Bau Trang – Little Desert in Tropical Land of Vietnam

White Sand Hill in Mui Ne

Rachel Tran
Rachel Tran | Published: March 3, 2020

About 60 km to the northeast of Phan Thiet City, Bau Trang Sand Dune (Bàu Trắng) (also known as Bau Sen (Bàu Sen), Bach Ho or Bau Cat (Bàu Cát)) is regarded as one of the most stunning desert terrains of Vietnam. Right in the middle of the endless sand dunes, two giant, shimmering lakes appear. Together with the striking lotus pond, they form a poetic scene that will move the heart of any natural lovers.

I. What Makes Bau Trang Sand Dune Special?

White sand dune in Mui Ne

Binh Thuan province has always been an intriguing destination for both domestic and foreign tourists with its extraordinary landscape. Bau Trang, an oasis-like location is one example. The area gives the impression of a desert, with vast sand dunes covering most of the land. As you climb up on sand hills, the gigantic lakes will come into view. The lakes are brightly lit under the radiant sun, sparkling like they are made of a thousand diamonds.

A large part of the water surface is covered by clusters of lotuses. The soft pink tone of the flowers, mixing with lush green shade of the leaves and the translucent blue color of the water creates a scenic, mesmerizing landscape.

The stories of Bau Trang date back to a long time ago, when Bau Trang was one giant lake. To facilitate traffic across the area, a sand road was constructed and hence, divided the lake into two separate parts, namely Bau Ba (Bàu Bà) and Bau Ong (Bàu Ông). In the local language, ‘Bau’ means ‘lake’ and ‘Trang’ means ‘white’. The word ‘Bau Trang’ depicts a water body surrounded by stretches of white sand. The other name, ‘Bau Sen’, translated as ‘Lotus Lake’, signifies a specific feature of the area.

Of the two lakes, Bau Ba is the larger one, with an area of 70 km2. It is estimated to be around 3 kilometers in length, and about 500 meters at its widest point. The average depth is nearly 5 meters and reaches its peak at 19 meters during the rainy season. Bau Trang has a diverse ecosystem, with freshwater fish being the majority. 

II. Interesting Activities in Bau Trang

What makes Bau Trang sand dune special
Photo: vietnammoi.vn

1. Driving on Terrain Vehicles

Once you arrive at Bau Trang, the sand dunes are the very first thing to explore. Crossing the terrain on foot is possible, but it seems like a mundane and tiring way of moving around. The more prevalent way to travel, unsurprisingly, is quad bike, a vehicle that resembles a motorcycle, but has four wheels. Controlling the four-wheeler might be more challenging than a regular motorbike, but sitting on one is an unforgettable experience for any tourists. A minor anxiety because of the intense engine, a creeping excitement as the vehicle accelerates. It’s hard to find something to compare with such a unique sentiment.

You can easily find places for renting all-terrain vehicles around Bau Trang. They come in various sizes and colours, so it is sure that you will find something that matches your preference. The rental price ranges from 300.000 VND to 400.000 VND for a 20-minute trip, and 800.000 VND to 1.000.000 VND for a 30-minute trip.

2. Rowing on Bau Ba Lake

If you are looking for a more peaceful, relaxing activity in Bau Trang, a boat trip would satisfy your desire. The boat will take you to the middle of the vast lake, where you gain a closer look at the blooming lotuses. Give yourself a moment of utmost tranquility and immerse in the incredible phenomenon of nature. As you take a deep breath of the lotus mellow fragrance, all your worries seem to fade away for a while. This is why lotus is chosen as the national flower as well as a symbol of Buddhism. It is the perfect representation of tenderness and humanity. 

III. Best Time to Visit Bau Trang

The best time to visit Bau Trang is during the summer months (particularly July and August), when the flowers blossom and the weather is sunny for most of the time. However, there may be sudden downpour as the rainy season is not over yet. Therefore, watch the weather forecast beforehand to avoid any unwanted disruption.

The ideal travelling time is 5 a.m to 9 a.m and 4 p.m to 6 p.m in the afternoon.

IV. How to Get to Bau Trang?

There are two common routes to get to Bau Trang, the first one starts from Hon Rom and the second one starts from Phan Thiet City. 

With the first option, you will drive along an extensive road to Mui Ne and then continue onward the coastal line for about 12 km before reaching Bau Trang. 

With the second option, you need to follow the National Freeway 1A and then turn right at Luong Son Town. From there, you will go through a landscape of hills, sand stretches filled with seashells, and coconut forests to reach your destination, Bau Trang. The distance from the highway to Bau Trang is around 18 km.

1. Motorbike

Many types of vehicles are available for your travel to Bau Trang. The most popular and inexpensive one is, of course, motorbike. Riding on the two-wheel vehicle is a thrilling experience, especially for those with adventurous spirit. You get the chance to observe the change of scenery, from bustling cities with loads of people moving around, to the wilderness of sand dunes and water bodies where humans seem like tiny specks. Just keep in mind that the total distance of travel is up to 60 km, so make sure you are physically prepared and keep yourself hydrated all the time.

2. Jeep Car

If you are opting for the first option, hiring a Jeep from Hon Rom might be a good idea. It is a great alternative for motorbike because you can witness the panoramic vista without the inconvenience of extreme summer heat and driving on your own. Normally, the expense of hiring a Jeep is 500.000 VND for four people, with extra charge for additional passengers. You may follow the rental agent’s itinerary, which usually lasts for 3 to 4 hours. Otherwise, you can customize your own journey for an equal amount of time.

3. Taxi

If you are staying in Mui Ne- Phan Thiet City, a taxi could be more accessible than rental Jeep car. It’s also a comfortable way to get to Bau Trang in a short time.

V. Tips on Travelling to Bau Trang

  • Accommodation: Hotels and resorts mostly cluster in Hon Rom and Phan Thiet, so book your accommodation in those areas. Beware that they are very likely to get fully booked during holiday seasons. You can ask the receptionists to arrange your trip to Bau Trang. They will give you detailed advice and help you with transportation.
  • Eating: As Bau Trang is quite a remote area, the options of food are very limited. You should bring some light snacks to fuel yourself and enough water to stay hydrated. After exploring Bau Trang, we recommend you return to Hon Rom for appetizing seafood dishes or Phan Thiet for flavorful local delicacies.

Travelling to Bau Trang sand dune definitely demands a considerable amount of time and effort. However, we can ascertain that the experience is absolutely worth it. With this guide, we hope you will have a gratifying time in Bau Trang.

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