Things To Do In Mui Ne
Red Sand Dunes:
White Sand Dunes:
Yeah!!! I was thrilled to learn about the Vietnam Sand Dunes in Mui Ne. At first, I thought it would be a small portion of the land which will be covered with sand. But, my thought soon vanished when I reached the place. I booked a trip from my hostel, it was an early morning trip as I wanted to watch a sunrise. The cab or jeep was historical in itself. The vehicle model was pretty vintage. The thrill of sitting on such a vehicle is something. I sat in the front & out journey to the sand dunes started. The driver had to pick a couple from a hotel. However, there was a huge miscommunication & we lost valuable time. It was 5:45 am & we were yet to start from the place. Finally, we were able to find the couple & started our journey. The sun was ready to break the shatters & sun in full flow. We could see light taking its course from the far. We rode till 40 mins before we took a left turn to the site. The red sand was just in front of us.
Red Sand covered the place for miles it seems. The light has totally muscled the darkness. However, the sun was yet to come out of the horizon. But, we have to walk to the hill to watch the beautiful sunrise. The distance itself was about 1 Km. First time in my life I touched the sand dunes with my bare foot. The softness of the sand can only be experienced & one more thing I experienced was walking on the sand which is a tough job. The power to climb the small hills is tough. After a difficult walk of 10 to 15 mins. I realized that walking on the already made path by other people is a better option than walking on a new path. So, I tried to walk on the footprints left by the other people. So, at least for this particular instance, the quote which states travel the untraveled route was not true :D. I continued walking & soon reached a relatively high point compared to the landscape. And just in the time, I was able to witness the sun shining fully. The image of sunrise is one of the beautiful sites one can ever imagine. Further, the location added to the beauty of the place. The redness of the sand can now be felt & its color was only getting bright. I sat there silently & enjoyed the view. I clicked few photos but I mostly sat quietly at the place & enjoyed the sceneries. After watching the sunrise, it was time to head back to the other points.
Red sand dunes are the prime attraction of the place. After that, we headed towards the white sand dunes, it got its name due to its color. No guessing required here. The place is not as big as red sand dunes. But, one thing is worth remembering which both these places are located a few km’s apart. So, one can say that nature has its way of showing magic & saying, Humans, you still need to grow. After the white sand dunes, it was time for the fairy stream. A walk over the flowing water, first I thought that it would be only for few meters only. But, once I started walking it took at least half an hour to reach the end of the stream. The stream crossed several beautiful places. It might seem childish at first to walk on the stream. However, after a few meters, you will start to enjoy it. The constant tickles of the water & beautiful surrounding landscapes add to the beauty of the place. After all these activities, I felt walking on stream & watching a sunrise from the red sand dunes are the things worth doing while staying in Mui Ne.
I only stayed here for one night, hence I can’t write much about it. However, like every coastal city, there are hardly any pubs or clubs here. But, one thing that keeps night happening is the live music. The restro on the beach, where people sit & enjoy the music in slow music. Live music in an open area has its charm, especially in the place like this where the city gets silent at 8 or 9 pm. These bars are the best options available to the tourists. Apart from these experience, there is nothing much to do. I went to one place, which had beach access & live music. The guy who was singing was perfect in his art. The songs he chose were of the best qualities & I enjoyed the place.
Sandy beaches don’t have much of a say here. As most part of the coastline is covered with concrete. However, there are few patches of sandy beaches which can be accessed by anyone. It is worth noting that most of the sandy beach has private access. The water is muddy & maybe not appropriate for a dip. But, don’t get disheartened as there are other places where one can swim.
Mui Ne is one of the towns which is perfect to relax. No rush, not crowded & coastline. A perfect getaway from the hustling & bustling city like Ho Chi Minh. The calmness in the air is much appreciated. This was my experience of the place.
I have earlier written articles on the following topics. If you want to gain some experience, do read some of these.
Also, I mostly rely on the following websites to satisfy my basic needs
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Safety of the place is a concern before traveling to a new place. If the place is not safe one is reluctant to travel to that place. For eg. Lots of people conveyed to me that Vietnam is not safe for the solo tourist. So, I wanted to check this fact, Hence I decided to write a post on Is Ho Chi Minh Safe for solo traveling?
Saigon or Ho Chi Minh is basically a safe destination for the tourists. There are hardly any violent activities against the tourists. However, there are few points which should be engraved in the mind before traveling to Ho Chi Minh. Some of these are as follows:
The most common form of crime is snatching. However, the account of such incidents is fairly on a lower side compared to some of the other Vietnam cities. Ho Chi Minh is one of those cities which is pretty safe to travel to. But, there are few such incidents hence one needs to be careful.
