Mue Ni and the Sand Dunes

17 Nov

Arriving in monsoon rain at Mue Ni beach, we walked the 3km in the rain and with the absence of a real umbrella or any kind of water-proof we fell into our room thoroughly soaked.

The next day was a different story, though it was not completely clear, it was warm and more importantly, not raining by the barrel full. We booked a Jeep tour of the nearby sand dunes for $8. This would be our first tour experience since we started backpacking. Our tour began at 2pm so we had a few hours to spend bobbing up and down in the waves (which was quite fun and we also bumped into the other people that would be joining the tour)

Hopping in an old white Chinese 4×4 we raced off towards the dunes with the 4 other people +driver, stopping along the way at a local fishing port (which stunk, but strangely not as much as the roads leading out of the village, mainly due to the two lanes of drying fish on either side of the road).

After longer than we thought and further in land than I would have guessed, we arrived at the white sand dunes. Sadly the 4×4 seemed purely for show and couldn’t be taken on the dunes (which made the ‘guide’ with his added lack of English, more of a driver than anything else).
We hired two sheets of plastic for 30,000 Dong each (£1, sneaky) and made our way up one of the steeper looking dunes. The incredible thing about the place was its surroundings. In one direction you looked and saw miles of desert dunes, look to your left and you would see a large lake with green plants growing on top, to the right fir type trees on sandy and grassy hills.

We decided to use our bit of plastics to sand sledge down the hill, after a few failed attempts we got quite some speed up. The only problem was steering and breaking. Steering was impossible, and breaking involved falling off sideways and rolling a bit. Clare decided to try it from one of the highest points and got up some amazing speed (video to come). I decided to try it with an air of cockiness (“That looks like fun, I’m SURE I could do that” I thought). I went about 40 meters, hit top speed, one foot went to the ground the other in-between the rope attached to the plastic sledge and then I was in the dune. Hair lolling around in the sand, grit in my teeth and in my shorts.

After spending around 1 hour 1/2 of our allocated 40 minutes we returned late to the 4×4 (people waiting unhappily for us, sorry!). The rest of the tour consisted of a dune of red sand that was covered in locals/tourists/litter and the incredible “fairy spring” (hums a tune from Zelda).

The fairy spring is a small river running to the sea, but its only about 2 inches deep but around 7ft wide, which makes you feel as if you are walking on water up stream. Its also surrounded by cliffs of red sand and calcium deposits, giving it a very ‘other world’ feel. We were also follow by a couple of children (one in his late teens) which tried to act as our guide (much to our annoyance “NO we WANT to go in the deeper water, I’m wearing swimming shorts!”) and then tried to ask us for money once we had started our way back (the younger of the two’s face turned from smiles to ‘poor me’)

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5 Responses to “Mue Ni and the Sand Dunes”

  1. Paul Struthers November 17, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    So true those landscapes around the sand dunes are stunning!

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