Most leisure tourists leave Dam Mon (Mon Lagoon) in Van Phong Bay after they have cruised to some of the attractions in the wonderful bay in Khanh Hoa
Province. But for the few who opt to go trekking, the sand dunes and bushes in this beautiful region of
Central Vietnam will be a satisfying adventure.
The sand dunes are located in Van Thanh Commune in Van Ninh District, on the other side of the road to Dam Mon from National Highway 1A. Trekking through these yellow sand dunes is a hard but interesting walk as there is much to explore in the half-desert area.
Along the 4.5-kilometer-long path from the road are some ponds which provide water for the wild bushes to grow and bear their clusters of flowers, even in the dry season. The path cuts across these ponds so trekkers have to take off their shoes to wade through in order to keep their shoes dry for the tough hike ahead.
Further along the path trodden by fishermen are hills of stones which have been carved by strong winds and sand into natural wonders of different shapes. Near by is the highest slope on the path so this is an ideal place to stop for a rest and enjoy this natural work of art at the same time.
The wild apricots always bear their bright yellow clusters of flowers in spring, particularly in late January or February when Vietnamese people celebrate their
Lunar New Year or
Tet, the biggest and longest holiday in this country. Occasionally the plants will surprise visitors with late blossoms in early summer. The apricot plants and other trees grow well in the half-desert area of sand dunes, providing shade for passers-by looking for a place to rest out of the scorching sunlight. Sometimes, the birds will provide entertainment with their songs as they fly around the forest.
Magnificent views of the mountains and waters of the East Sea come into view near the end of the path, which is a good spot for taking picture's of the sea sparkling in the light of the sunset or sunrise.
The path leads to Bai Na, a nun touched white-sand beach and a breathtaking reward for trekkers as they wash away the sweat, dust and exhaustion. This arch-shaped beach is one of the most beautiful beaches that I have ever seen anywhere.
A trek across the sand dunes should be planned for either in the early morning or after 3 p.m. when the sun is not as hot. It takes about two hours or more to complete the hike.
The best way to return to Dam Mon is by boat. The journey takes approximately two hours and on route the boat passes Mui Doi (twin cape) of Hon Gom Peninsula in Khanh Hoa Province and stops at Van Phong Bay. The cape is where the morning sun first shines on Vietnamese land.