My Khe beach

Nine kilometres of sandy beach - the two bumps on the horizon are the Marble MountainsMy Khe Beach is located about 6km east of Danang and about 24km north of Hoi An. It’s a seven-kilometre stretch of smooth sand with an average width between 50m and 70m. The gradient is gentle, and its sheltered position in the lee of the Son Tra peninsula softens the autumn winds that restrict swimming further down the coast.

The lack of large waves, less than average pollution, and an annual mean temperature around 25 oC, makes it a safe place to swim for adults and children alike.

The stretch of My Khe beach in front of the luxurious Furama Beach ResortThere's much confusion about the location of the place that the US military used for ‘rest and relaxation’ during the war‘. Known as My Khe Beach and made famous by a television series of the same name, opinions differ wildly. The people who ought to know, the locals and returning US war veterans, haven't a clue.

The Vietnamese aren't much bothered and the vets are usually unable to identify a specific section of a continuous strand of sand stretching for miles in both directions. Backed the beach with poplar trees in the mid-nineties doesn't help either!

My Khe beach in the early evening when the local people There are two leading theories - one says it’s a small section of My Khe beach close to the Furama luxury beach resort, and the other claims it’s the entire beach up to Monkey Mountain to the east of Danang Bay.

Who cares, anyway – My Khe is a very good beach whatever it’s called.

A typical Vietnamese sampanBeaches in Vietnam are seldom private, and My Khe is no exception. Visitors are likely to share the beach with the locals, and there are plenty of them. Most of us aren't very good at swimming, but we love splashing about in the water and making a lot of noise.

Fortunately for foreigners, we don't like dark skin so we avoid the water during the day. Our times are the early morning and evening.

hauling in the heavy net is hard back-breaking workHowever, you'll often encounter Vietnamese fishing parties. The technique is to use a couple of sampans to take a very long fine mesh net about half a kilometre offshore.

Once the net is in place, two teams of people (mostly women) each take ropes tied to the ends of the net and begin to pull them up the beach.

The people involved in beach fishing are often old women who are unable to find easier workAs each person reaches the limit of beach space, she or he drops the rope on the ground and walks back to the water’s edge to repeat the procedure.

The whole operation takes about half a day and results in a few buckets of tiny fish that are sold for a few dollars. Watching the process and seeing the scant reward to be shared among ten or fifteen people gives a powerful insight into the reality of poverty.

Around the hotel area there's plenty of seafood restaurants and stalls, and large numbers of local vendors traverse the beach selling all kinds of foods and drinks. They can be irritating sometimes – if they're too persistent, ignoring the nuisance is the best strategy.

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