At 9am on the 13th January, we were picked up for our bus journey to Mui Ne, a small beach resort town, 4 hours north of Ho Chi Minh.

As we’re used to being crammed in (reingequetscht) a tiny, uncomfortable bus, with no legroom whatsoever, we didn’t expect much more than that – however, we were pleasantly surprised (angenehm überrascht)! As we got in the bus, we spotted only reclined seats (liegende Sitze), similar to a bed. Every person has a bed to themselves and a free bottle of water. We very much enjoyed ourselves during the ride and we couldn’t believe how comfortable (gemütlich) it can be to transfer between places!

Mui Ne, lying in the southeast of Vietnam, has a long stretch of sand and a steady (beständig) wind, which makes it attractive for all kinds of water sports. Despite the weather reports of rain, we were hoping for a couple of days spent at the beach, chilling in the sun and reading a book. Fingers crossed!

On our first day we were quite lucky, even through the sky was very overcast (bewölkt), it was holding in the rain. We decided to have a stroll (Spatziergang) along the beach. Getting back to the main road was quite a task though. Hotel next to Hotel is lined up at the seashore and as a non-guest you are not allowed to walk through the hotel premises. As we finally found a little path leading back to the main road (I think it’s the only one!), we proceeded to walk down the road. It was then we noticed that all restaurant and shop signs were in 3 languages: Vietnamese, English and Russian! “Why Russian?”, we asked ourselves. It was also by then that we realised, we were surrounded by only Russian tourists. Even the Vietnamese fruit vendors (Verkäufer) spoke some Russian! After a quick Google, we found out that Mui Ne is very popular for Russians.

On our second day we, again, were spared (erspart bleiben) any rain, so we spent the day at the beach. It wasn’t too much of a proper sunbath though, as it was overcast the whole day.

For our third and last day in Mui Ne, we booked a sunrise tour to the famous sand dunes. Seeing that huge sand dunes aren’t really the first thing that comes to your mind when thinking about Vietnam, we were quite intrigued (neugierig). The weather forecast said rain, but as we were lucky the two days before, we thought maybe our luck would continue. Well, let me put it this way: NOPE!

Half an hour late, we were picked up at 5:00am by an old jeep (Russian made!). On the way we picked up 3 more people, which made a total of 10 people (including the driver) crammed in a car designed for 7 (we were told there were 6 people, not including the driver, but hey, what do you expect (erwarten)?! This is Asia!).

Our first stop were the white sand dunes, which really are a impressive sight, where we would watch the sunrise.

Arriving at the sand dunes, you had the opportunity to hire (mieten) a driver on a quad bike, or even drive one up to the “sunrise viewpoint” yourself. Of course, in exchange (in Austausch für) of an exorbitant amount of money. As always, we had done our research (Recherche) and decided to follow the advice (Ratschlag) fellow travellers had given and walk up the dunes.

It was just a short walk to the top of the sand dunes (hiring a bike really is absolutely unnecessary (unnötig)!), which sadly was interrupted (unterbrochen) several times (mehrere Male), by the quad bikes speeding (rasen) past you, leaving deep tracks (tiefe Spuren) and a bad smell behind (not to mention the noise they make, which really ruins (ruinieren) the possibly idyllic walk). We weren’t too fussed (hat uns nicht allzu sehr gestört) though, as we knew there wasn’t going to be much of a sunrise. And we were right:

Midway through another unique (einzigartig), once-in-a-lifetime spectacular sunrise (see our other sunrise viewings earlier in the trip!), we were treated to a massive downpour, which left us completely drenched (durchnässt). Well, I guess we’re used to it by now. We weren’t even disappointed (enttäuscht) anymore, rather quite amused (belustigt/vergnügt/amüsiert).

Our next stop were the red sand dunes where, on arrival, we were surrounded (umzingelt) by a bunch of children trying to sell us their boards to try out sand surfing. As the sand was wet and there weren’t really any hills to slide down, we refused (ablehnen) their offer. We had a quick look around, took the regulation pictures and sought shelter (Schutz/Unterstand) as the rain continued.

When we planned going on this day trip, we were both keen on doing some sand surfing, but I honestly didn’t mind too much, as I tried it twice before, once in New Zealand and Western Australia, and these sand dunes don’t compare anyway. It was Tom whom I felt sorry for, as he was looking forward to sand board for the first time.

Still drenched and now slightly cold I was pretty ready to go home, but the tour wasn’t over yet. We’ve read that depending on the weather, the visit to the Fisherman’s Village sometimes is cancelled, but our driver apparently (anscheind) decided to make our moneys worth. We stopped for about 15 minutes at the village, where we were able to watch local men and women doing their job, fishing all sorts of fish out of the sea in funny little bowl-looking boats. It was a very nice view over the boats and ships, which are all painted in bright colours.

Our next and final stop was the Fairy Stream. Luckily the rain had stopped by then so we could enjoy our wade through the water. Sadly the picturesque (malerisch) walk was disturbed (gestört) by the usual sight of piles of rubbish (Müll) alongside the banks. We have to say that this is a familiar (vetraut/bekannt) sight for us by now, but we still don’t understand why at least the tourist sights cannot be kept clean. Throughout Asia, you come across beautiful beaches and other sights and in order to enjoy and cherish (wertschätzen) the beauty, you have to ignore all the litter (Müll). It is sad to see how little the locals care about polluting (verschmutzen) their own planet (or maybe they just don’t know any better).

Once we got past all the litter though, we came across a spectacular formation (Anordnung) of rocks, formed by white, yellow and red sand. Alongside the banks you can find a few little, charming café’s, which can only be reached through the stream.

Sadly our visit to Mui Ne wasn’t as sunny as we hoped to, but still a nice place to visit. Our next stop: Da Lat.