Exploring Phu Quoc
An Thoi Travel Blog› entry 49 of 94 › view all entries
Quyen from the Viet Thanh beach bar and restaurant rented me his own motorbike for the day after his morning run to the market. I went into Duong Dong to buy laundry soap, AA batteries for my camera, and to have a look around. Along the riverfront, where it empties into clear waters of the Gulf of Thailand, a lighthouse stood on a huge rock at the end of the road. I climbed the steps to its base but the tower itself was closed. The rock also supported a small pagoda and a somewhat basic lightkeeper's house. Views swept the beaches north, the busy Duong Dong River winding into town, and the blue water bay with many anchored fishing boats. Water traffic entered and left the town around another, smaller, light tower at the end of a breakwater jetty.
Phu Quoc is too big of an island to explore by motorbike in a single day.
Built in 1968, it was the largest POW camp during the Vietnam War and once held 40,000 Communist prisoners. A prisoner housing unit, latrine, guard tower, and several punishment cages were well preserved on the grounds. Many areas were being excavated - maybe to track attempted escape tunnels. A diorama in the museum of the southern tip of the island , displayed under glass, displayed not just this particular camp but dozens like it. Most captions and signs were in Vietnamese and often referred to 1969.
I continued about three miles further south into An Thoi, a large fishing port. Though slightly smaller, the town seemed much more active than Duong Dong. Its streets were more narrow and bustled with traffic. I made a quick pass through just a small part of the town then headed back north. The extreme southern tip of the island is a military reservation.