Review: Wild and Pristine Hon Nua island

Many spectacular beaches and islands along the Central Coast of Vietnam are very popular. However, there is an islet that is off-the-beaten-track although it is a “paradise” for travelers. It is Hon Nua Island.

Located between the provinces of both Phu Yen in the north and Khanh Hoa in the south, Hon Nua Island is quite off-the-beaten-track. It’s very wild and pristine even though it’s just a few kilometers from the shore. From Ca mountain pass, Hon Nua Island looks like a small dinosaur wearing a green coat and sleeping with its head facing north.

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From Ca mountain pass, Hon Nua island looks like a small dinosaur wearing a green coat and sleeping with its head facing north

It’s a beautiful summer day. We stop at Dai Lanh bridge and ask about hiring a boat to the island. The passenger boat surfs the waves and takes us to the island in the cool wind, which blow away our worries of daily life. After about 30 minutes, the island appears with a curving, smooth, sandy beach, very clear water and high stone cliffs in the East sea.

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After climbing up some stone cliffs overlooking the center of the island, we are captivated by the view of this place. A fresh-water lake is surrounded by an imposing rock face. The lake’s surface is as tranquil as a mirror reflecting the sky above and water is flowing into rocky crevices. It is a wonderful experience to see a fresh-water lake on a small island in the sea.

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From the high cliff overlooking the East sea, the cliff is as a boat pointing to the sea. In faraway, it is the East pole of the country???. We continue to wander around the island and discover an exciting feature; the “footprints of enormous people”. After millions of years and with the erosion of time, stone slabs have been changed into huge footprints scattered around the island that makes us feel like we are walking in the land of enormous people.

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We all put our feet onto those ancient footprints and imagine of the fairytales of childhood. A friend of mine bursts into laughter when she thinks of Thanh Giong from a Vietnamese myth who was born when his mother put her foot into a huge footprint in a field.

It is cooler in the afternoon and we bathe in the cool sea water. Hon Nua has many breathtaking features including a abundance of colorful coral reefs by the white, sandy beach. Under the bright sunlight of a summer day, the “kingdom” of coral reefs is more sparkling and charming with hundreds of fish. Red deer-horn coral reefs are mixed in other colorful ones while fish swim leisurely around. All of them are living harmoniously in the diversity of Hon Nua’s marine life.

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After having enough of the sea, we return to the sandy beach to put up a tent for a romantic, moonlit night. The sun is setting over the sea and the slight red shimmer of the sunset is replaced by the bright campfire. The smell of delicious grilled squid bought from Dai Lanh bridge makes us hungry. Our dinner includes many “specialties” of this area including crab, mantis shrimp and amberjack porridge.

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The sea is enchanting in the moonlight and stars from the sky swoop down to become lights of fishing boats in the sea.

In the late evening, we walk up the high cliffs to gaze at the sea. The sea is enchanting in the moonlight and stars from the sky swoop down to become lights of fishing boats in the sea. The whisper of the wind, the vibrant sound of the guitar and the chatter of lovers reach us from the island below.

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The following morning, we wake up early to see the sunrise and start our “sea tour” to discover the island. Unlike the relaxed nature of the southern side, the north of the island is composed of steep cliffs. Huge, impressive rock faces appear mysterious and enigmatic. On a cliff jutting out to the sea, we can see a deep stone cave. Thousands of swallows cover entrance of the cave. These birds often build their nests on risky cliffs or in deep caves. The further north we go, the higher and more imposing the cliffs are. Some cliffs reach a height of more than 80m from sea level. For those who like rock climbing, this is a suitable destination.

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When our boat gets closer, we feel like the cliffs are bearing down upon us. As the waves get stronger, we must sail away from the cliffs to avoid capsizing our boat. Finally, our boat returns to the mainland. Hon Nua Island shrinks further and further into the distance, but I continue to watch and remember my short but wonderful time there.

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After this journey I know that I will return to this island in the near future. I want to step on the ancient footprints, to immerse in the cool water, to listen to the night waves in the moonlight and to relax in the magnificent environment.

Further information:

+ Transportation: From Nha Trang, ride about 85km to Dai Lanh by motorbike. Hire a boat to the island at Dai Land bridge and stay overnight there. Hon Nua Island has a lighthouse and an office of the Khanh Hoa bird’s nest company (Phu Yen). You do not need to ask for permission when traveling to the island. You can put up a tent on the beach near the office.

+ Attractions: the beach in front of the office, Hon Nua lighthouse, huge cliffs with the bordering mark of Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa, bat cave at the back of the island.

+ Contacts: for hiring a boat and storing your motorbike, contact to Mr. Hiep at 01658244450, 01656727331; Mr. Bet: 01653597574. Price: 400,000đ for 4 – 7 people.

+ Seafood: there is a market near Dai Lanh bridge for you to buy fresh seafood at a reasonable price.

Text and photos: Hai An – Vntravellive