If you are planning on visiting Mui Ne during your visit to Vietnam, you might find the resorts trying to offer you expensive tours to see the famous Red and White sand dunes of Mui Ne, along with the Fairy Stream that is likened to a small version of the Grand Canyon, Nevada.
Well don't hand over your money just yet, because given the lack of interesting history about Mui Ne, you will essentially be paying for a ride in a jeep with up to 20 people in your group and nothing more. If you don't mind driving yourself, you can save a lot of money and see a lot more of the natural scenery around Mui Ne. Not just that, but it's always a great experience having open roads to enjoy and a cool breeze in your face on an otherwise hot and humid day! Read further for our in depth instructions for a half day trip on how to get to Mui Ne Sand Dunes and Fairy Stream.
Where to hire cheapest moped / motorcycle in Mui Ne:
Best bet is to ask your hotel first, as they will be the most reliable place to rent a moped for the day. The price will depend on the season you visit and can fluctuate anywhere from $6 – $12. Because of the competition in Mui Ne you will usually be able to get one somewhere in between. If your hotel can't offer you one at a reasonable price, just walk out of your resort and you will come across one of dozens of stores offering their hire. We got one to share for the day at $7 in total.
If you want a recommendation of a reliable place we used, try heading towards the Sea Winds Resort (139 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu) and then if you are standing looking out from the resort on the main road, turn left and walk for 10 seconds across the road there is a small building with mopeds for hire.
Traveller Warning: Do not hire a motorcycle from a stranger in the street, you can Google the reasons why – make sure you go to a reputable looking tour shop on the main tourist road (Nguyễn Đình Chiểu).
Another tip – you might find that you are very empty on fuel most of the journey, even after filling up. This is simply a scam, as the company that hired you the moped assumes you will fill it up all the way, as otherwise it will keep displaying empty. It's a good little money maker for them, just fill up the rough amount you will need for your journey and be sceptical of the fuel gauge reading.
Google Map for how to get to Mui Ne Sand Dunes and Fairy Stream:
View our Google Maps Engine link below, for detailed directions (and printable guide):
Leg 1: Directions to The Fairy Stream in Mui Ne:
Otherwise known as Fairy Springs (there isn't a spring though).. You can visit this either at the start of your journey to the dunes or afterwards. My advice would be do it before, as we didn't have the energy at the end of the day to see the stream and it's a shame as its supposed to be pretty nice.
Drive along Nguyễn Đình Chiểu (the main road your resort is likely on) towards the East, that means the sea will be on your right hand side when driving. You will be heading towards the real town of Mui Ne. The stream is not very far from the main resort areas, maybe just a 10 minute drive at most. There will be a small bridge that you cross (look out for it, it's a really small bridge) and you will see the stream to your left which is meandering through a red clay / sand river bed. Stop off at the cafe just after the bridge and leave your bike with them, this will cost no more than 20,000 Dong (try offering just 10,000 though).
Walk down the small footpath that meanders between the houses, avoid the children who will be trying to get some money from you in return for being a tour guide. There isn't any point as the stream goes one way and you have to come back the same way after you get bored with it. If you Google the images of Fairy Stream, you will see it is a mini version of the Grand Canyon and so will offer you some interesting photo opportunities, but not a lot else. Ok, if you are done here it's off to the next destination!
Leg 2: Directions to Mui Ne Red Sand Dunes:
Hop back onto your bike and continue down the road you have been driving down. The next part of your journey is roughly 6km away and will take 15-20 minutes for getting to Mui Ne White Red Sand Dunes.
Your journey will be taking you along the coastal route towards Mui Ne town, which is a traditional fishing harbour and so you will see lots of small boats in the harbour area. Great opportunity for some photos!
As you come close to the town, you will notice a few buildings appearing on both sides of the road again, within a minute or 2 of entering this area, you will see a big white church on your left hand side. Take the road on your left directly after this church.
The road will continue up towards a set of traffic lights, turn left at these lights and continue up the road. At the end of this road you will come to a roundabout that brings you onto a dual carriage way, take the first exit (to the right).
Within a minute you will see the red sand dunes come into view on your left hand side, with restaurants on the right. Park in any one of these places and pay the parking fee inside (sometimes it works out the same price to get a drink, so maybe better value just sitting and having a drink first?).
Travelers Tip – the sand starts off hot near the road side, but up on the dunes you can take your flip-flops off and walk around. The further you walk away to the left hand side of the dunes, the less rubbish there is, as it's a big tourist magnet but tours tend to only give you 20 minutes walking around meaning you can go further and get away from the mobs of paying tourists and take some nice photos of clean and unmarked sand dunes.
Leg 3: Directions to Mui Ne White Sand Dunes:
The last leg of the route is roughly 25km's away from the red sand dunes and will take you about an hour (given you are on a scooter and you will be driving up some pretty crap roads at the end). If the distance has already put you off, it's really worthwhile making it to the white sand dunes as they are very impressive and if you really want, you can get a quad bike to ride around or get this.. you can ride an Ostrich! So onwards with how to get to Mui Ne Sand Dunes..
Get on your moped and head the way you were driving before stopping at the red sand dunes. You are going to be on the same main road for 99% of your drive, you will drive past newly constructed resorts and have the coast following you on the right for most of the journey. After driving for nearly 22km's you will get to a cross roads of sorts with an unfinished road in front of you and the road you were driving on seeming to continue to your left, follow it up the hill. You will soon approach a real petrol station, this is a good last stop if you are needing to fill up! After about another km you will see a small red clay road on your right, with a little bit of traffic probably going up and down it. You need to take this all the way up to the top and then take it around the bend to the left where you will see signs for Quad bikes, Ostrich riding, restaurants, etc.. This is where you can park your moped for 20,000 Dong (10,000 Dong each).
You likely will only want an hour or two there, as by this point the day is getting on a bit and you are probably hungry for a late lunch or dinner. The food isn't worthwhile after taking a look at the menus near the white sand dunes, your best bet is to ride back through Mui Ne and find a restaurant before hitting the resort strips.
Traveller Tip: Be careful driving up the dirt roads around the sand dunes, they are littered with sharp stones. Follow any existing moped tracks or stay to the sides where there is more sand. And don't try bombing it down the road like an idiot, otherwise given the condition of hire moped tyres you might be stranded in the middle of nowhere with a flat tyre.
Total cost for getting to Mui Ne sand dunes:
In total we filled up the tank on the moped to about 5 litres, which cost us about 170,000 Dong ($8). So in all, our costs for the day were $15 excluding parking which means it came to $16 in total (or $8 / £5 each). I think if you compare that to the tours, you will find yourself saving a pocketful of cash that you can splurge on a few nice dinners in Mui Ne harbour!
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