Spring break

The area around Ham Thuan Nam has proven to be a popular spot for short getaways over the years.

By Tran Vo. Photos: Thanh Van, Do Huu Tuan on March 12,2016 10:13 AM

Spring break

Buddha Statue in Ta Cu Mountain. Photo: Do Huu Tuan

The Tet holiday is a time for family reunions, worshiping the ancestors, visiting relatives and friends, and taking a du xuan (Spring trip) to relax and re-energise in the new year.

My family decided to take our Spring trip to the sea at Ham Thuan Nam, in south-central Binh Thuan province, which I thought wouldn’t be as crowded as other popular destinations.

We enjoyed the rare tranquil atmosphere on the streets in the centre of HCMC found only at Tet before taking the bus in the morning. After a busy time at work and with the family I always enjoy leaving the bustling city for a few days at somewhere peaceful. My kids were also eager for the trip, taking in the beautiful scenery of the towns and villages along the way. Green rice fields stretched as far as the eye could see. The bright yellow colour of apricot trees, daisies, and marigold were blossoming in the gardens or decorated the doors of houses for the Tet holiday. Then we saw lion dance performances with drums at a Spring fair.

After four hours on the bus we arrived in Ham Thuan Nam. We stayed at a beach resort in Lagi Town, about 50 km from Phan Thiet. The beach was wild, clean and still with a natural willow tree line. I sat on a hammock under the shade of trees, relaxing in the sea breeze while my children excitedly chased sparrows on the ground. It really was peaceful and we had a great time swimming in the sea.

Sunrise at Ke Ga Lighthouse

No trip to Ham Thuan Nam is complete without a visit to Ke Ga Lighthouse. Local people say the most beautiful time to visit is at sunrise. From a distance on the beach we could see the lighthouse on a rocky island near the seashore looking like a sword rising out of the pink sky of the dawn. Nature has created unique beauty in this area, with thousand of rocks arranged in strange shapes along the shore, which has provided inspiration for many photographers over the years. My children ran around the beach to watch the waves crashing on the rocks. Ke Ga Lighthouse is the oldest in Vietnam, built in 1897 by the French and still used as a navigational aid for boats at sea.

We sat on the beach and enjoyed the fresh air and looked out over the sea in the dawn light. We then walked back along the beach, passing colourful basket boats lying on the sand and visited a fishing village.

Ta Cu Mountain

Ta Cu Mountain is a famous place of pilgrimage, with Linh Son Truong Tho Pagoda and a Reclining Buddha - the longest in Vietnam. From the foot of the mountain we reached the pagoda by cable car. It was great to see a green carpet of the primeval forest and streams below us, with clouds cluttered around the tops of some of the trees. My children shouted out when they saw a small squirrel climbing along branches or birds and their beautiful feathers.

After about ten minutes on the cable car we arrived at the pagoda 400 metres above sea level. From here we took in panoramic views of the vast sea in the distance and villages below with houses and green rice fields. The pagoda is located in an old forest, where we saw huge stones in strange shapes and hundreds of ancient trees all around. We climbed up some stairs to reach the Reclining Buddha, which depicted Buddha entering paranirvana and is 49 metres long and eleven metres tall. Construction began in 1963 and was finished in 1966. I contemplated the beauty of the statue and admired those who laboured to build it.

Delicious dining

We were able to attend a Tet gala dinner at the resort on the first night of our stay. It was a great chance for us to take part in a ‘Making banh xeo’ (fried rice cake) contest and learn more about the traditional dishes of local people. We enjoyed a tasty seafood dinner of specialities from Ham Thuan Nam, such as grilled bo hom fish, goi ca suot (suot fish salad), muc mot nang nuong (grilled fried squid), and lau tha (tha hot pot).

Spring break

Lau tha (Tha hot pot)

As we were served the delicious grilled bo hom fish the chef told us about how the fish live in small caves at the bottom of the sea around Ham Thuan Nam. Only experienced local fishermen know how to dive to the ocean floor to catch it. The skin of the bo hom fish is very hard while its meat is white, soft and tasty. But perhaps the dish I liked the most was the tha hot pot, which attracted me by both its subtle flavour and fantastic presentation. It was served at the table like a colourful flower with fresh suot fish, fried eggs, boiled pork, cucumber, fresh noodles, vegetables, and an aromatic broth cooked from crab meat and shrimp.

I often recall a saying by Ralph Waldo Emerson: ‘Life is a journey, not a destination’. For me, I love the experience of every journey I take, which allows me to explore new and interesting things in life.

All Comments (0)

Other news

Colouring the capital

10AM, 08 February

Hanoians have always had something of a soft spot for flowers.

  • VnEconomy - Nhịp sống kinh tế Việt Nam và thế giới

Vietnam EconomicTimes © 2014. All right reserved

An electronic media of Vietnam Economic Times - Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam.

Other publications of the contents this website as well as their reproductions must be approved in writing by Vietnam Economic Times.

Editor-in-Chief: Professor Dao Nguyen Cat

Licence No 04/GP-PTTH&TTDT on April 23,2014

Head Office: 98 Hoang Quoc Viet, Cau Giay District, Hanoi

Tel: (84-24) 375 2050 / Fax: (84-24) 3755 2058

Email: info.theguide@tbkt.vn ; editortheguide@gmail.com