(No.4, Vol.6,June-July 2016 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)
Po Nagar Cham Towers, Nha Trang. Photo: Nguyen Van Dong
A reclining Buddha statue at Long Son Pagoda, Nha Trang. Photo: Van Thanh Chau
Sea walking at Hon Mot Island, Nha Trang. Photo: Tien Thanh
â€˜The country of blue poplars,
trembling in blue breeze over blue sea
While autumnâ€™s blue sky melts in the blue waves…â€™
(Composer Do Tri Dung)
The songs about Nha Trang carry the deep emotions that artists devote to this land. Even the name Nha Trang feels so soft. Anyone who has ever come once to this beautiful coastal city on the south shore of Mid-Vietnam will always remember the feeling of peace and tenderness with which it fills their hearts.
Boasting one of the most beautiful bays in the world, Nha Trang is the centre of Khanh Hoa province, the land of agar and sea of swallow nests. The city seems to rise up on the calm water with the golden disk of the sun. People meet, discuss matters of life and date on the beach. They exchange a few words while walking down to the water, and thatâ€™s enough to feel the bond. In a small town like this, everybody knows one another, more or less. As a visitor, you can hire a bicycle to explore the nooks and crannies of the city life. Or, you can also hire a pedicab and have a nice conversation with a volunteer guide who knows and loves what you seek to learn more about.
Nha Trangâ€™s sea is stunning in the long sunny season. The blue constantly changes its shades. The rainy season is very short. Rain falling over the calm sea is a sight like no other. The sound of falling raindrops mixed with that of the mild waves makes one want to tell the sea the story of oneâ€™s life in a meditative manner. Nobody is a stranger here. The town has only a few streets, all of which lead to the sea. Just go east and youâ€™ll be home. A promenade will surely take you to the six-way junction, and whatever the traffic, the bell of the Mountain Church quiets it. A little further, sitting on what used to be called the Yellow Apricot Mountain, is a pagoda with a white Buddha blessing whoever goes there.
Moving north, one can visit Pasteur Institute, The Tower of Lady Ponagar, or stand on the Husband Rock to look toward the Red Rock. Heading south, one can drop by the Bao Dai Palace, Institute of Oceanography, or take a boat ride to the famous islands of Tri Nguyen, Vinpearl Land, Silkworm Rock, Black Rock, One Rock, and Fishing Hamlet. In Nha Trang Bay, one can be one with the elements, contemplate birdsâ€™ flight, sit in silence with a fishing rod, or indulge in the best food the sea has to offer. One can also go upstream the Nha Trang River with cool winds blowing from all sides to enjoy the idyllic countryside with ceramics and mat making villages amongst paddy fields and lush banana and coconut gardens. Hot mineral water at the Tower of the Lady will wash away the fatigue and anxiety of city life. Food is good and healthy no matter how much one spends or where one prefers to sit. The choice can be popular but elaborate items, with fresh sea produce, or much sought-after swallow nests and other expensive delicacies.
Nha Trang is constantly changing, yet remains as charming as ever. High-rises, high-speed vehicles, night clubs and fashionable wear should never change the goodness human nature, which is just a part of Mother Nature itself. Nha Trang is beautiful and lovely because the people and the nature express themselves in unison. Many different cultures and religions have found a way to become one single source of life energy here. Poems have been written, songs have been composed about this land and people, but the inspiration will never expire. Instead, it will only spread far and wide in the time of globalization. More and more people will have a chance to come to know and love this corner of the earth and Nha Trang will be happy to receive all of them, while the sea in the bay will sing the soft tunes of love and devotion:
â€˜The waves will always caress the shores,
Singing perpetual lullabies, and more.
Their children will sing those songs wherever they go
As heart warming, soul reviving mementos.
Oh Nha Trang, I will be forever with you.
Oh Nha Trang, I will always sing about you.
The first sounds that told me about peace and beauty,
The first rays of light that brought love to me…
(Let me be a wave â€“ Composer Do Tri Dung)
The article in Vietnamese was printed on www.khanhhoaplus.net
Nha Trang City. Photo: Huynh Kim Toan