Image by Christer Fredriksson Getty Images
Mui Ne is famous for its enormous red and white sand dunes. The 'red dunes' (doi hong) are convenient to Hai Long, but the 'white dunes' (doi cat trang), 24km northeast, are the more impressive – the near-constant oceanic winds sculpt the pale yellow sands into wonderful Saharaesque formations. But as this is Vietnam (not deepest Mali) there's little chance of experiencing the silence of the desert.
Prepare yourself for the hard sell as children press you to hire a plastic sledge to ride the dunes. Unless you're supermodel-light, it can be tricky to travel for more than a few metres this way.
Quad bikes and dune buggies also destroy the peace. Bizarrely, ostrich riding is offered as an activity, but we don’t recommend it due to animal-cruelty concerns. Expect some litter, too; periodically there's a clean-up, but the tide of plastic keeps returning.
If you're booking a sand dune tour be careful to agree on an itinerary, preferably in writing. We hear complaints, particularly about ‘sunset tours’ that are cut short with the sun high in the sky.