Hoi An, An Hoi, Cao Dai, Cua Dai. Chiang Mai. Chiang Rai, Chiang Saen. Don Det. Don Kho, Don Khong. Having fun yet?
Like many places in Asia, particularly Thailand and Laos, terminologies and nomenclature in Vietnam are essentially word plays, and sometimes easily interchangeable. But in the ancient royal city of Hoi An in central Vietnam, one could visit an island called An Hoi, just across the river bank, navigable on foot through a bridge. But that's not what I'm writing about here.
Four kilometers northeast of Hoi An, situated in the Cam An area, is Cua Dai Beach which boasts of a surreal combination of raw beauty - golden sand as fine as powder, clean waters, spotless beach, wind swept pines, relatively inexpensive resorts, and the feeling of sheer isolation.
No one was there when I visited. You'd probably find visiting this beach essential after trying to exhaust your coupon system in Hoi An; an exasperating ticket system that, for 120,000 dong ($6) allows you to visit only 5 local attractions (one museum, one old house, one assembly hall, the handicraft shop or a traditional theater, and either the Japanese Covered Bridge or the Quan Cong Temple). They require these tickets for entry. After racking my brains deciding on which places to see and which to get rid of, I ended up buying 2 of those darn tickets. That way, I didn't have to decide which places to scrap off the list. How's that for being thorough?
Cua Dai, which literally means "big sea mouth", is easy to remember if you've visited that weird religious congregation near Saigon south of the country, the Cao Dai church. The 3-kilometer beach has moderate slopes and equally moderate waves, a curiosity considering the strong winds that rush to the shore in these part of town. I hired a motorbike taxi to take me there. "You could walk northward to get to Da Nang," informed my mild-mannered driver. If that was a suggestion, I'd say "no thanks".
Am not walking 30 kilometers from here.
This is the Eye in the Sky!