Hon Chuoi Island in Song Doc township of Tran Van Thoi district, the southernmost province of Ca Mau, is nearly 32 kilometres to the west of the mainland. It has an area of about 7 square kilometres and its highest point nearly 170 metres above the sea level.
Hon Chuoi is one of the important outpost islands in the southwest of Vietnam, and also one of the five islands included in a plan on developing islands of the youth for the 2013 - 2020 period approved by the Prime Minister.
The island boasts complex terrain and harsh weather conditions. With steep cliffs tens of metres high and a thick primeval forest, the untouched and mysterious beauty of Hon Chuoi Island remains intact nowadays.
The most popular plant here is wild banana, hence the name “Hon Chuoi” (Banana Island).
Compared to Tho Chu, Hon Khoai, Nam Du, and Hon Doc Islands, it is rather difficult to reach Hon Chuoi since there haven’t been any tours of this island, but people have to use boats of border guards or fishermen.
To set foot on Hon Chuoi, visitors have to pass rough stairs or cling to rocky slopes to reach higher positions. Such vehicles as motorcycles or bicycles have yet to appear here.
However, given the crystal clear seawater around it, strangely shaped rocks, and complex terrain, Hon Chuoi is still a destination worth a visit by travelers at least once in their lifetime.
At must visit site is the Hon Chuoi Lighthouse, built by the French administration on the highest mount in the island. It promises an interesting experience for visitors after they complete a cut of around 3.5 kilometres through the primeval forest and 43 steps of spiral stairs.
A vivid landscape will appear in front of visitors' eyes when standing on the peak of a mountain and looking around.
Here, fishermen work hard every day to earn their living from the immense sea. The sunset is also the time when glitters gradually appear on the sea surface off this island, creating a sparkling scene.
Though Hon Chuoi is not as well-off as other islands, it is home to many touching stories of civil - military relations. Both civilians and soldiers have come to this place together to develop and safeguard every inch of the Fatherland’s land and sea, braving numerous difficulties and hardships on the island.
Hon Chuoi features three areas called “ganh”: Ganh Nam, Ganh Chuong, and Ganh Nom. From the ninth to the third lunar months, people reside in Ganh Nam (southern area) to avoid “chuong” (northeast) winds. From the third to the ninth lunar months, they move to Ganh Chuong to avoid southwest winds.
At those times, soldiers of Border Guard Post 704 come to assist residents move their houses and gear up against storms.
In addition, though there hasn’t been a school on the island, soldiers have opened classes for local children, teaching more than 20 kids from the first to the sixth grades at present. Thanks to these offshore classes, 24 children have been able to continue enrolling in higher grades in the mainland. Particularly, four are university graduates.
The maintenance of those classes, as well as teachers and students’ will to surmount difficulties, has also helped improve many islanders’ awareness.
Calm or rough the sea may be, Hon Chuoi is always busy with boats coming in or out to rest, take shelter from storms, or trade aquatic products.
The diversity of delicious and nutritious seafood also offers a wide range of choices for visitors to taste right on the spot or bring back home.
The beautiful and pristine landscape, cool climate, and tasty seafood make this island an ideal destination for those who love to explore and experience new places.