There is one place in Vietnam that is always ranked as top of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the world. That is Phu Quoc Island – the pearl island which is best-known for its spectacular, diverse and pristine natural scenery. However, Kien Giang land is not only famous for the sea paradise Phu Quoc, but also known for the deserted but poetic and lyrical attraction of An Thoi Islands. Let’s explore the mysterious temptation of the deserted An Thoi Islands with Dailytravel in this article.
On the south-east coast of Phu Quoc is the port town of An Thoi, a major rival to Duong Dong as the tourism capital of the island. An Thoi is famed among divers for its numerous coral reefs and mesmerizing tropical fish. Popular pastimes here include fishing, snorkelling and boating. For all its beauty today, however, An Thoi was once hell on earth for generations of political prisoners and revolutionaries at the euphemistically named Coconut Tree Prison
What You Expect
Secluded cove, soft white sand, sparkling turquoise waters, tropical coral reef, no people – sound too good to be true? You actually won’t find this on Phu Quoc. To discover paradise, escape to the An Thoi islands, an archipelago of 15 islands and islets just off the southern coast of Phu Quoc.
The islands can be reached by charter boat. Though commercial boat tours advertise they go there, they never venture further than the first row to save on petrol – but the islands in the middle and the south are where it really gets gorgeous and special. Dive centres rarely do trips here even though several insiders told us the reef was better. The best way is a do-it-yourself adventure, and here’s how.
Where to Go
Hon Dua (Coconut Island) is the closest island to An Thoi town. The island is thick with forests of coconut and mango trees. Divers venturing off its western shore might find pieces of antique porcelain scattered around a sunken ship.
Roi Island is the second island south of An Thoi town, and while it is pretty chilled now there are big plans afloat for its development. There is a masterplan for Roi Island and it could end up looking like Vinpearl Resort off the coast of Nha Trang, all luxury hotels and water sports arenas. Get there before the developers move in. Squid and shrimp swim on the reef.
The third island out from An Thoi harbor is Hon Thom (Pineapple Island) and it is the largest of the archipelago, with two 100m high hills at its northern and southern tips, and its own harbor and native population. It is one of the busiest of the islands and is permanently cloaked with blue fishing boats. It is also very popular with tourists. Expect serious development in the near future!
Beyond Hon Thom the sea is sprinkled with tiny islands with colorful names: Vong Island, Hon Vang (Echo Island), Kim Qui (Yellow Tortoise Island), Hon Mong Tay (Short Gun Island), Dan Island, Dua Island, Muong Island, Gam Ghi Island (the Nha Trang Institute of Oceanography has launched a plan to protect its coral reef), May Rut island, and so on
What to Do
It’s prudent to go with a buddy. Also, if you’re on a tight budget, then gathering a few more new friends to join will help with the cost of the boat. We suggest preparing a picnic and why not make it memorable. We’re true desert island aficionados so we went all out: buy fresh seafood, vegetables, a wire grill and some charcoal at the market and have your guesthouse or a restaurant wash, prepare and marinade it (most are happy to do it for a negligible charge). They may even loan you a cool box and some plates and tongs. Buy plenty of drinks and remember to bring matches or a lighter.
It may be difficult to drag yourself away from Hon Xuong but Hon Gam Ghi gives you another spectacular vista and a reef (bring your own snorkel mask). And when it’s time to finally head back, remember to leave no trace and take all your rubbish with you.
Boat trips south are only possible during calm water months of November until April. Hiring a private boat through a commercial tour operator is quite pricey for small numbers but you’ll likely get a bigger boat.
An ideal varied ecosystem is thoroughly suitable for tourists to take an underwater world tour. Particularly, An Thoi Islands is renowned for top stunning coral reefs in Vietnam due to their variety in density and species. There are 17 kinds of stony and soft species and different sea anemones, which definitely arouse your wonder and satisfy any tourists with the snorkeling to observe coral reefs activity on this An Thoi Islands.
For tourists who are huge fans of risky sports, there is also one activity that would inspire you besides those entertainments above. That is reaching the submit of high and steep cliffs on An Thoi Island (of course with a dedicated support from the locals). People lives on An Thoi Island mostly go fishing or plant fruit trees for living. Even they have not known yet how to develop tourism like people on Phu Quoc Island, they are all hospitable and helpful people. They are willing to guide and support yous whatever they can, for example: catching sea urchins crawling on rocks and making some specialties to banquet you, showing you how to catch fishes and squids and so forth.
How to Get There
An Thoi is home to the main ferry port for services from Rach Gia on the mainland, as well as the islands naval bases and the majority of the islands fish sauce factories.
There are regular ferry services from Rach Gia but be careful to travel only when the seas are calm (only a problem in the rainy season), to avoid an unpleasant trip alongside nauseous passengers.
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