Taxi or motorbike taxis are common forms of commutation in Ho Chi Minh. It has been observed the driver tries to ask for a higher price than the actual price; if the price is not pre-registered. This happens is most of the travel. I would recommend to fix the price first & then start your journey or go by meter. Apart from this, there is one app “Grab” which is kind of uber of Vietnam & can be used for commutation.
Parties often run till late hours & when one is drunk & with little conscious. It is hard to maintain a stable condition. Sometimes the situation goes out of the hand & it is very obvious that people will support locals compared to the tourists. Thus, the best would be to follow the rule & avoid any mishaps. If you are getting the feeling that something bad will happen then best would be to avoid the situation & move ahead. Don’t try to fight back until & unless it is a must. But, these incidents are very rare still worth remembering.
These are some of the things one should be kept in mind while traveling to Ho Chi Minh for being safe. As being safe is the most important part of solo traveling.
This was my first time in Vietnam. I was nervous at the start of the trip as many people asked me about the safety in the city & I was like why there is so much ambiguity about the city’s safety, as I have had not heard anything ill about the place. For me, Ho Chi Minh city was perfectly safe (touchwood). I traveled by public transport & strolled at the night in not so lively streets surrounded by supporting people. The best way to have a smiling face & greet everyone. This has worked perfectly with me in all my travels & I hope it remains so for the future endeavor as well.
Vietnam is a very economical destination for tourists. If you are from the western world then you won’t need to sweat at all. The prices are very reasonable & at one point in time, you might feel like a millionaire. Based on my experience here is a guide to the Ho Chi Minh budget trip.
Flights from India through Air Asia has been dirt cheap. I booked an Air Asia flight from Hyderabad to Ho Chi Minh to & fro for roughly 15,000 INR only (Approx 200 USD). Thus, if you are aware of the offers, the chances of cracking a deal is very high. Usually, the best way to find cheap flights is searching from a country rather than from a city. In this way, the search engine will show the cheapest flight from a different destination. A great way to find cheap flights. I usually use Skyscanner or google flights to search for flights & for booking the flights, I either choose a carrier website or some online portal which are offering cash backs or discounts.
Accommodation is pretty cheap in Ho Chi Minh. I stayed at The Hideout Hostel, which is one of the best hostels to stay. The location is superb & amenities provided by the hostel is good too miss. There are plenty of other options to choose from. One can use platforms like Agoda or Booking.com to make a booking. A typical hostel dorm bed starts from approx. Rs 400 (USD 5). However, the rates are dependant on the season. Thus, the rates may elevate depending on the time one wishes to travel. I would recommend booking at the earliest.
Ho Chi Minh is a great place for 2 or 3 days. There are plenty of things to do some of these are Cu Chi Tunnels, War Ramnant etc. All the paid activities are worth visiting. The prices start from 15,000 VND (Vietnamese Dong) (Approx 50 INR or 1.5 USD). If you are short on time, you can shortlist
Food is a special attraction in Vietnam. There are dedicated cooking courses for tourists. Eating on the streets is super cheap & super delicious. A plate of noodles or rice will cost you around 20,000 to 25,000 VND (Rs 60 or 2 USD). Further, the price of beer starts from 12,000 VND for a can. The prices are standard across the supermarkets & the number of these supermarkets are ample.
If you are spending wisely & appropriately. The budget of INR 1000- 1500 (20 USD to 25 USD ) is enough for the day. This budget is assuming one is staying at hostels & without shopping for luxury items.
Ho Chi Minh City is one of the biggest cities in Vietnam & managing activities is often necessary to fully utilize the time. As people usually visit one place for one time (until & unless is worth going again & again), thus shortlisting the activities is important. To cater to this need, here is the guide to THINGS TO DO IN HO CHI MINH.
The following activities are based on my experience & my knowledge; if someone differs it’s totally cool.
The foremost activity in Ho Chi Minh is surely the Cu Chi Tunnels. If you wanna taste the conditions during the war & what all it takes to fight a war. Then, this place is perfect. The tunnels are engineering marvel & should be on the list of every traveler visiting Ho Chi Minh. A half day tour to this place is worth visiting & if you have enough braveness in you; do try crawling in the tunnels I bet it will surprise you beyond your expectations. Click here to know more about Cu Chi Tunnels.
