Mui Ne : Sand dunes, fairy streams & other beautiful scenes
Mui Ne Travel Blog› entry 137 of 268 › view all entries
Mui Ne is the first of about a five point bus route plan that will take me along the east coastal flank of Vietnam about halfway up the nation’s stretch eventually to Hue. It is a small, pretty much one road town approximately 150 kilometres east of Saigon. Historically a coastal fishing village, whilst this remains a mainstay of the Mui Ne community tourism has of course spotted the rather fabulously long (11 kilometres) and attractive stretch of beach that exists here and has long since flounced into town carrying its surf boards, beach towels and bottles of sun tan lotion. Both existences seem perfectly at ease in each others company here though.
Gray, my now fairly long-standing travel companion and I are booked on open bus tickets through different travel agencies so will not be travelling point to point on the same transports but endeavour by various schemes to meetup at each town over the coming week or so following our respective arrivals. This does not today prove problematic and a very kind and well-informed Dutch lad Tommy takes us immediately under his wing to tell us the best and cheapest places in town for food, accommodation and entertainment. A really genuine guy whose utterly in love with Mui Ne and its people. This is his second stint here on this particular journey. He’s already spent 6 weeks here previously and returned for another 6 week residence. I find this quite amazing after Gray and I’s 36 hour stint here is done.
On our one full day in Mui Ne Gray and I sign up for a morning tour of the varied and quite beautiful natural sights that Mui Ne and the lands about it have to offer. Anyone of a countless number of hotel and travel agents will offer the same gig for you and pretty much for the same price. Gray and I pay $13 each for a private jeep-trail. If you’re happy to go with a group you can get it down to $10 a head if you’re happy with being more cramped. Agencies do either dawn or sunset oriented expeditions and they last between 4 -5 hours.
We’ve opted for the former so yet again are “up at sparrow’s fart” as we say in England to blearily put our underwear on back to front and wash our faces with toothpaste and scrub our teeth with soap in the usual half-awake manner.
Of course it is far too much to expect that you will ever be ‘alone’ in such moments in the tourism-suffocated world of the 21st Century. But it ain’t too crowded. The main hindrance to peaceful appreciation of the beautiful setting is a sizeable group of middle aged nouveau-riche Chinese photography-tourists who chatter and laugh at many-a-thousand decibels whilst staggering under the weight of cameras that have lenses longer than they are tall and which it is quite clear none of them know how to use.
Two pretty girls sit picturesquely on the lip of the dune. Bored and beautiful in their pristine white patterned silk ao dai dresses with ‘non la’ conical hats in hand. Also two ladies in purple ‘peasant’ garb with their produce bearing wooden yolks and baskets. No produce in sight though. Pretty much these ladies and gals I reckon are being paid by the Chinese to come and add an air of orientalist beauty and ‘authentic’ traditional aesthetic and charm to their photos. They’ve lugged these over-priced cameras all this way, and must get those perfect postcard photos. Fakery is not a problem. Later observations prove my interpretation to be true… but at least Gray and I get some cracking photos off the back of it too!
The sun rise when it arrives of course is beautiful.
Next stops on our morning jeep tour are the fab burnt red gash in the landscape of the Red Canyon, a clamber up the rolling waves of the ‘Red’ sand dunes and a visit to the traditional fishing village port where tasks and boats, unchanged probably in process or appearance for centuries past, continues in their diurnal, fishily aromatic manner.
Following this we are driven back towards the main drag of Mui Ne and the final stop of what has been already a highly, highly satisfying morning adventure.
The rest of our day, as planned, is spent doing nothing more complicated than sitting and lounging about on the beach reading our books. I’m still labouring under curious, lingering symptoms of illness probably picked up in the Delta and have put myself on a strict non-challenging diet of plain rice ’n’ vegetables and Coke until things start to return to normal. Despite so many months of careful melanin production, tanning under the world’s suns and also playing it safe with the amount of time I expose myself today I manage to burn myself to b**gery. Especially my hands! Strange. I barely thought that was possible, they’re so ceaselessly exposed to the elements. Oh well, time to move on from beautiful little Mui Ne and await the peel.