HCMC – In 2002, Dam Mon-Co Ma Road linked with a section of National Highway 1A—from the foot of Co Ma Pass in Khanh Hoa Province’s Van Ninh District to Dam Mon peninsula in the district—was opened to traffic. It is part of a plan to develop tourism in Van Phong Bay where Son Dung village is located.
Along the road to Van Phong Bay are white sand dunes and forests of Tuan Le age-old mangrove apple trees. There are also untapped coral reefs in Van Phong’s Me Beach. Staying overnight to greet the sunrise in the bay is worth a try. However, travelers’ prime aim is to explore the small and peaceful Son Dung Village which is always a typical destination on tours of Van Phong Bay.
Reasons for visiting the village abound. First of all, natural rocks in different shapes of animals and cliffs covered with lush greenery are the first to watch during tourists’ boat tour to Son Dung. The coastal village has only 20 households. On the left of the village is a gorgeous rocky beach while in front of it is a white sandy beach. On the background of the village is a mountain with sand slopes.
Son Dung has neither paths or motorbikes. To move from one house to another, villagers and travelers have to walk on sand paths. The following story has been passed down from generation to generation. The boat of a group of Dang Ha people was sunk and the shipwrecked people were washed ashore. Since then, they settled there. These people might be the first villagers of Son Dung. Local people earn their livelihood from the sea, forests and orchards. Now, tourism is their part-time job.
It may come as a surprise to visitors that natural fresh water is always available in this coastal village. Dig a hole at a depth of 10 centimeters and you’ll find fresh water. Local kids excel at doing this and many visitors often take several bottles of fresh water from the village as souvenir.
The fresh water source has it own legend. When Nguyen Anh, a.k.a. King Gia Long (1802-1945) run away from Tay Son troops, he arrived at the village. Too thirsty, Nguyen Anh dug a hole by the beach. Much to his surprise, fresh water flowed out to quench his thirst.
There is no eatery in the village. Food for tourists come from households which raise shrimps, crabs and fishes. A talk with villagers and a trek to the forest on one of the sand hills are also enjoyable experiences. Villagers recommend travelers to have a delight in fresh seafood and have a drink on board a boat. Visitors can call it a day at the village after swimming on the beautiful beaches after just a minute’s walk away.
By Khue Viet Truong