Thổ Chu Island

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Thổ Chu Island
Native name:
Đảo Thổ Chu or đảo Thổ Châu
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Thổ Chu Island
Position of Thổ Chu Island
Location Gulf of Thailand
Coordinates 9°18′N103°29′E / 9.300°N 103.483°E / 9.300; 103.483 (Thổ Chu Island) Coordinates: 9°18′N103°29′E / 9.300°N 103.483°E / 9.300; 103.483 (Thổ Chu Island)
Archipelago Thổ Chu
Area13.95 km2 (5.39 sq mi)
Highest point167 m (548 ft)
Province Kiên Giang
District Phú Quốc
Commune Thổ Châu

Thổ Chu Island (Vietnamese : đảo Thổ Chu or đảo Thổ Châu) is the largest island of Thổ Chu Islands in the Gulf of Thailand. Here lies the administrative center of Thổ Châu Commune, Phú Quốc District, Kiên Giang Province, Vietnam. In the West, [1] the island is also known as Poulo Panjang.

Vietnamese language official and national language of Vietnam

Vietnamese is an Austroasiatic language that originated in Vietnam, where it is the national and official language. Spoken natively by an estimated 76 million people, it is the native language of the Vietnamese (Kinh) people, as well as a first or second language for the many ethnic minorities of Vietnam. As a result of Vietnamese emigration and cultural influence, Vietnamese speakers are found throughout the world, notably in East and Southeast Asia, North America, Australia and Western Europe. Vietnamese has also been officially recognized as a minority language in the Czech Republic.

Island Any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water

An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, skerries, cays or keys. An island in a river or a lake island may be called an eyot or ait, and a small island off the coast may be called a holm. A grouping of geographically or geologically related islands, such as the Philippines, is referred to as an archipelago.

Thổ Chu Islands island group

Thổ Chu Islands is an archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand. It constitutes Tho Chau Commune of Phú Quốc District, Kiên Giang Province, Vietnam.



Thổ Chu Island is located to the southwest of Phú Quốc Island and Rạch Giá and to the northwest of Cape Cà Mau, specifically 55 nautical miles (102 km; 63 mi), 220 kilometres (140 mi) and 85 nautical miles (157 km; 98 mi) away. [2] [3] There are four beaches on the island (Bai Ngu, Bai Dong, Bai Mun and Bai Nhat) of which the largest are Bai Ngu (literally "Royal Beach") and Bai Dong. [4]

Rạch Giá City in Kiên Giang, Vietnam

Rạch Giá is a provincial city and the capital city of Kien Giang Province, Vietnam. It is located on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand, 250 kilometres (160 mi) south-west of Ho Chi Minh City. East of city, it borders Tân Hiệp and Châu Thành town, the Gulf of Thailand is to the west and surrounds some parts of the city, south of the city is Châu Thành and An Biên town, northward it borders Hòn Đất and Tân Hiệp.

Cape Cà Mau cape in Vietnam

Cape Cà Mau on Cà Mau Peninsula in Vietnam, is the southernmost point of the Indochinese mainland.


Thổ Chu Island has beautiful natural environment with high-density coral reefs, fine white sand beaches and pristine forests. A majority of 99 species of coral present here belong to two genera Montipora and Acropora of Acroporidae. The flora consists of about two hundreds of species, mostly Clusiaceae, FabaceaeSapotaceae. [5] The island is also home to endemic gecko species Cyrtodactylus thochuensis . However, Thổ Chu is being threatened by environmental pollution since domestic waste is dumped into the sea. [4]

Coral reef Outcrop of rock in the sea formed by the growth and deposit of stony coral skeletons

A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of colonies of coral polyps held together by calcium carbonate. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, whose polyps cluster in groups.

<i>Montipora</i> genus of cnidarians

Montipora is a genus of Scleractinian corals in the phylum Cnidaria. Members of the genus Montipora may exhibit many different growth morphologies. With eighty five known species, Montipora is the second most species rich coral genus after Acropora.

<i>Acropora</i> genus of cnidarians

Acropora is a genus of small polyp stony coral in the phylum Cnidaria. Some of its species are known as table coral, elkhorn coral, and staghorn coral. Over 149 species are described. Acropora species are some of the major reef corals responsible for building the immense calcium carbonate substructure that supports the thin living skin of a reef.


During the era of Republic of Vietnam, Thổ Chu Island was under the administration of An Xuyên Province.

South Vietnam Former country in southeast Asia

South Vietnam, officially the Republic of Vietnam, was a country that existed from 1955 to 1975, the period when the southern portion of Vietnam was a member of the Western Bloc during part of the Cold War. It received international recognition in 1949 as the "State of Vietnam", which was a constitutional monarchy (1949–1955). This became the "Republic of Vietnam" in 1955. Its capital was Saigon. South Vietnam was bordered by North Vietnam to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, Thailand across the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, and the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia across the South China Sea to the east and southeast.

