An Idiot Abroad stating, "I like sand dunes..... From a distance..... Just to look at..... Not to walk on.... This is hellish".
Chelsea thought it was fantastic and Liam had to do some serious moaning to get her off.
We walked right to the top and although we did get sandblasted it is stunningly beautiful..... An we don't need to exfoliate for at least a few weeks.
There was only a handful of people there and we had the place to ourselves, and only our footprints to look at as we walked up the big sandy hills.
After we had explored a while we walked back down and went into a little cafe at the bottom to cool off as it has been extremely hot today. We had a cold drink and recuperated before walking back round the lake to the car park. The lake is surrounded by huge pine trees which is really picturesque and it is a change to see pine trees in Asia.
We then set off back to see the Red Sand Dunes. These are on the road back and you can park your bike at one of the little shops opposite for either 5000 dong or you can buy a drink. As soon as we parked up little kids came running over to rent us pieces of plastic to act as sand sledges. We said no thank you and they just moved on to the next customers. Liam was not feeling up to the dunes as he had ear ache from the wind so he sat under a tree while Chelsea explored.
The red sand dunes are just as beautiful but the sand is more orange than the pure white sand we had just visited.
At the entrance there is a lot of litter and as you walk around you occasionally find some that had been blow in. The dunes are lovely they seem a lot bigger and have the same wave like wind patterns in them. There were a few clouds overhead, you could see the shaded patterns on the sand and it was nice walking in shaded patches on the hot sand. These are even more like the desert and it is like you have been transported to the Middle East.
It is surreal that you can feel like you are in the middle of the desert but just a short walk back over the hill and there is the road and the beach. Chelsea was almost the only person there and after a walk around and a run down one of the big sand hills we were ready for our third and final spot, the fairy stream, just in time it seemed as a huge coach party had just pulled up.
This is on the main Tourist strip, when you come to a bridge this is the entrance. You can park at one of the cafes next to it for 5000 dong, they tried to sell it us for 10000 but we knew we were being ripped off so we said no. The fairy stream is basically a shallow stream with a sandy riverbed that you can walk down.
It is obvious at the entrance that the sand has started to subside and the locals have lined it with sand bags as you can often see a sand bag sticking out of the water and as you go further down there is a pile of rubbish just thrown at the side and partly in the stream that is full of empty sand bags and general crap. We have found that litter and rubbish is a huge problem all over Southeast Asia. Everywhere we have been natural sights, temples and just the general streets are strewn with litter.
As you walk further on the stream it is cleaner and it opens up into a sort of gorge with rock formations at the sides, sort if like a vey miniature Grand Canyon.
We walked down the stream and enjoyed the soft sand and water on our feet.
The stream was very busy however and after a while we decided to leave as loads of people were scaling the sides for photos and dropping more litter.
We drove the short way back and Liam was extremely tired and wanted to lay down, we think he may be getting a little ill as he has acquired a cold sore, his ears hurt and he is tired. Chelsea was too hot so she went for a wander down to the sea, a sit on the beach and a paddle before coming back and relaxing on the balcony.
Today has been a really good day, we have seen lots and have enjoyed another side on Mui Ne. The sand dunes are a must for anyone visiting Mui Ne and really are beautiful. Maybe it is because we have never seen such big sand dunes but we absolutely loved them. We would recommend hiring a bike and doing it yourself as you get the whole sandy scene to yourself and the actual drive to and from them is stunning. On the way home we saw at least fifteen jeeps carrying tourists to the dunes and we think it would loose its magic if it was busy. Anyway we have one more day in Mui Ne and intend to spend it relaxing on our balcony and at the beach.