About a 45 minute boat ride out into Nha Trang Bay sit the islands of Mun, Tam and Mot. In recent years, the area has become popular among fishing enthusiasts looking for a quiet, tranquil place to pursue their hobby.
Pristine beaches and fresh seafood have lured tourists to the central coastal city of Nha Trang for years, but fishing tours, which only emerged six years ago, have become an option for tourists who have a little more time to enjoy Viet Nam’s coastal areas.
Nha Trang alone has 19 islands and two bays that are suitable for daytime leisure activities including diving, kayaking, swimming and fishing.
Travel agencies in Nha Trang include a fishing option in many of their tour packages to try and entice tourists to stay longer with an alternative form of entertainment.
Tran Duc Vinh, managing director of Asia Adventures, said his company organises fishing trips for around 500 tourists each year.
“Our company first started organising fishing trips seven years ago, after many years of hosting cruises around the bay. We recognised that fishing would keep the tourists active and engaged, rather than sitting on a cruise for hours,” Vinh said.
“It’s a fantastic tour because our customers are entertained for the whole day. In the morning, they can kick back and take in the beauty of the bay and its surroundings, before settling down to a relaxing afternoon of fishing. In the evening, they can even eat what they catch,” Vinh explained.
He added that visitors can also explore the bay by snorkelling and kayaking.
The company’s fishing tours attract tourists from Australia, Germany and France, who love the marine entertainment available at Nha Trang’s beautiful beaches.
Loc, an experienced tour guide, usually picks his tourists up around 8am.
A short bus ride takes visitors down to Cau Da Port and from there, they embark on wooden boats out to the islands of Mun and Mot.
“Tourists can snorkel or fish in the morning around the island of Mun, where the water is safe, the fish are plentiful, and the coral exotic and colourful,” Loc described.
“The fishing and snorkelling gear is prepared by the crew, who also set up a barbecue for the evening. Our guests catch a variety of sized fish, and if they’re lucky, sometimes large grouper or red snapper,” he said.
“Tourists need time to relax and have fun. They bbq the fish themselves and enjoy a party in the evening after swimming in the warm sea,” the guide added.
Loc said that although the waters around Nha Trang Bay are densely populated with fish, sometimes you just have to be patient.
Tran Manh Ha, a local fisherman, described the adrenalin rush he feels when a fish takes the bait.
“It’s a real buzz. It doesn’t take long to land a small grouper, but for bigger fish…,” Ha said.
He added that once after a 30 minute battle with a large grouper, he had been forced to cut his line.
“Sometimes, tourists catch squid, shrimp or even 5kg fish,” the local man said.
Ha said that skilful fishermen often go out at night to try and catch the larger fish.
“We have free time to fish at night, but tourists want time to enjoy the scenery during the day,” he explained.
Le Hai Son, a retired naval officer, said he enjoyed catching large fish off the coast of Nha Trang.
“It takes around two hours to get out to the good areas. We often anchor in deep water, and I prepare a 100m fishing line with big hooks and flying fish as bait,” Son said.
“Flying fish is the ideal bait for deep sea fish. We look for mackerel and grouper between 30-50kg. I even caught a 140kg shark a few years ago that took me and my friends three hours to pull on board,” he recalled.
“Fishing is very popular among local people, but I think tourists are becoming more and more interested.”
Nguyen Hung, a tour operator from the Luxury travel agency, said his company had organised fishing trips for around 1,000 tourists already this year.
“We want to show the tourists that Nha Trang is not only famous for its beaches and bays, but also for its amazing marine entertainment.
We hope that fishing tours will continue to attract tourists in the coming years,” Hung said.
Hung’s agency also offers a reasonable package price of US$44 per person for a group of 14. — VNS/Cong Thanh
Hook, line and sinker: A tourist catches a fish during a trip in the pristine waters of Nha Trang Bay.
Island paradise: Mun Island in Nha Trang Bay is an ideal site for fishing. — File Photos