Vietnam has to suffer a lot due to invasions from the western countries. At one point during the time they were struggling to stay afloat. However, with the focused mission, the people of Vietnam were able to overcome one of the mightiest powers of the world. But, every war has its side effects & it is the people who feel them. War Remnant is one such museum which will present the war. I personally was emotional while walking through the sections. I would recommend visiting this place to get the feel of the war.
South Vietnam was ruled by Republican party while North Vietnam was ruled by a communist party. The war was raged due to the difference in the ideologies of the two groups. Reunification Palace or Independence palace was the place for the president of South Vietnam. While proving the dominance over the population North Vietnamese crashed the gates of this Palace to put the final nail on the coffin. The tank is still placed in the garden & is a major tourist attraction.
One of the architectural attractions of the city is the Cathedral Notre dam which is a copy of the famous Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. However, the version is a bit minuscule in front of the real Notre Dam. Just adjacent to this place is National Post Office of Ho Chi Minh. One of the oldest post offices, which is still functional. If you want to fancy to send a post to any part of the world. This is your place. A great place for a half day tour.
Ben Thanh Market is probably the most visited market in the Ho Chi Minh city. A place which holds hundreds of shops is a place to go for a local shopping. There are shops for literary everything. The market is open even in the night & night shopping is one of the activities promoted by the local people. Along the market, there is a small street to comfort your tasting buds. A street food market. The variety of foods & tastes are explicit. A haven for the foodies a must place to visit.
A vibrant place for the young souls. This place is a must visit for parties. Based on the theme of Khao San Road in Bangkok. On either side of the road, there are numbers of restaurants, bars, pubs & what not. A place which starts to party at 11 pm at night. Get your dancing shoes on & visit this evergreen street.
Ho Chi Minh is in love affair with coffees. Coffees are sold at every corner or literary at every shop. There are tons of shops with varieties in the taste. Once in Ho Chi Minh tasting a coffee is often essential. Do try some of the best coffee shops & sip your worries away ;).
These are a bit luxurious outing for the most. Climbing to the top of the building & enjoying few drinks during the evening is one of the most done activities by the travelers. If you have enough cash in hand. This activity should be on your list.
These are some of the things to do in Ho Chi Minh from Mark My Adventure to help you plan your trip in a better way. Apart from the above-mentioned activities, one can also try Mekong Delta which is at some distance from Ho Chi Minh (roughly 5 hours journey).
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Cu Chi Tunnels is one of the major attraction in Ho Chi Minh city. It is a half day tour & is must visit place. These tiny tunnels were used by Vietnamese forces to tame down American forces. A complex network of tunnels running across 250 Km underground is an engineering marvel of those times. Currently, only 100 Mt long route is open for the tourists, which are made taller & wider deliberately to accommodate tourists. Here is the guide to this fascinating place “Cu Chi Tunnels”. It is astonishing to even imagine that at one point of time whole community used to reside below the earth. There were rooms for kitchen, bedroom etc & all these below the earth surface. Therefore, it became much more important to visit this place.
Cu Chi Tunnels is located some 40 odd km from Ho Chi Minh city. The best way to reach this place is through a tour agency or via self-driving motorbike. I chose to take the option of tour agency as they arranged everything from pick up to drop & a guide. The amount I paid for the services was 1,50,000 VND which was excluding entrance fees which was approx 90,000 VND.
Your guide will take care of everything for you. He will start the tour from the famous entry or lookout point. An opening big enough only to accommodate one person & that too in a particular way. I tried to enter this opening & was successful. However, it is very compact inside & one can’t move freely inside the chamber. This is just one small opening perfectly camouflaged with the leaves & dust. After showing this guide will cover various other points & showing things like booby traps, ventilation techniques (which by the way is brilliant). There is one tank stationed at the site for the tourists. It is said that this tank was left behind by the Amercian forces.
There are also some automated models to show various aspects of people life during the war times. Walking past all these points often take you to the past or more precisely to the war days. It is tough to imagine how Vietnamese force survived in such harsh conditions.
Anyone who is interested in some shooting will be overwhelmed by the fact that there is one shooting range which has guns like AK 47, M-16 & Machine Gun. One just needs to pay for the bullets which is a bit pricey to the liking. However, if you are adventurous enough, you should try it once.
To give the taste of the place, there is one tunnel opened for the tourists. A 100 Mt tunnel constructed little wider & taller to accommodate tourists is open for testing skills. I tried my hand on the same. For the start the path seems to be easy, I could walk with a little bend & after a few meters, the place got narrower & the height reduced. Now I had to sit & walk (one of the toughest part of the route). After 50 meters the going gets tough, I rested quite a few times before I could see the end of the tunnel & after completing this difficult route I could take a sigh of relief.
