Sandy Craic

Trip Start Jul 16, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Vietnam  , Kon Tum,
Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mui Ne is one of those towns that literally has one thing and there is only one reason you would go there. It has sand dunes which you can slide down. As if we are going to miss an opportunity to play on a sand dune. Turns out my analysis was not 100% correct, if you are Russian you are going to come to Mui Ne for a beach holiday and to ride an Ostrich, yup you heard me correctly.  At every stop on our day trip around Mui Ne there was a pen of Ostriches and the only people paying to ride them were the Russians, odd.

We booked our jeep tour for the afternoon as you go to a couple of the small attractions, play on the larger white sand dunes and then watch the sun set over the red sand dunes which sounded like a perfect way to spend our day. With my Saigon Stomach thankfully under control and Tim's toe wrapped up and disinfected we started our tour.

First stop the Fairy Stream. If you were trying to find this Fairy Stream on your own you would be excused for missing it. The entrance is hidden behind a row of shops and restaurants and the overwhelming smell of fish from the fish sauce factory that backs onto the stream is almost certain to send anyone away as fast as they have arrived.  Huge pots of the fish sauce sit for months in the blazing sun, it makes the fish market at home smell like a Glade air freshener!  As it was our guide pointed us down a dusty track with the obligatory signs for Ostrich rides and before we knew it we were making our way along the Fairy Stream.  The stream was a trickle of warm water over bright red sand and as we walked further upstream the walls of the canyon began to look like something from a Star Wars film, I half expected Jar Jar Binks to pop out from behind a rock.  There is not much more to say about the Fairy Stream, it was pretty and the scenery picturesque but at the end of the day it was a sandy stream, I didn’t see a single fairy!

Next stop was the fishing village of Mui Ne, where the bay is just full of fishing boats of every shape and size.  The small local boats are actually round, some plastic, some woven rattan, you have to wonder how they get anywhere but after all these years there must be some benefit to having a round boat.

Finally we made it to the main attraction the White Sand Dunes where we can hire a plastic sheet to slide down the dunes. There were only 6 of us on the tour a Russian couple and a pair of lads backpacking, one of the poor lads was suffering from the same Saigon Stomach that I had had so was not really having the best day ever spending most of it doubled over with cramps but he soldiered on and was soon setting off down the dune on his slide.  We climbed as high as we could and set off down the dunes, but our slides pretty much just stopped and sunk in the sand, leaving us sitting on the dunes with sand seeping into every orifice!  So we decided to climb a higher dune and try again, exhausted and feeling the 40 degree sun we set off on our slides and whilst we managed to build up marginally more speed we were still likely to be over taken by bumbling tortoise, if indeed there were any bumbling tortoise on the sand dunes, which there weren’t.

With the sun slowly setting we headed back to our jeep and were soon joined by the backpackers. Sadly the Russians decided that they were only coming back when they were well and truly ready.  We pleaded with our driver to leave them so we would not miss sunset over the other dunes, but unfortunately the tour operators here are a little more caring than the ones in Thailand who were more than happy to leave late tourists on random islands!  An hour later and minutes before sunset they decided to return to the jeep.  Thankfully they didn’t speak a word of English so my rant would have been wasted on them, but I felt good giving them the cold shoulder for the 40 minute journey to the red sand dunes.

We got to see the red sand dunes pretty much in the dark, there was a scrap of light for about 5 minutes.  A bit disappointing but what can you do other than avoid tours with Russian tourists - mental note to self - avoid tours with Russians!!

Thankfully I seemed to be back to full health, I was slowly nursing Tim’s toe, which was not in the best condition after the Fairy Stream and sand dunes and was not helped by the fact that my antiseptic cream had been stolen from my rucksack on the journey from HCMC.  It was an odd thing to steal if you ask me, there was an iPod nano and a pair of headphones in the same pocket, yet they stole my Germolene.  This actually turned out to be really annoying as the pharmacies in Mui Ne were either Vietnamese or Russian, neither seemed to have any concept of antiseptic cream and just wanted to sell me snake venom cream; thankfully we managed to get some iodine to at least try to keep Tim’s toe clean.  The heat and humidity in Vietnam was not the best for healing wounds, I had some mosquito bites which turned septic immediately and had some cuts from our tour in the Kong Lor cave in Laos from my flip flops that would just not heal.  Typical when the only item we can’t replace in our medical kit is antiseptic cream.

Our guesthouse in Mui Ne was a small bar and restaurant which played live music every night until about 11p.m, this was not a problem, however if you stayed here for more than a few nights you may well go insane given that they play the same songs in the same order every night.  The strangest thing about the live entertainment is that there is an Australian who has pretty much moved into the guesthouse and he spends his days wondering around half naked wearing just a sarong trying to talk to anyone that will listen (you know the type).  His contribution each night is to sit behind the keyboard player slapping his knees, truly an odd character.

On our last morning, we were sat in the bar having a drink waiting for our bus when the resident Ozzie sat next to us and started to put the worlds to right with the totally disinterested owner.  Tim and I were just sat playing with our phones listening in and giving each other the 'rather him than us’ glance.  Then for no apparent reason Tim decided to join in the conversation, WHY OH WHY! Suddenly the owner saw his opportunity and made  a run for it, Tim engrossed himself back in his phone which left muggins here stuck hearing all about every medical ailment that loony tunes has, how he hates where he lives in Australia but he needs to go back every 6 weeks to pick up his medical retirement pension.  I am pretty sure I suggested to Tim around 6 times over the course of the next 30 minutes that perhaps we should relocate to the road to wait for our bus, each time he said ‘No its fine for a few more minutes’.  Tim Currie just you wait I will seek out the most insane, unstable, talkative lunatic that I can find on this journey and I will lock you in a room for an undetermined amount of time, watch you back. Revenge is coming!!

Eventually I was saved by the bus, yet another sleep but this time we had our own seats with plenty of room and whiled away the 6 hours to Nha Trang, sleeping and watching films.  The heavens opened on this journey and thankfully the driver slowed down to take into account the wet roads, something of a novelty in Asia.  His horn use was however incessant for the entire 6 hours.

It was dark and rainy and miserable but we made it to Nha Trang, the beach capital of Vietnam, lets get our tans back up and running!
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