Khanh Hoa, the coastal province in Central Vietnam, is not only famous for its white sand beaches, entertainment parks and luxurious resorts of Nha Trang, but it is also well-known for the coastal villages and their traditional cultural traits. Coming to Khanh Hoa, besides Nha Trang City, tourists should not ignore a trip to rural areas and experience the life of the locals there. Hon Khoi Salt Fields is a destination that is worth-exploring for those who are interested in daily activities of the local residents.
- Location: Hon Khoi, Ninh Hai Commune, Ninh Hoa District, Khanh Hoa Province
Opening hours: 04.00 AM – 08.00 AM and 03.00 PM – 06.00 PM
Entrance fee: no charge
Best for: traveling in groups, photographers
I. Highlights of Hon Khoi Salt Fields
1. History of Hon Khoi
According to the old villagers, the name Hon Khoi originated from a historical event in the 18th century. At that time, the remaining army of the Ming Dynasty in China who did not yield to the Qing Dynasty sailed on the sea to the south in order to settle in Vietnam. Some wealthy people with more favorable conditions could reach the southern part of Vietnam, while some others wandered the sea and became pirates.
Sometimes, these Chinese pirates came to loot offshore islands and coastal villages. Realizing the situation, the Nguyen Dynasty of Vietnam commanded that whenever the pirates appeared and plundered, the villagers had to set fire on the mountain peak so that the smoke could fly up on the sky, local mandarins could see the sign and come to rescue. Therefore, this area then was named Hon Khoi.
Associating with the name Hon Khoi is the salt works that have nourished many generations of this land. Only by coming to Hon Khoi can tourists feel the beauty of the salt workers who are not only hard-working and resilient but also friendly and hospitable.
2. Beauty of Hon Khoi Salt Fields
It can be said that the beauty of Hon Khoi Salt Fields is the beauty of humans – the beauty of salt makers while they are working in the fields.
Hon Khoi Salt Fields is one of the largest salt-making areas in Central Vietnam, which is nearly 400 hectares and production can reach nearly 740,000 tons of salt each year. Not only does this work help the locals to manage their life but also makes Hon Khoi become a place of interest for many visitors.
Making salt is a long and difficult process, which requires a lot of effort from people and depends much on nature. Sea water is pumped into the large fields and exposed to the sun until the water completely evaporates in the sunshine. The more sunlight is in the fields, the faster is the process. Despite working under harsh conditions like that, the salt makers still have a strong attachment to their works since it is the cradle fostering their life.
On the way to Hon Khoi Salt Fields, from afar, tourists can even realize the smell of salt and the hot wind blowing from the sea. When reaching Hon Khoi, visitors can contemplate the vast salt fields sparkling under the sunshine. The shimmering water surface of the salt fields reflects the images of blue sky and humans, drawing an impressive picture about the work of the locals in Hon Khoi Salt Fields.
Salt-making is not an easy process but requires endurance, strength and hard work. In Hon Khoi Salt Fields, men are in charge of raking and collecting salt into heaps, while women undertake carrying the sea salt to processing places in their bamboo frames. The rate of working activity in Hon Khoi Salt Fields is quite quick and busy from early morning to late in the afternoon.
Most of the salt workers in the fields are middle-age women. To protect themselves from the hard working conditions, they all wear long-sleeve coats, gloves, facemask and conical hats. Under the intense heat, their skin turns brown but when seeing the tourists, they still give a fond smile to welcome their guests. The image of women in conical hats carrying loads of salt on their shoulders is surely the most impressive thing that visitors can see in Hon Khoi Salt Fields.
Appearing on international newspapers and magazines recently, Hon Khoi Salt Fields of Khanh Hoa immediately captures the attention of many domestic and foreign visitors, especially those who are keen on taking photographs. At dawn and sunset, the whole field turns into a giant yellow mirror reflecting the first and last lights of the day.
