Thousands of people flock to a cool beach in Quy Nhon city during the summer.
Quy Hoa beach is situated between two low mountain ranges that merge with the blue sea, offering stunning vistas and mild weather that combines sunshine with the cool breezes blowing out of the forests from the mountains.
To reach it, one has to ride down the road going from Quy Nhon to the neighbouring province of Phu Yen, make a turn on the first downhill road on the left and follow it.
The beach is closed off and there is a gate. The whole place has been developed into a complex. The entrance costs for the complex is VND5,000 plus another VND2,000 for motorbikes. At the entrance of the beach is a park with statues of world celebrities who dedicated their lives to fighting leprosy.
“The beach is a favourite place for me and my friends to go during a free afternoon or on the weekends,” said Phan Thao Ngan, 21, who lives near the Quy Nhon central beach, where there is a wide square for people to sit and drink from coconuts, or walk.
Ngan and her friends said they prefer this beach to others in the city because it is peaceful and has a romantic view. “We often spend hours chatting, seeing lovely waves under the sunlight, and we return home refreshed,” one of her friends said.
“This beach is fantastic because people of all walks of life can enjoy it,” Ngan said.
The park, which is separated from the sand by a low embankment, is shaded by willow trees and has tables and chairs and a long bench in the shape of a guitar.
Inside are statues of scientists like Louis Pasteur, Albert Calmette and Alexandre Yersin. The only Vietnamese scientist here is Prof Dang Duc Trach, the country’s leading micro-biologist.
“Every time my grandson visits, he tells me he was able to learn from the celebrities, which makes him want to do something with his life,” said Le Manh Trung, a resident in the village for leprosy patients.
Trung said this complex often attracts philanthropist, charity organisations and students.
“Domestic and international donators join hands with the State to ensure our food and welfare. This wheelchair is from a foreign Protestant,” he said, as he drove his wheelchair by the beach.
“Charity organisations conduct regular trips here to investigate our needs to find people who can use donations.
“Students have been led to visit the statue, learn hygienic practices and raise awareness about leprosy,” Trung said.
But the 70-year-old man said he is most excited during weekends and national holidays, when thousands of local people, visitors from other provinces and foreigners flock to the beach. “I always feel happy and a little proud of where I live,” Trung smiled.
Trung’s residence is part of the complex that is home to 600 residents with leprosy. All of the buildings, rehabilitation zones, beaches and other zones harmonise with nature and provide a nice view. Visiting the site is like going on a pilgrimage, where you can see couples with leprosy live as happy families. People here lean on each other in order to overcome misfortunes.
The site is a good destination for lovers of poet Han Mac Tu, who died at the complex due to complications from leprosy.
People can indulge in their poetic inspirations while reading Mac Tu lines on stones or wood plates that are on display.
Under the sunset, visitors are able to say goodbye to the complex after being completely refreshed due to their encounter with humanity under the watchful eyes of the statue of Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen, who devoted his life to studing and fighting lerrosy. — VNS