Though there are numerous dreamlike beaches that have been developed for holidaymakers, many still love to laze on pristine sands.
When I expressed my idea to visit Ninh Tinh Village, at the foot of Hon Heo mountain, in Khanh Hoa Province’s Ninh Hoa District, most of my friends said that I was too happy to go crazy, leaving the great civilization to blindly rush where few tourists venture.
Get away: Sunrise on Hon Heo, an isolated peninsular bound by green mountains and white sandy beaches. — VNS Photos
Legend has it that a group of people from Central Viet Nam came to Hon Heo peninsula 200 years ago.
The mountains with their streams, wildlife and an immense plain provided everything the wandering tribes-people from the Central needed.
At the end of the 1990s, roads were built and the forest known as the forest of death was opened up.
Secluded: The Wild Beach Resort is surrounded by rainforest.
Northeast of Nha Trang City, along 60km of picturesque road winding between mountain and sea, my destination boasted the beauty of a virgin forest, soft white sand, blue sea and sunshine.
I arrived at Wild Beach Resort and Spa when there was a light shower and a breeze ruffling the leaves. The tiled roof and bricked walls of the bungalows reminded me of my hometown during my childhood.
Tired after a long journey, I felt asleep in the vaporous light from the lampshades made of coconut shells.
I was awakened by the song of birds. It had stopped raining and the air was fresh with the fragrance of dew-covered grass and flowers and the salty sea.
Cosy: The resort bungalows have tiled roofs.
I prepared for the day and followed the resort staff to go to the market.
On a piece of land next to the river, marketeers lay out tarps to display everything from seafood to fruit and vegetables. Behind the market, I still saw some fishing boats that had just unloaded their morning catch.
I selected a 3kg tuna. The resort staff suggested I buy some aromatic herbs and banh trang lang, a local rice paper made to roll with fish and vegetables and eat with fish sauce.
“How do you want to enjoy this dish? I’ll tell the kitchen to prepare it,” my guide said, as heart-warming as a member of the family.
Later that day, I wandered around the resort, declining the offers of a trip on a coracle to the islands, diving on pristine coral reefs, climbing mountains or sightseeing.
However, I discovered a lot of interesting things there, for instance, a jackfruit tree on the way from my bungalow to the spa – its branches so heavy with fruit they bent low to the ground.
Ripened fig scattered along the way. Also the wild flowers on both sides of the road reminded me of the cooking game I used to play in my childhood, where I would pretend to cook flowers imagining they were rice, using a bowl made with a jackfruit leaf.
Planted between the flowers were aromatic herbs that could be picked and used in the Vietnamese cooking classes held at the resort.
The receptionist also showed me a type of grass, which is called suong sao in Vietnamese, and said I should ask the kitchen to pick it and prepare the dish for me.
“The resort’s suong sao is fresher and much more delicious than at market,” she said.
I have been to many places, stayed in many hotels and resorts, from budget affairs to high-class, but I really loved the warm and friendly service at this resort.
In the afternoon, the tuna I bought was cooked by the resort’s chef at the restaurant that looks over the beach.
Three slices of the tuna were grilled with spring onions, its tail was steamed, and its head was used to cook sour soup.
The mere thought of banh trang lang rolled with vegetables, grilled tuna and rice vermicelli and dipped in fish sauce, made my mouth water.
After the meal, I had a talk with a Russian couple who had just checked in. I persuaded them to go with the resort staff to the beach to catch cong (small salt water crab).
It was a soulful experience to eat a bowl of fresh steaming hot cong porridge with spring onion.
During the return drive to Nha Trang I replayed in my mind, my happy memories of the resort and the friendly staff. It was like a homecoming for me to return to nature and country style cooking.
Source : VNS
Ha Vy – Vietnam News