Trekking through the desert of Hoa Thang in Binh Thuan Province has become the dream journey of many people.
Hoa Thang desert in Hoa Thang commune, Bac Binh district, Binh Thuan province includes many sand dunes and it can be seen as a sub-desert. It’s only about 10 if travelling skyway from the curve in the road to the temple Binh Nhon. However, you have to trek through a long road of 15 km trekking to avoid climbing sand dunes, deep holes and finally you can set foot on the highest sand hills to have the most beautiful panoramic views.
Also, when the selected ending point is Binh Nhon Temple, you have to go against the wind, causing more tired. The journey lasts about 22 hours, beginning at 14h till 12h of the next day with many emotions and many tough terrains on the way. In addition, hot air and sand along with the wind can make you more tired with heavy footsteps.
You have to know how to divide a reasonable effort, bring enough water (about 8 liters / person), drugs oresol, lemon, electrolyte drinks to limit water loss, dry food to avoid cooking, tent and blankets for sleeping among sand hills or and avoid wetness in case it’s rainy. Because you stay there one night, only a set of clothes is enough – you should avoid carrying too much baggage that weighs more and makes you tired.
The photographers who love to hunt nice photos about the sand dunes even have to bring very heavy baggage, sometimes it’s up to 15 kg, with full personal belongings, camera, lens, tripod...
Additionally, the entire body needs to be covered to avoid the feeling of being burned in the fire pan. You need to have a wide-brimmed hat, mask, sunglasses, long-sleeved clothing, shoes (sandals are not allowed), gloves, hats and umbrellas (the desert wind is very strong, so only use the umbrella when you need shadow for a rest).
Right from the first stage of the journey, you can enjoy a great scene of sky and desert. In front of you is an immense sandy desert with red sand dunes stretching until the horizon, you will feel like getting lost in another world, somewhere on Mars.
When the trip begins, the first 3 km is an opportunity for those who are weak to change the decision, just go to the south to the sea to see the asphalt. If you feel that you cannot pass the thorny path ahead, you can stop here and turn back to the starting point, don’t try to continue because after that milestone, the next journey will be quite far from asphalt. The trekkers will be challenged when facing immense long way ahead. At this time, to decided to give up is too late.
The hot desert under the bright blue sky and yellow sunshine makes the land "full of sun and wind" more spectacularly beautiful. The sand dunes continue rolling without stop with so beautiful curves that everyone have to surprised and praise the skilful hands of Mother Nature.
There is a 4 m high sand wall, challenging the climbing ability of the adventurous trekkers who love exploring. And yet, the valley also tortures them with the hot sun, the wind with dark dust which always prevents footsteps of the travellers. From the second dunes, Cape Wind and Tannobi is just small dots in the distance.
In this desert, finding a shady bush for a resting stop and enjoy the cool taste of the grass is extremely difficult. Sometimes you can only see some small bushes which are enough for you to lean against for a while to avoid the burning sunshine on the face. At this time, the scarf and big hat will take effect: you can use them to avoid the sun or use as a fan to find little wind when having a rest.
You will pass through a lot of sand hills, over and over. You can only move forward through countless of sand hills during the trip, just know that the destination is straight ahead. Sometimes if you see the footprints leaving behind on the sand, you will see a long "footprint" from the hill to another hill, which is so beautiful.
Whether the sand hills are everywhere in front or behind you, do not need to worry about getting lost. You just need to move to the southwest and if not sure you can use a compass to determine. At night you can look at the stars to determine the direction.
It’s a strenuous journey but will bring you countless of impressive pictures. The surface of the desert looks like on Mars. In the afternoon, at about 4-5 PM when sun sets, the journey will be less tiring. It's great to sit and watch the clouds floating in the afternoon sky and reward yourself commemorative photos.
Surely, the experience and the pictures here will not duplicate with any trip in Vietnam, and will make your friends get jealous.
It’s cold at night and very hot in daytime on the desert, but the coldness is not too harsh because the area is not large enough to form its own climate. It will be very interesting to sit together under the clear sky with sparkling stars and cool wind. It’s great if we can sip a little glass of wine!
After an exhausting day, surely the sleep will come quickly. You can welcome the dawn in the desert when the sun is still mild, illuminating yellow sand dunes. Breathing fresh air will make you feel so relaxed and refreshed. Then you will tidy the belongings to complete the rest of the journey.
When you are close to the ending point, you can relax a little bit and watch the road you leave behind, or take time to enjoy a small shade in the desert. Surely inside each other, there will be many different emotions and countless memories imprinted deeply.
At noon, the Binh Nhon Temple located between Bau Ong and Bau Ba finally appears in sight. Here, you can order a jeep to come back your hotel. The vehicle can carry eight people and many bulky backpacks though the group have to sit somewhat cramped. You can hire the jeep at Photohouse Motel of Mr. An, 3 km from the ending point, nearby the junction Bau Trang – Phan Ri. This is also where you can stop eating before and after the journey. Mr. An also can go rescue with his vehicle if the travellers have any problem.
After a break, you can visit the most beautiful roads through the desert in Vietnam, which is the road running through Bau Trang.
With a total time of 22 hours, from 2 pm to 12 pm the next day, the trip helps you "harvest" lots of beautiful pictures as well as unique and wonderful experience. Looking at the pictures, certainly you could not help feeling so very little among the nature – like a grain of sand in the desert.