The Anam is launching a Sunset Cruise replete with dinner and Dom Perignon bubbles down Nha Trang’s Cai River.
Puttering past pagodas, jungle-clad mountains and rice paddies, the cruise aboard a traditional wooden Vietnamese fishing boat follows a modern white Vespa visiting attractions on the river’s northern bank including the Po Nagar Cham Towers. After a taste of Vietnamese coffee at Cong Café, covered in paraphernalia such as old books, typewriters and kerosene lamps from the country’s Subsidy Period, guests rummage through the Po Nagar Cham Towers standing upon a granite knoll near the river’s mouth.
Built to honor the goddess Po Nagar between the seventh and 12th centuries under the vanquished Champa Kingdom’s reign, four redbrick towers with carved epitaphs to Cham kings and turreted and pyramidal roofs remain today, including the 75-foot-high Po Nagar Kalan, one of the tallest Cham structures in the world. The Vespas then zip down small alleyways to reach Sunshine Bar, a venue overlooking the river where cocktails are served before the five-metre-long boat collects the guests.
As the sun makes its descent the cruise, which caters to a maximum of eight guests, progresses upstream to the timber Phu Kieng bridge before moving back downstream by night and returning to the bar, covering a couple miles in just over one and a half hours. A chef prepares a personalized Vietnamese or Western menu featuring fresh seafood, prime cuts and/or vegetarian dishes, served during the cruise with two bottles of Dom Perignon, wine and Saigon Beer.
Cai River stretches 275 miles. It begins at Gia Le mountain in Vietnam’s Central Highlands and flows through Dak Lak and Khanh Hoa provinces before reaching Nha Trang, which lies at its mouth.
The Anam says the river has played an integral role in the development of Nha Trang as a port city. It is believed the name Nha Trang derives from a Vietnamese spelling of the Cham people’s name for the river, Ya Trang, which translates to reed river.