The moment I saw that pit, I was sure that people of Vietnamese had a very tough time during the war days. It is heartbreaking to see the impact the people have on their lives during such horrendous time. I was stunned to see the model where people used to sleep, a bunker with beds one above the other & all inside the earth. One can only imagine how tough it was during wars.
These tunnels run approx 250 Km & connect to Saigon river on one part. The engineering by the Vietnamese people was surely ahead of its time. Right from using rubber shoes, to ventilating tunnels, provisions for high & low tide & also booby traps. They thought possibly everything which could have impacted their glory. A must place to visit.
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Prashar lake is one of the most unexplored lakes near Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. Prashar lake trek starts from the Baggi village which is around 20 km from Mandi. I’ve been wanting to visit this lake for a year and suddenly in the first week of March, I decided to trek solo.
It was solo travel, but in reality, I wasn’t traveling or trekking solo. There were lots of people I met which never made me feel alone. I thought it was up to me to go down which path, whether to make friends during my journey or choose my own path and enjoy my own moments.
I took a bus from Kashmiri gate at 6:30 PM on 9 March 2018 which left me at Mandi around 6 AM the next day. The first bus from Mandi to Baggi village leaves at around 8 AM. I took a bus to Shegli immediately which is 4 km from Baggi village. I met a group which was also going to the trek. I walked and hitchhiked to Baggi village.
There were a few cafes at Baggi village where I did my breakfast. Prices were nominal, not so costly. I had a few parathas there and filled up my water bottles.
I started my trek at 10 AM from Baggi village with the group I met on the bus. The trek started from crossing a naala and then walking straight for around a km on the rocky path. Thereafter, I entered the thick dense pine forests. It was so beautiful in between those pine trees and I didn’t meet any other person on the trek except the group which I met on the bus. I found only one source of water in the whole trek. So, it was good that I carried enough water with me. Before one km from the lake, I reached this open area and found some mud houses. It was an amazing feeling to not find a single soul in the range of a km.
After trekking for around 4 hours, I reached this beautiful peaceful lake and it was all worth it. Prashar temple also lies just near the lake and its architecture was awe-inspiring.
The lake is surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of some large mountains. There is a 360-degree view of mountain ranges from the top area of the lake. Peaks of Triund, Indrahar Pass, Chamba, Hanuman Tibba, Spiti, Kinnaur and some other mountain ranges are visible from the top. There is no other two-day trek which gives such pleasant views within such a short distance.
I had my own sleeping bag with me and I knew that there were dorm rooms available in the temple. I went to the temple and talked to the Pandit Ji about the room and he told me to talk to the caretaker. Caretaker bhaiya showed me the room and gave me a mattress. And man, I swear that was one of the best nights of my life. I could see the lake from my window and it was amazing. After putting my backpack in my room, I went outside and ate some Maggi. I spent my entire evening watching the beautiful sunset and then ate Rajma Chawal and slept.
I wanted to go down by bus as I trekked while coming up here. So, I enquired about the bus from the people and took it to reach Mandi at 4:30 PM. Drive from Prashar Lake to Mandi was a treat. The bus went through some muddy path in between the lush green valley which was breathtaking for me. I ate some food at Mandi Bus Stand and took the bus to Delhi which reached at 5 AM.
This trek can be done at any time of the year. In winters, the lake freezes, so for the people who love snow, this lake is a blessing.
In summers, the area around the lake is fully green. This trek should be avoided in the Monsoon season as the trail gets slippery.
Temperature goes below -4 degree Celsius in the months of January and February. While in the other seasons, it’s between 10-15 degree Celsius.
Whenever you visit this lake, use water of the lake for drinking over plastic bottles. If you purchase some bottles then please take them to Mandi with you because it’s very hard to transfer all the plastics. Let’s make this beautiful lake pollution free.
This post is written by Mayank Gupta & one can follow his work at www.travelfortranquility.com.
Rann of Kutch is located at the remote location in Gujrat & if one will fancy his or her chances of running few hundred miles. He or she can touch the border of India & Pakistan :P. Jokes apart but is traveling thus far for the view is worth it?. This question needs to be asked before visiting a place.So, what about Kutch; Is it worth visiting?.
I will try my level best to answer this question & this is my personal experience, which may be different for other people.
