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Quy Nhon Salangane Island

Called the "island", it is actually in the territory of Phuong Mai Peninsula. Trieu Chau ranges to the sea, stretching about 15 km, forming undulating mountains, so it is called with funny names as Hon Mai, Hon Chop Vung, Nui Cot Co, Nui Den, etc. The southern mountain is called Hon Yen. Every spring, when the weather is warm, the salanganes gather here to make nests.

Therefore, the ending part of the peninsula is also called Mui Yen. Phuong Mai peninsula is as a huge dinosaur protecting Quy Nhon City from giant waves and strong winds. The nature here has created a beautiful picture and bestowed a treasure. It is the bird nest (salanganes’ nests) – a high-quality specialty loved by people all over the world.


Salangane Island previously belonged to Xuong Ly and Huong Mai Village. In the south Xuong Ly is Nha Phien lagoon, in the north of it is Hung Luong (both are located in Nhon Ly Commune). The first settlers in Xuong Ly was from Nghe An, so far there have been 10 generations.  Huong Mai village, which is actually Hai Giang village, Hai Dong, Hai Nam and Hai Minh, now belongs to Nhon Hai Commune. Before 1975, Nhon Ly and Nhon Hai belonged to Trung An, Phu Cat District; after 1955, it belonged to Tuy Phuoc district, now in the city of Quy Nhon.

Salangane Island is a wonderful natural scenery with natural thousands-year-old caves with high arches hundreds of meters tall. Inside the caves are high cliffs suitable for the salangane to come and build nests. There are about 30 caves of all sizes on the island, concentrating mainly in Nhon Ly and Nhon Hai Commune. People can get from 100 to 300 bird nests a year in small caves as Rung Cao, Hang Doi, Hang Ba Nghe, Hang Can, Hang Hep, Hang Ham Xe, Hang Phanh, etc. However, in big caves as Hang Ca, Hang Doi Trong, Hang Doi Ngoai, Hang Hich, Hang Suc Khoe, Hang Nghim, Hang Kho, Hang Can, Hang Co,  especially those facing toward the east or southeast with cool, fresh ceiling water and the ocean waves below, people can obtain from 14,000 to 15,000 nests a year.


If you have a chance to visit salangane islands in the spring, we will see herds of salangane flying in the sky, chirping to each other. Although living in such herds, salangane is the species living in pairs. According to the documentation of some researchers, there exist on Quy Nhon salangane islands two species: normal salangane and salangane. Normal salangane has larger body with nests made of dry grass or rubbish taken from the cliff. Salangane is rare birds. This kind of salangane is physically small as sparrows but it flies very well. They feed by biting prey on the sea. It is said that this kind of bird can fly 10 consecutive hours without a break. They make nest with their own saliva. Each day they secrete a little saliva, spun back to the nest. After a while, the nest is dry and it looks like the ears firmly attaching the cave ceiling. After finishing the nest that is right its size, it starts reproducing.


Salangane nest was known as the source of economic benefit for a long time. According to historical documents, salangane nest exploitation existed in Binh Dinh for a long time. By the 19th century, in the session about Binh Dinh speciality, Dai Nam Nhat Thong Chi said that: “People who exploit salanganes' nest on offshore islands have to pay tax and each person has to submit 10 kilograms a year”. There are many types of nests. The red or pink ones  are the most expensive and precious, the one with ivory white ears, the one with thin ears has the worst quality.


Taking salanganes’ nests is a dangerous job. Previously, in addition to courage, this job requires hereditary nature. Today, this business has been managed and the exploiters are carefully trained. However, to become a good exploiter, beside knowledge and experience, he needs to be mentally strong, calm, brave and skillful. To be able to get the nest on the walls and ceiling of the cave, exploiters have to build the bamboo scaffold on which they can walk. With high caves, the bamboo scaffolds consist of 300 bamboo trees. The column must be connected from 4 to 5 bamboo to the top. How to get the nest is also very meticulous. With far-away ears, people have to use long sticks with nails on the top to extract them. In the dry climate, before taking the nests, it is necessary to spray water into the nest to soften it and prevent it from being broken. 


Previously, salangane nest exploitation was completely spontaneous and exploiters had to pay high taxes, so people tried to exploit as much as they could, which led this natural resource to the danger of depletion. Today, thanks to the awareness of the importance of maintaining and developing this resource, exploiters must comply with a strict schedule. January and February are the season when they make nests, so the first harvest is one month after that. The second harvest is the time when the chicks are mature enough to fly away for prey. The third harvest is less exploited, primarily to support their population growth conditions. The annual yield in Binh Dinh is estimated at more than 700 kilograms. This is a export resource bringing high economic benefits to the province.


Coming to the islands, visitors can not only admire the spectacular outside scenery, they can also have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the spectacular wonders created by nature if they go further to the caves. On the cliffs, interspersed the little water droplets falling are tiny white spots like a starry sky of the summer nights. The nests are woven tightly together into long chains, where the female salanganes are spreading their wings to keep warmth for their chicks, sometimes they can hear the birds chirping asking for food. The sound of the waves, of falling water, of flapping wings, of chirping birds all mix together to create an exotic tone, giving us the feeling of entering the heaven.


Salangance Islands are not only famous for their beautiful scenery but also for the historical and cultural relics passed down from Champa to Tay Son Dynasty and Nguyen reign. Visitors will have opportunities to visit Phat Loi Pagoda with mysterious Cham statue, to admire Tam Toa Mountain admire with monuments related to Uy Minh Vuong and Nhat Quang from Ly Dynasty and the Tay Son warriors in the seventeenth century. They can also Ho Ky fortress with holes to put the cannons in, the traces of the sea defense works founded by our ancestors.


As a perfect art picture with natural appearance, these islands are places where visitors can miss oncethey set foot on Quy Nhon City.


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