A Journey to the Salangane Islands
Update: May 18, 2015
Tourists visit the Salangane Islands in the central province of Khanh Hoa for the cruises in glass bottom boats to view coral reefs and tours to climb up to the top of Du Ha mountain. They go to visit the temple for worshipping the creator of the bird nest harvesting industry and to enter caves where salanganes build their nests. During the summer, these islands have a large number of foreign and domestic visitors.
Tourist boats that carry travellers from the Vinpearl port to the
Salangane islands

According to the historical archives of Khanh Hoa Province, in 1328, during a mission to the South, Le Van Dat, a commander of the Tran Dynasty’s army, with his entourage had to land on Hon Tre Island to take refuge from a gale. He then by chance discovered islands inhabited by salanganes in the waters of Binh Khang District (present-day Khanh Hoa Province) and decided to stay in this area to start the harvesting of salanganes’ nests. With the strategic vision of a general, he set up teams to protect and develop this precious resource. The bird nest industry began at that time and the commander was honoured as its creator.

Salangane Island is not the proper name of a particular island, but all islands which are home to salangales are named that. In Cam Ranh Bay, Noi Island and Ngoai Island are the islands that have the greatest number of these birds. We got an opportunity to make a Salangane Island journey departing from Cau Da Port in Nha Trang on a glass bottom boat. The ship wove its way through islands that had big rocks of unusual shapes jutting out into the sea. More than an hour later, we made the first stop of our journey on Sam Island. There, we took pictures of birds flying above the guards’ small houses clingingf to a steep cliff.

Bird nest harvesters’ towers cling to the cliffs

Continuing our journey on the boat, we saw a coral "forest" through the glass bottom of the boat. Sitting on the boat designed with see-through glass panes at its bottom, we were able to see ocean life at a depth of about 6-7m. According to a tour guide from the Khanh Hoa Salangane Nest Company, thanks to strict protection, the coral reefs as well as the marine habitats in this area are kept almost intact, and have a variety of types and colors.

Our boat docked at Noi Island, which is called the capital of Salanganes. We followed a staff member of the Khanh Hoa Salangane Nest Company to cross a wood bridge designed to skirt the steep cliffs to the top of Du Ha Mountain. From the mountain peak, we took pictures of the natural beauty of the islands. It was fascinating to see various islets in front of us. Among these islets, Ngoai Island has the largest amount of salangane nests in Viet Nam.

In the waters of the Salangane islands visitors can scuba dive and look
at the coral reefs

From the top of Du Ha Mountain, we also saw twin beaches formed by a sand bar bending in two directions. The surface of the sea was so calm with emerald coloured water that we indulged ourselves in swimming and looking at live coral reefs and various types of colorful fish.

After a long journey with a lot of interesting discoveries on Noi island, we bought numerous souvenirs made from salangane nests to take home as gifts, such as original swift nests, natural swift nest purified drink, Sanest high-grade drink and salangane nest ginseng drink.