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Phu Yen – A sleeping beauty of Viet Nam: A report from the post-show tour of ITE HCMC 2013

September 28, 2013 Destination ASEAN, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59It was 5.00 o’clock in the morning on September 14, when we had to leave the luxurious Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon, which was an official hotel for some media delegates during ITE HCMC 2013.

With its 336 guestrooms and suites, the hotel enjoys one of the best locations in Ho Chi Minh Cityalong the Saigon River. We arrived only within 30 minutes later at Tan Son Nhat Domestic Airport to check in for the Vietnam Airlines flight to Qui Nhon,Binh Dinh Province in Central Viet Nam.

Our group of more than 20 media people from Russia, China, and even Myanmar was accompanied EGT_Artical Banner A 250x250by Mr. Nguyen Van Niem, a senior official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The plane left at 6.40 from Ho Chi Minh City to arrive only 70 minutes later at Phu Cat Airport in Binh Dinh. We were surprised to get a hearty welcome from a delegation from Phu Yen Province, but were later convinced that Phu Yen is a real sleeping beauty worth to get discovered in detail.

We boarded a big comfortable bus and stopped along the National North-South Highway No.1 at a restaurant to have a local breakfast. After that we continued to bypass the city of Qui Nhon to reach Phu Yen Province further south. Crossing the Cu Mong Pass, we soon reached the lagoon of Cu Mong with endless rows of coconut trees and were told that Phu Yen has a pristine coastal line of exactly 189 km with adjoining mountains creating a myriad of bays, peaks, beaches, and islands.

Our first sightseeing spot was the impressive Mang Lang Church, which is located in An Thach commune, Tuy An district, and about 35 km north of Tuy Hoa, the provincial seat of Phu Yen. The Roman Catholic gothic church was constructed in 1892 and serves as a grave for Father Joseph Lacassagne. In the nearby cave-like grave, Anre Phu Yen was remembered, who was decapitated in 1644 as a patron of the youth. There was a book shown written by French missionary Alexander de Rhodes (1593-1660), who brought to the Vietnamese the writing in Latin script (Quoc Ngu).

Our next stop further out to the coast was the spectacular reef of Da Dia, which has a width of some 50 meters and a length of 200 meters. Basalt stones here are placed in hexagonal columns as dishes together. Next to the reef of Da Dia is Bang Beach with a stretch of approximately 3 km of fine white sand and favorable to establish a resort. A special seafood lunch we had in a rustic restaurant at the lagoon of O Loan. The unique beauty of this place is the wonderful combination of green mountains and blackish water.

After lunch we continued further south to reach Tuy Hoa City, where we checked in at the centrally located Ka Ya Hotel, where we had a few hours rest and the possibility to enjoy a hot stones massage.

In the evening we went for an inspection at the new 5-star CenDeluxe Hotel. Featuring 218 well-appointed rooms and suites, the hotel offers the most extensive conference facilities in the whole province. General Manager Didier Beck invited us to an excellent dinner at the hotel’s Sky Lounge and Terrace to indulge in exciting cocktails and mouthwatering dishes, while enjoying the panoramic view of the city.

After dinner, Mr. Ho Van Tien, Director of Phu Yen Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, invited us to watch a musical art performance at the city’s landmark Thap Nhan Cham Tower. The huge tower is on a 64 m high mountain peak north of the Da Rang River and gives view to long railway and road bridges. Thap Nhan was constructed with bricks at the late 11th century and was part of the ancient Champa Kingdom of Vijaya. The tower has a square structure with each side of 10 meters wide and the height of 23.5 meters. It opens to the east and is dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. Inside the tower, you can see the Cham Goddess Uroja, who is brilliantly costumed and sits on a stone-carved pedestal resembling male linga and female yoni, a symbol for fertility.

As it was raining, the musical art performance was cut short, but there were local Bai Choi singers, Cham dancers, and special musical instruments such as rock horn and litho-phone. It was not easy to leave the mystical atmosphere at the illuminated tower and return to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.

Next morning after breakfast, we continued our sightseeing trip to the south of Tuy Hoa along the coast to visit the Dai Lanh Lighthouse at Cape Varella, which is the most eastern geographical point of Viet Nam. At the end of the 19th century, a French captain named Varella discovered and mapped this important landmark. In 1890, the French constructed a lighthouse there and – now repaired – it is one of the 8 lighthouses with the age of more than hundred years old out of the total of 79 lighthouses, which are operating in Viet Nam.

Within the radius of 5 km from Cape Varella, there are three national historical sites, including beautiful Mon Beach, charming Vung Ro Port and the holy Da Bia Mountain giving way to the forested Ca Pass, which leads from Phu Yen to Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa Province further south. Especially Da Bia Mountain with its height of 706 meters is considered as a holy mountain with the name of Lingaparvata, where a giant stone block points 76 meters high into the blue sky. When the Vietnamese King Le Thanh Tong in 1471 reclaimed the land from the Cham people, he carved letters in the big stone block on the mountain, where 2,071 steps lead to the top.

Back in Tuy Hoa City, we had lunch in a local restaurant and then went to Ka Ya Hotel to check out and change our accommodation for another night to the newly built VietStar Resort & Spa, which is 10 km north from the city center of Tuy Hoa. The resort has 86 rooms and luxurious villas, 4 swimming pools and 5 different restaurants. Also, there are fantastic meeting and banquet facilities. Most important is the outlying private Xep Beach, which will be developed accordingly. Electrical cars connect the guests to their respective rooms or other amenities such as a golf driving course club house.

In the evening, time arrived for an opulent farewell gala dinner organized by the hotel and Mr. Tran Quang Nhat, Vice Chairman of Phu Yen People’s Committee. We enjoyed the dances and music of different nationalities and had a special wine spirit for digestion. As rain started again, the party went on not so long as planned, but there was a lot to remember what we have seen and experienced during our trip in Phu Yen.

All in all, Phu Yen will surely become a future gateway to the Highland Central Region as well as a large-scale tourism and service center of the central region and the whole of Viet Nam. With its vast tourism and investment potentials, clean industry, and hospital people Phu Yen is quickly developing into a valuable destination for domestic and foreign visitors alike. The new Tuy Hoa Airport in the south of the city is already operating.

On September 16, we all had to return to Ho Chi Minh City. As our flight was at 16.05 in the afternoon, we checked out after breakfast from the VietStar Resort in the morning and still had time on the way back to Phu Cat Airport in Binh Dinh to visit the sophisticated Bai Tram Hideaway Resort in the region of Song Cau, Phu Yen, which is truly a one of a kind destination, where you can relax surrounded by a tranquil and original nature setting at Bai Tram Beach.

We were greeted by Resort Manager Ieks Poppema, who showed us around the property with its superlatives such as 93 hectares within a private bay, 7 deluxe villas, swimming pool, and 900 meters of secluded beach. The only sound you hear is the sound of the sea. Also, there is a butler service 24 hours per day. The cuisine is strongly Vietnamese-based and strictly uses homegrown organic products. Mysterious ruins and an old lotus pond give the place a touch of Robinson Crusoe. Spa and wellness activities add to the blissful experience hard to find anywhere else. Lobster fishing, snorkeling, biking, hiking, kayaking and boat trips to nearby islands are all on the list of activities.

After a perfect lunch at Bai Tram Hideaway Resort, we headed north to Binh Dinh Province and passed the elusive Thap Cham Silver Tower before arriving at the airport. Needless to say, coming back to Ho Chi Minh City during the rush hour was a drag after this very marvelous trip.

Written by : Reinhard Hohler

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