18th of August
Tour in Mui Ne
After a day of hiking to the Ta Cu mountain I stayed at home to have a rest and talked to my mum. As I was always told how dangerous Vietnam was and that I couldn’t trust anyone I felt so hopeless and didn’t feel like going anywhere. Mainly because there is no other transportation beside motorbike. I can’t ride it. I can’t trust the drivers. The public transportation was unpredictable. So I decided to go with a tour and booked it in the evening. Fortunately I could still book it as the tour started the next day at 4:30am. I booked it on Viator for 18 USD. Then I had to call the tour operator and asked where the meeting point was. Since I was in Phan Thiet and these tours use Jeep to take the guest around in Mui Ne, I had to take a taxi to go to Mui Ne by myself where they would get me.
At 3:30am the receptionist called me a taxi and I arrived to Mui Ne at 3:50am. It was still dark, no one on the road and I was freaked out. Fortunately Mui Ne is a touristic place so it’s full of resort. Near the meeting point there was a resort that had a terrace outside so I sat down there and waited. Near the meeting time I called the driver I was there and he got me. The taxi cost me 120.000 VND. The Jeep also took another 4 people so I went on a tour with them.
We visited the White Sand Dunes as the first destination. When we arrived there we decided to pay 200.000 VND each to get a Jeep that took us to the dunes as walking would take too much energy in the early morning. The white sand dunes looked amazing. It felt like as if we were in the desert. The endless sand that was formed by nature. It was also lucky that Vietnam could keep it.
Over there we watched the sun rise. It was wonderful to see the sun was moving upwards and started to get into its shape. One side was the sunrise and the other side still had the moon. It was an amazing phenomenon. Near the sand also had a lake that was told to be endless as they couldn’t measure how deep it was. After the White Sand dunes we moved to the Red sand dunes. It was smaller and the sand wasn’t that red nor yellow. However the sand had some white fleck which was salt. So even if the sand touch the injured skin it was good for it.
Here we did sand sliding. We slide down the dunes on a metal paper-like thing. It was pretty fun but I was scared. It was more nerve-wrecking than the Jeep going on the white sand dunes. One sliding was 40.000 VND and two sliding was 50.000 VND. Then we moved to fishing village where we only watched it from the far. I got to learn that Mui Ne meant that the coast was in a shape that kept the flood far. It meant Mui Ne never had flood or storm. The sea also looked really calm.
Then we went to fairy stream. It was a place where the water was up to the ankle and you could walk through it. On the way you can see the mountain that breaks down everytime it was raining. Therefore the red, yellow, orange, white colour mixed up and on a sunny days it makes a wonderful scene. The water temperature was pleasureable as well.
The tour ended in 5 hours so at around 9am I caught the bus to go home. They took me to the bus station and then I took the bus to go home. Arriving back home I took a shower and was thinking what I should do. I wanted to order food but then I realized how many more plastic I would have to use so I decided to find a vegetarian restaurant and called a motortaxi who took me.
The most adventurous ride to Da Lat
Unfortunately that restaurant was closed so I just got off there and walked around. I went to visit the Duc Thanh school which was designed as the school where Ho Chi Minh taught. Next to it was the museum about Ho Chi Minh.
I was too tired to find food so I decided to call Grab home and then order food. Luckily the driver I got was a young one and he said he usually met solo female travellers who asked him to take them to the mountain pass going to Da Lat. I asked about the time and price and found it reasonable. So I asked him to take me to vegetarian restaurant which was in the area of Chinese origin people while waiting for him coming back with a stronger motorbike. That meant people who were from China lived there, but they were already Vietnamized as they lived in Vietnam for a long time. I got to eat in a temple.
Then he came back for me with a different motorbike which was stronger. Then we left. It took us 2 hours to get to the bottom of the pass. Then when we entered it the scene became more and more wonderful. The road was crossing the side of the mountain. Upside is the mountain and downside was a rift to the jungle. The mountain and hill were all seen from the road and they were huge. It was a whole area of forest on the mountain. The colour was also light green that made the landscape look very calming. I wanted to take a picture but also wanted to feel the breeze of the wind. Moreover I thought there would be more beautiful part so I didn’t stop to take any picture. On the road we even saw herd or buffalos that were pastured.
