(Hover for captions, click for larger pictures!)
August 8, 2010 – Last day of tour
After breakfast at Hon Trem Resort, we visited Hon Chong, a beach area about 30km away from Ha Tien. Previously known for its unspoiled beach… I can’t say the same about it now. Maybe it was the area we were at, maybe it was the weather, but the water was so dark, it was brown.
At Hon Chong, we made a stop at Chua Hang (Hang Grotto/Pagoda), also known as Chua Hai Son (Sea Mountain Temple).
Hon Chong is also very famous for Hon Phu Tu (Father and Son Islet) – limestone formations accompanied by an interesting fable.
According to fable, in the old day, in this coast there was a beast which often overturned the boats to eat the fishermen. At that time there was a fisherman living with his son beside the foot of An Hai mountain, next to Hang pagoda. The father was very angry when seeing the beast killing innocent inhabitants for food every day. He decided to kill this rude monster to save peace for everyone. But there was no way to kill this beast except for sacrificing his life. One day he poisoned himself and laid near the marine edge to lure the beast. Seeing the man, the beast ate his head at once, then died because of the poison from the fisherman’s head. The son didn’t see his father so he went to many places to find his dad. Seeing his father’s body without head on the beach, he embraced the body and cried distressfully. Unfortunately, the poison from his father’s body permeated to his and then he died because of poison too. It was getting dark with strong winds, and it rained heavily during many days. After the rain stopped, the inhabitants saw two stones, a big one and small one, right in the place where the father and his son had laid. It was said that the big one was the father and another was his son. Then these stones were called Phu Tu Islet. In Vietnamese “Phu” means “a father” and “Tu” means “a child”. (Source)
In 2006, the father stone broke off and fell into the sea. Some restoration works have been planned by Kien Giang authorities but the locals still think the incident is another chapter in the legend, signifying that the father is becoming older and needs his son’s protection (Source).
Before Hon Phu Tu broke off, it used to look like THIS
We checked out of our resort around noon and started heading back to Phung Hiep (home!). On the way back, we stopped by Rach Gia, also a city in Kien Giang Province, to visit a shrine dedicated to Nguyen Trung Truc. He was a fisherman who led led village militia forces which fought against French colonial forces in the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam in the 1860s (more info here). Our last stop before going home!
Arrived back in Phung Hiep in the evening of August 8, 2010
Memorable trip, despite bad weather and less interesting tour visits! I apologize if any history/background I gave about sites visited are wrong… it’s hard to find accurate and complete information online, especially in English!