Idyllic life on far-flung Tho Chu Island

By Huynh Nhi   January 18, 2021 | 10:17 pm GMT+7
Residents of Tho Chu Island in the southwestern tip of Vietnam have to move to various parts of the island to avoid storms during the annual monsoon season.
Tho Chu is one of eight islands in the namesake archipelago in Kien Giang Province, 100 kilometers from Phu Quoc City and an important base to protect Vietnam’s territorial waters. The local administration has established a route by boat ‘Tho Chau 09’ (ko hieu) to help naval personnel and visitors travel from Phu Quoc to Tho Chu Island.

Tho Chu is one of eight islands in the namesake archipelago in Kien Giang Province, 100 kilometers from Phu Quoc and an important base to protect Vietnam’s territorial waters.

The island has 2,000 inhabitants mostly in the Bai Dong and Bai Ngu areas. They earn a living by farming fish. Violent winds and storms during the monsoon force them to move back and forth between the two places, hence the nickname ‘wind escape island.’ Photo courtesy of Nguyen Van.

The island has 2,000 inhabitants mostly in the Bai Dong and Bai Ngu areas. They earn a living from fishing and aquaculture.
Violent winds and storms during the monsoon force them to move back and forth between the two places, hence the nickname ‘wind escape island.’

Starting in the ninth lunar month, people live in Bai Ngu to avoid northern winds. In the fourth lunar month they move to Bai Dong to avoid southern winds. The photo was taken in the seventh lunar month and so boats and floating raft houses are all in Bai Dong.

Starting in the ninth lunar month, people live in Bai Ngu to avoid northern winds. In the fourth lunar month they move to Bai Dong to avoid southern winds.
The photo was taken in the seventh lunar month and so boats and floating raft houses are all in Bai Dong.

A small market near a hydro-meteorological center on the way to Bai Dong mainly sells fishing tools, especially squid jigs.

A small market near a hydro-meteorological center on the way to Bai Dong mainly sells fishing tools, especially squid jigs.

Fishing does not only serve as a means of livelihood but a favorite pastime of people living in Tho Chu Island. Friendly anglers are willing to teach inexperienced visitors how to catch fish. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Van.

Fishing not only serves as a means of livelihood but also a favorite pastime of people living on Tho Chu Island. Friendly anglers are willing to teach inexperienced visitors how to catch fish.

Tho Chu’s fishermen farm fish in cages, mainly white-flesh cobia. Cobia is preferred to other fish for its taste and soft flesh. Visitors can go to one of the many eateries on the island to try a cobia hotpot with Vietnamese noodles and veggies.

Tho Chu’s fishermen farm fish in cages, mainly white-flesh cobia. Cobia is preferred to other fish for its taste and soft flesh. Visitors can go to one of the many eateries on the island to try a cobia hotpot with Vietnamese noodles and veggies.

Kids fool around in the afternoon tide. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Van.

Kids fool around in the afternoon tide.

Unlike other tourist destinations in Phu Quoc, Tho Chu with its geographical importance in terms of defense and security remains a peaceful isolated island occasionally visited by volunteers.  Visitors can lose themselves in the tranquil picturesque island with green trees and blue seas while riding a motorbike from Bai Ngu to Bai Dong. Along the coast, one can see native tropical island plants such as sea poison tree and tree heliotrope.

Unlike Phu Quoc, Tho Chu with its geographical importance in terms of defense and security remains a peaceful isolated island.
Visitors can lose themselves in the tranquil picturesque island with green trees and blue seas while riding a motorbike from Bai Ngu to Bai Dong. Along the coast, one can see native tropical island plants such as sea poison tree and tree heliotrope.

Morning on a raft in Tho Chu Island. Video by VnExpress/Huynh Nhi.

 
 
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