I entered the roads of Ninh Thuan Province on a motorbike, which are almost completely devoid of vehicles. The land is marked by huge rocks. Unique and beautiful scenery. Comfortable coastline drive.
Continue driving, looking down the cliffs to see if there are any surf spots and what the waves are like. Occasionally stop to climb rocks and check the waves and terrain. There is no one around. For a while, the road continues along this pleasant cliff edge. However, my body is already not feeling well after yesterday’s long drive. I don’t want to ride the bike for the time being.
Black mountain goat. It looks out over the sea from the cliff edge and bleats. That position, a person with imagination, would be too scared to go there.
Deep sea. If there are waves, it is difficult to get down the cliff and into the sea. If I hurt my leg, I wouldn’t be able to get back on my own. And finally, this road ends. Dunes are visible and strong winds blow on the road. The whole bike seems to be blown away.
A vast sand dune area has emerged in Ninh Thuan Province. Topographically, this area is windy and dry, and I am sure there is little rainfall. As can be seen, the environment of the Vietnamese coastline varies greatly from place to place. This is particularly true in coastal and high altitude areas. The combination of towering mountains and the sea creates a unique natural environment.
Waves breaking along the coral reef can be seen in the distance. I would like to see it up close, but my physical strength is at its limit, so today I will only be able to see it from a distance.
There were wind and solar power stations. The wind blows easily here, which is probably a sign that it is an easy place to secure sunlight throughout the year.
The waves are too far away to tell. The distance from the shore to the spot is so far away that even if you could surf the waves it would be a long paddle out.
The rock is revealing its features. I think this area is a coral reef but the seawater doesn’t look clean. I wonder why.
Large coral reef areas are widespread. However, everywhere the sea appears black.
Fishermen and related groups occupying footpaths and drying small shrimps. In Japan, this would be a problem even in the countryside. In Vietnam, it is often not clear whether there are rules or not. It is difficult to be bound by rules or not.
I drive further, past the town of Phan Rang-Thap Seriously, I was extremely exhausted. My body doesn’t seem to be able to move properly. Then I checked in at the accommodation I had booked by phone in advance.
The water system malfunctions immediately. I want to take a shower, but there is no water, only boiling water. An explosion of exhaustion. Speechless.
After the repair, this time there was no hot water. We had no choice but to shower under cold water for three days. Including previous day’s water shower, it was four consecutive days without hot water. It’s been tough.
On the fourth day in Phan Rang, the inn only runs cold water showers. Hot water in Vietnam can be quite lukewarm, but this innkeeper’s senses do not seem to be so. And here we find out why there is no hot water. The problem was the water-saving showerheads. Many hotels and nha nghi use water-saving model showerheads, but the water-saving showerhead doesn’t match with the Vietnamese water system. I removed the shower head to try it out. Then hot water came out. However, when I lifted it up over my head, hot water came out but the water pressure was too weak to use. I had no choice but to take the hot water from the tap side below and sit on the tiled floor to take a tap shower. This solved the water shower problem.
This nha nghi is situated quite near to the coast, yet, I noticed since the time we checked in, there were surprisingly many flies: for every 30 seconds we opened the door, 10 flies would enter the room. There are always at least 10 to 100 flies outside the door. The cause could be the manure used by the farmers.
One morning, when I opened the door to my room and went outside, a large number of flies and insects were dead near the door. Also that evening. And the next day. It seemed that the inn was spraying insecticide morning and evening.
We caught a severe respiratory cold here in Ninh Thuan, whether from living with cold water showers, or from the stress and fatigue of travelling, or from being as weak as those flies.
Even with the lingering symptoms, I just have to do the surf spot check. It’s hot for a September here in Phan Rang, but let’s go surf spot hunting.
The swell is weak and small. Coral reef spot.
Small waves breaking offshore. Coral reef point and the wave’s break point is far away.
Front of a local market in Ninh Thuan Province.
Phan Rang-Thap Cham, a large land-based salt producer.
The coastline is difficult to access in some places, but we looked around as much of the coastline as we could.
It is not quite a wave that can be ridden on a shortboard.
Strong onshore winds again today.
Goats walk freely all over the place, so much so that it is difficult to distinguish whether they are wild goats or domestic free-range goats.
View of the sea from the high ground. Whether you paddle to the break point or walk along the coral reef in reef boots, it doesn’t look like a casual surfing experience. Surfing alone on an outer coral reef surf spot is dangerous.
There is something about it that is just not aesthetically pleasing. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but it’s probably because of the rubbish that has been thrown away everywhere. There was no place without rubbish on my trip to Vietnam so far.
Coral reef art created by the tides.
War remains on the headland.
There was enough space inside to accommodate people, and there were traces of underground passages connecting each of them.
There were plenty of bleached and dead coral reefs with litter even in unpopulated areas.
Waves crashing on the tip of the headland. Styrofoam rubbish on the rocks.
Recently there are bigger waves. Onshore, chest to shoulder high.
Vietnamese fishing boats anchored in a fishing port. There were decent sized ships as well.
The whole area is surrounded by reef and there is almost nowhere for the waves to reach the shore. In other words, even if you could surf, almost all of the coral reef points are more than 100 metres offshore.
The seawater was clean in areas where the coral reefs appeared to be relatively alive.
I haven’t seen any surfers like me in Phan Rang yet, but I have seen a few kitesurfers. It looks like there will be a lot of kitesurfers when the winter onshore season starts. This area is very windy with onshore winds. So it is not so suitable for surfing, but good for kitesurfing.
Travelling in the Vietnamese countryside has more uncomfortable moments than comfortable ones. Nevertheless, the reason to continue the trip is the desire to live a chartered surfing life. The quality of the waves is not great, but there is always a deserted break waiting for you. That’s what motivates me.
In the field next to the inn, there were coriander growing. Watering is done in a canal using the difference in elevation. The speed of growth is as fast as weeds in mid-summer.
It was difficult to find such an inn (nha tro) in the countryside. However, we found one through Google Maps. Although there was not much information available, we were able to call and make a reservation. There were no places to eat within a few kilometres of the inn, so we had to rely on the food at the inn. I was satisfied with the cheap and tasty food, although it was not at local prices.
Grilled duck in passion fruit sauce. It was delicious.
Barbecue. Yum. Drinks were also good.
(Surf trip record: Phan Rang-Thap Cham, Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam – September 2019)