The Ngoc Thao Island
Nha Trang Travel Blog› entry 51 of 126 › view all entries
Four islands shape the Cai River near its mouth. The largest is the most upstream and I explored a small part of it last year looking for a view of the railroad bridge. With no cars on it, the Ngoc Thao island is also somewhat pleasant to discover by bicycle and I already knew my way to its church. Today, I explored the island further and found views of the railroad bridge without having to climb the bell tower.
Beyond the church, the setting became rustic and I followed every well-used lane, trail, or footpath that meandered through coconut grove. Air was fresh and cool in the shade of the tall palms. Most trails dead-ended at small banana plantations or well-fenced houses that had been occupied for generations. Their alert dogs told me when to turn back. Only nearer the town did a small pack of dogs chase me at biting distance.
Two of the trails put me on riverbanks at either side of the island, close to its tip. The south side, facing Nha Trang, had fewer trees and the dirt trail opened to the river. I could see two and a half of the four spans of the railroad bridge, maybe a mile upstream. I loitered there awhile to savor the thrill of discovery. I tried to reach the tip of the island but it was inaccessible without trespassing several one- or two-acre plantations. On the north side, I walked the bike along a grassy footpath toward a bamboo stand on the riverbank. At a small clearing in tropical woods, I could see most of one span as a freight train headed toward Nha Trang.