Like a green oasis on the Tien River, Con Phung (Phoenix Island) in Chau Thanh District, Ben Tre Province, has become a lucrative destination for both domestic and foreign tourists.
Con Phung, also called Con Tan Vinh, initially was a small mound on the Tien River with a total area of 28ha. However, thanks to an abundant source of silt build up, the area has increased to over 50ha.
Con Phung is one of four islets on the stretch of the My Tho River (a part of Tien River) that are named after four sacred animals, including Con Rong (Dragon), Con Thoi Son (Unicorn), Con Quy (tortoise) and Con Phung (Phoenix). According to the belief of Vietnamese people, these animals bring about happiness and prosperity. Since the early 20th century, the islet has been called Con Phung because when building Nam Quoc Phat Pagoda in the area the workers found an ancient cup decorated with a phoenix. The islet is also known as Dao Dua ( means coconut religion).
Coming to the eco-tourist area, tourists should not miss a chance to visit Dao Dua relic site that covers about 1,500m2. The relic site has kept intact its architecture with a yard decorated with nine pillars carved with dragons and Hoa Binh tower where the head of the Dao Dua religious sect preached and popularized the sect. The tower is decorated with the debris of bowls, plates and cups arranged into dragons and phoenixes.
Seeing it from afar, Con Phung emerges on the quiet Tien River surrounded by a romantic landscape. It is an amazing experience to discover the beauty of the area by boat and see its unique cultural features, customs and activities of the daily life of people in the watery area. The place is well-known for many traditional crafts, such as making products from coconut and bee raising.
Here, tourists can visit orchards by carriages, drink tea mixed with honey in coconut-leaf roofed houses, enjoy different kinds of delicious fruits and dishes and listen to the sweet lyrics of Don ca tai tu, a music genre from the area.
At present, the eco-tourist area is being invested in to upgrade the system of restaurants, hotels, leisure centres, zoological parks, craft villages and to restore the Dao Dua architectural complex to attract more tourists.