New facility in the central beach town of Nha Trang offers tourists additional recreational options
Tourists dive near a tourist raft which was set up last month in Hon Mun, Nha Trang / PHOTO: KHUE VIET TRUONG
Located about 30 minutes by boat from Nha Trang, Hon Mun (Mun Island) is the only marine reserve in the nation's most famous beach resort town.
Besides being home to 230 species of fishes, a system of mangrove forests and seagrass beds, the island also boasts the country's richest coral reef with 350 species, or nearly half of the world's identified ones.
The coral reef is undoubtedly the main reason for Nha Trang's popularity as a diving site among tourists.
Many travel companies offer diving services off the island, including short training sessions and longer courses.
The Lan Bien Xanh Travel Company also launched its diving service towards the end of last month. But, instead of entering the water from a boat, diving, and returning to the shore, tourists can do it from a raft where they can eat, drink, sunbathe and engage in other activities offshore during their breaks from diving.
The company says that its special facility, known as the Labixa raft, is inspired by fishermen's rafts in Hon Mot (Mot Island), where locals raise fish on rafts and welcome tourists onboard to sell them seafood, fresh and/or cooked.
But the Labixa, a 400-square-meter raft, is a much more professional affair with three parts: one kitchen, one living room where there is a stage for musical performances, and one room dedicated to tourists' sea activities.
Situated at the back of the wooden raft, the third room has a changing area and steps allowing tourists to access the water.
From the raft, besides jumping into the water to swim and dive, tourists can get on plastic coracles with glass bottoms, allowing them to see the corals without getting wet.
A smaller raft is also available to carry guests to the island for sightseeing.
And if the guests do not get into the water or go to the island, they can sunbathe on long chairs that are placed outdoors on the raft.
The wooden raft is designed with the architecture style of nha ruong a traditional house common in Hue and central provinces and known for having lots of wooden beams and pillars carved with many details.
The roof, said to be inspired by Thai houses, are heatproof, so it always feels cool inside, despite the sunlight.
The raft, which can host as many as 300 people, is usually anchored about 100 meters from Hon Mun and is kept afloat by 400 blue barrels.
Tourists can access the raft from their boats or the company's boats (which they need to book in advance).
Admission is free, but all services onboard have to be paid for.
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