A 2-Day Adventure From Ho Chi Minh City
1. Rent a moped
Vietnam is known for the crazy amount of motorcycles in the city and it can be dangerous. A safer experience would be to rent a moped in a smaller city, specifically a small beach town like Mui Ne where everything is slower paced. I could give you one or fifty recommendations of where to rent a moped but it’s so common that you’ll see it everywhere. Simply go to the main road, and you’ll find a shop there. Each one has different requirements but I remember all I had to do was leave a bit of cash as a deposit.
Tip: Wear a helmet, and don’t be embarrassed to practice a bit. Don’t forget to ask them how and where to put gas because they have quite a unique system.
2. Fairy Springs
They say the Fairy Springs or Fairy Stream come from underground water streams of sand dunes from the area. It is situated between rock formations and a bamboo forest so as you walk up the stream, the landscape constantly changes.
Visitors are encouraged to walk up the stream barefoot as the ground beneath is made out of soft clay and feels very nice. The stream is no less than ankle deep and no more than knee deep.
As you walk up the stream, on one side are some miniature canyons and ever changing clay formations that vary from white to pink to orange to red to brown. On the other side are bushy plants, wild grass, and trees that give shade. All of this makes up the charming and magical landscape of the Fairy Stream.
Tip: Go right during the sunset to avoid crowds. Use google maps to find the location and don’t forget to pay the entrance fee.
3. Coconut Tree Haven
Located close to the entrance and exit of the Fairy Springs/Stream, just behind the parking lot, you’ll notice two small pathways; one leads to a private house and another leads to this small coconut tree haven. If you walk all the way to the other side, you will find an empty beach. We spent a good 25 minutes here just hanging out, taking pictures, and people watching.
Tip: Don’t forget to bring a sarong or picnic blanket so you can lay on the sand and chill. Bring some snacks and a water bottle too.
4. White Sand Dunes
When you think of South East Asia, I’m sure sand dunes don’t really come to mind. This area of the world isn’t really known for such things, but lo and behold, Vietnam has surprised us with some beautiful white sand dunes.
For the best experience, I suggest going for sunrise.
We were up by 4:00 am and on the 4x4 by 4:15 am. Once you arrive at the sand dunes, I suggest exploring the area on foot. The sand is untouched so early in the morning and walking up and down the sand dunes can feel like such a treat. Having to work for the sunrise makes the experience a little bit more complete. Enjoy the peace and quiet and explore the rest of the area by visiting the lakes nearby.
Tip: Once you arrive at the white sand dunes, don’t be taken aback by the people trying to sell you a ride on the ATV. I don’t suggest renting one because they make a lot of noise and disrupt the peace of the sunrise.
5. Red Sand Dunes
The Red Sand Dunes are a lot smaller than the White Sand Dunes. These dunes are a mix of red and brown in color. We visited these dunes right after our visit from the White Sand Dunes. There were a lot more people but maybe because since it’s smaller, it appears more crowded. There are different vendors as well on these dunes. Kids will run after you and ask you to rent some of the sand boards they're holding so that you can try and surf down a hill or two. You will also see older women selling some local delicacies on the side.
Tip: Don’t let the crowds of people and vendors dishearten you. In fact, take advantage and mingle with the locals. They’re a friendly bunch.
6. Fisherman’s Village
The fisherman's village is an interesting place to visit. You see the locals going on about their day, catching fresh fish and segregating them on the beach. It all seems chaotic when you’re in the middle of it, but if you observe carefully then you realize that they have a system going. It’s organized chaos really and something quite nice to experience. You have a person 2 ft away from you removing the fish from the net, another person 3 ft away organizing the type of fish in piles, another person behind you gutting a fish and then someone yelling from the water asking for help. Just as you think you’ve seen enough, you see more people come in motorcycles picking up the buckets of fish to bring to their shops.
Tip: They offer rides on the local fishing boats if you’re interested.