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(Note: all prices in all categories increase by around 30% on weekends and public holidays.)[MAP] The newest addition to the spattering of accommodation options on Cam Lap Promontory is great news for budget travellers.
The eastern side of the promontory boasts a series of gently arcing bays with excellent white-sand beaches separated by giant boulders lying in the sand like unfinished sculptures; there’s even some decent coral just offshore.The squid fishermen go out into the bay in the evenings, returning early to mid-morning, when they can be found in the narrow back-streets of the fishing hamlets, eating snacks and drinking beer and rice wine before going to bed.At some of the accommodation options you may be able to arrange a night out on-board one of the squid fishing vessels.Needless to say, both the squid (Because Cam Ranh Bay is such a good natural harbour, it has a history of military importance: both the USA and the USSR had naval stations here in the 20th century, and today the Vietnamese navy control it tightly.This is one of the reasons given to me by local people when I ask why such a beautiful place has yet to see significant development (not that I’m complaining about it, of course).It’s the kind of place you fall in love with, and one that, for the time being, really does deserve the overused epithet of ‘hidden gem’.
Beaches don’t get much better than this in Vietnam, and yet, if you visit on a weekday (avoiding weekends and national holidays), you will probably have the chalky, white-sand, boulder-studded beaches and mirror-flat, jade-blue sea all to yourself.The lobsters are farmed in cages submerged in the seawater; you’ll see (and smell) the barnacled cages drying in the sun on the beaches.Most of the bays on Cam Lap Promontory are still working beaches: they haven’t been cleaned up for tourists, so you’ll see boats coming ashore with their catch, and woven coracles floating just offshore tending to their fishing nets.Although tourism reached Cam Lap Promontory, it’s still in its infancy, and this is a big part of its appeal.Accommodation ranges from beach camping to cozy dormitories to plush villas on stilts above the bay.The western side is more rugged, characterized by a handful of sheltered coves which provide natural harbours for small fishing fleets and remote settlements.