I also saw houses on the mountain and people lived there. Turned out they were one of the ethnicity in Vietnam. I was amazed how they could live up there on the mountain. The whole scene and the weather was amazing. Then the guy asked whether I wanted to take a rest. I said if he didn’t need it then we could continue. He said if we went on we would get to Da Lat which meant we arrived back at 11pm. 11pm was still fine so I agreed to go on. All the road was fine until forest was around.
Then when we got to the city, where people lived and there were houses it felt suffocating. I really wanted to turn back but also wanted to see Da Lat. So we kept going on but to be honest the last 2 hours were like a torture. Moreover I could feel my buttocks and legs dying. The guy also miscalculated the road and we arrived in Da Lat at 8pm instead of 6pm. It was already dark and the weather was extremely cold. Getting off the motorbike I could barely move my leg.
We had a bowl of Banh canh, a sort of noodle soup. Then I had to buy a pulover as it was freezing. Da Lat is famous for its nice weather since it’s in the mountain. Not hot at all in the summer. Then the driver took me around Xuan Huong lake and we went to the hill to see the lamp. As it was too late I wanted to go back. We probably stayed in Da Lat for half an hour.
The way back was a challenge. The funniest part was that the motorbike was new so it didn’t even have a plate number. Police were standing on the road so we might get called for a checking. We literally prayed not to be called as the motorbike would be taken away. Luckily we weren’t called and we got into the mountain pass in time. We already went for like 500 metres when the guy said there weren’t enough petrol. We had to turn back to find the gas station. But really where can you find a gas station in the middle of the night and mountain?! Luckily a street shop was still open near the entrance of the pass and they sold petrol. I was surprised that we didn’t need to go to gas station and could buy petrol in the shop like that. Well, after all this is Vietnam. Everything is possible.
Since it was dark and we crossed the mountain the guy had to go slowly as the curves could be really steep. Looking at the rift I only saw the line of the mountain in its darkness. The scene only had the shade of black. It looked huge and powerful. As if the nature wanted to say: “this is my territory, I’m the king here.”
I was astonished by that scene and didn’t really dare to look at it. So I only looked at the bright moon and the W- shaped stars. I also prayed for my life to get back to Phan Thiet safe and sound. Moreover it was so cold. The road felt endless. 25km more to Phan Thiet, 20 km more, 10 km more … As if we would never get out of the mountain. The guy also had to take a rest twice. Once on the mountain where we supposed to have a rest on the daytime. The next time was when we were out of the mountain pass. When we finally got off the mountain the weather was much warmer. We stopped at the dragon fruit garden. It looked funny as the dragon fruit was grown on the tip of a long leaf branch. I was amazed how a leaf branch could hold it.
We arrived back to my accommodation at 1am. I couldn’t tell how tired I was. I was literally awake since 3am until the next day 1am. I thought I would have a boring day but this was the most wonderful day ever since I was in Vietnam. I paid for this whole ride 700.000 VND, which was considered cheap.
After that day I felt much more alive and was looking forward what came next.
Is Vietnam dangerous?
When I told this story to my relatives, family and friends, everyone asked if it wasn’t dangerous. Of course it was. My relatives literally scolded me for being bold and risky. But after this adventure I dare to say that not everything is the way people tell. I heard many times that Vietnam is dangerous and people cannot be trusted. I’m not gonna say Vietnamese people are the best people as they tend to be really sly and smart. However, they are not as dangerous as people say. Vietnam in whole is not dangerous. Of course I’m not gonna say you can go out anytime in the middle of the night or trust anyone. You have to trust your gut, your intuition.
This time my intuition didn’t say this guy was dangerous so I just left with him on this adventure. But if I even had a little bit of doubt I wouldn’t go on it. Trust your intuition! Experience everything yourself before you assume a place is safe or not.
19th of August
On the 19th I packed up my things and took the bus to go back to HCMC. I stayed in a hostel near the airport as the next day my flight was at 8am. Before going to sleep I went out to have dinner then went to sleep. The next day I called Goviet to the airport and I flew to Hue city where I lived in the temple again.