I was relieved to hop on the overnight sleeper bus from Saigon and leave behind the hustle of the city for a more relaxed setting.

We arrived in the early hours of the morning at Mui Ne Backpacker Village and were relieved to find comfort in a private room with AC for $15 USD per night which sounded really cheap as it was only week 1 in Asia. The hostel has a really great pool which was a huge plus. A great social environment with a bar, restaurant, and hang out area (pool table). I ended up in a mixed dorm the last night which was nice and clean. No bunk beds, towels provided, outlets at each bed, and a separate locker room style toilet and showers. I had a repulsive dorm room experience where two roommates couldn’t pay the extra $5 or so for a private room and had no shame going at it in the room where 5 of us were attempting to sleep. Seemed to be more of a party and large group atmosphere so maybe this contributed.

The fresh air, slower pace of life, and most intriguing was the multiple natural scapes: desert, hills, temples, beach all in one!

Highlights:

-Linh Son Truong Tho Pagoda @ Ta Cu Mountain
A serene pagoda up in the hills surrounded by dragonflies, lush green, and birds. Eerily quite which made it even more peaceful for us.

-Po Shanu Cham Towers
Gardens with local flowers, brightly coloured butterflies. The type of garden you could sit in for hours.

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*The neighboring temple- which I have yet to find the name of.. quiet, beautiful architecture, mist over the hills in the distance, and a cute photo op courtesy of the silent monk.

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-Renting a motorbike and taking in these scenes on our own time- away from the tourists.

-The cookie cutter tour package-
sunrise atop the White Sand Dunes, climb much smaller Red Sand Dunes, local fish markets, stroll through the Fairy Stream.

My opinion- all of these are well worth the sight- especially the sand dunes at sunrise.. however much cheaper and more enjoyable to do on your own. Our tour felt super rushed and more time was spent feeling like it was time to move to the next destination that enjoying the moment. We had a bad experience renting a quad (the ones with the less bulky wheels at the white sand dunes, we spent $100,000 just to have the quad continuously get stuck in the sand with the local vendors only willing to assist for more payment- eventually after many failed attempts we walked away to see the last minutes of the sunrising on the horizon just to come back to our quad being gone!! Luckily we got out of there with no questions or issues. Was a strange experience)

 

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