A journey to Mui Ne & Phan Thiet

My journeys brought me from the frenetic traffic of Hô-Chi-Minh-Stadt to the (russian) tourist city of Mui Ne.
The decision whether to go there or not was not so easy. Usually I avoid such tourist places and try to find regions which are closer to the locals and more far from the foreigners.

Despite that I was quite fascinated of the dunes which should be in the surroundings of Mui Ne and I decided to give it a try. And my conclusio is: It was worth it!
Also it was great fun to explore the surroundings independently. I guess it might have been more boring for me if I’d have decided to book tours. Mui Ne has some very interesting sights, even though, they are kind of small. You can choose several ones during a day and you’d be much happier as you can stay as long as you prefer and come and leave when it’s pleasent for you.

On the first day I went to a natural rubber plantation (which will be discussend in another article – it is too far away from Mui Ne to describe it here…). Just the way back was pretty awesome. The area is very famous for it’s large dragon fruit plantations. I liked them during daytime but they weren’t so fascinating to me. But during the night the atmosphere turned 180° around. Due to the flowers of the plant bloom when it’s dark they put rows of bulbs beneath the plants to simulate „daylight“. This was one of the most interesting motives I ever had.

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The first idea in Mui Ne was just simple – I wanted to see the whole bay of Mui Ne. For that purpose I just drove along the street until I reached the end and finito. But the place was so beautiful. An area where the land hits the sea and almost no tourists have ever been before. For fun I walked along a bit and discovered there was a cemetery.

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Never before I’ve seen a cemetery by the sea and it was very imposing to me.

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_DSC0210The graves were placed to look into the eternety of the horizon, which made me reflective. It seemed some people thought much about death and came to the result it might be a good idea to lie in a place where you able to watch beautiful things.

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So I wandered along the beach and shot pictures of this „cemetery“ which looked more like a place of nature where some people decided to die. Nothing was in order like on an ordinary cemetery – and exactly that gave the place its atmosphere.

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Coastline

Coastline

At the end I reached the coast where the power of the ocean hit the rocks. More than once the waves were strong enough to skyrock several meters in the air. By photographing it… I got… well, a bit wet. Poseidon seems to be stronger than I had expected.

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In the evening I went to Phan Thiet which is the neighbour-city of Mui Ne.

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It has more possibilities of getting food for a fair price. But it seems that evening I was not the only one who decided to go shopping.

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Anywhen the police started to end the jam and send some people in the other direction. Such as me.

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Great! I had no idea about the geography of the region and had to do a night trip to nowhere. Of course I knew in which direction Mui Ne was, so I made several attempts to get a road but 3 out of 4 tries failed. The last one led me to a long countryside highway and suddenly a junction with my preferred direction appeared – but what was that behind it? A huge mountain in the moonlight. Mt. Tà Zôn – I couldn’t really guess its height but I knew – only one of us could be the one. Tomorrow I’ll defeat you.

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Lucky me I got along the right side and arrived good at home.

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The next day I discovered several quarries in the region. I wondered whether it was possible still to climb the mountain. Some nice men helped me to find the right way and the adventure could start!

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_DSC0510The next day was hard. Due to the climate it appeared very difficult for me to climb up Tà Zôn. Hot, no shades and very humid was the day and I suffered. I made breaks, chose the wrong path and fought my way trough stones, thorns and the hot Vietnamese sun. And my prize was the pinnacle with an antenna.

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Formicary

Formicary

I ran out of water but the nice guy who lived there gave some of his.

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Some last pictures and I went down the right way.

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I let the day end by going to the so called „Fairy Spring“ which is a small waterfall.

It appears to me waterfalls are not so common here in SEA as they are in Europe. In Europe nobody would care about such a small stream, but here it’s the attraction #1. But I have to say the way was pretty nice.

The next day I wanted to see the dunes and found out some interesting information which might not be known by everyone who comes to here.

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_DSC0849_DSC0920There are more than just the „red“ and the „white“ dunes. The white dunes turn a bit into yellow (but are still impressive), the red dunes are orange and look a bit red during noon and the real red dunes are hidden between the two parts of Mui Ne.

I love the desert. And I wandered around the orange/red dunes for a long while, discovering the area and feeling the spirit of the desert again… The last time I’ve been there was 2010 in Egypt…

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Red Sand through the "red" sand

Red Sand through the „red“ sand

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Well... Physics can be a swine. A sledge doesn't work if you are to heavy

Well… Physics can be a swine. A sledge doesn’t work if you are to heavy

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The real red ones don’t seem to interest anyone. They are even building a street through them…

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Still, I liked the place.

How can't you like that place? There might be surprises everywhere...

How can’t you like that place? There might be surprises everywhere… On the highway?

The white dunes were of course the most popular among the tourists. I even met a Vietnamese couple who married there. Most people come here during the morning when the light is a bit blurred and gives them the right colour and shapes. I just enjoyed it from the distance – at the dunes itself too many tourists would have ruined my impressions.

Besides that there is a small lake with some lotus flowers.. What does a lake here…?

I discovered the whole surroundings as well and found several small dunes, every one unique, some between houses, some between the step.

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The highway led me along bush-dragons to Phan Thiet where I spent the dawn at the ruins of the ancient Cham culture. Today there are only some towers left. From a time the Cham were still Hindus. Today most of them are Muslims, so it was also a strange experience to be at a location of a lost culture…

A Vietnamese pagoda is directly beneath and the community share their services here.

The sun went down and the monks started chanting…

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_DSC0791_DSC0094The next day I wanted to see another mountain: Tà Cú. It is famous for Vietnam’s largest sleeping Buddha-statue. And… by the way – the view from the mountain is one of the best in the whole region. I decided not using the cable car and went by feed. Not such a good idea, the way was long and bad. But I found a nice fella who made my day happy by being my model 🙂

Buddha on the way...

Buddha on the way…

Besides high priced soda there was the statue on the other side of the mountain. A giant sleeping Buddha.

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On the way back some monkeys were following me, but unfortunately they were just too quick to get pictured by me.

In the evening I went with a friend of mine to the port of Phan Thiet. During the night it is very quiet and resting. Everything starts in the early morning when the fishermen start their early day. I preferred the night to capture my desire.

The port is huge. During my trip through the Mekong Delta I saw my first Vietnamese ships. Here were much more and as colourful as in the Delta.

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A Vietnamese pagoda is directly beneath and the community share their services here.

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