Viet Nam News
By Đức Minh
Hòn Đỏ beach in the central province of Ninh Thuận attracts tourists though it doesn’t have a white sandy beach.
Instead, tourists enjoy walking and fishing on the beach covered by rocks and green moss. There, the rising and ebbing tides create caves, crevices and strange stone formations next to the sea.
It opens up an endless world of discovery because each time the tide ebbbs and flows, it brings out different creatures from the ocean, which are then cradled in the stones, along with seaweed and coral. Finding them hiding in the stone holes and chinks can take a whole day.
Children especially are excited because they discover a part of the ocean which is othewrwise inaccessible, seeing sea creatures in various forms and colours.
From the centre of Phan Rang-Tháp Chàm city, tourists should head toward Vĩnh Hy Bay, about 20km to Mỹ Hiệp Hamlet, Ninh Hải District. The road is only accessible by motorbike because it meanders through the casuarinas forests.
A 20-minute walk along a coastal stretch of golden sand, brings them to Hòn Đỏ. The new weekend getaway destination is also wonderful for adventurous tourists and young people who want to enjoy a camping trip, or for those simply wanting to fly a kite.
After a day discovering the stone edges and the coral reef, the stars beckon, as does the sunrise the next day. Bring tents and food because there are no tourism services and the nearest village is quite far.
The cool sea breeze together with the sound of soft, low whispering sea-waves is a recipe for relaxation, an antidote to the worries and sadness of daily life.
When the sun comes up, the fishermen come out, hauling out the fist catch of the day. Tourists can join them to experience the work of a true fisherman.
People may hesitate when they are offered nhum (sea-urchin), a specialty of Hòn Đỏ, due to its spiky, prickly black outer shell. But once you have tried it, you will wonder why it took you so long to experience the sweet, delicious taste.
Locals cut off the horns and divide it in two. Sea-urchin is served in two ways. The first is raw, with a sprinkling of lemon juice or wasabi paste, but this can be hard to digest. The other, safer option is grilling nhum with fried onions and oil, which delivers an irresistible smell and taste.
You should also try cá đối (flying fish), which live near the coral reef. The locals will fry, grill or cook them in a sour-sweet broth. The fish can be served with garlic wine made from garlic grown on this land, which is called tỏi mồ côi (orphan garlic), or garlic whose bulbs contain only one big single clove each. This kind of garlic is scented and spicy.
Hòn Đỏ, in particular, and Ninh Thuận, in general, are dormant treasures waiting to be discovered and developed. Tourists should come, but only if they promise to protect the pristine beauty of the sites. — VNS