Pirate Islands lurk in the shadows of famous peers

By Kieu Duong   October 25, 2019 | 08:58 pm GMT+7

Hai Tac (Pirate) Archipelago in southern Vietnam is not very well known, but it holds its own very comfortably as an outstandingly beautiful beach destination.

Hai Tac in the Ha Tien Archipelago is not as well known as Phu Quoc or Cat Ba islands but it is increasingly a tourism attraction as the island boasts pristine landscapes.The archipelago is located in Tien Hai Commune, Ha Tien District of southern Kien Giang Province. From the pier in Ha Tien Town, it takes over an hour to reach Hai Tac Island. A high-speed boat ticket costs VND100,000 ($4.3) one way.

Hai Tac archipelago is not as prominently known as Phu Quoc or Cat Ba islands, but its pristine landscape has been drawing an increasing number of visitors in recent years.

The archipelago is located in Tien Hai Commune, Ha Tien District, in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang. From the pier in Ha Tien Town, it takes over an hour to reach Hai Tac, which includes 16 islands. A high-speed boat ticket costs VND100,000 ($4.3) one way.

The archipelago consists of 16 islands, of which Hon Tre Lon, or Hon Doc, has the largest populations of residents. One of the famous sights is the sovereign stele of the Pirate Islands built in 1958. The stele is located southwest at the only white sand beach of Hon Doc. The stone erection is about one kilometer from the islands jetty.

Of the 16 islands Hon Tre Lon, or Hon Doc, has the largest human population. An interesting and important site to visit on Hon Don is a crumbling concrete monument, built in 1958, that asserts Hai Tac's sovereignty. The monument is located southwest to the only white sand beach on Hon Doc, about a kilometer from the island's jetty.

By late 17th century and early 18th century, pirates frequently garrisoned at the archipelago and attacked the merchant ships of Southeast Asian countries, giving the island its current name. The picture shows a reconstruction of a pirate ship on the coast of Tre Van Islet.

In late 17th early 18th centuries, pirates used the archipelago as a base to attack merchant ships of other Southeast Asian countries, giving the archipelago its current name. The picture shows the model of a pirate ship on the Tre Van Islet.

After visiting the sovereignty stele, visitors can rent a boat led by local fishermen who provide islet tours, fishing experience, and scuba diving. They offer instructions on how to put a bait on a fishing hook, fishing and help visitors savor their caught seafood right on the boat.

Visitors can also indulge in a fishing expedition guided by local fishermen who also provide islet tours. It is also a great place for scuba diving.

Locals can teach visitors to fix bait on to a hook and advise on cooking freshly caught seafood. They show visitors instructions on how to put a bait on a fishing hook, fishing and help visitors savor their caught seafood right on the boat.

One of the specialties in the Pirate Islands are sea urchins. Catchers need an aluminum tong to pick the echinus and a net to hold them. The echinus lives on rocks and corals. After bringing them abroad the boat, fishermen put them in a big basket and shake hard so that some of the spines fall off. They then use scissors to cut off the remaining spines. The urchins can be eaten raw with either some squeezed lime or mustard.

One of the specialties in the Pirate Islands is sea urchins. Catchers need an aluminum tong to pick the echinus and a net to hold them. The echinus lives on rocks and corals.

After bringing them abroad the boat, fishermen put them in a big basket and shake hard so that some of the spines fall off. They then use scissors to cut off the remaining spines. The urchins can be eaten raw with either some squeezed lime or mustard.

The fishing village on the edge of Tre Van islet is where many boat owners steer by so their visitors can admire the view. Tran Quy Thanh, a boat owner who has lived on the islet for 36 years, said each tour takes about four to six hours depending on visitors’ preferences. Tourists started coming more four years ago. They help life here get better because locals earn more from selling them food and provide them with accommodation. People here also get to hear many interesting, new things thanks to the tourists, Thanh said.

Most boat owners taking visitors around the fishing village on the edge of Tre Van Islet. Tran Quy Thanh, a boat owner who has lived on the islet for 36 years, said each tour takes about four to six hours depending on visitors’ preferences.

"Tourists started coming more four years ago. They have helped improve lives here, because locals earn more by selling them food and providing them with accommodation. People here also get to hear many interesting, new things from the tourists," Thanh said.

A rest hut with hammocks on the beach on a small island next to Doc islet.

A string of hammocks on the beach of a small island next to Doc islet.

The statue of Lady Chua Xu in a temple near the sovereign stele. For the locals here, this is a sacred place where they pray for peace and safe sea trips.

The statue of Lady Chua Xu in a temple near the sovereignty marking monument.

Locals pray at this temple for peace and safe sea voyages.

Inside a guest room for VND150,000 a night ($6.4). Tourism services are still underdeveloped on the Pirate Islands, so the place is a favorite for many backpackers who like to explore pristine destinations.There is no internet on the archipelago. Every day there are electricity cuts at noon and at night. Visitors are advised to bring batteries, power banks and 3G/4G connection.

A guest room that costs VND150,000 ($6.4) a night.

Tourism services are still underdeveloped on Pirate Islands, so the place is a favorite among backpackers who like to avoid crowds and enjoy more pristine destinations.

There is no internet on the archipelago. Every day, electricity is cut for sometime at noon and at night. Visitors should bring batteries, power banks and 3G/4G USB connections.

Some local shops where locals sell refreshment. There is a concrete road stretching around the Hon Tre island. It takes two hours to finish the round on foot.

Some local shops where locals sell refreshment.

There is a concrete road that runs around the Hon Tre island. It takes two hours to cover it on foot.

 
 
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