Before arriving in Mui Ne Vietnam one of the top day trips on our list was to hit the white sand dunes. We couldn’t believe that something like this existed in Southeast Asia, and in the middle of Vietnam nonetheless! The only problem was that we went about it in the completely wrong way… From running into local police to missing the Mui Ne jeep tour, we really wish we did things differently. So hopefully before your own trip to the White Sand Dunes in Mui Ne you read our tips and story!
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Coastal Ride to the Mui Ne White Sands
Figuring we’d save some money and not take the tour, we rented a motorbike from our hostel and jumped on the road. We didn’t know it at the time, but this was our first mistake!
You should know the white sands aren’t actually in Mui Ne, but instead about an hour drive up the coast. The drive is extremely beautiful with the highlight being a stop in the Mui Ne Harbor to see hundreds of colorful boats. With views like this to start our drive we were beyond excited for the day ahead.
Mui Ne White Sand Dunes Tip: If you’re looking for something closer to town a great alternative is the Mui Ne Red Sand Dunes. They aren’t as large as the white sand or as impressive in color. Yet if you’re not trying to make the hour trip each way it’s a good stop!
Police En Route to the White Sands Mui Ne
Just a few minutes after seeing the beautiful harbor… Disaster struck! While cruising up the coast without a care in the world, we suddenly felt a pit in our stomachs. Out of nowhere a group of police waved us over to pull in. At once they asked for our international drivers license, or said our bikes would be taken.
Now it’s important to know that this is a very common scheme in Vietnam, and if you’re going to be driving motorbikes regularly it’s something to be aware of. Of course, if you have an international drivers license show them it.
However, it will often not matter even if you do! We’ve heard the same stories from other travelers that they still say it’s not the right kind, or there’s a problem with it so they can still fine you.
What to Do if You’re Stopped by Mui Ne Police
- Don’t Panic! It can be nerve wracking getting pulled over by police in a foreign country, but try and keep your composure.
- Don’t get argumentative. The best thing you can do is pay your fine and get out of there as quickly as possible.
- It’s important to make sure you ALWAYS have extra cash with you. 500,000 Vietnamese Dong is only about $20 USD, and that should plenty to pay the bribe.
- Remember that’s what it essentially is… A Bribe! The Mui Ne police will tell you they’ll take your bike if you don’t pay, and honestly it’s just not worth the hassle.
Back on the Road to the Mui Ne White Sand Dunes
This was obviously not the way we wanted to start our day! Especially when we had decided not to do a tour as a way to save money. Long story short, 20 minutes and $10 dollars (250,000 VND) later the Mui Ne Police wished us a good day and we were on our way.
We found out later from other travelers that getting stopped is very common at this particular location. It definitely could’ve been worse, but it put a damper on our trip to the Mui Ne White Sands.
→ Vietnam by Motorbike: Amazing 45 Day Trip From Saigon to Hanoi
Arriving at the Mui Ne White Sand Dunes
When we finally pulled up at the sand dunes we were surprised by how massive they actually were. That’s when we realized that we had made another epic mistake! Unfortunately, if you’re not ready to fork over the money for an ATV or jeep ride you’re going to be walking.
Not that it was that much money, but after paying the bribe and realizing that it would’ve been cheaper to do a jeep tour we felt like our day was an overall fail.
When traveling you live and you learn, and on this day we definitely learned! Sometimes it’s better to just pay to take the tour. Below is what we were quoted for the jeep tour at the Mui Ne White Sand Dunes.
- 20 Min ATV Ride With Driver – 200,000 VND Per Person
- 20 Min Jeep Ride With Driver – 1 Million VND Per Car
Hiking Up the Mui Ne Sand Dunes
Not wanting to spend anymore money, we looked out at the massive mountains of sand and started our hike up. It actually wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was just like going for an extra long walk at the beach… Well, maybe if the beach was completely uphill!
Anyway, by the time we had reached the top all of the bad energy and disappointment was gone as we looked out over the beautiful white sand. We had conquered the massive mountain and now had a chance to play, jump around, and take epic pictures! This was definitely a surprise and it still ended up being an unforgettable day.
Having the Best Experience at Mui Ne White Sands
So how can you have a better day than us when visiting the Mui Ne Vietnam Sand Dunes? First and foremost, take a tour! From town they offer private or group tours for a super reasonable price. If you have a group of 2-4 people you could even pay for your own private jeep.
In our opinion, this is the best way to go and you’ll even avoid those pesky Mui Ne police. If tours aren’t for you and you’re determined to ride, then proceed with caution. Overall, we still had a great day and learned some valuable travel lessons.
Have any questions about the Mui Ne White Sand Dunes or want to share your own tips? Please do so in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In Mui Ne Vietnam
Ultra Luxury – Sailing Club Resort Mui Ne – Looking for luxury in Mui Ne Vietnam? The Sailing Club has everything you need right on the beach! If you have the extra money to spend this place is definitely worth it.
Fun Vacation – Sunsea Resort – With 2 outdoor swimming pools, a restaurant, and the perfect location right on the beach.
Budget Travel – Hiep Hoa Resort – Hiep Hoa resort has a swimming pool, breakfast, and motorbike rentals available all at a budget friendly price.
Hostel Stay – Mui Ne Hills Backpackers – If you’ve never stayed at the Mad Monkey chain, they fuse together the backpacker party vibe with an upscale design. This is definitely the best budget place to stay in Mui Ne, and will also give you a chance to meet some awesome new people!
Vietnam Travel Planning
Check out all our Vietnam articles to help plan your trip! We cover everything from the best Vietnamese food to 50 travel tips & how to get around. You can also find our Northern Vietnam and Southern itineraries as well as an amazing 1 month route!
Transportation: 12Go is what we use to book ferries, trains, buses, and transfers while traveling through Vietnam!
Flights: For cheap flight deals check out Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we found flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc for $20 USD and Vietnam to Thailand for less than $50!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites for hotels such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Tours: Get Your Guide is an amazing place to find fun activities all over Vietnam! There is everything from a Hanoi Cooking Class and market tour to a Mekong Delta Pagoda & rowing boat trip, and even the Phu Quoc Cable Car Ride with three island snorkeling tour!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without insurance. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years and they are always there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
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Good read for my travel plan next year. Helpful especially about bikes and license. 👍🙏
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy Vietnam