Phan Thiet near Mui Ne is famous for its unique red and white sand dunes, one of the only desert areas in Southeast Asia. The White Sand Dunes, also known as Bao Trang or the White Lake, are particularly impressive. This vast expanse of sand is dotted with herds of cows intermingled with quad bikes and dune buggies filled with tourists enjoying the ride.
You can walk among the dunes, or adventure-seekers can hire a 4WD and driver to get around. You can also rent small plastic sleds to slide down the sandy hills (sold by children that know how to hard-sell to tourists). One of the most striking features of the area is a small freshwater lagoon covered in blooming lotus flowers, mallards, and other birds of prey. Beside the lake, there are low pine forests, making it a picturesque and photogenic spot for nature lovers.
Half-day White Lake excursions leave from Phan Thiet. These generally include round-trip transportation, a stop at a fishing village, a ride up to White Lake in an army jeep, and a visit to the Fairy Stream, a small river that winds its way through the bamboo forests and dunes behind the village. This makes for a fantastic day trip for anybody visiting the Mui Ne area.
Insider’s Tip: As it is so hot in the middle of the day, the best time to visit the White Sand Dunes is at sunrise or sunset. These are also the times when the dunes are at their most picturesque.
The White Sand Dunes are located approximately 15 kilometers from the main resort strip along Mui Ne Bay. If not arriving as part of an organized tour, it can be reached by hiring a motorcycle or jeep from the village.