A tourist takes photos at the Ghenh da dia (rocky plate reef) in the central province of Phu Yen. Photo: Duc Huy
Nature’s handiwork is always amazing, however “normal” a tree or a plant or a flower looks.
Then there are places where she stuns you with something that we tend to call “out of this world.”
The Ghenh da dia (rocky plate reef) is one of those places. Especially when you see it for the first time.
One of the most famous destinations in Phu Yen Province, the one square kilometer area of polygonal basalt columns, which was recognized as a national heritage site in 1998, attracts thousands of tourists every year.
The reef looks like a giant beehive with half of it under water. Interlocking rock columns with sections of hexagons, squares and circles are arranged one next to another. Some columns are made from piled up rocks, each of which is between 60-80 centimeters high.
In the middle of the reef is a hole which is filled with rain and sea water as time goes by; small fish of many colors also live there. Since rocks are arranged in layers around the hole, tourists can take a rest there. However, they run the risk of getting soaked by waves that frequently hit the reef.
An interesting thing to note here is how people in Tuy An District, where the reef is located, have adapted to the environment which is full of rocks. They use rocks to build houses, stairs, stables, graves and many other things. They said the rocks, brought down by rockslides in the past, were cheap and strong.
Va Ruong, a resident, told us no electric fans and air conditioners could bring such a cool and airy atmosphere as the one inside rock houses. Moreover, the houses are strong enough to withstand any storm, he said.
Last year the Vietnam Records Book Center recognized a rocky beach in Tuy Phong District, Binh Thuan Province, as the country’s most colorful beach.
Around one kilometer long, the beach is strewn with pebbles of various shapes. Some look like a matchbox, some are triangular, while others are oval shaped like a lozenge. Moreover, they are black, white, blue, purple, yellow and several other color, and locals call it the “seven color rocky beach.”
| Da bay mau (seven color rocky) in the central province of Binh Thuan. Photo: hovinhthang, yeunhiepanh.net
And not far from this colorful beach is another with giant rocks that look like the relics of ancient citadels and ramparts. But, depending on your mood when you visit there, the rocks’ shapes can change. People see a mermaid hiding behind a big rock, a bear raising its hand, or an elephant raising its long nose.
Meanwhile, the Ganh Son (lipstick reef), also in Tuy Phong, is famous for its red rocks and caves. It is recommended that tourists visit the site early in the morning or in the afternoon to observe the “whole picture,” including daily activities of nearby fishing villages.
After walking on the rocky beaches, a visit to the Vinh Hao mud bath center, which can be reached by riding motorbike for between five and ten minutes, is highly recommended. Soothing, refreshing and relaxing. Ending the day with a meal of fresh seafood works, every time.
To Ghenh da dia
From Tuy Hoa Town, Phu Yen Province, go along the National Road 1A (northwards) some 30 kilometers to reach Ngan Son Bridge in Tuy An District. A 12-kilometer road nearby leads to the reef. The unnamed road is quite beautiful with rice fields on either side, and mountains in the distance. It is a treat for photographers, especially during the harvest season.
To Tuy Phong District
From Phan Thiet Town, Binh Thuan Province, go along the National Road 1A to reach Lien Huong Market, Tuy Phong District. From the market, go along Vo Thi Sau Street to reach the beaches.
From Ho Chi Minh City
To go to Phan Thiet and Tuy Hoa, trains are the best choice. However, tourists can choose to go by bus.