ISLANDS AND ARCHIPELAGOS OF VIET NAM 13

Phu Quoc is regarded as the original place of the Cao Dai (Caodaism) religion. There is a Holy See of Caodaism on Phu Quoc now. The single Christian church of Phu Quoc is located in An Thoi town. On the 15th day of the 7th lunar month, Phu Quoc people come to pagodas in Duong Dong town. Rather lively religious activities take place on the island on this day.
With lots of beautiful landscape, Phu Quoc is defined as a national tourist area of Viet Nam. ABC News has recently recognized Phu Quoc beach the first of five top clean and nice beaches of the world that are still little known. Bai Dai Beach is ranked the first among hidden beaches on this island. The best bathing time on Bai Dai Beach is from October to March.
The Phu Quoc prison (Cay Dua prison) is a historical vestige of the island. In former times it was one of large prisons where the Republic of Viet Nam jailed political prisoners and soldiers of the Liberation Army and people in wartime.
In 1995 the Ministry of Culture and Information recognized Phu Quoc prison as a vestige at the state level. This vestige has a monument in shape of a fist expressing the strong will to break the stocks of the Phu Quoc prisoners in the time of brutal oppression by the enemy. The Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery and the Prison Zone for military prisoners were restored.
Phu Quoc National Park, 31,422 hectares, was established on 8 June 2001 under Decision 91/2011/QDTT of the Prime Minister. This park includes the area for nature reserve north of Phu Quoc, Ham Rong Mountain, Ganh Dau and Cua Van localities. It borders the whole margin of the Ganh Dau, Bai Thom and Cua Can communes and some margin sections of the communes of Cua Duong, Ham Ninh, Duong To and Duong Dong town of Phu Quoc Island district.
The main components of the park are: one, the Area To Be Strictly Protected (8,603 hectares); two, the Sub-zone for Ecology Restoration (22,603 hectares); three, the Sub-zone for Administration and Services (33 hectares). The park should conserve tropical forest eco-systems, genus springs of rare and valuable forest animals and plants and the unique forest landscape. It preserves vegetation in upstream forests to maintain fresh water for people. Upstream forests also promote economic and social development of the Phu Quoc Island district and ensure security and national defense. They consolidate the defense line in the southwest of Viet Nam.
Lots of tourists are lured by the natural scenery and virgin beaches of Phu Quoc National Park. A great deal of investment now has been geared to develop sea tourism and other tourist services of Phu Quoc. New roads are rapidly being built, especially roads for passengers from Phu Quoc to the mainland and vise versa. Hence more and more tourists have visited this island.
Tho Chu Island
Tho Chu Island has other names such as Tho Chau or Viet San. Tho Chu is the largest of the eight islands of Tho Chau archipelago, located about 80 nautical miles from Ca Mau Cape and over 80 nautical miles southwest of Phu Quoc Island. This island is also an island commune of the Phu Quoc Island district, Kien Giang province. The highest peak on it is 167 meters. Tho Chu is known to Western explorers as Poulo Panjang (in the Malay language).
Other islands located near Tho Chu Island are Hon Cao Cat, Hon Mo, Hon Cao, Hon Tu, Hon Nuoc and Hon Keo Ngua. Hon Nhan Island has been chosen as the A1 Point of the Baseline for defining the territorial waters of Viet Nam. Hon Cao Cat is located 15 kilometers northeast of Tho Chu Island.
The economic mainstays of Tho Chu are forestry and exploitation of sea products. The main population on the island consists of migrants from Ca Mau Cape and boundary soldiers.
Forests on Tho Chu have not been destroyed so the land flora has at least 200 species. The most predominant species are those of the genera of Fabaceae, Garcinia oblongifolia, Champ.ex Benth, and Sapotaceae. There are dense coral reefs typical of the locality. Coral biodiversity here is not great. 99 types of coral have been found in the sea of Tho Chu. Coral reefs of Tho Chu are ideal places for the nest making of the sea tortoises, which face extinction all over the world. The floating sea grass beds of Tho Chu are an important place for sea tortoises to extract food. But the number of sea tortoises coming here to lay eggs has significantly fallen in recent years; now only several tortoise nests have been found.
For the first time in 1995 it was proposed to establish a marine reserve on Tho Chu. This marine reserve together with Nam Du and Phu Quoc Islands will make a “protected sea area” composed of the islands to the west of South Viet Nam. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has proposed to establish the Tho Chu marine reserve of 22,400 hectares, of which the continental land is 1,190 hectares and the sea area is 21,210 hectares. This marine reserve now is under the management of the army.

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