After the eventful day on the islands of Nha Trang archipelago, we took a few days off adventures. Andon’s phone got stolen while we were at the beach and inevitably,several problems appeared. Besides, we had to start thinking about prolonging our visas as it seemed the best to stay in Vietnam longer due to the COVID-19. While dealing with these mundane practicalities, we took our time to explore the city, its coffee shops and eateries (we will write a separate article on food since it is has turned out to be one of the central themes of our journey here - it doesn’t cease to surprise us despite me eating more limited range of foods as vegetarian/pescatarian).
So, after a longer break, we decided to rent a motorbike, wake up with the sunrise (~5:30) and drive to a well known sightseeing spot, Ba Ho waterfalls. After driving for some half an hour, we arrived. Surprised to see a ticket booth and barriers everywhere, we were even more surprised that we had to wait for another half an hour until the ticket seller will start her workday. Once inside, we were met by huge, tacky statues (the locals apparently love their own approach to kitsch very much). Passing through a resort-hotel area, some closed cafes and other man-made tourist attractions, we came upon a start of a trail. The alternative route to reach the waterfalls was an asphalt road.
Here you can see one of my favourite statues on the site (no sarcasm) - the wolf - and Andon.
Several information boards were instructing wearing hiking shoes and being prepared for, apparently, a challenging hike. Although wearing sandals, we chose the “challenging path” and found it amusing as the trail was quite wide gravel track with some pebbles and bigger stones in the way - it looked almost as if someone would have made this trail artificially. The path led through a valley full of stones, surrounded by trees, it was very enjoyable even if we found the hiking challenge too easy on us. The air was already very warm but still pleasant for physical activity, and the raising sun lit the surroundings in a soft, warm yellow light.
We found some beautiful flora and fauna during this visit, like this peculiar tree (?) with the fruit/seeds in various stages on the same stem as well as this bright blossomed plant:
The “challenging hiking route” offered both view platforms and places for rest/making selfies.
After 30-40 mins we reached the point where the paved road meets our “hiking trail”.
After having some laugh on “no lettering” and other weird prohibition signs, we resumed our hike. Then it finally dawned on us: the real hiking starts here, no matter which road one would have taken until this point. The route had some Via Ferrata elements, some ropes and other supporting constructions to make the hike easier and safer.
Ba Ho waterfall has three cascades but the last one seemed the most impressive and there the basin was the largest, so we took a dip.
On our way to the waterfall, we noticed some brightly coloured, loudly singing birds. We were too slow to catch them on the camera but on our way back we got very lucky. First, we came across an ant highway with biggest number of lanes I’ve ever seen; plus, there were guarding ants positioning themselves perpendicularly to the traffic flow on the outer sides:
This was already impressive but what awaited us at the end of the visit was the most amazing creature I’ve seen in Vietnam. On the way back, we took the paved path, and a few hundred metres from the resort area, in the last bits of the wild forest alongside the path, I noticed a nice rock with tree roots hugging it so I wanted to take a photograph. There, I spotted something bright blue. It was the most beautiful lizard I’ve ever seen! It sat on the rock for a good while, and moved slowly, becoming a great model for the few photos I took from a distance, fearing to scare her away.
By doing the Google image search, we figured out that it is called the Indo-Chinese forest lizard (Calotes mystaceus), harmless insect eater, luckily “no known practical uses” indicated on its Wikipedia page so at least we can be sure locals are not catching them out for eating.