Red Dunes of Mui Ne

Close to the town of Mui Ne, the Red Sand Dunes are a popular, natural tourist attraction in the beautiful travel destination.

Red Dunes Mui NeRed Dunes Mui Ne | photo: Frank Fox (cc-by-sa)

The best place to watch the sunset

The Red Dunes of Mui Ne are one of the natural tourist attractions you can hardly miss. They are quite accessible, since located next to the town of Mui Ne itself.

Below the Red Dunes of Mui NeBelow the Red Dunes of Mui Ne | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

Along the street, a stretch of cafes and shops popped up, catering to the needs of the constant stream of visitors. People use the dunes as background for photos, music videos and even movies sometimes. Another popular activity is sliding down the dunes on a "sledge", basically a sheet of plastic with a handle, rented out by young entrepreneurs.

Children renting out slidesChildren renting out slides | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

The kids renting out the sledges will jump on you as soon as they catch sight of you. If you want to slide, it's recommended to rent the sledge for a certain amount of time. Don't let them charge you per ride.

Sliding down the dunesSliding down the dunes | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

Contrary to the White Dunes of Mui Ne, the Red Dunes are littered and walking barefoot is something I wouldn't recommend. Trash is the price for accessibility in Vietnam.

Red DunesRed Dunes | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

Our ever popular Sunrise/Sunset Tour by Jeep usually ends at the Red Dunes and you can watch the sunset. Don't just be focussed on the sun in front of you! Occasionally glance back at the dunes and see how the red light of the setting sun sets the orange-red sand ablaze until the area looks like a vivid dream of Mars rather than a spot on good old planet earth.

The famous red dunes of Mui NeThe famous red dunes of Mui Ne | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

The Red Dunes are easily accessible by bicycle or motorbike from Mui Ne, located along Võ Nguyên Giáp Street. Even if your resort is closer to Phan Thiet than Mui Ne, the ride along the tourist strip is flat and not much of a challenge (the battering sun aside during dry season). Contrary to the White Dunes, which are quite a distance to the North and require an excellent endurance from the occasional cyclist.

Ice Cream in VietnamIce Cream in Vietnam | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

Why are the Red Dunes red?
Contrary to Western Europe, where every bit of landscape has been turned upside down by geologists, it's pretty hard to find information on these subjects in Southeast Asia. Similar to zoology, where a new species is rather dissected by a chef than a scientist, the locals don't care much about questions like this. Since I have seen the layers of white and red sand and clay at the Fairy Stream, I guess the reddish color of the dunes comes from red, iron-rich clay that intermingled with the sand.

Sunset at the Red DunesSunset at the Red Dunes | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

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