The Salangane Kingdom
By Khue Viet Truong
The “Kingdom of salanganes” is a must-see for tourists when they pay a trip to Nha Trang City that is endowed with one of the world’s most beautiful bays
|Noi Islet In Cam Ranh Bay has been ranked second for it annual birds' nest output in Khanh Hoa Province|
It takes tourists many hours traveling on a speedboat to reach the lands of sanlanganes. So, at 7:30 a.m. the boat weighs anchor at Cau Da Wharf. A light breakfast on the boat weaving the waves in the morning sun makes tourists feel excited about the landscapes from the southeast of Nha Trang Bay to Cam Ranh waters.
The salangane islets are always an interesting destination, as they are up to 40 nautical miles offshore, crowded with salangane flocks and bird’s nest output which is the highest in the country. From March to September is an ideal time for vacationers to discover the life of salanganes thanks to the calm sea and this is also the nest building season of the birds.
Nha Trang-based Sanest Tourist is responsible for organizing tours. The tour operator receives only 60 guests for each trip so as to avoid bad effects on the salanganes’ home where they have lived for hundreds of years.
The first stop is Du Ha Cave behind Noi Islet, which ranks second for its annual bird’s nest output among the 24 salangane islets off Nha Trang. The boat draws up alongside of a pontoon bridge for tourists to contemplate salanganes flying above the sky and landing on the rocks. These are “housekeeping” salanganes; other birds often fly tens of kilometers away from their nests to feed in the early morning.
The boat then sails to Sam Islet. Tourists will follow the tour guide crossing a bamboo bridge to visit a tent on a rocky mountain on the islet. It’s worth remembering hardy seagulls flying in the sunshine. Thanks for the protection of salangane islets and the ban on hunting sea birds, the schools of seagulls there grow rapidly.
A small cement road leads tourists to the cave of salanganes. Stopping by a security corridor and turning on the flashlight, travelers will see birds’ nests stuck to the cliffs. After visiting the cave, they board the boat to contemplate corals in various shapes and sizes. Through the glass bottom of the boat, guests will enjoy the world of colorful corals as if they were diving to survey corals by themselves.
Finally, the boat visits Noi Islet where broken corals were crushed by sea waves. The 10-year-old altar with a yard in the shade of tropical almonds is a rest stop for guests. When paying a trip to the salangane islets, tourists should not miss a chance to enjoy beautiful beaches there, and then climb some 100 steps to reach the top of Du Ha Mountain to listen to sea breezes and feel so small among the enormous ocean.