LAND AND PEOPLE Updated at 08:49:18 11/03/2020  (Views:  371 )
Binh Thuan Tourism booms since t

Binh Thuan Tourism booms since the roosters’ crows beneath the Ong Hoang tower

BTO- Phan Thiet town in early October 1995 was old and deserted.  After 3 years, Binh Thuan province was re-established but was suddenly awoken after the sound of cock-crowing at the feet of Mr. Hoang's floor.

An old coastal township of Phan Thiet 25 years ago.

An old coastal township

Tran Hung Dao Street, the main road of the town is also National Highway 1 lying along like a sword across the Ca Ty River full of small and big potholes built from the French wartime with the sad golden and silver color.

During over a year, the whole province of Binh Thuan raced against the time to prepare for the total solar eclipse event on October 24, 1995. The whole township had only a few old motels and inns. The smell of fish sauce was raised everywhere. Fortunately, the Novotel located next to the beach had just been repaired and upgraded by American billionaire Larry Hillblom after he bought Vinh Thuy Hotel a few years ago. Novotel was located close to the swamp that later turned into a golf course and outside of the highway were huts built for coffee. But in fact, it was a place for chicks wearing cheap makeup.

At the time, the on-the-construction of 19/4 Hotel which was the biggest one in Phan Thiet Township, was located in the area of ​​So Muoi Bridge, close to National Highway 1 and was surrounded by only a few houses. It was hastily built up to welcome the total eclipse.

With only two large hotels and a few motels were still not enough to accommodate a large number of visitors while Mui Ne was just a fishing village with a tiny, sandy road lined with coconut trees.

The total eclipse uplifted the whole fishing village

The busiest selling market was T-shirt souvenirs, and Mylar glasses to see the total eclipse and preventing from eyes damaged. There were all kinds of glasses from Mylar glasses produced by the National Science and Technology Center to the glasses of the Vietnam-Russia Astronomical Mission, combined with Binh Thuan tourism.  All of those glasses were cost an arm and a leg.

Mylar glasses were made quite simply so witty glasses were sold at cheaper prices. Therefore, such glasses were mass manufactured to meet various demands from curious people who wished to behold the eclipse with their own eyes. Another best selling thing was still the envelope of Binh Thuan Post Office. This was an envelope with an eclipse theme stamp worth 400 VND.

The records of thousands of scientists around the world registered to Phan Thiet made the officials stamping their visas exhausted. In which, there are more than 200 astrophysicists; particle physics from 37 countries that gained Nobel laureates like the American Norman Foster Ramsay (Nobel physics 1989); Georges Charpak, a fellow of the French Academy of Sciences (Nobel physics 1992). There is also the Apex scientific delegation of Japan; Solar Research Team, Russian Academy of Sciences. Paris Observatory also carries all kinds of machines and 2 bipolar antennas led by Overseas Vietnamese Professor Nguyen Quang Rieu, director, etc.

The press was constantly updating news about the total eclipse, an amazing natural phenomenon that human life has very little chance to witness. But Phan Thiet was the most visible place to watch such rare event. Especially in the 20th century, Vietnam had 37 solar eclipses but only 3 total eclipses and 2 times ago took place in 1929 and 1955.

October 24, 1995 was the last total ellipse in the 20th century. If you want to watch the next total solar eclipse in Vietnam, you must wait for the next 75 years, which falls in the 21st century. It means that the next similar natural phenomena will occur again by April 11, 2070. At that time, it is sure that many people are gone, and there are no chances to stand on the ground and lookup.

Therefore, with their curiousness and unwillingness to miss the last chance of life, tens of thousands of people inside and outside the country scrambled to flock to Phan Thiet by all kinds of means, making the small coastal town really overloaded.

According to Researchers’ predictions, the total eclipse would take place at 11:14: 21 seconds and end at 12:55:17 seconds on October 24, 1995 at some high points such as Ta Zon Mountain, Ong Hoang Tower.