II. What to See and Do in Hon Khoi Salt Fields?
1. Taking gorgeous photos
Known as a landscape with “white snow in summer”, Hon Khoi Salt Fields is an ideal place for shooting photos. At each time of the day, the field has its own beauty, but the early morning and late afternoon are considered as the best times. The perfect combination of sky, fields and humans makes a dreamlike background, which will help tourists to have stunning photos without any adjustment of photoshop. And hence, Hon Khoi Salt Fields attracts not only amateur photographers but also many professional ones.
2. Experiencing a day of a salt worker
Though Hon Khoi Salt Fields is not an eco-tourism area with quality tourism services, visitors can still get a chance to experience the life of the salt makers there. The working hours of the locals are from 4.00 to 8.00 AM and from 3.30 to 6.00 PM. The weather at this time is not too boiling hot, which is suitable for outside activities. The other periods of the day with harsh conditions are not a good choice. Trying to do the daily activities of the salt workers will make you empathize with the difficult life of people in Hon Khoi and respect their works in every grain of salt you eat daily.
3. Visiting Doc Let Beach
Another destination tourist should not miss when coming to Hon Khoi Salt Fields is Doc Let Beach, a pristine location of Ninh Hoa District. Like most beaches in Nha Trang, Doc Let Beach has a crystal and calm sea with a 2.5-kilometer white sandbank. On the sand beach, coconut palms spread in length, giving shadow for tourists to relax and enjoy their drinks. Not very far from the shore are green islands undulating in the ocean waves. On a hot summer day, what can be more thrilling than immersing yourself in the cool clear water of the beach.
4. Enjoying local foods
Khanh Hoa in general and Hon Khoi in particular is famous for its seafoods that are newly caught and freshly cooked. A variety of seafoods, including sea fish, crab, shrimp and squid will be processed into mouth-watering dishes, which contain all the aroma and flavor of Khanh Hoa sea. Not only that, coming to Ninh Hoa District, grilled meat roll is a specialty no one should turn down to try. All the freshness and sweetness of meat and vegetables are in a roll, and the similar flavor cannot be found anywhere in Vietnam.
III. Best Time to Visit Hon Khoi Salt Fields
The salt-harvesting season in Hon Khoi Salt Fields is from January to July annually. The period between April and June is considered as the best time to obtain high quality salt since it is the most scorching hot at that time. Therefore, in spite of the high temperature, these times are the most ideal for tourism activities.
If you want to meet the salt workers of Hon Khoi Salt Fields, you had better start your trip at 4.00 in the morning and 03.30 in the afternoon. After 8.00 AM, tourists can see an immense and tranquil field with only the white color of salt and blue color of sky.
Mid-day is not a recommended time because the harsh heat might cause you some health problems.
IV. How to Get to Hon Khoi Salt Fields?
Hon Khoi Salt Fields in Ninh Hoa District is about 40 kilometers from Nha Trang City, so you can travel by car, taxi and motorbike.
From Nha Trang City, you follow Highway 1C then Highway 1A to reach Ninh Diem Ward of Ninh Hoa District. There you turn right to get to Hon Khoi Salt Fields. It takes you about 1 hour and 10 minutes to go by car or taxi and 1.5 hour to go by motorbike to reach Hon Khoi Salt Fields.
V. Extra Tips
- The weather in Hon Khoi is relatively hot all time of the day, so you should prepare an umbrella or large-brim hat, long-sleeve shirt, sunscreen and water.
- You should not visit Hon Khoi Salt Fields at mid-day because the weather at that time is extremely hot.
- If you want to experience the salt-making activities of the locals, be free to ask for their permission.
- Doc Let Beach is a striking location to finish your day trip to Ninh Hoa.
- Some specialties that you should try when coming to Hon Khoi as well as Ninh Hoa are grilled meat roll, fish noodles, Lua salads and many other kinds of seafoods.
If you have a chance to visit Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa, you should not miss a trip to Hon Khoi Salt Fields. This is a landscape where you can experience the hard-working life of the locals, contemplate their works and admire the plain beauty of the salt fields. Beautiful scenery and friendly people will leave long-lasting impressions on all visitors to Hon Khoi Salt Fields.