Nha Trang Bay
The area of Nha Trang Bay is about 507 km2, including 19 small and large islands, of which Hon Tre Island is the largest (3,000 hectares in area). The smallest is Hon Noc Island, just about four hectares in area. The estuary of the Cai River is located between two fine crescent-shaped sand beaches, stretching for 6-7 kilometers.
lire climate of the bay has two distinct seasons. The dry season lasts from January to August; the rainy season lasts from September to December. The average annual temperature is 26oC; the hottest temperature is 39oC, the coldest is 14.4oC. In Nha Trang Bay nearly ten islands have sea swallow nests. The sea of Nha Trang Bay has also hosts a wonderful realm of 350 coral species, 190 fish species and various species of mollusk, crustaceans, seagrass, and so forth.
From an ecological viewpoint, Nha Trang is one of a few exemplary natural bays and harbors in the world because it has the most rare and precious ecosystems typical of the tropical sea. These are the wetland ecosystem, coral reefs, mangrove forests, seagrass beds, estuarine ecosystem, sea and island ecosystem and sand coastal ecosystem. In particular, Hon Mun Island of Nha Trang has the highest biodiversity, with 350 coral species, comprising 40% of the coral types in the world.
Nha Trang is one of 29 bays in the world that were classified and officially recognized in July 2003 by the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World. Besides Ha Long Bay, Nha Trang Bay is the second bay of Viet Nam having such a honor.
Many islands in the bay are famous for unique landscape. On Hon Nhieu Island (also called Bong Nguyen Island) is the Tri Nguyen Water Palace with exotic marine creatures. On the shore near the palace is a ground with layers of multi-colored and multi-shaped gravels. On Hon Mun Island are dangerous caves. Rocks on this island are as black as ebony but the beach here is paved with white stones. On the coastal seabed are coral forests teeming with exotic marine animals. Hon Mun is the first marine conservation area in Viet Nam. Hon Tam beaches are adorned with bright white, blue, brown and black pebbles. Along the beach are rows of shady fruit trees like mango, jackfruit, pouteria lucuma, etc. Behind this island is the mysterious Doi (Bat) Cave where flocks of bats live on stone cliffs at the height of 60 meters. Hon Tre is the largest island in the bay, with vast white sand grounds. The seawater here is blue. At the end of the beach are tiny fishing villages.
Hon Chong and Hon Vo Islands (Husband and Wife Islands) are great mult-shaped rock clusters. Rock blocks overlap onto each other. From the elevated seashore they stretch down to the sea. Hon Chong cluster is located on the shore and Hon Vo cluster is located in seawater. Legend has it that once there was a giant who came here for sightseeing and met bathing fairies. Being too busy watching them, he accidentally slipped down. He could hang on to the mountain, yet he caused a large mountain block to collapse. This collapsed block was turned into today’s Hon Chong Island. Now on a large rock block is still preserved the handprint of the giant with all five fingers. Hon Noi Island with a beautiful sand beach is where people exploit nests of swallows. Also in the bay there are many other scenic spots.
From Con hamlet to Cau Da port the Nha Trang coast stretches about seven kilometers in length. Ideal beaches are located beside the very beautiful Tran Phu Street, snaking along the coast with numerous nice villas, luxury hotels and restaurants.
The most romantic Hon Mun Island is located south of Nha Trang Bay, ten kilometers from Cau Da port. It is called Hon Mun Island because in its southeast part are located high rugged rock cliffs as black as ebony, rarely seen elsewhere. Amid them are caves.
Hon Mun Island is the first and only sea conservation area of Viet Nam. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that this island has the greatest biodiversity in Viet Nam. Surveys have as well revealed abundant sea animals and coral reefs on the island.
The fauna and flora in the sea of Hon Mun are extremely rich. At the depth of ten meters are coral reefs and fish of all colors. At the depth of less than 18 meters beautiful coral reefs are not available but there are many caves. Some caves are 10-15 meters in length. Lights must be used to watch the sea animals living in the dark like shrimp, squid, lobster and stingray.
On Hon Mun tourists may go diving in the sea or travel in glass-bottomed ships to observe colorful coral reefs with swimming sea animals.
The Hon Mun Marine Protected Area in Nha Trang Bay is about 160 km2 in area (including about 38 km2 of land and approximately 122 km2 of water surface around the islands). In 2001, a marine protected area (the first marine conservation project in Viet Nam) was officially established. This project was implemented by the Ministry of Fisheries, the People’s Committee of Khanh Hoa province and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). The projects funding came from the Global Environment Facility (through the World Bank), Royal Danish government (through DANIDA) and IUCN, along with reciprocal capital from the government of Viet Nam.
The goal of Hon Mun Marine Protected Area is “to conserve a typical model of threatened sea biodiversity of international significance”. It also aims at “helping communities on the islands to improve living standards and collaborate with other stakeholders to protect and manage effectively the sea biodiversity in the Hon Mun Marine Protected Area, creating a model of collaboration for marine protected areas of Viet Nam.”
SOME GULFS AND BAYS 14
Nha Trang Bay