Pu Kwok is the largest island in Vietnam with an interesting history
The largest island in Vietnam is called Pu Kwok and has a very interesting historical background. This emerald island has not yet become a target of mass tourism, although it has crystal clear sea, white sandy beaches and untouched natural beauty.
Pu Kwok Island is teardrop-shaped. It is often called “Emerald Island” because of the transparent sea, lush forests and preserved virgin jungle that give the color of emeralds – the most precious gemstone.
This island is in the very southwest of Vietnam near the Mekong Delta in the Gulf of Thailand (Siamese) and the turquoise waters of the South China Sea. It is located 45 kilometers off the coast of Vietnam and only 15 kilometers from neighboring Cambodia. That is why Vietnam and Cambodia have historically clashed over the island’s ownership rights for a long time. This island has over 80 fabras and produces the best “Nouk Mam” (slave sauce is also a basic ingredient in most Asian dishes).
The largest island in Vietnam was not the scene of famous conflicts in the 20th century. The island was far from bombs but also neo-capitalism and frenetic modernization that are rapidly changing the rest of Vietnam. The island has therefore remained a precious witness to the golden past of a kind of miniature Vietnam faithful to tradition while respecting nature. Today, Pu Kwok is a dream island for tired tourists who want to escape from stress. Due to its enormous potential, Pu Kwok is often called the Caribbean of Asia. The island is the size of Singapore but has successfully resisted globalization and all the onslaught of mass tourism. About 50,000 people live on the island (mostly fishermen and farmers). During the season, this number doubles because fishing fleets come from all parts of Vietnam. Fishing has been the main economic and catering activity here for many years. “Nouk mam” sauce is a type of fish sauce that is produced on the island and sent further to Vietnam, Asia, Europe and America. Nouk mam is of the same value as olive oil to the inhabitants of the Mediterranean countries or soy sauce in China. Over 10 million liters of this sauce are produced annually. Even the famous and reputable English magazine Time once sent a reporter here to see the specificity and preparation of this fish sauce.
The process of making fish sauce is simple
Whole fish (mostly sardines and kom-small blue fish Latin Stolephorus commersoni) are placed in large wooden containers. Add salt, water, spices and leave for a year for all the ingredients to ferment. The sauce is then poured into bottles and the rest of the sediment is used as fertilizer. Small (mostly family) companies look like wine cellars, even though they have a strong smell of nostril bite sauce. The sauce provides about 20% of the daily requirement for protein.
The capital and largest city on the island is Daung Dong. It has a new airport, numerous hotels and a large market that stretches along the entire port. Here, locals, mostly protected by straw domed hats, sell a variety of local products. An unusual construction is located in the immediate vicinity of this picturesque bazaar. An unusual combination of temple and lighthouse was built in 1937 in honor of “Tien Hau” (local goddess and protector of the sea, fishermen and sailors). The kilometer-long white sandy beach is a true pearl of the island, sometimes interrupted by “Basket boots” – round floating means of transport used by both fishermen and tourists. In the small town of An Toi, tourists can board a fishing boat and sail around all the other islands (Coconut Island, Shadow Island, Cloud Island, etc.) in the bay. Some islands are inhabited by only one family or some hermit, so they evoke the atmosphere from adventure novels. The hilly north of Pu Kwok Island is still green, so the green oasis around the Kua Kang River is protected and the jungle is gone forever for economic reasons). In the north, there are black pepper plantations on the island, which are largely exported to the whole world.
This island has another pearl, and that is the autochthonous dog breed “Pu kvok“. It is a medium-sized dog similar to the German Shepherd but with reddish fur. He has a wrinkled snout. It is a very hardy and hardworking dog. The local population is mostly a “guard dog”.
The island is best visited during the “Tet” (New Year in Vietnam) which is from late January or early February or during the holidays for full or new moon or during the 2 most important national holidays (Feast of Lost Souls in mid-August and Day of the Dead in June). The best period for arrival is from December to June due to the tropical wedge of the island. This is the time of the dry period when the average daily temperature is around 27 degrees Celsius. The population of the island are mostly Buddhists (very kind, smiling, cordial, hardworking people who want to nicely host every visitor). Meat dishes are offered mostly with white rice and wooden sticks (instead of a spoon, fork and knife). The bowl should be kept close to your mouth during meals if you are not used to using wooden sticks. Dessert is usually fruit (jojoba, khaki, green dragon fruit, water apple, 3-seed cherry and coconut milk).
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is located in Southeast Asia with the shores of the South China Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin (Pacific Ocean). It borders Laos, Cambodia and China. The official language is Vietnamese although communication is still in English and French. The official currency is the Vietnamese dong (VND). After landing on the island, wind the clock 5 hours in advance for time orientation. The island can be reached from Bangkok, from where you can fly to Ho Chi Minh City and then take a local flight to Daong Dong Airport. Hotel La Veranda (Tran Hung Dao street) is one of the most luxurious hotels with a modern spa. Or Phu Quos Resort Thang Loi (wooden bungalows on a beautiful local beach).