|Hon Thom: A Getaway close to nature|
|17:30' 12/01/2006 (GMT+7)|
Hon Thom (Pineapple Islet) is one of the many harbours of Phu Quoc Island, which lies in the Gulf of Thailand, 45 km from Ha Tien and 15 km south of the coast of Cambodia.
However, compared to other harbours where international and domestic ships anchor, the small port city is arguably the most lively and crowded with some unique characters.
With an area of 400 hectares, Hon Thom has sloping seashore, white sand, coral reefs and about 110 fishermen. The primitive view of huge rocks, hills and few people could easily worry tourists on their way to the islet.
However, as the boat draws nearer, the view takes a completely different turn. There is a crowded fishing village with different kinds of fishing boats. The area is said to be a good fishing place with a large number of shrimps and fishes. One can also see how a good fisherman dive and catch small groupers and arcas with bare hands. Next to the fishing boats are small rafts supplying marine products ranging from crabs to cuttlefishes to visitors.
Upon entering the shore, visitors can enjoy a small but crowded market which sells ready-made clothes, canned food and footwear. There are tens of food stalls too. The two round-trip boat routes to the islet ensure the market always has fresh food. The eateries serve mainly to fishermen from neighbouring areas such as Ca Mau, Phu Quoc Island and Rach Gia who have anchored for trading and rest.
“Residents here make up a small quantity,” Vo Thanh Hien, a food stall owner, said. “We mainly serve fishermen who are here temporarily.” He said that he and his wife came here to settle eight months ago. “It is common to make million of dongs a day in our eatery,” he added.
Visitors can go along a one-kilometre sand road where coconut trees link the two poles of the islet that looks like it has “cut” the islet in two equal parts. The road is the islet’s equivalent of downtown - there are motorbike taxi services, karaoke section, ice-making factory, post office and drinking stalls. Most of the islet’s residents live along the road.
The islet has only 567 households but 62 service and trading outlets and many stalls, according to Hon Thom Commune’s secretary Tran Hong Cam. And the ice-making factory turns out about 1,800 tons of ice, making up 65% of the commune’s total budget.
Ships cannot land at Hon Thom, so motored boats transport tourists to the islet. It costs VND 10,000 for four people.
Everyone owns two houses
When Cam says, “Hon Thom’s residents are the rich. Most of households here have two houses,” it sounds like a joke. But it isn’t.
Because of its geography, Hon Thom residents can live in the islet’s southern region for eight months only. From the 3rd to 7th lunar months, they must move to the north region to avoid strong winds. Of course, the hundreds of stalls and services move too.
So residents here build houses in both the north and south. “If we live only in the southern region, we cannot afford daily life,” said Hien, who bought two foundations of houses costing a mere VND 600,000 each.
Vietnam is the great choice for your trip.