An Xuyên was a province on Mekong Delta in during the Republic of Vietnam. On October 22, 1956, Cà Mau Province was renamed to Minh Hải. Its capital was Quản Long. On May 8, 1957 it had 6 districts and 23 communes. In February 1976 it was merged with part of Bạc Liêu Province to establish Minh Hải Province.

On May 10, 1975, the Khmer Rouge occupied the island and, as reported by the Hanoi government, "destroyed villages, killed many people, and abducted 515 inhabitants of the island". [6] From May 24 to May 27, 1975, Vietnamese forces attacked the occupiers and recaptured the island. In 1977, the Khmer Rouge raided Thổ Chu Island once again but were defeated. [7]

Khmer Rouge followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea in Cambodia

The Khmer Rouge was the name popularly given to the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) and by extension to the regime through which the CPK ruled in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. The name had originally been used in the 1950s by Norodom Sihanouk as a blanket term for the Cambodian left.

On April 27, 1992, under the arrangement of the People's Committee of Kien Giang Province, six families with about thirty people moved to Thổ Chu Island and settled there. On April 24, 1993, the Vietnamese government decided to establish Thổ Châu Commune which has been in charge of administrating the whole archipelago. [3]


The majority of inhabitants are navy personnel and border guards who chose to settle on the island. As of early 2012, there are 513 households with about 1,700 people who mainly reside at Bai Ngu and Bai Dong. [2] [3] The residents' lives are not easy as they have to move around the island twice a year to avoid storms. In the southwest monsoon from April to August, people move from Bai Ngu to Bai Dong and in the northeast monsoon from September to March, they reverse their migration. [8]


Thổ Chu Island has only one electric generator for Bai Ngu. The island does not have a water supply network so military personnel and civilians have to dig wells to get water. [3] Mobile information services of Viettel, MobiFone and Vinaphone have reached the island. [9] Thổ Chu Island Lighthouse was set up on January 25, 2000. Its range is 29 nmi (54 km; 33 mi) during daytime and 12 nmi (22 km; 14 mi) in the nighttime. [10] In addition, the island has a school, a post office and a temple commemorating the victims of the Khmer Rouge. [4]


In general, the economy of Thổ Chu Island is still difficult. [8] Local residents live mainly by fishing, including seafood trading and fisheries logistics. [11] The efficiency in the exploitation of marine resources is only at low level. [12] According to Decision No. 18/2009/QD-TTg by the Prime Minister of Vietnam, Tho Chu Island is planned to become a large fisheries service center of the region. [13]

See also

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  1. Cochinchine française: excursions et reconnaissances (in French). 1. Imprimerie du Gouvernement. 1879. p.  59.
  2. 1 2 (in Vietnamese)Lê Huy Hải (January 9, 2012). "Kiên Giang: Vẫn chưa có giải pháp đề khắc phục "Nhà di động" trên đảo Thổ Chu". Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Vietnam. Archived from the original on December 24, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 4 (in Vietnamese)Việt Tiến (June 29, 2011). "Một lần đến Thổ Châu". Nhandan Online. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  4. 1 2 3 (in Vietnamese)Quốc Bình (August 7, 2012). "Đảo Thổ Châu (Kiên Giang): Thiên đường nơi đầu sóng". Communist Party of Vietnam Online Newspaper. Archived from the original on December 24, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  5. (in Vietnamese) "Khu đề xuất Bảo tồn Biển Thổ Chu" (PDF). Birdlife International in Indochina. February 15, 2004. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  6. Kiernan, Ben (2008). The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power, and Genocide in Cambodia Under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79. Yale University Press. p. 104.
  7. (in Vietnamese)Hà Thành (April 27, 2009). "Quần Đảo Thổ Chu và trận chiến giải phóng đảo". People's Army Newspaper Online. Retrieved December 25, 2012.
  8. 1 2 (in Vietnamese)Nguyễn Anh (June 13, 2011). "Những hòn đảo trên biển Tây Nam". Website on Viet Nam's sovereign boundaries. Archived from the original on December 24, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  9. (in Vietnamese)Trọng Nghĩa (January 29, 2012). "Vững vàng Thổ Châu". SGGP Online. Archived from the original on December 24, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  10. (in Vietnamese)Đào (February 16, 2009). "Thổ Chu – vùng địa đầu Tây Nam đất nước". Dat Mui Pictorial. Archived from the original on December 24, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  11. (in Vietnamese)Thế Hạnh (February 10, 2012). "Người Trưởng ấp duy nhất nơi đảo xa". Dai doan ket. Archived from the original on December 24, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  12. (in Vietnamese)Bá Hiên; Xuân Cường (February 15, 2010). "Thổ Chu vẫy gọi". People's Army Newspaper Online. Archived from the original on 2012-12-24. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  13. (in Vietnamese) "Quyết định phê duyệt Quy hoạch tổng thể phát triển kinh tế - xã hội vùng biển và ven biển Việt Nam thuộc Vịnh Thái Lan thời kỳ đến năm 2020". Vietnam Government Web Portal. Archived from the original on December 24, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2012.