Tag Archives: sanddunes

The Lovely Mui Ne: Sand Dunes, Backpackers and Breakdowns…

Mui Ne is a busy little coastal town. Full of bars and clubs and lots of good places to eat. We enjoyed our time here a lot, although we had to hang around longer than we’d have liked because of my bike… (more on that later).
We stayed at the Backpackers Village. Nice rooms, gorgeous pool, cheap food and drink. The place is mostly full of English and American backpackers, mostly everyone is nice and we made quite a few friends during our time here. Travelers can be an odd bunch though… I’ve decided I’m a bit on the fence when it comes to my fellow backpacker. I think we fall roughly into three categories:

  1. ENTHUSIASTSSSS!!!!– Friendly- can be a bit ‘clique-ey’. Loud. Talk mostly about themselves because everything that’s happened to them has been ‘amaazing’ … Cambodia is the most amazing of all amazing-ness, (and they always say it like this: ‘Cam-Bow-Dee-Aaahh.) They travel in groups mostly, all think Vietnam is ‘definitely amazing’, life-changing etc. etc. (Note: they may have only been here 2 days but totally get it right away). (Funniest thing I overheard was a girl in the bathroom saying how ‘amazing Cambodia is’, when asked if she’d been there, she replies ‘Erm… no but I’ve totally seen pictures and it really looks amazing’….).
  2. So-So’s– Still friendly. Quiet. Mostly found travelling alone. Much more Reserved. They have been to most places but they haven’t loved that much of it. Things were ”dirty’ or ‘strange’ or ‘not like home’, they’ll say this and wrinkle their noses a bit… Definitely hardly anything was ‘amazing’.
  3. Other– Varied. Mostly friendly. By far the most common category. You may have to work a little to strike up a friendship but probably worth the effort.  Can look moody but most likely just shy, its worth trying to make conversation. I think most travelers are just normal. Take away the two extremes above and the friends we’ve made have also been incredibly interesting and have made our time and experiences more special. I’d like to think Jamie and I are ‘Others’, maybe you have to see what its like for yourself to really appreciate it but some people are just so over the top I don’t know what to think!

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Anyways, glad I got that off my chest… We planned to visit the White and Red sand dunes one afternoon. The white first and then the red at sunset. This was my first riding a bike on sand- difficult! I think I got used to it about the time we were fit to leave. The dunes were very beautiful, although the amount of quad bikes spoilt it a little. We walked around for twenty minutes or so- its hot work walking up sand dunes!- then we left for the red ones. A couple of kilometers out my bike screeched, thudded and died. We were faced with a 22 km walk home. Luckily some Vietnamese guys on a trap pulled by oxen stopped to help us. They showed us how you can push a bike with one rider on the dead bike and another on a working bike behind. I had to scooch along to get a bit of momentum then the ‘pusher’ (Jamie) has to put his foot on the engine box and….(balance….) you’re off! It was tricky to say the least but we got there. He had to kick me into traffic at times, duck in behind me and then resume the foot push! Still, it was preferable to walking/hand-rolling the bike back 22 km! The news at the mechanics was not good, I needed a new engine and it would take three days. We paid a very reasonable price and resigned ourselves to waiting. There are worse place in the world to be stuck in I’m sure!!

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herd of oxen crossing the road...

herd of oxen crossing the road…

We went to a foam party one night, watched the football another… Our days were spent chilling around the pool. We met some really nice people from Liverpool, and a group of Americans that were a lot of fun. We had our favourite dinner: blue swimmer crabs in a restaurant next door and while we were eating the heavens opened… the owner and the manager were sat beside us and convinced us not to go! they bought us beer all night and kept bringing us more food. He was a Korean fisherman and we got some off his catch to try- grilled baby octopus! it was actually very tasty!

I felt so nervous on the day we had to pick up my bike but the man had managed to fix it (YAY!!!). It really felt like it was time to get back on the road. We want to explore the delta before heading into Saigon. The next morning then, we said goodbye to Mui Ne and the friends we’d made there and headed to Ba Ria….

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