Visitors enjoy ‘queen of beaches” plus island and battle site tours

Published: 13/05/2011 05:00



Located in the coastal district of Vinh Linh in the central province of Quang
Tri, Cua Tung Beach is the nation’s “Queen of Beaches”, awaking the curiosity of
many visitors to come and experience its beauty.

High and dry
: Cat Son Village has
been famous for hundreds of years for its contribution to the local fishing
industry. Here tourists can buy fresh seacooking cooked in the traditional manner.

The kilometre-long beach is neither
long nor wide, but the water is gentle and clear. Two underground rock
formation, Mui Si and Mui Lai, encroach on the sea, creating a small bay
sheltering the beach from stronger waves and tides.

The beach is surrounded by a belt
of basalt and stone mountains that look like a huge comb passing through the
hair of the waves. On the hill, orchards of jackfruit, pineapple, banana and
custard-apple grow green.

While the central region is known
for its harsh weather, with dry winds from the southwest and major storms from
the sea, Cua Tung Beach is protected by Mother Nature, out of wind on most days,
with the bay offering safe harbour for fishing boats.

Since the time of French
colonialism, the very first French to set foot here saw the land’s potential for
developing resorts.

At that time, Viet Nam was divided into three regions, with
the central region known as Annam. The governor of Annam from 1891-97, Ernest
Albert Briere was one of those who fell in love with the place, and he built a
palace here in 1896 to spend his holidays on the beautiful beach.

The palace was transferred to King
Duy Tan (1900-45), the eleventh king of the Nguyen Dynasty, who ascended the
throne at age 7 and bridled at living in confinement in palaces under the
control of the French. He travelled extensively around the country, with Cua
Tung one of his stops.

King Bao Dai (1913-97), the
thirteenth and final king of Vietnamese feudalism, often went from his capital
in Hue city to Cua Tung to enjoy the amazing beach.

Tranquil setting
: Con Co Island is
about 30km offshore from the Cua Tung beach. — File Photos

The Frenchman Andre de Laborde, who
had a deep understanding about this land, described Cua Tung as a gentle sloping
beach which is part of a green highland 20m above sea level. From the slope,
people can see the changes in the colour of sea and sky. Shades of blue change
hourly under the sunshine, surprising anyone who has chance to witness it.

The sea here is so shallow, that
people can run about half-a-kilometre from the shore, and the water level only
reaches their chest.

Nearby Cat Son Village is a short
stroll away along the beach. The village has been famous for hundreds of years
for its traditional work of fishing, drum-making, carpentry and mother-of-pearl
inlay. There, you can dine of cuttlefish, prawns, lobster, butterfish, mackerel,
Chinese herring, and other kinds of seafood, cooked in the local manner.

To the south of the beach is the
estuary of Ben Hai River. Hien Luong Brigde crosses the river just 10km from Cua
Tung Beach. The bridge on the 17th parallel formed the border between North and
South Viet Nam between 1954 and 1975.

The symbol of separation and loss
in wartime is now one of the connection between the two districts of Vinh Linh
and Vinh Gio in the province. Boarding a boat at the base of the bridge,
travellers can see prosperous rice paddy and bamboo and casuarinas trees along
the river banks. The slow rhythm of life, the whisper of wind and rippling
water, all bring a feeling of peace.

About 30km offshore from the beach
is Con Co Island. The 4sq.m island, with a coastline of about 8km, averages an
elevation of 5-30m above sea level. At the centre of the island is a 63m-high
mountain. The island held a strategic position during the time of the country’s
division. The island was isolated from the mainland by heavy winds, but soldiers
challenged strong waves and enemy attacks to carry food and weapon to the

Lush forests and fruits trees cover
the island. The trees on Con Co Island include hardwoods with resin as red as
blood. In autumn, the bang (Malabar almond) trees also turn red, making the
island even more picturesque.

Since 1989, 4,000 coconut trees,
symbolising the 4,000-year history of Viet Nam, have been cultivated on the
island. It is also the home of a small rattlesnake that is soaked in rice wine
to make a medicine for treating backache and other ailments. Black and white sea
cucumbers as big as a toe are also found in the surrounding waters and make a
good dish that also has medicinal properties.

Tours commemorating the
battlefields of the province and the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) lets visitors
experience Vinh Moc Tunnel – a 2km network of tunnels up to 23m underground used
to shelter residents during wartime – as well as the Old Citadel of Quang Tri,
the Ta Con airstrip, the Khe Sanh – Road 9 Battlefield, and the legendary Ho Chi
Minh Trail.

Nam News

Provide by Vietnam Travel

Visitors enjoy ‘queen of beaches” plus island and battle site tours - Travel - News |  vietnam travel company

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