A clearing in the hills

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Vistas and solace disencumber the mind along the central coast in Quang Ngai Province

Cows graze in a clearing near Cay Sanh Stream in Quang Ngai Province's Dong Van Village

From Sa Huynh, a small town in central Vietnam's Quang Ngai Province, it's just a quick motorbike ride along paved roads to Dong Van, or the "Field of Clouds." But we chose the more beautiful route, crossing paddy fields by foot, climbing mountain passes, and wading across streams.

We first walked on a one-kilometer-long path between rice fields, and climbed up a short distance to the Cay Quan lookout spot, where the view of rice fields and the sea below were dazzling.

Dong Van is one of Quang Ngai's rare hilly regions along the coast.


If you want to stay at Dong Van Village for a couple of days, you can negotiate accommodation and meal prices with locals. As they may not be able to speak English, you should go there with a friend who can speak Vietnamese if you can't.

If you want to get to the village on foot, ask friendly locals to take you. Don't forget to bring drinks and food for the trip.

From Cay Quan, it was easy to see why they call the area the Field of Clouds. The vista of puffy clouds rolling out into the horizon against the indigo afternoon was humbling and quieting.

This is a place that village children sometimes come to play. They lie on the grass and stare up at the clouds, imagining they are gods, fairies and Buddhas.

From the point, we could see Sa Huynh, dotted with quaint fishing villages and sandy beaches.

As we walked further into the hills, some houses appeared around a bend. We saw smoke rising from chimneys into the sky, mixing with clouds. We smelled grilled sweet potatoes that a group of cowboys were cooking nearby. We couldn't resist the scent and gravitated toward the group.

Sitting on the grass and beneath an old tree, we talked and joked with the cowboys, enjoying the fresh sweet potatoes.

Later, we walked to Cay Khe Lake. The secluded spot was surrounded by a hilly forest and the shimmering surface of the water reflected the bright white clouds above. A gentle wind blew and carried the sounds of birds singing through the clearing.

The gentle flowing water of Cay Sanh Stream could be heard from the other side of the lake. From a hill, we watched the stream flow through numerous moss-covered rocks and through paddy fields before entering the sea. Sitting on a large rock, we listened to water sounds and enjoyed the fresh air and a peaceful view of the village. It was as if we had never known tiredness or stress.

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