Hon Khoai archipelago consists of five islands: Hon Khoai, Hon Sao, Hon Doi Moi, Hon Da Le and Hon Tuong covering an area of 4 square km. The highest island rises at an altitude of 318m. Previously, Hon Khoai was known as Giang Huong or Doc Lap (Independence) islet and during the colonial period, it was known as “Poulo Obi” islet. But locals prefer to call it Hon Khoai or (Potato) islet as it looks just like a big potato. On December 13, 1940, an uprising led by Professor Phan Ngoc Hien wrested back the indigenous island from French hands marking a significant milestone in the history of struggling against foreign invaders.
Besides the beaches, Hon Khoai also has extended pebble beaches worth visiting. Although there are various islets and islands along the Mekong, Hon Khoai is a large rock almost entirely covered with forests of precious woods. The fauna and flora show are abundant. The natural and wild landscape is breathtakingly beautiful. According to Nguyen Anh Tuan, a soldier on the island, Hon Khoai is uninhabited, almost virgin. Only soldiers and border guards live there to defend national sovereignty or perform rescues at sea. Nguyen Anh Tuan says: “Hon Khoai has primitive forests with diverse flora and fauna species which are rare and precious. The island has more than 1,400 flora species including medicinal plants. There are also many animal species including snakes, squirrels, birds and iguana. The air is clean and the environment is well maintained. Hon Khoai is an ideal resort”.
The archipelago is also rich in historical vestiges. The lighthouse built in the 19th century by the French, is one of the significant lighthouses in the Southwest sea and Thailand Bay. This is one of the first lighthouses built on the Vietnamese territorial waters. Head of the Lighthouse Nguyen Hoai Nam says: “This lighthouse is a historic relic closely associated to the insurgency of Professor Phan Ngoc Hien and Ca Mau province. This 318 m high white tower covers an area of about 400 m2. From the lighthouse, we can observe the sea to 40 nautical miles. It offers a magnificent panorama. We try to properly maintain the island to serve tourists”.
For Tran Tuyet Loan, a resident of Hanoi, Hon Khoai is a true paradise: “I was impressed by the wild beauty of the island as well as historical relics on the island. The food path was grueling but our efforts were rewarded at the top, where the air is pure and the landscape is magnificent. We even heard birds singing. It is very beautiful. I hope Hon Khoai keeps its authenticity to attract more tourists”.
Hon Khoai is poised to become an ecotourism site. Last year the province introduced a plan to develop Hon Khoai and called for investment. Investors are required to put in place the necessary infrastructure to attract those who want both nature and comfort.