Around 25 kilometers from the mainland, Ly Son Island District in Quang Ngai Province is endowed with many splendid landscapes and historical sites you can’t help but admire.
Ly Son has three communes of An Vinh, An Hai and An Binh with a total area of ten square kilometers, including two islands named Big and Small, about two nautical miles from each other.
The road heading to Sa Ky Port is tiny, just enough for a small car to negotiate. The seafood market is right behind the port and is bustling from early morning until 10 a.m.
From Sa Ky Port in Son Tinh Island, it took us more than an hour by express boat to Ly Son.
Upon reaching the island, our first stop was at Duc Pagoda. The pagoda is built on a cave in a mountain and is striking due to a 27-meter-high Bodhisattva statue facing the sea. Over the pagoda is the peak of Thoi Loi Mountain where tourists need to conquer 100 stone steps to reach the summit. Once on top, visitors will be amazed by the magnificent view of the surrounding landscape with the blue sea studded with heaving rocks, watermelon farms and green bean trellis.
Also on Thoi Loi Mountain, Hang Pagoda is built on the largest cave in Ly Son. The cave is about 30 meters wide and 25 meters deep, formed by rock walls. Built in the 16th century the pagoda is hidden by an ancient giant tree and is endowed with many beautiful stalactites. To get to the site, tourists need to walk along a trail by the sea then go down 40 steps.
An Hai Communal House, which was built in 1820, is also worth a visit due to its fine architecture and immaculate antiques. An Vinh Temple is for worshipping ancestors who explored and reclaimed the land four centuries ago. It also hosts offerings to soldiers who sacrificed their lives in missions on the East Sea and there is an offering ceremony to the souls of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa soldiers in the third lunar month every year.
The island is also considered a living museum for Hoang Sa’s artifacts. The island has a 374-square-meter museum displaying more than 1,000 documents, photos and artifacts associated with the heroic Hoang Sa and Truong Sa troops. The island also has a cemetery for fallen Hoang Sa soldiers.
Many artifacts of Sa Huynh and Cham Cultures were discovered on Ly Son island. The Thien Yana and old ruong houses are evidence of Sa Huynh and Cham’s ancient civilizations.
There are also stunning beaches full of colorful rocks, pebbles and coral where tourists can play with waves, swim with fish and pose for photos in their swimwear.
Seafood on Ly Son is delightful, but Ly Son is also considered the kingdom of garlic and watermelon. By Anh Quan in Quang Ngai
The villagers of Ly Son Island get to work in the early morning as they set up nets for the day’s fishing – Photo: Anh Quan
The stunning caves on Ly Son Island are popular with tourists