by Ha Nguyen
|Far and wide: Thi Nai Bridge, one of the longest bridges in Southeast Asia, is a pride of Binh Dinh Province. — VNS Photo Pham Biet
After we arrived at Nhon Ly Village in Quy Nhon City for a three-day working trip last month, we were invited to visit Eo Gio beach, ensconced in a beautiful embrace by the mountains.
Our local tour guide, Nguyen Thu Binh, said Eo Gio, a natural strait, was not known by many people, although it was one of the most beautiful tourism sites in the central coastal province of Binh Dinh.
A car took us across the 2.5km Thi Nai Bridge, one of the longest sea bridges in Southeast Asia and the region's pride, to Eo Gio.
Before the bridge was completed, communication between Nhon Ly and Quy Nhon was very difficult. Residents and tourists had to travel by motorboat for almost two hours, Binh said.
Looking south-west from the bridge, we could see Quy Nhon city, looking charming and stunning with its breathtaking landscape, including Hung Luong fishing village, located on one side of the strait.
From a distance, the sand beside the strait seemed to merge with the clouds, offering us a moment of wonder.
Goats grazed on green grass spread across vast fields and among outcrops of rock.
|Ancient: The islands are part of the old Sunda land mass that was submerged 80 to 100 metres beneath the sea about 5,000 years ago as the ice sheets melted.
Along the seashore, there were thousands of rocks of different sizes. I took a number of them of different sizes and forms, including an egg-shaped one. They were so beautiful, like God's handicraft.
A local man, Huynh Van Luong, told us that the rocks and stones belonged to the virgin landscape before the seas rose 5,000 years ago.
My friend Nguyen Thi Huan and I took a rest on a large flagstone. We felt all our troubles disappeared. It was a perfect interlude.
Luong led us to a small fishing village, Hung Luong, which faced the sea. It was surrounded by many fishing boats.
He then took us to Huong Luong Pagoda, which had a large statue of the Bodhisattva of Limiless Compassion, Kwan Yin (or Goddess of Mercy), facing out to sea and showering peace and luck on fishermen and their families.
"The most beautiful time to visit the strait is from April to September because there are no storms during these months," Luong said.
From there we proceeded to Eo Gio. The road to the strait looked neglected and was devoid of much human interference. We had to travel up and down rough tracks, sometimes groping our way, step by step.
|Tucked away: The beach is very secluded. — VNS photo Nguyen Thanh Ha
But we didn't complain, for we had before our eyes a most beautiful sight of an immense sea, vast skies and beautiful curved lines of Eo Gio. We also enjoyed a fresh wind that brought us a whiff of the sea.
Sometimes we made a short stop to enjoy the melodious sounds of waves crashing into cliffs - and the faraway sounds of swallows and babbling brooks.
From the top of a small mountain, we saw coral growing on the shallow seabed and colourful fish swimming amongst it.
About some 100m from the shore was the Mong Islet, which is prominent among rock complexes around it.
Luong told us that local people considered the islet to be a giant crocodile in the sea.
Later in the afternoon, Luong led us to an eatery to enjoy seafood, which was so fresh as it had just been netted from the sea.
We ordered three kilos of scallops, the most tasty and delicious seafood in Eo Gio. The shop owner baked it on charcoal and garnished it with cooking oil, onion, and groundnuts.
The aroma of the dish was mouth-watering. We quickly tucked in, soaking the morsels in sweet, sour and peppery gravy before swallowing it.
The fresh scallop meat was a delight, and we quickly stated to fillup. Then the shop owner told us to stop or we might suffer dyspepsia.
Despite his warning, we thoroughly enjoyed the dish and enjoyed its beautiful aftertaste for a long time. — VNS