Life in Vietnam

Sunday, 14/10/2018 10:03

Explore a forgotten coast before it’s too late

Serene: Unspoiled and peaceful Vinh Hy Bay. VNA/VNS Photo Minh Duc
Viet Nam News

Developers are starting to discover the beautiful coastline of Ninh Thuan Province. Go now to experience stunning beaches, delicious seafood, hospitable wineries and much more, before major resort projects transform the area. Bui Quynh Hoa reports.

In Ninh Thuan Province, the sunny and windy land in the south central coast of Viet Nam, it felt like someone had dimmed the bright and shining sun as we made our way to the spectacular sightseeing destinations here.

From Phan Rang City, we followed a road along Ninh Chu Beach to reach Tri Thuy Bridge, then turned right onto provincial Road 702. After a distance of about 40km down the road — with the sea on one side and green forest at the other — we reached Vinh Hy Bay.

Faraway small villages nestled peacefully among mountains and white salt fields dazzled our eyes. Young women were weaving fishing nets and passionately singing songs about their land.

“This is the first time I have come to Vinh Hy Bay, but I’m charmed by it right at first sight,” said Duong Thi Kim Oanh, who came from Ha Noi.

“It looks like a beautiful painting. I love nomadic people here also. They are so nice and warm-hearted,” Oanh said.

After taking photographs, we went scuba diving to see the coral forest.

Enjoying fresh seafood on the beach at dawn was another must-do that we could not ignore. We had spanner crabs, sea snails, urchins and oysters. Although they were simply cooked in only three ways — steamed, grilled or raw — they were delicious. The price was affordable, about VND400,000 (US$17) per person, so it was worth the taste.

Sunrise treat: The most impressive moment in Hang Rai comes at dawn when the water changes colour magically as the sun’s creativity runs riot. Photo Tuan Dao

Celestial views

We went to explore Hang Rai in Thai An Village in Ninh Hai District’s Vinh Hai Commune on the next day.

Located within Nui Chua (God Mountain) National Park, Hang Rai is a rocky outcrop on the coast that offers endless opportunities to gasp at the beauty of sunsets and daybreaks.

Getting there was itself a visual treat, with the coastal road running past innumerable white mounds of salt.

The special terrain of rock piles accumulated over centuries by nature includes many large and small caves that are home to many otters, giving the place its name, Hang Rai or Otter Cave.

The first impression we had on reaching the cave was that we were lost in a poetic painting of water pouring down from the peak of the God Mountain. Pure and crystalline streams were easily seen on the sand.

“It’s amazing to contemplate the beauty of evergreen moss mingling with silvery waves,” said Oanh’s husband, Pham Tien Binh. “I feel I’m in the presence of a masterpiece sketched by nature.”

Baaaaa: An Hoa sheep field is a must-see when exploring Ninh Thuan Province. Photo Tuan Dao

“The moss that gathers densely on coral reef that seems to float on transparent water looks like a humongous jade green gem from afar,” Binh added.

The most impressive moment in the cave came at dawn when the water changed colour magically as the sun’s creativity ran riot. The cliffs etched against the background of a pure blue sky. We took a series of wonderful photos of the moment.

Although a new destination on the Viet Nam travel map, Ninh Thuan does possess a series of untouched and breathtaking landscapes and historical sites.

Top famous attractions include stunning turquoise Ninh Chu and Binh Tien beaches, Cham Towers, Po Klong Gia Rai Towers featuring Champa architectural style and Bai Trang, an ideal place for camping.

Sleeping in tents under a night sky full of stars is a memorable experience for sure. Mui Dinh or Cape Dinh, An Hoa sheep field, Nam Cuong sand dunes and Bau Truc ceramic village are also a must when exploring the province. But we didn’t have much time, so we decided to save them for our next trip.

Colourful: Blooming and colourful paper flowers from Bougainvillea trees are easily seen everywhere in Ninh Thuan Province, the sunny and windy land in the south central coast of Viet Nam. Photo Tuan Dao

Models of garden tourism

From Vinh Hy Bay, we left for Thai An Village in Vinh Hai Commune, one of two largest vineyards in the province, which is considered the country’s largest grape producer.

In the context of global climate change, Ninh Thuan has recently adapted its agricultural production model to drought by growing grapes which earn farmers an encouraging profit and lure a large number of visitors from across the nation and world.

The day we came to a vineyard owned by Nguyen Thi Phuong in Thai An Village, the sunlight radiated through the vine leaves, creating fanciful emerald patterns and a relaxed atmosphere.

We were very excited to enjoy and buy fresh ripe grapes we picked ourselves, take pictures, taste homemade grape wine and juice and learn about the planting and production process. Along with us, some visitors from other groups even enjoyed a homestay experience and parties right in Phuong’s vineyard.

According to vice chairman of Ninh Hai District’s People’s Committee, Luu Xuan Hai, Vinh Hai Commune has 400 vineyards with a total area of 274ha. All are grown to the VietGap (Vietnamese Good Agricultural Products) standards.

Touring around: Duong Thi Kim Oanh and her husband Pham Tien Binh at Thai An vineyard in Ninh Hai District’s Vinh Hai Commune. Photo Bui Quynh Hoa

Growing grapes in Ninh Thuan not only helps local farmers overcome the severity of natural conditions on their dry land to survive and make money, but also offers an attractive tourist service.

The Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Chau Thanh Hai, said the province had developed specific measures and a long-term plan to lure visitors to vineyards and to turn it into an attractive destination for people on their journey to explore Ninh Thuan.

He said the province had also instructed relevant agencies to co-operate with research institutes to grow more new grape varieties. Many training courses had also been held to develop the technique of planting “clean” grapes by replacing chemical fertilisers, pesticides and other substances with biological products. Improving foreign language and professional skills in tourism services had also been strengthened, Hai said.

Together with the developing model of vineyard tourism in Thai An Village, tropical fruit gardens in Lam Son Village in Ninh Son District are also successful models, switching from growing rice and maize to fruit trees, and earning locals encouraging profits.

According to vice chairman of the Lam Son People’s Committee Doan Nhat Vuong, Lam Son so far has 800ha of fruit trees, including durian, mangosteen and rambutan trees.

“In peak season (from July to September), the village welcomes about 200 visitors daily and 500 ones each weekend day,” Vuong said. “The development of fruit garden tourism helps turnover from planting fruit trees grow four to five times higher than growing rice and maize.”

It will be a struggle to maintain the uniqueness of Ninh Thuan’s landscapes as more resort projects are carried out along the coast. So, if you want to see this yet-unspoiled beautiful coastline and experience garden tourism, now is the time to go. VNS

On the come-up: More and more visitors are coming to Vinh Hy Bay to explore the spectacular sightseeing destinations here. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Ha

Getting there:

You can go to Ninh Thuan Province by motorbike, car, bus or train departing from Ha Noi, HCM City or Da Nang.

- Airplane: Get a flight to Cam Ranh Airport in Nha Trang City; then you can go to the province by car or taxi.

- Train: You can buy tickets at any station of Thong Nhat train. Stop at Thap Cham station from where you can take a taxi to Phan Rang City.

- Bus: from HCM City, start at Mien Dong station and stop at Phan Rang station.


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