From Nha Trang, driving some 50 kilometres toward the north, you will have a chance to discover Van Phong Bay, a wild and typical small paradise in Khanh Hoa Province.
An ideal bay...
Van Phong, called Port Dayot by French people, is located in Van Ninh and Ninh Hoa districts. There is a sand hill that is 18km long, situated between the main land and two islets creating a bay with a very beautiful landscape.
This beautiful landscape is endowed with wonderful natural sceneries and beaches of fine sand, an ideal temperate climate, surrounded by hills, mountains and tropical forests. The sea is all the more embellished with colorful coral reefs, vestiges of mangrove forests, rare sea creatures in an ideal environment. These are great potentials for the development of ecological tourism in Van Phong.
In the plan toward the year 2010, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism declares Van Phong as "the most important region for tourism development". There are many forms of water sports and uphill tourism here, including sea diving, water skiing, sail boating, mineral water bathing and hunting. At present, Van Phong is ranked first of the four sea tourist centers by the Sea World Association.
Besides water and corals, the bay has more natural attractions. It is home to magnificent mountains with almost untouched forests and lovely beaches, and it is the habitat for hundreds of species of plants and animals. After exploring the ocean, you can walk along the white sandy beach, climb up the nearby mountain or observe animals in the island's forest. At night, you can stay in nice bungalows along the beach and eat seafood with Vietnamese.
Van Phong Bay, is geographically at the easternmost position of Vietnam, only 14 km from international waters and close to the junction of maritime routes. Van Phong is a big bay with 41,000 ha of water surface and a depth of 20-30 m and is relatively free from wind. Basing on these conditions and potentials, the Government has planned to establish in this area an international transshipment container port and a general multi-sectored economic complex of commerce, industry, tourism, etc.
The container transshipment port of Van Phong, safe and airtight, is favorably coordinated with the land route, the railway, and the airway, fully able to compete with other container transshipment ports currently operating in the region such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Kao-hsiung. The container transshipment port of Van Phong is expected to reach 17.5-17.8 TEU/year. In addition, Van Phong is naturally endowed with a fairly mild climate and a beautiful environment with high potentials to develop eco-tourism and ideal conditions to develop aqua product economy.
The bay, surrounded by Hon Gom Island, has a rich terrain with islets, peninsulas, deep waters, coastlines, beaches and sand dunes. It is situated in a diverse eco-system with rain and mangrove forests. Van Phong is viewed as one of the most beautiful sea eco-tourism sites in Vietnam, due to its especially wild natural eco-system which is really rare in Southeast Asia. The beaches are large and nice with smooth white sand and blue water sea.
The weather in Van Phong is warm all the year round and the natural environment is almost intact and unpolluted, which is an ideal place for eco-tourism. Van Phong is in the centre of Southeast Asia, with almost the same distance to capitals of regional countries. This is an advantage to develop tourism because it takes tourists only two hours to travel by plane to the bay.
Scuba diving paradise on Vietnam's central coast
United Nations tourism experts have also recognised it as one of Asia's most perfect sites for eco-tourism, and the bay has been rated as an ideal place for scuba diving.
The bay is known for Hon Ong, Dam Mon and Bai Nhau. Hon Ong (whale island) is great for resting, enjoying the many beautiful sights and relics on the island. You can learn about the inhabitants' fishing work and the habits and customs of minorities living in the bay. For more entertainment, water sports, such as catamaran, windsurfing, scuba diving and snorkeling, are also on offer.
Scuba diving to the coral reefs, rowing boats and fishing squid or cuttle-fish at night are other activities at Dam Mon. From Dam Mon, you can also take a motorboat to discover the bay. You can also walk across the sand dunes toward Dam Mon Village. There you can stop for a while to learn about how the local fishermen smear chai (a material made from a plant) onto the bottom of their boats to make them waterproof. The perfect sunset view is from the top of the dunes.
It takes around 45 minutes to get to the first site of interest, Bai Nhau (Nhau beach), where you can see groups of white and pink jellyfish swimming in the calm water. Again you can also dive down to coral reefs.
If you spend some days in Van Phong, you have time to take trips to see many other islands in the bay, such as Hon Lon, Hon Do, Ganh Da, Bai Lach, Bai Me and Bai Ong Co, as well as fishing villages, lobster-breeding cages and pearl oyster-raising areas.
A report of the Vietnam Maritime Department shows that Van Phong is one of the world's deepest bays, a place of superlatives...