Mui Doi (Doi Cape) is located on Hon Gom Peninsula in Van Thanh Commune, Van Ninh District, Khanh Hoa Province. Viet Nguyen, a reporter of the Thoi Nay (Today) publication of Nhan Dan (The People) Newspaper, recapped his journey to the cape.
Saluting the sun at Doi Cape in Khanh Hoa (Photo: NDO/Viet Nguyen)
The road leading to Van Ninh District has been significantly improved in recent years. However, it ends at resorts, leaving backpackers with two options to reach the cape: trekking through 8-km sand dunes or take a two-hour voyage on a boat and then climb up and down huge rocks of various shapes.
According to Nguyen Van Hai, the most experienced tour guide in the area, the soundest itinerary for travellers is walking over the sand hills - camping at Bai Gio Beach at night – waking up early to chase the sunrise at Mui Doi – then returning to Dam Mon Village by boat.
However, not all travellers are in good enough health condition to finish the plan during summer, with one having lost his life several years ago under the scorching heat of the sand dunes.
Although he has worked as a tour guide for one year, young man Nghia said that he has had to call ambulance for exhausted customers many times.
“Some of the visitors even brought their children to join the trek, regardless of our warning. They couldn’t stand the journey after just a short while of walking,” Nghia said.
Chi Binh, a staff member of a local adventure tour provider, said that his company set minimum health conditions for participants as the journey is not for the “weak”.
The two-day tour is not an easy experience, but after all, it really is worth the effort. By crawling up and down slippery rocks to catch a perfect sunrise or trying to finish hiking through the sand dunes in time for when the tide ebbs to watch coral reefs, one can find the ultimate limit of human endurance.
They can also find that there is a still such a place in the world without human and construction sites, only the sky and the sea.
Over-50-year-old Nguyen Van Hai may be the first one to live in this land as he and his wife moved there in late 1980s. At that time, there was no body there and no road either, just vast sand dunes, and it took hours to reach there by boat.
The Khanh Hoa Province-based man and his wife built a thatched house at Bai Ran Beach and earned their living by fishing.
Since Mui Doi became popular among tourists around eight years ago, he has been providing guidance, food and drink services for visitors.
“This place has got crowded since four years as I receive bookings from tourists almost every day of the year, even on the days with unfavourable weather conditions,” Hai said.
Hai’s services are rated as the most professional in the region. Customers are greeted with a cup of cold lemon juice and a delicious lunch upon their arrival.
Young man Nghia and old Dung are both fishermen-turned-tour guides in Mui Doi. Nghia said he can now earn higher income than with fishing. Meanwhile, Dung has a house in Dam Mon, but he lives much of his life on a boat which is anchored near Gio (Windy) Beach.
Nghia has spent his childhood and adolescence on a boat. He accompanies visitors from Dam Mon to Mui Doi in the daytime, then returns to Gio Beach to count stars in the sky while lying on the sand in the evening, and rows a boat to catch squid at night. He finds it a simple way to live a life full of fun and happiness.
Since the road to Dam Mon Village was constructed, many villagers have been providing services for visitors. Several tourist projects have been launched to welcome visitors to the area.