Kutch’s white desert is a site in itself. A salt bed spread across miles is a fabulous site to enjoy. An ending landscape & the clear sky is a perfect combo for the travelers. The color of sun before setting is an amazing view. But, if we compare the pain of reaching the place & the view that we experience after reaching the place is not mind-boggling. Yeah, it is for a fact that apart from few experiences there is nothing special about the place. The White desert is good for one time visit. But, taking the pain of reaching the place is far more than the output. It is often said that Journey is important not the destination, which I believe is true. But, it is also a fact that if the ending is good then whole journey seems to be good. Places to stay in Kutch
For me, the experience was an ok one. The reason I am saying this is because I did not feel the place. Yeah, it was super awesome for clicking pictures, a fabulous sunset & calmness in the environment. But, there was something missing at that place.
I have traveled to many places & seen them with a different view. Sorry, all the Kutch fans but for me, it was an ok experience. I wish I could enjoy the place more than I actually had. But, each place has its charm & each place offer something new to experience. Here it was more of a natural phenomenon.
Europe is a dream destination for many people but it also among the most costliest ones. But there are ways through which one can optimize the cost & still able to enjoy most of the things. I traveled as a backpacker & thus I believe in spending less & enjoying more. I managed to complete my trip around Rs 1.2 Lacs which includes everything from Visa, accommodation & site seeing.
Accommodation is a prime most important factor to keep the price low. I prefer staying in hostels because of various reasons. These hostels are fun places to stay; as people from different places come & stay here. So,the crowded the place is the more than chances of getting insight about different countries. There is enormous opportunities to meet new people while staying at hostels. I booked hostels from Booking.com. Lately, I have found one more website named Jetradar. The concept of the site is to compare hotels from different websites. I found it very cool. I would surely try this next time.
On average keep a budget of 20-25 Euros per day for staying at hostels. This budget may vary with the cities, places & seasons. However, broadly one should be able to stay in or around this budget only.
After traveling to many countries & places. I realized the best way to keep the price towards food on a lower side is by eating on streets or cooking by oneself. Hostels or home accommodation allows a person to cook. I had bought groceries from the supermarkets & cooked my own food. It was easy to find supermarkets in all the cities I traveled. The rates are also reasonable, so it won’t bite your pocket. It is difficult to put a limit on food items as the appetite of the person varies.
There are numerous sites in Europe which are worth visiting. The best way to keep the price on the check is by buying city cards. These city cards offer a great solution for a traveler. It includes commutation in public transports & also allows free entry to some of the attractions. I benefited a lot with these cards. It saves fortunes if one takes public transport. I bought cards from Iamsterdam & Barcelona.de. Usually, city cards price varies with duration & things involved in it.
There is always some cost attached to traveling. But, there are few ways through which one can reduce the expenses & still able to benefit the most of it. I traveled on a shoe string budget & was able to cover most of the things which are expected. I won’t say I covered everything & experienced everything. But, I enjoyed whatever I was able to.
Traveling solo can be a dangerous affair. However, in my experience, I felt European city were safe. I traveled in the night & walked on empty streets but never felt unsafe except for few minor instances. Overall it was a safe affair. I enjoyed my time over there & hope to keep visiting in the years to come.
I hope this will help you to plan better & in a more efficient way.
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Barcelona is a perfect blend of nature & artistic touch. The city has known for its amazing architectures. But, if a person traveling solo here is it really worth it? I have traveled solo to this majestic place & in this post, I will cover; Is Barcelona Safe to travel solo?
Every place has its pros & cons & Barcelona is no different. There will always be some disturbing element. However, Barcelona can be surely be seen as a safe city to travel alone. During my trip, I saw lots of solo travelers wandering late night & having fun. There is nothing alarming in the city. The place is jam-packed with the travelers. However, still few things need to be kept in the mind.
The most common practice at every touristic place is pick pocketing. This is very prevalent on a crowded street, as people often are at ease. Make sure one is always having an attention towards his/her belongings. Better to be safe than sorry.
Never leave your luggage unguarded. As anyone can pick the same & run away in the crowd. It is recommended to keep the luggage close to oneself or have an attention to the same. Thefts & snatching are rare in Barcelona. Still, it is better to be on a safer side.
There are many shady places in the city & one should only explore these places if these are perfectly safe. Enquire about the place before visiting the place.
It was disheartening to see the people begging & it was mainly by the guys of South Asian Ethnicity. A guy came to me asked for some money randomly. I was shocked with his approach. I told him to find some other guy. This case is extremely rare in Barcelona. But, La Ramblas street is bit different. One can find such people with ease. These are not threat but it bothers sometime.