VIETNAM TRAVEL

 

South Central Coast

Quang Ngai - Around Quang Ngai - Sa Huynh - Quy Nhon - Around Quy Nhon - Song Cau - Tuy Hoa - Beaches North Of Nha Trang - Nha Trang - Around Nha Trang - Phan Rang Thap Cham - Ninh Chu Beach - Ca Na - Vinh Hao - Mui Ne Beach - Phan Thiet - Ta Cu Mountain

CA NA

IDD Code:(+84) 68
During the 16th century, princes of the Cham royal family would fish and hunt ti gers, elephants and rhinoceroses here. Today Ca Na (pronounced kah nah - not like the site of the biblical booze-up) is better known tor its white-sand beaches which are dotted with huge granite boulders. The best of the beach and accommodation is available right on Hwy 1A, a kilometre north of the fishing village. It's a beautiful spot, but it's tough to ignore the constant honking and rumble of trucks. The payoff, however, is an almost complete lack of hassle from the friendly locals. The terrain is studded with magnificent prickly pear cacti. Bright yellow Lac Son, a small pagoda on the hillside, makes for an interesting but steep climb. Further afield, Tra Gang Temple is about midway between Ca Na and Phan Rang. Unfortunately, you have to sidetrack over an abysmal dirt road in order to reach it. Many ethnic Chinese from Cholon visit the temple. If you stay here, be aware that there are no banks or ATMs and absolutely no-one accepts credit cards or travellers' cheques.
Sleeping & Eating
Ca Na Hotel (Tell/fax 761320; r 170,000-200,000d; This place rents crusty room in an ancient ferroconcrete hotel near the highway; the quieter beach bungalows are a slightly better choice. Its restaurant 's a popular lunch spĀ»'l for buses on the HCMC-Nha Trang; route (dishes 10.000d to 40,000d).
Hon Co Ca Na Motel ( r 250,000-300,000d; Offering attractive bungalows with flowers on trellises and nice, new furniture, it's a shame- this place is not better maintained. Giant ants and cobwebs have free reign in the less-than-clean rooms, which can be quite noisy. There's a lovely little beach, tennis courts, a large seafood restaurant (dishes 60,000d) and the ominous combination of karaoke and massage.
Getting There & Away
Ca Na is 114km north of Phan Thiet and 32km south of Phan Rang. Many long-haul buses cruising Hwy 1A can drop you here, including the open-tour buses on the Nha Trang-Mui Ne leg. You can phone to arrange a pick-up from the Sinh Cafe office in either city. Local buses from Phan Rang (10,000d, one hour) head into Ca Na fishing village -ask to be let out on the highway and catch a xe om for the last kilometre.
LIZARD FISHING
When most people think of fishing in the mountains they conjure up images of hooking river trout or lake bass. But in the arid foothills of the south-central coast (notably around places like Ca Na, Phan Rang, Phan Thiet and Mui Ne) there is a whole other kind of angling, and a walk in these hills can yield one of the strangest sights in Vietnam - lizard fishing. These lizards, called than lan nui. are members of the gecko family and good for eating - some say they taste like chicken. The traditional way of catching the lizards is by setting a hook on a long bamboo fishing pole and dangling bait from the top of a boulder until the spunky little reptiles strike. Lizards are served grilled, roasted or fried, and are often made up into a pate (complete with their finely chopped bones) and used as a dip for rice-paper crackers. Yum.