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Dien Bien Phan Thiet Ha Tien

Nha Trang

The city of Nha Trang is becoming more popular with the tourists in recent years. Yet, with a population of 300,000, Nha Trang still retains its small town atmosphere. This resort town is well known for its miles of beach and the friendliness of its people. The city is flanked by nearly ten kilometers of prime beach where the water is warm year round. The average temperature in Nha Trang is 26 C. Nha Trang also has the lowest level of humidity in all of Vietnam. Today, Nha Trang ranks among the top of all beaches in Vietnam. Nha Trang is 1,287 km south of Hanoi, 624 km south of Hue and 442 km from Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon). Nha Trang has several famous islands. Most notable are Hon Tre, Hon Yen, Hon Rua and the Spratly islands.The name Nha trang is a Vietnamese pronunciation of a Cham word Eatran or Yjatan. Ea or Yja means river, and tran means reed. According to the locals, there once were a lot of reeds along Ngoc Hoi river. The river winds its way through the town. Ngoc Hoi was later renamed Nha Trang river.

Another theory of the origin of Nha Trang's name has a more amusing twist. Long ago, in this part of the country, all the houses were made out of the reeds and mud gathered from Ngoc Hoi river. The only house that was made out of bricks were the house belonging to Dr. Yersin, a French immunologist who made his home here. The house itself was painted prominently white and could be seen by vessels coming from far away. Once there was a foreign vessel passing by. The captain asked his translator where he was. The translator not knowing where they were blurted out Nha` tra('ng or white house in Vietnamese. The captain duly noted on his chart Nha Trang. Because most foreign languages do not make use of tones, the captain's name for this part of the country stuck.

 

Nha Trang City Beach

 

Upon arriving to Nha Trang, most tourists will pass through downtown. Beyond the rows of businesses and homes will be Nha Trang beach. Tran Phu Boulevard is Nha Trang most famous thoroughfare. It runs the length of the beach with several major hotels located within a few steps from the beach. Unlike most major city in Vietnam where the primary mode of transportation is the motorbike, many people of Nha Trang still walk or use the bicycle as their means of getting around. This adds to the tranquillity of the town. There is very little pollution or noise from motor vehicles.

On any given day, between 5:00 am to 8:00 am Nha Trang beach is filled with local people taking in the fresh sea breeze, socializing, playing soccer, badminton or practicing Tai chi. Most people in Nha Trang fear being darken by the sun. For this reason, the window between 5-8 am (where sunlight is less intense) is peaked with activities. Another reason is that many go to the ocean for a morning swim, to exercise and to listen to daily news (from the many conspicuously placed loud speakers on electrical poles). In Nha Trang, going to the beach is a family affair. One often see generations of families going to the beach together. However, by 8:00 am the beach is magically emptied of all the hustle and bustle of earlier activities to once again return to silence and serenity.

 

Hon Chong

 

Chong has two meanings in the Vietnamese language. The first is to stack. The second is husband. Hon Chong is located on a stretch of rocky mass of land famous for the thousands of smooth rocks stacking on one another. There are two clusters of such rocks in the area called Hon Chong. The first is further out in the ocean and the second is located near an islet called Sat Thon. The cluster in the ocean is most impressive since there are large boulders stacking on one another seemingly out-of-balance, yet remaining stable. There is a boulder as large as a small hill supporting another boulder as large as a small house at its peak. On the side facing the shore, there is an imprint of a large hand with five fingers clearly outlined. The locals call this rock Hon Chong or the Husband.

The cluster with the name Hon Vo or the Wife is not far away. The rocks in Hon Vo cluster are as large as those in Hon Chong, but the they are closer together. A somewhat romantic person explained that this name came about because the rocks here snuggle against one another.

 

Thap Ba (Po Nagar Cham Towers)

 

The Po Nagar towers once stood at the entrance of Cai river, where the river meets the ocean. The towers stood in isolation on a rock foundation, but over many years the towers and the land it stands on became part of the land mass as the river changed its flows.Po Nagar towers complex was built between the 7th and 12th century. The most beautiful towers were built in the year 813 and 817. Most were destroyed and only four towers are still standing. Each tower is a shrine to a different deity.

 

One tower is the shrine to Xiva, one of three most powerful deities in Hinduism. One tower is dedicated to Ganexa, the son of Xiva. This deity has a human body and an elephant head. Po Nagar is the tallest tower, also known as Thap Ba (Tower of the Lady). Po Nagar or Uma is the wife of Xiva the supreme. Po Nagar towers stands 23m in height and was built around 817.Bricks were used in the building of Po Nagar. The four-sided structure is topped by a pyramid with a statue of the four armed Xiva riding Nandin the enchanted ox at the apex. The exterior of the tower is covered by intricate rock carvings of dancers, people rowing boats, grinding rice or hunting with bows and arrows.The interior is airy and cool. An alter made of granite is placed at the base of the statue of Po Nagar. Po Nagar is a goddess with ten arms. She is also the goddess credited for her help with teaching people how to farm. Her statue was originally made out of hard incense wood. The statue was removed by the French in 1946. A new statue with more Vietnamese features is its replacement. The Po Nagar towers complex is an example of Chams architecture and art at its height.

 

Cau Da

 

Vietnam's first active Oceanographic Institute was built in 1922 at Cau Da (Rock Bridge). The ocean in Nha Trang is quite deep. Here the water is approximately 200 m deep. Beyond 100 km, the depth drops to 2000 m. The Oceanographic Institute was built to study the diverse marine life in this area.The Institute still has samples of sea creatures of this area. Although the institute does not have the modern equipments and facilities to be considered in the same caliber as most western aquariums, it still maintains a fair sample in smaller aquariums. In all, 23 good size aquariums are on display. The institute also has a vast collection of dead samples on display.

 

Hon Yen

 

Hon Yen is most famous for Yen Sao which is the name of the nest of Salangane or swifts. The locals harvest the bird nests (considered a delicacy) used in soups. These nests are processed and exported to Taiwan and Hong Kong.

 

The birds build their nest high on the walls of the cave on the islands. To access the nests, harvesters must climb on ladders fashioned from bamboo. Because the caves must remain dark lest the birds are scared off, many climbers fall to their death every year trying to harvest the nests.

The bird nest comes in two types, white and red nests. The nest are fashioned by the Salangane that make their homes in caves. The nest are made out of the birds saliva. Usually, a typical bird creates one nest a year during springtime using both parents saliva. Because there is such a demand for their nest (thought to have medicinal qualities), the locals began to remove the nest several times a year causing the birds to have to continue producing the nests.

The red variety of nests are a result of the birds having to create so much saliva for the new nests that they cough up blood along with their saliva causing the nest to take on the red color of their blood. This variety of nest costs their weight in gold or more in the retail market of Hong Kong or Taiwan.

 

           
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
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