An Thoi Islets Topography & Hydrology
An Thoi Island Topography:
The mountainous An Thoi Islands are situated in the eastern part of the Gulf of Thailand. The island topography is represented by relatively high plateaus bordered by steep slopes. The rocky terrain consists mainly of sandstone and conglomerates occurring within a flat dipping complex and partially covered by quaternary sediment. A characteristic feature of the islands is the steepness of its slopes, which is well pronounced in the coastal zone and on submarine slopes.
An Thoi Hydrology:
The An Thoi Islands are located in turbid and nutrient rich waters which is why the area is teeming with macro and micro life. There is also a large concentration of dissolved suspended matter (more than 100 mg/L) which makes the water less visible than other locations along the Gulf. Also, there are constant currents usually running in the same direction (clockwise in the rainy season and counter clockwise in the dry season) which can make diving difficult at depths greater than 15 meters.
What to see
- Tour the islands – you can charter a boat from An Thoi Port or join a tour group and spend the day touring the An Thoi Islands.
- Visit Hon Thom Island – This island has a sizable population consisting of fishermen and their families. The beach here is not the cleanest however there are quite a few colorful fishing boats that dot the shore and make for a great photo op. There is a small market here that sells local fruit and fresh fish at affordable prices.
- Pearl farming – On Hon Rut Island you can see how pearls are farmed.
- Sunset – The sunset out at sea is gorgeous.
What to do
- Snorkeling – Scattered around the various islets are coral reefs which you can discover by chartering a boat from An Thoi Port or joining a snorkeling tour from Duong Dong Town or one organized by your hotel/resort.
- Diving – The diving is better than the snorkeling here and there is a chance you may spot an eagle ray or even a bamboo shark. There are plenty of macro and reef species down at the 10m mark. Most sites have a maximum depth of only 10-12m making diving in An Thoi a great place for beginners.
- Kayaking – If you join an organized tour then these companies will provide kayaks for you to explore the islands.
- Sun bathe – Find yourself a small patch of white sand on a secluded beach and catch some rays.
- Climbing – It is possible to climb some of the sandstone cliffs, but this a sport that is mainly organized by private groups.
- Fishing – You can fish on your own or you can ask one of the islanders to take you squid fishing at night for a fee. Just ask around. Prices start at 500,000VND.
*Note: Hiring a private charter boat can be done in two ways: i) commissioning a boat and captain from your agency on the island or ii) asking a fisherman to ride you around. The latter is by far the cheaper option.
Where to eat and drink
- At Hon Thom Island you will find a few restaurants and snack bars close to the main beach.
- You can also purchase fresh fish from the numerous fish farms scattered around Hon Dua and have yourself a shore lunch.
Where to stay
- There are no hotels on any of these islands however you can arrange to stay with a local family on Hon Thom for a small fee. Ask one of the fisherman in the area. It helps if you know how to speak Vietnamese.
- Hon Gam Ghi is slated to have a resort very soon.
Need to know
- There are many coral reefs along the An Thoi Archipelago however most tour agencies will not mention them because they have already established a fixed snorkeling route.
- The coral reefs here are not comparable to those that are typically seen in Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, and other parts of the world. If you are a well traveled snorkeler and join an organized snorkeling tour, you may be disappointed to see a lot of the reef being dead. The water here is nutrient rich causing algae to blossom and consuming a lot of oxygen,which results in the delicate corals being crowded out.
- Snorkeling tours include a lunch however if you want to try Sea Urchin, then you have to pay an additional fee.
Snorkeling An Thoi Islands
The following are a few places where you can snorkel in the An Thoi Archipelago:
Snorkeling Ong Doi Cape
Although it is not part of the An Thoi Islands, some tour operators mislead tourists and take them to Ong Doi Cape for a quick snorkeling excursion and tell them they are visiting the archipelago. Ong Doi Cape (Mui Ong Doi) is located at the very southern tip of Phu Quoc Island. This area has historical significance as the Emperor Gia Long’s boat got stuck in the corals found here while he was fleeing the Tay Son army and a local islander rescued him. The coral reef here is not as spectacular as those found elsewhere on Phu Quoc but there are a lot of fish here. The depth here is only 3m making this area a great place to snorkel for beginners. Ong Doi Cape is also a fishing spot for organized tours.
Snorkeling An Thoi Islets
There are many islands in the An Thoi Archipelago that have a coral reef system and are teeming with life however most people only get a chance to visit a few spots while visiting Phu Quoc. The following are the popular snorkeling spots found in the An Thoi group of islands:
- Coconut Island (Hon Dua) – The reef here is at a depth of 8m and can go as deep as 20m. You can see a variety of coral here and a lot of fish such as puffer fish cuttlefish, and even seahorses.
- Cold Cloud Island (Hon May Rut) – This small island has a shallow reef teeming coral and fish. The maximum depth here is 10m.
- Dam Island (Hon Damn Ngoai) – a small island located close to An Thoi town has a shallow reef in about 10m of water. You will find a variety of nudibranchs and smaller reef fish here.
- Pineapple Island (Hon Thom) – The largest island here with a few good spots to snorkel along its north coast. The best snorkeling spot here is the area in between Hon Roi and Hon Thom.
- Hon Kim Qui – Here you can find both soft and hard coral. This probably the best spot in An Thoi.