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Travel GuideMonday, 08/14/2006, 11:05

Relax in the natural forest and blue sea of Ho Coc

Ho Coc (Coc Lake) Beach with its turquoise water and primitive forests has become a popular tourist spot in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau
Relax in the natural forest and

Relax in the natural forest and blue sea of Ho Coc


Ho Coc (Coc Lake) Beach with its turquoise water and primitive forests has become a popular tourist spot in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, attracting an increasing number of both day-trippers and overnighters.


The name of the beach in Xuyen Moc District, 70 kilometers west of Vung Tau and 150 kilometers from HCM City, comes from a legend.


Once upon a time, a long, severe and widespread drought had left most of the wells, streams and rivers empty, and all creatures were threatened with extinction. The toad family decided to get together and beseech their god for rain, but not all the members could cross the sea to reach the appointed gathering place.


The family leader sat on a rock looking toward the high seas in a state of despondency, in fact despair, an attitude that eventually softened the supreme being enough to grant rain. At that moment, the boss toad was turned to stone facing the east, which is how Coc (toad) Island and the area came to be named.


All creatures rushed to two hills near the toad stone to sing and dance and express their deep gratitude to the toad family, particularly the boss toad. The two hills are present-day Tam Bo and Ho Linh mountains.


Ho Coc Beach has none of the frantic tourism of Long Hai but just a few simple huts overlooking the sands. There's plenty of pristine coastline to explore on foot and clear water for swimming. Surrounding the 1.5-km beach is a primitive forest with big, shady trees and a variety of smaller flora.


Overnighters can pay VND160,000 for one of the 28 beachfront bungalows at Ho Coc Resort or much less for renting a tent in the camping ground.


In addition to bathing in the sea, visitors can try kayaking on the sea, angling for fish and squid from thuyen thung (a coracle made of bamboo), or riding sports bikes to explore the region.


When night falls, you can gather around the camp fire, sing, dance and enjoy Tuu Tra Coc Do, one of the specialties of Ho Coc Resort, which offers a selection of ginseng tea, medicinal wine and juice made from different herbal plants with reputed therapeutic benefits.


Hungry souls can try fresh seafood dishes. Many like serving themselves with seafood such as fish, squids and shrimps grilled on a wood-burning stove. And to remember their trip to Ho Coc Beach, visitors can grow plants with their names attached in a fancy carved way.


To get to Ho Coc from HCM City, take the road to Vung Tau but turn left before the end and follow the signs to Long Hai. Continue through Long Hai and along the coast for a further 20 kilometers.


Travel agencies in HCM City have a two-day tour to Ho Coc costing VND250,000. For visitors who make their excursions by themselves, Ho Coc Resort will give them VND31,000 for their bus fare and pick up them at the Ho Coc crossroads.


Ho Coc Resort, National Highway 55, Xuyen Moc District, Ba Ra-Vung Tau Province. Tel: (064) 878175; email: sghococresort@yahoo.com.

Or contact the HCM City office on (08) 997 0677.
 

Some travel companies operating tours to Ho Coc:


Saigontourist Travel, 49 Le Thanh Ton Street, District 1. Tel: (08) 829 8914


Fiditourist, 129 Nguyen Hue Boulevard, District 1. Tel: (08) 914 1414


Cholontourist, 134 Nguyen Tri Phuong Street, District 5. Tel: (08) 835 7100

 

 


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