Phu Quy Island, also called Thu or Khoai Islet, is 120km from Phan Thiet City, between the mainland and Truong Sa Archipelago. The island covers 16 square kilometers and has many cultural and religious relics typical of central coast farming communities.
By Le Ba Lu in Phan Thiet
A stunning beach on Phu Quy Island Phu Quy Island, also called Thu or Khoai Islet, is 120km from Phan Thiet City, between the mainland and Truong Sa Archipelago. The island covers 16 square kilometers and has many cultural and religious relics typical of central coast farming communities.
We left Phan Thiet Port at 7 a.m. The slow boat took eight hours. I was seasick most of the way because of the bumpy conditions. It was very tiring, but I jumped up straight away when the siren signaled our arrival.
Seen from the sea, Phu Quy Island looks like a dragon playing with clouds. From another angle it looks like a giant whale crossing the ocean.
Linh Son Pagoda on Cao Cat Mountain The port is very busy. The locals speak with an accent that is hard to understand but they are very friendly. There are plenty of houses and coconut trees. Despite no fresh water streams, drinking water isn’t a problem because it can be pumped up from underground.
The island has many hills, knolls and sand dunes. Most of administrative offices, stadiums, schools, entertainments and traffic systems on the island are still new and there’s a few more being built. It looks a bit urban but there are no numbers and no street names.
During four days on the island, I visited many places and met many foreign backpackers who were there to enjoy swimming or surfing on the island’s stunning beaches or bicycling around the trails. It has tourism appeal and will probably take off as a new destination in a few years.
I visited Linh Quang Pagoda in Tam Thanh Commune, which is over 250 years old, and contains artifacts from the Nguyen Dynasty. Also, Thay Nai Temple built in the 17th century is a place where fishermen come to worship. Every year, locals hold a festival to pray for peace and better life.
A stone house by the sea - Photos: Le Ba Lu Linh Son Pagoda, located on Cao Cat Mountain at 120 meters above sea level, is a beautiful building. It’s very peaceful. From there, I looked out across the island to see tiny boats drifting on the sea and coconut palms, the people in the town looked as small as ants.
When you come to Phu Quy you have to try the seafood - grilled lobsters, steamed turtle with salt and many kinds of dishes made of squid, oysters and clams. Long Vi Restaurant near Thay Nai Temple is a good venue.
There are just six hotels and guest houses in Tam Thanh Commune and they are all well equipped. The island only has power from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. everyday, but the weather at nighttime is a bit cold so there’s no need for a fan.
Phu Quy Island District comprises 10 islands, of which only Phu Quy is inhabited. The district has three communes, 5,466 households with 27,000 people, most of them fishermen.