Yang Bay waterfall, Raglai village and Dien Khanh Citadel
Worth seeking out
What we say:
Yang Bay waterfall, 48 km from Nha Trang, consists of three sets of falls -- Yang Bay, Yang Khang, and Ho Cho. It's a well-developed tourist spot and a regular stop for Vietnamese on group tours, but it's still worth seeking out on your own. The main falls have been heavily modified, and some swimming areas have been artificially created, but the effect is fairly natural and quite beautiful. It's a great spot for swimming -- you can get right up close to the falls and a take a shower, and there are bathing options for the timid as well as the intrepid. A bit crowded, of course, when the tour groups are here in force, but if you're in luck, you could have the place almost to yourself. You can hike up along the stream for about a kilometre to enjoy the next set of falls and good view. If you're interested in visiting Ho Cho falls, it's deeper into the forest, so enquire at the visitor's centre. There are restaurants and cafes -- expect to pay a tad more than you would in town for the same thing.
The grounds also feature two wildlife centres, which are larger (and more humane) than you might have experienced elsewhere in Vietnam. About 700 metres before the entrance to the park, there's a right turn leading to the crocodile ponds -- of course, crocs aren't up to much when they aren't feeding, and the ones here are only about a metre long, so if you've seen crocs in Australia, you won't be too impressed. The other centre is inside the grounds -- take a left after entering the gate. A sizable enclosure houses half-a-dozen Vietnamese bears. But bears are about as bad as crocodiles when it comes to lazing around and not doing much of anything. If you really want to get that great, cute-and-cuddly-bear shot, plan on camping out in the observation booth for a while, and keep reminding yourself that there's a reason why those National Geographic photographers make the big bucks.
Raglai ethnic village
Part of what makes the trip worthwhile is that the last half courses through some really stunning countryside, and the last few kilometres before the falls passes by a Raglai ethnic village. The Raglai are one of the tribes that have been mostly uninterested in assimilating into mainstream Vietnamese society, preferring to continue living off the land in their traditional way, albeit in a concrete box-style housing provided by the Vietnamese government. The Raglai live 'close to the earth', and this is reflected in their mode of dress, where a good coat of dirt is nothing to be ashamed of -- you won't see any fastidiously-dressed girls in ao dais here. Nor will you find many tractors, motorcycles, or other signs of mechanised society. The Raglai we met were very friendly, very polite, and refreshingly shy. Don't miss out on a chance to hang out a little and get to know them.
Dien Khanh Citadel
This site is actually a stop on some tour itineraries. While it doesn't really merit seeking out for it's own sake, you'll pass through it on the way to Yang Bay falls. After you turn off Route 1 on the way to the falls you'll pass through two gates, about two stories high, which are all that remain of an 18th century citadel. They have guard towers above the archways, and a couple metres of old earthen ramparts -- they're so narrow traffic can only pass through in one direction at a time, controlled by traffic lights.
More details48km from Nha Trang, Khanh Phu commune, Khanh Vinh District
Opening Hours: 09:00 to 17:00 daily
How to get there: To get to the falls, you have to find your way to Route 1. It meets Nha Trang at the northern end of town -- looking at a map, Le Thanh Ton street heading east would be the best way to get there, but it's one way in the other direction, so head for Yersin Street a bit to the north. Once you reach the five-way intersection on the edge of town, head straight east along Route 1. At about kilometre nine there's a blue sign showing the right turn to Yang Bay (pronounced 'zang bye') 29 km away. After you pass the sign, ignore the first right turn as the road bends and take the next right after the bend. The rest of the route is well-marked with signs pointing the way to Yang Bay.
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