Take a trip with me down the Sand Dunes and hold on for dear life. Unlike roller coaster rides, there ain’t no seatbelt in this desert.
From Ho Chi Minh, I took a 4 hour bus ride to the city of Mui Ne – mostly a beach but a further drive (1 1/2 hours off its coast) leads to what the city is really known for: the Sand Dunes. There are two within 30 minutes of each other – a landscape of White Sand Dunes and the Red a little closer to the city center.
The White Sand Dunes are where you can do most activities including riding an ATV down the multiple drops like a roller coaster minus the seat belt. My safety net came in the form of a Vietnamese local who drove me down with no holds barred (is this what YOLO is all about? ‘coz if it is I’m out) although there came a point when I stopped fearing for my life and, instead, for my Birks. I had this feeling had they flown off the course my driver would’ve dismissed it as collateral damage. What did seem to be damaged though throughout the trip (20 minutes as per the ATV rate) were my exposed legs. The prickly sand was so much harsher than I expected. My dress also flew in unwanted directions on several counts but that didn’t stop me from holding on to dear life because falling is so much worse than flashing, no?
Dear driver, thanks for making sure I was kept safe (somehow) and also for discouraging me from driving the machine myself with your look of terror when I sat right in front. Also, thanks for not giving me enough time to prepare upon sighting each drop because you probably thought it would take us more than 20 minutes if you had to wait for my go signal. Or did you just want to get it over with? Either way, the experience was awesome and if I do go back I’d need you again to show me the way and, you know, drive the scary looking vehicle.
The Red Sand Dunes didn’t elicit the same excitement because the only things you could do there are hike up and back down or slide down. No scary-but-fun ATV rides.
Come to think of it, maybe just one ride is enough. Enough to last me the whole year, that is. Photo diary on Mui Ne to follow.
If you’re headed to Vietnam here are some tips on what to do in Saigon. Enjoy!