I just wanted to go somewhere where I had never been in Da Nang, and I wanted to go there on a public bus. Why not? There are several bus routes in Da Nang, you can visit remote places this way.
First, I searched a tempting location on Google.Maps and found that small woody peninsula which you can see in the middle of the map:
Nam Ô 1 neighborhood on Google.Maps
The area surrounded by red line is Nam Ô neighborhood on the map of Da Nang City:
There is the main tourist attraction there, Bãi Rêu Nam Ô. This is how the place is showed in Google.Maps reviews:
In the reviews, I found pictures of mossy stones with a horde of people taking images with mobile phones. I concluded that this tourist attraction is a place that visited by locals, especially, at weekends as it happens to local landmarks everywhere in the world. I thought it wasn't bad to me since I wouldn't look a complete intruder in this suburban neighborhood. (A spoiler: my calculations were wrong.)
Nam Ô is situated at the edge of Da Nang City, and is officially considered to be part of suburb Liên Chiểu. You can reach the place on bus #5 which starts at My Khe beach and conveniently ends at Nam Ô 1 neighborhood (check actual routs on the official site of Da Nang bus transportation). The bus trip lasts around 50 minutes - a sort of long + you can additionally wait for a bus for half an hour at a bus stop.
Nam O Beach is situated inside the Da Nang Bay, shaped as a jar, separated from the open sea by peninsulas. For that reason, I thought the seawaters there would be calmer than at My Khe and My Am beaches. But the reality was the opposite.
Despite the sunny weather, water was raging. Look at this:
The beach is steep at some places there because water has just flattened the sand mass with raging waves. From the top of this sand ridge to the bottom is around 2 meters. I felt I was standing at the edge of a ominous pit.
The sea was unusually rough. At My Khe, the waves come in a wide front, cover the gently sloping sand beach with a “water blanket”, and then, pull this blanket back. Even if waves are big, it happens like this - calmly, normally. At Nam Ô Beach, it was different - waves reminded me water splashing in a bowl, hard hitting the sides and abruptly bouncing off. It gave me a frightening feeling.
The shore was strewn with garbage from the sea,
no crowds of Instagrammers as I expected, just local fishermen some of whom glanced at me with (friendly) curiosity.
I also met a dog but she was cautious and well-educated.
The horizon was cuter; a distant view to Da Nang downtown opened up there:
In Google.Maps reviews, I also saw many basket boats floating in this bay but, on November 4, there were only rough waves there. But eventually I found the boats:
All pulled onto the shore.
The water at this corner of Nam O beach was calmer:
Another disaster in this area was construction:
Once it was a beautiful bay by the village Nam O, and now it is turning into big money's hub, a strip of hotels between tiny houses of local fishermen and workers and the sea. That's just ridiculous considering Vietnam is officially socialistic.
I was approaching mossy stones' beach expecting to see a bunch of Instagramers there (at last) but I found a beer party of local guys instead:
It was Saturday evening, guys were relaxing on mats by the sea, drinking beer, joking, laughing. When they noticed me, they turned excited and wanted me to join them.
Can't say I was happy to this encounter. If it was my first time in Vietnam, then meeting locals, even drunk, would be fun... But it wasn't the first or the second stay of mine in this country. And that incidental party could steal the golden hour from me (it was already 4:15 pm). And I was in the mood for searching beauty, not for talking to a crowd of drunk men.
But I am thankful to the guys for their hospitality and friendliness. I had a beer can (to shouts "drink to the bottom!"), ate peanuts and a piece of squid. I expressed my gratitude to them, and took photo for good memories upon their request... 10 minutes later, I was stepping towards the mossy stones, exhaling with relief.
The stones were supposed to be there:
Probably, they were underwater. It would be a disappointment if not the fact that mossy stones are just regular stones covered with regular algae. 😁 I went to Nam Ô to explore the area as a whole so I didn't feel upset.
Meanwhile, the sun was disappearing behind clouds; the weather stole the golden hour from me... 😢
I turned back hoping nobody from the drinking party would notice me.
On the way, I found a place of worship (called Đình Bà Nam Ô as it turned out later):
Meeting Local People
As it was Saturday, it was hard not to meet people. But this time, I didn't mind to talk to someone (better sober) since the sun was almost gone.
The last image depicts Louis at the balcony of his house. He is a Canadian pensioner, but he is Vietnamese who had left the country in 1980. Nowadays, he visits Vietnam in winters to be away from Montreal frosts. He found me at the beach and invited to visit his dwelling.
I think he was glad to meet someone who speaks English to share his numerous story and opinions. We had beer and fruits, and discussed politics and history.
Louis really wanted me to visit him again, and, when he asked me to do so again, I told him "but how I will be able to find your house?", meaning it was just one of many buildings in the neighborhood unfamiliar to me... And this question sounded as a half-promise. That's why next day, I decided to return to Nam Ô...
The Second (Weird) Visit to Nam Ô
The beginning was promising:
Kids I had met on the 1st visit turned excited when they saw me again. And I easily found the house. But Louis was absent...
Women I had met on the first visit gestured the direction he had gone and a sort of told me to search for him.
I was walking along alleys of the neighborhood for a while. Many people were drinking there (Sunday).
Drunk women, whom I asked if they knew Louis, invited me to sit and were flirting to me in an embarrassing way. I managed to leave them but was stopped by drinking men and had to have a talk to them while they couldn't understand a word of English... Talking to drunk Vietnamese workers "I am searching for a man, not any but someone I know...." 😁 isn't easiest thing to do with gestures... So... I decided to leave. I just wasn't in the mood for endless pantomime with every drunk fisherman in Da Nang... 😕
The weather was overcast, I felt being tired, and my spirits were low... And then the Universe sent a light person to me who cleared my darkened mind.
A teenage came to me and started to talk good English. He wanted to meet a foreigner and practice the language, it was clear, but he was also truly curious about me and how I live and what I did in Vietnam. I met so many dull people in my life who just asked random questions with zero emotion and zero intellectual interest... But this adolescent was different, a bright-minded one. He was so respectful and friendly, so longing to knowledge.
We chatted for a quarter of hour, and the whole communication was curing to me. We said goodbye to each other, and I set out to the bus stop to take bus #5 back to Da Nang downtown...
More images and stories from Southeast Asia are ahead! Check out the previous ones on my personal Pinmapple map, including 16 posts from Da Nang City.
I took the images with a Nikkor 70-300mm and Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G on Nikon D750 on November 4 and 5, 2023 in Nam Ô, Da Nang, Vietnam.