Hotels, motels charged their guests in USD, even a room in a deep alley, each tourist who wanted to stay overnight has to pay 200,000 VND but must fight for each other. And of course, few people could pay the rented accommodations; many others had to prepare tents, canvas, hammocks to stay in Phan Thiet for the field battle night.

Sea Sport Development is one of the province's advantages.

 “Big road has opened…”

Then, Golden hour (G-hour) came, thousands of people flocked to the tall areas across the coastal City of Phan Thiet to raise their eyes to the sky simultaneously. The total solar eclipse quickly took place, the dark color loomed and covered a large-scale , the temperature dropped a little bit, the birds flew back to their nest, and the roosters somewhere started crowing from far away. The solar eclipse ended and satisfied almost all of the beholders except a few ones. Most of them were proud of witnessing such rare phenomena of the late 20th century.

At the end of the solar eclipse, golden sunshine splendidly covered every corner of the city. Foodies started to overwhelm the streets to have lunch, obstructing such small Township with only few restaurants. A lot of people flocked to the beaches from Ong Dia rocky expanse to Mui Ne to eat ready-to-use food. All were extremely surprised at the local landscape with cool shadow of coconut trees, wild and clean beaches. Remarkably, they had not yet found any tourist services or resorts in the area at that time.

After such rare phenomena, people started flocking to Mui Ne to search for investment opportunities, causing a hike in real estate. From some first resorts and picnic areas such as: Pansea resort (known as Victoria resort now), “Bà Năm Hòn Rơm” outdoor tourist area, it has become a national tourist area approved by Prime Minister. 

Although 25 years is not long enough, Binh Thuan tourism has showed its spectacular changes in its infrastructures and architectural constructions. According to the Vietnam Administration of Tourism, the coastal city of Phan Thiet welcomed a number of 5.7 millions tourists in 2018, equivalent to that of Nha Trang and Da Nang, and 1.5 times higher than that of Phu Quoc. The figure has so far confirmed the City’s advantages in economic development of the Southeast region.

Additionally, Phan Thiet has owned wild and white sand dunes, blue sea and yellow sunshine, plus a lot of cutting-edges that can not find in any coastal cities in Vietnam. Particularly, Mui Ne has been listed among Top ten most beautiful beaches in the Asia-Pacific area according to Skyscanner site. In the meantime, My Destination, a UK’s travel site, has ranged Mui Ne as one of the six attractive and nice beaches in Vietnam.  

Remarkably, the triangle waters of Ca Na – Phan Thiet – Phu Quy which are located in the precious upwaters, is one of 18 most important and best coastal upturn areas in the world. This upwelling phenomenon in this sea area was discovered and studied by the French scientists Chevey and Krempt at the Indochina Institute of Oceanography since the 1930s. Scientific studies showed that such special features have determined the best quality of local seafood. However, Phan Thiet is still facing “bottlenecks” in terms of transportation, lack of high-grade entertainment and shopping centers. Visitors to Phan Thiet can only swim and enjoy seafood in some staying days that can not “pickpocket” the tourists like those in Nha Trang and Da Nang Cities.

The Prime Minister’s approval of Planning Mui Ne National Tourist area has turned the site into a leading destination in the Asia-Pacific region. Moreover, the Approval of Adjusting Phan Thiet Airport as one of the three largest airports in the Central Region, just followed by the airports of Cam Ranh and Da Nang.

Notably, the commencement of two sections of North south expressway of Vinh Hao – Phan Thiet – Dau Giay has opened up great investment opportunities for Binh Thuan tourism.

24 year-period flies so fast since the date we heard the rooster’ crowing on the Ba Nai hill next to the ruins of Ong Hoang tower while watching the Total eclipse. It was not a normal sound as it awakened the waters area, marking the name of Phan Thiet-Mui Ne on the global tourist map.

Translated by My Thien and Uyen Linh (Source: Binh Thuan Newspaper)

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