Hon Chong's only real attraction is a beach, a shrine and the region's unusual geology.
From the fork in Ba Hon, head south on Highway 11 following the coast for 13 kilometres until you come to Bai Duong beach, a stretch of brown sand about three kilometres long. It’s swimmable but not the picture-perfect pretty beaches you may be used to elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Pop into Hon Trem Resort and climb up to the restaurant/hilltop bungalows for a sweeping view of the water and the karst popping up in the ocean like a jagged tooth. The star is Hon Phu-Tu, meaning father-son island, with two rock pillars which unfortunately partially collapsed in 2006 leaving the son an orphan. The legend of how these father and son sacrificed their lives to kill a sea monster still lingers.
About 1.5 kilometres east of Hon Trem Resort is the official Hon Phu Tu tourist area, which includes Chua Hai Son (Hai Son pagoda), also known as Chua Hang, a pagoda inside a grotto. Admission to the tourist area is 5,000 dong, and it's open 07:00-17:00.
Pass the decorative gateway through to the dimly lit cavern full of Buddha images and thick incense smoke. It takes only seconds and you’ll exit onto the beach which is a bustling hub of kids swimming, women selling tourist trinkets and fresh barbecued seafood – whole fish, mussels, oysters and clams. When we visited there were a few groups and families sitting at the plastic tables and chairs enjoying a feast. This spot also allows you to a closer vantage point to admire the karst.
By Cindy Fan
Last updated on 22nd January, 2016.