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Duong Dong (pronounced: Szuong Dong) is a lively little vietnamese town with appr. 40.000 inhabitants. It is the center of commerce and administration of Phu Quoc. Every morning the fresh market takes place along the river, when people from around Duong Dong come to sell and buy fruits, vegetable, meat and fresh fish. And of course the special products from the island: pepper and fish sauce. Hundreds of motorcycles are pushing through the narrow streets in the center and one gets the feeling, that these people are not willing to walk at least one step by feet. From every corner motorbikes are crossing your way. Considerateness ist not their strength, but somehow, it works without damages.
It is very pituresque to see all the colorfull fisher boats laying one by one along the Duong Dong river, unloading their takes of fresh fish and squid from the last night. Two bridges cross the river, one of them was a ponton bridge, that had to be pushed away, when boats want to pass. Very soon a traffic jam of motorcycles fill the streets in front of that bridge. This bridge is now replaced by a new concrete one. More and more cars are driving through the small town, but motorcycles are the main means of transportation. The main streets through the town have been well prepared for more car traffic, that will occur soon for sure. Beside these roads one can find restaurants, small guest houses, banks, a hospital and many shops, as well as a beautiful vietnamese pagoda. Big supermarkets and fast food shops are not yet available in Duong Dong.
In the late afternoon before sunset, many young people meet at the small harbour at the sea. Street cafés and seafood restaurants invite to sit, drink, eat and talk. Special event is the Dinh Cau Cho Dem night market, that opens at 5 pm and close at 11. A small street beside the harbour, where some open air shops sell clothings, souvenirs, pearls and especially fresh fish. The supply of all kinds of fish, lobster, squid and prawns is manifold, and after you made your choice, the fish will be barbequed and spiced, and will be offered to your place at simple tables along the street. Not only the giant tiger prawns and fresh lobsters are a must eat for fans of seafood.
Another meeting place at sunset is near to the temple of the sea goddess at the harbour, where young people are sitting to catch the last sunlight of the day, while the heat of the day is fading away.
Worth seeing are the pagodas of the town, which can be visited in the morning and can be reached easily by walking around. Also the fish sauce factories can be visited, which produce the famous Phu Quoc Nuoc Nam fish sauce. But maybe the very strong smelling sauce is not everybodies taste.
Duong Dong is not a quiet but a peaceful small town, beside the morning motorcycle traffic. And if you must not live in a beach hotel, the small guesthouses in Duong Dong can be a good starting point for trips around the island as well.