From Hoi An we got on a new mode of transportation for us – a sleeper bus. We had ample experience with overnight bus rides from the United states, where we traveled a lot with Greyhounds. And compared to Greyhounds, the busses in Vietnam are definitely a luxurious way to travel. A sleeper bus comes with sleeping berths, there are three aisles, and two berths on top of each other. If you’re on the top one you have to climb a bit, but it’s not too difficult. The busses are clean and don’t smell. You even have to slip out of your shoes when you get on, the driver gives you a plastic bag for them. When you want to get out during breaks, the driver provides you with slippers to wear. And the people are not at all scary, like they sometimes were in Greyhounds. So all in all a pleasant experience.
On our first bus, that brought us Na Thrang, we got the three berths in the very back of the bus just for us alone. In a way we were lucky, since we could lie next to each other, not separated by the aisle, and I could actually stretch my legs (my feet would hang over, but that was alright). On the other hand, we got bumped around quite a bit, Vietnamese Roads aren’t in particularly good shape. So we didn’t really get much sleep.
Around 5:30 in the morning we got kicked out in Na Thrang, where we had two wait until 8 for our next bus to Mui Ne. We spent the time in a small cafe, delicious vietnamese cafe is the perfect way to help you get over a sleepless night. In fact, vietnamese cafe gets you over pretty much everything, it’s just that delicious. But back to the bus. It was another sleeper bus and we got to lie in the back again, this time not on the upper berths, but the ones on the floor. Same thing, pretty bumpy, but at least spacious. Around noon we finally arrived in Mui Ne. Our hotel was situated on a hill, so we had great view from our room (we got an update again, to a room with a private balcony), but getting there was a bit of work. Especially after a sleepless night.
That day we didn’t do a much. We had lunch, didn’t even leave the hotel for that, there was a nice restaurant at the hotel pool. Went to bed, got up for dinner. That’s basically it.
The next day we went exploring. Mui Ne reminded us a lot of Cabarete on the Dominican Republic. It’s a surfer’s paradise, especially for kitesurfers. The sky was full of kites. So we passed the morning walking on the beach, having coffee (did I mention that Vietnamese coffee is probably the best in the world?) and watching kite-surfers.
In the afternoon we went on a tour in a jeep. This part reminded us of Mongolia: Ten people in one old Russian 4WD, that desperately needed some repairs done. The difference, this time our fellow travellers weren’t drunk Mongolians, but mostly American travellers. We got to a place the locals call “fairy stream”. It does not really deserve the name “stream”, it’s more like a wet path, that sometimes carries one or two inch of water. But it sure deserves the “fairy” part. It meanders next to bright red rocks and lush green vegetation – the colours are simply marvellous.
Next we visited the famous white and red dunes of Mui Ne. It feels like a desert. Which it basically is, I guess. Sand. Sand everywhere. In the white dunes also a lot of pretty noisy quads, that spoil the experience a bit. No quads in the red dunes, luckily. A beautiful place especially in the late evening sun. Lots of sun worshippers gather there to celebrate sunset:
A few more pics: