Viet Nam News
by Mộc Miên
Located at the foothills of the towering Phương Mai mountain range in the peninsula town of Nhơn Lý in Quy Nhơn City, the pristine Kỳ Co beach is picturesque, possessing both majestic and poetic beauty. The beach attracts many tourists, especially the adventurous sorts, because it not only has enchanting scenery, but also various surprises.
From downtown Quy Nhơn City, our group of 15 people set off together in a van on the Thị Nại bridge, turning left on the main road of the Nhơn Hội Economy Zone to get to Nhơn Lý Town on the other side of the peninsula.
Carrying our food and essential items, we got on the boat of an old fisherman, Võ Ngọc Hiếu, to leave for Lý Lương Town. "We need to bring along all the things we may need because there is no tourism or food catering service available. There hasn’t been any tour to the Kỳ Co beach yet," the fisherman said.
The boat sailed around Hòn Sẹo Hòn Cân giving us a glimpse of the islands before heading straight to Kỳ Co. The fishing town with little houses covered with earthy red-roof tiles and the pagoda with the solemn-looking Guan Yin statue in the middle of the mountain pass began to be visible. In front of us was the vast open space of the ocean and the Phương Mai mountain range that elegantly curved along the coastline.
We were all enchanted by the beautiful scenery along the journey and the 20-minute boat ride seemed to end in the blink of an eye. Only when the crescent-shaped long stretch of the white sandy shoreline along the foothills of the rocky mountains appeared, did we realise we were almost there.
My first impression of Kỳ Co is the rocks. They were everywhere: rows of rocks protruding towards the ocean, the towering rocky cliffs outside the cool rock caves, the rocks stacked along the stream flowing from the mountain top and many others in all shapes and sizes that were spread in different formations across the beach. All the rocks looked dry and coarse. The only foliage that could adapt to this dry terrain was grass and a few other bushy greens, which looked like patches of moss on the rocky cliffs.
Like a few other groups that had travelled earlier to Kỳ Co, we chose a spot near a rock cave to pitch our tents. Some four local friends accompanied our group and helped us start a fire and prepare the delicious seafood from the ocean in Nhơn Lý.
"Foodies in Quy Nhơn always prefer the seafood from Nhơn Lý area because of its superior freshness and flavor," Hiếu said.
While the food was being prepared, our group rushed to the beach to take a dip in the cool and fresh crystal-clear water of Kỳ Co that was ideal in the summer. Besides enjoying the water, the kids in the group looked for puddles of water hidden between the rocks to play with the small fish, while the adults went trekking along the rock pool to forage for fresh oysters, snails, sea urchins and sea cucumbers, all hidden between the rocks yet within arm’s reach.
Our group remained on the beach and spread the fishnet. After spreading the net just twice in the area close to the seashore where the water level reached our chests, we had already caught a dozen fish - not bad at all for amateur fishermen like us.
Because of the hands-on experience in fishing, just like the local fishermen, and the freshness of the seafood that we had just caught, we truly relished all the dishes although they were cooked in a simple manner -- grilled (fish, sea urchins) and boiled (snails). There was nothing better than enjoying some good food, singing to each other and listening to the waves crashing into the rock pool.
There was another fun surprise we enjoyed at Kỳ Co - bathing in the stream. The stream flowed from the mountain top, not too far from the ocean and right next to a small rock cave. Kỳ Co’s unique natural beauty had enticed us enough to change our itinerary to visit this beach instead of the island at Hòn Sẹo so that we could enjoy the ocean and also take dip in the fresh water stream.
"I have visited many beautiful beaches around Quy Nhơn, such as Bãi Bầu, Bãi Xếp, Bãi Dài and the beach near the Quy Hòa Leprosy Treatment Centre, but I still enjoyed Kỳ Co very much because of its beautiful scenery and the fresh and crystal-clear water," Nguyễn Duy Hải, a group member, said.
"What I liked most was foraging for snails and then boiling them to eat as a snack, and taking a dip first in the ocean and then in the cool, fresh and clean stream. It was so relaxing!" Nguyễn Diệu Hoa, Hải’s wife, said.
Meanwhile, dusk had started to fall on the peaceful beach, behind the dark shade of the moutain range. We left Kỳ Co, but not before cleaning up after ourselves. We hoped this charming beach and its interesting surprises would remain pristine and its raw beauty would remain intact for years to come.