Day 3: Mui Ne, 23 December 2015.
I arrived Mui Ne at 4:10am on Futa Bus. I was promised by the bus company officer that I will be dropped right in front of my hostel in Mui Ne, so I was expecting it. As I seen some of the passengers being dropped in front of their respective hostels, I was pretty confident the bus driver will do the same. But after about 10 minutes, a few other passengers and I were dropped in front of the Futa Bus regional office. Almost instantly a guy approached me and asked about my hostel.
I remained wishful, hoping the bus driver will somehow remember the promise made. So I was expecting it, and this guy seemed to be working for the bus company. Perhaps the bus driver had forgotten to drop me in front of my hostel, and he asked this guy to fetch me there. At least that was what I thought. The guy immediately recognized the hostel and said he can bring me there. He asked me to hop onto his motorbike and we rode off.
Almost instantly after I hopped onto his bike, I realised he might not be working for the bus company. My inner mind told me I will need to pay this guy. Along the way, with his broken English he proceeded to introduce me this sand dunes tour, repeatedly said: “It’s good x 10,000 times” and “Maybe… we can go now to the sand dunes for sunrise”. *Check his phone with a bikini girl as the phone background, showing the time 4:20am*
“Everybody goes there NOW,” he said.
Seriously though, his marketing skill was so horrible it immediately rang a bell in my head. Indeed, when we arrived in front of my hostel after 5 minutes of riding along the straight long Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, he was still asking if we want to go now. I tried my best effort not to laugh.
He then proceeded to say he is actually working for a motorbike company not the bus company, and asked if I can pay for his petrol which he has just spent for the past 5 minutes. GOTCHA! He asked for 60k VND (~RM12) for that short 5 minutes ride but since I only had 50k VND (~RM10) in my wallet, I gave him that. When he was about to leave, he was still asking if we can go now since I won’t be able to check in until that afternoon. He could drop me back at my hostel at 10am. No way will I get squeezed for the second time.
But it only got better.
I waited next to the swimming pool in my hostel with a book on my hand for 6 hours until 12:30pm and checked in. Then I joined the famous Sand Dunes tour booked with my hostel for only USD4. I wouldn’t want to imagine how much the “it’s good x 10,000 times” guy would have charged me if I followed him gullibly that morning.
Me, along with a 3 Australian guys and 1 girl, hopped onto a jeep and went to Fairy Stream, a long walkable stream apparently rumored to have fairies walking at night. Overall the stream was easy to walk but at some parts there were little rocks. Still manageable. Then we bumped into this ostrich riding site and they quoted us 100k VND for a short ride of ostrich riding. Total rip off! I thought to myself, but one of the Australian tour-mates proceeded anyway. All of us can’t hold our laughter when we saw him riding the ostrich because it was too funny!
After 45-minute walk along Fairy Streams, we then proceeded to the next stop – White Sand Dunes! Never in my life had I witnessed such beautiful desert like sand dunes. I was in awe. Then I met this Chinese guy and he became my companion for the rest of the tour. We helped each other take pictures. Then I played Chinese chess with him, and beat him comfortably (haha!) even with my extremely rusty skills! Little did I know, Vietnamese actually play Chinese chess quite frequently! Even the jeep driver tried to make his mark on our game by trying to influence the subsequent moves! And he wasn’t a random chess player but rather a pretty skillful one.
|Red Sand Dunes.|
Finally we ended the tour with a sunset watching at Red Sand Dunes! Yes they had both White Sand Dunes and Red Sand Dunes, albeit not located next to each other. Both were equally magnificent and amazing although I personally prefer the Red Sand Dunes! Coupled with the sunset watching, it was a money well spent. That night ended with me walking 1.6km away from the hostel just to end up eating at a mediocre seafood restaurant to try their fried noodles seafood. A little pricey though.
|Sunset in the making @ Red Sand Dunes.|
|Spectacular sunset to further enrich this already awesome travelling experience.|
|Fried noodles seafood with Passion Fruit juice.|