Sweeping Beaches and Giant Dunes

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Jan 31, 2012

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Where I stayed
Tuan Hoa Guesthouse

Flag of Vietnam  , Kon Tum,
Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 1 - Town, Fairy River, Fishing Village View, White Dunes & Red Dunes
Had an early bus to Mue Ni and a 5hr bus ride. Once ther found myself on a long strip of road with restuarants, bars, resorts and guesthouses spread along it. Wasnt sure where I was exactly so started walking in one direction. Had someone approach me about a room an at $8 decided it would be good enough for a couple of days.

Found that the town is spread over a roughly 10km long strip running near the shoreline. Way to long to go wandering along the whole thing on foot.  Defiantely needed some sort of bike to get around.

While wandering walked into a tour agency to look at tours and buses to Ho chi Minh city. Found that it wasnt to late to do the dunes tour since there was a sunrise and sunset version of it with the sunset one leaving at 2pm. Decided to do this and since I still had plenty of time I would get some breakfast/lunch and the head back to the hotel to wait for the tour to start.

Should also be noted that while walking around I saw lots signs and menus in cyrilic all over the place. Must be another one of those popular rich russian vaction in the sun destinations.

Tour was done in a jeep which picked me up around 2pm from the hotel. First stop on the agenda was Fairy Stream. Here we walked up a shallow stream that had coloured sandstone rock on both sides of it. Before hitting the main stream though I did wander up a nearby hill for the views. Unfortunatley found it to be a false rise and decided I didnt have time to keep going higher. At least not if I wanted to wander along the stream

Headed back down and started to follow the stream upriver. Passed lots of interesting sand formations along the way. Place definately reminded me of the cliffs I had seen on the Gobi trip in Mongolia, though not quite as big. Also a lot more people around the place and a stream of water. Actually surprised the valley with the stream wasnt wider given more water falls out of the sky in this region.

We supposedly had 45min here but I had missed out on hearing that part at the jeep. Was wandering just how far down the stream to walk (not sure if something at end) but decided that since one guy from the jeep was walking near me and people were still walking back in the other direction there must be something more ahead.

Ended up reading the end by which I mean a small waterfall. Tried climbing up this and if I hadn tbrought my bag with me would have made it to the top where I belive the spring that generates the stream is found. From here headed back and at one point found a pile of mud which I stepped into. Squishy yet silky feel.

Back into the jeep and a short photo stop by the coast where you could see the fishing villiage from and a harbour full of boats. Once again saw the basket boats that seem to require a special skill with a paddle to propel.

More driving in the jeep to reach the white sand dunes. Were suppose to be 45min here as well but ended up being closer to 1.5hr.

Found the dues to be quite large and cover a reasonable area by a lakeside. Was possible to get a sheet of hard platic here (and qua bikes) but decided against it since 45 min meant 1, at most 2 slides. Was probably a bad idea inthe end given the amount of time actually spent here.

Had some nice views as we wandered around the dunes and the other guys did a number of slides which was the main reason for our extended stay. While the dunes were nice to wander we had been suppose to head to the red dunes for sunset which was part of the reason for the time limit. In the end the sun started to set as we were leaving the white sand dunes (twilight) and set as we drove to the red dunes.

Managed to make the dunes just as the sun was hitting the horizin and to the top of them just as it was going under it. Most people were gone or leaving by now but we hang around a bit longer. Had a full moon tonight which was a bit of luck since as it got darker the dunes started to be lit up by the moon.

Headed bacl to town where I headed out for dinner of mushroom and cheese on a large tuna steak before calling it a night.

Day 2 - Bike to Po Shanu Cham Tower, Town
Didnt have a lot to do since the original plan had been to do the tour today. Ended up deciding to be lazy and have a late start. Just before lunch headed out to the street to find a bike and cycled the 8-10Km out to the Cham Tower.

Had some nice coastal views along the way but wasnt really sure where I was going. Had a general idea from the map I had but details on the map were sketchy. After an initial flat bit near the coast I started to move away from the coast and climb up hill with various degrees of steepness along the way. Given the bike wasnt a mountain bike and only had one gear it meant a lot more work than it normally would have.

Once at the top had a bit of up and down and as I started to get closer to the next town down the coast the road started going steeply down hill. Followed this a bit but had no desire to go all the way down and have to climb back up. At this point also couldnt see the tower so wasnt even sure if I was going to reach it at the bottom of the hill.

Thankfully not to far down the hill came to a side road that curved around a hill. Thought the road was heading to the coast so left the bike by the side of teh road and climbed the hill for the views. Luckily from up here I found that I wasnt far from the tower and could reach it via this small side road.

Got back to the bike and made it to the tower where I walked around a bit to take in the views. Pity the old mansion tower near teh Cham tower dodnt have stairsd since it would of got me above the shrub that was blocking the views a bit. While I failed to find stairs in the tower I did though find some uner age kids sitting around and drinking beer.

Thankfully I also had a lot of downhill so it wasnt to bad. At one point made a stop by the shore and locked teh bike so I could walk along the shore. Would have gone for a swim if I hadnt been worried about my stuff getting nicked. After rounding a small point had a nice view back to the town along the coast. Could also see lots of kite surfers out on the water. Seems like this is a popular spot to do the sport.

Headed back to the hotel and past it in the other direction for a while. Went up another small hill before heading back and stopping off somewhere for a late lunch. Found this cafe to be cheap and with nice food. Also lots of extras like tea, salad and a plate of wtermelon that I didnt order and didnt need to pay for. Nice surprise for once since when something extra normally gets put in front of you it almost always appears as an extra item on the bill.

Was starting to get a bit late now so decided against going for a swim after getting back to the hotel. Rather had another lazy afternoon which I seem to be doing a lot of in Vietnam. Having lost my passport and being in the country for so long also seems to have slowed down my motivation to run around the place.

Played on the laptop once again reading some manga and headed out for a little bit to have dinner but not much else.

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