Located around 10 kilometers from Nha Trang City, Dien Khanh Township, known as Thanh to locals, welcomes visitors with its spacious streets, green rice fields, fragrant star apple and jackfruit orchards.
On a July morning, I borrowed a friend’s motorbike to leisurely ride to Thanh from Nha Trang, the spacious road was a delightful experience for me as for many years I have felt too cramped with the smoky and busy streets of Saigon. The further I went away from Nha Trang, the more I was excited as the number of houses became thinner, giving room for green fields and orchards.
At half-way I stopped at a cafe and sipped a coffee under the bamboo shade. A dog at the gate barked in the distance, making the scene more rustic.
In Thanh, there are many tasty dishes that anyone visiting should sample such as pho (noodle soup) with small-sliced noodles and a lot of bean sprouts, mi Quang (noodle in Quang region) made with pork pasta, fish paste, fried peanuts and served with aromatic vegetables or bun ca (fish noodle) made with fresh thu fish, fried fish paste and some jelly-fish.
Riding upon the intersection in the center of Thanh, I came to the East and West gates, which are just two of four gates built in 1793 under the Nguyen Dynasty in a Vauban style, a military model in the 17th and 18th century based on western style.
I rode straight for three kilometers to return to where I was born and bred. While Nha Trang has changed rapidly, my hometown has remained constant.
The local people still sell banana flowers or chickens and also colorful hair ties that I remember fondly from my youth.
I returned to Saigon, knowing that one day I will again return to enjoy the rustic pleasures of home. By Thuy Vy in Nha Trang
The gate to Thanh/Dien Khanh Township near Nha Trang City – Photo: Thuy Vy