A detailed review of the crocodile farm in Phu Quoc
What to hide, crocodiles, we have seen only in the pictures. Someone fortunate enough to admire them in zoos. And the only green individual in the post-Soviet space is Cheburashkin’s crocodile friend Gena. To correct the annoying omission is possible in Fukuoka, where these reptiles live in a local nursery.
Crocodile Farm in Fukuoka
Crocodiles in Fukuoka are bred because of the tender meat and skin, from which Vietnamese craftsmen sew bags, shoes, various trifles. Perhaps for visitors this place is exotic, but the inhabitants of the island perceive it as a normal production. Only instead of fluffy or feathered here they grow toothy and voracious.
The farm was created by a local resident, Duong Van Ay. It is located in the northeastern part of the island among the forest. The place is more like a normal park or garden: neat paths, gazebos. And in the center of all this beauty, aviaries with small pools and a lot of crocodiles. The animals are divided by age: babies in some areas, adolescents in others, local luminaries in third places. They feed crocodiles with fresh fish, the benefit of the sea and fishing villages near by and always deliver food to reptiles. There are many predators on the farm, almost 2.5 thousand individuals.
Unlike Thai farms, the shows are not shown here. Having seen enough from a safe distance to reptiles, you can visit a cafe and try crocodile meat. Workers even offer to slaughter an animal on their own. But if you are a supporter of Greenpeace or are afraid of blood, then you should not do it.
The history of the crocodile farm
To engage in the breeding of crocodiles Duong Van Au pushed need. The decline of the Vietnamese economy forced part of the indigenous inhabitants of the island to sell their lands and go looking for happiness on the mainland. But then came the decision of the government to turn Fukuoka into a tourist area. And where travelers are, it requires not only hotels, but also entertainment.
Being unemployed, Duong Van Au refused many buyers to their legitimate 0.7 hectares of land. Case helped the case. When he saw a program about breeding crocodiles on TV, the future businessman exclaimed: “Eureka!” Perhaps it was some other Vietnamese word, or Ay rejoiced silently, but he had an idea. Having settled on a crocodile farm, he spent six months studying the complex craft of breeding alligators, their proper feeding, breeding and preparation. Exotic meat in Vietnam has always been in price and was in demand. Family and friends did not particularly support the future farmer, considering everything to be a fool’s errand. And what was the indignation of loved ones when Duong Van Ay bought for all the money available crocodiles and turtles.
Over time, the wife and six children of the businessman were convinced of the correctness of his undertaking. The hard work of growing crocodiles did not immediately begin to generate income. It was necessary to feed all this toothy fraternity, look after her, pay the workers money. But the costs gradually paid off. Now they come to the farm to buy in bulk meat of crocodiles and turtles for restaurants and cafes, and they take the skin for the manufacture of various products.
Later, a farm appeared in the farm, where you can taste exotic crocodile dishes, and a reptile leather shop. In addition to the farm, the Duong Van Au family owns a junk fishing boat shop and sells them throughout the county.
Where is and how to get
The place of interest is located in the northeastern part of the island, not far from the Da Chong ferry terminal. Boats and ferries run from here to the mainland town of Hatien. From the capital to the farm 36 km, from the southern outskirts of the island a little further – 2 km. You can get to the right place by two roads. One is laid along the eastern shore. The other runs along the west coast through the capital city of Fukuoka, Zingdong, then crosses the center of the island and goes around the National Park. On the same road you can get to the beach “Bai Thom”, which according to the online magazine Thrillist is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the region. It will be convenient to combine a visit to two places of Fukuoka at once: the beach and the farm.
There is no bus service on the island. Rent a taxi from a distant vacation spot will cost quite expensive. It’s easier to go alone on a bike or go in a group of several people and order a minibus for this. The road from Zuingdong will take 40–55 minutes, depending on the path chosen. You can visit the crocodiles every day from 8 am to 6 pm
What’s the cover charge
Entry to the farm is free. But it’s worth taking money with you not only on the road. If you want to feed the crocodile yourself, you will have to lay out 30-50 thousand dong. Yes, and taste the meat of local pets will cost money. There is a farm and a shop where leather goods are sold.
What you can see on the crocodile farm
But with entertainment here sparsely. And all are designed for direct communication with animals. This can be a simple crocodile watch. Crocodiles, in turn, are also watching the tourists. And at the first sign of danger, dive into the pond. The reptile’s eyes are heavy, so you will unwittingly rejoice at the presence of fences. Bred on the farm and turtles.
Tourists are shown a crocodile incubator, where babies are raised from eggs. If desired, you can hold a small crocodile in your hands. For a fee, you have the right to feed the animals. But many tourists just watch as predators slide to a hill of fresh fish and begin their meal. It is also possible to score an animal, which will then be cooked for lunch.
Nutritional properties of crocodile meat
Being in exotic countries, you should definitely try crocodile meat. For too picky advice: Imagine that there is chicken on a plate. The meat of predators is cooked in different ways: they fry, stew, boil, bake whole on the grill, fill them with pies, add to pizza and scrambled eggs. The taste of the crocodile is reminiscent of a chicken, and its texture is similar to fish.
Experts believe crocodile meat is a universal product. It has a balanced composition of useful macro-and micronutrients, fats and vitamins. Doctors are unanimous in their opinion about the usefulness of crocodile meat, which is even recommended for certain diseases: diabetes, heart disease and blood vessels. 100 g of the product contains: 21 g of proteins, 2 g of fat and 0 carbohydrates. Energy value – 110 kcal. In addition, it is an environmentally friendly product that is grown on natural food.
By the way, due to various diseases of domestic animals, some European countries buy crocodile meat. And if earlier a steak from a toothy predator could be tasted only in a steep restaurant, today an exotic wonder is sold in many large stores.
Where to buy crocodile skin products in Vietnam?
In the suburbs of the major cities of Vietnam, many small private companies for crocodile leather dressing and sewing various articles from it have been opened. There are large companies that are engaged in the same business. For example, the products of the Vietnamese factory Khatoco known throughout the world.
There are many shops that sell reptile leather goods. At moderate prices, you can buy shoes, bags, belts, covers and more. There are also cute stuffed little crocodiles, which hold pearls in their teeth – the symbol of Fukuoka. Of course, in the company stores all the goods are certified and in the season are somewhat cheaper than in retail outlets at factories.
Shops selling crocodile leather also operate on the island itself. They are located in Zuongdong and near the beach “Long Beach”.
In Asian countries, the crocodile symbolized fear and death, inspired trepidation in many people. Today you can visit the farm of Fukuoka and absolutely safe to watch these exotic predators.