Off the south-west coast of Vietnam lies Phu Quoc. Known to be biggest island in Vietnam, it is closer to Cambodia shoreline than Vietnam’s and is roughly the size of Singapore minus the big buildings. Slowly catching up on the map tourism map, Phu Quoc is still talk of hostels and backpackers. Which means that waters are still crystal clear with not overcrowded beaches. But with the ongoing rate of development on the island, it won’t remain the same.
During the Vietnam war (1953 – 1975), Phu Quoc was mainly being used for prison – the largest prisoner’s camp of South Vietnam. Now its a sleepy village island which is growing in popularity slowly. Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam and stretches 50 km from north to south and is 25 km at its widest part. A large mountain range runs along the length of the island, reaching 603 meters at its highest point.
Currently, Phu Quoc National Park covers over 50% of the island. The park is surrounded by some nice white sandy beaches which fringe the island. They are the perfect place to kick back and relax, bask in the sun and soak up the laid back ambience. Although some of the beaches have been lost to impending construction, there are still plenty of beautiful beaches to enjoy. Beaches on the south are the best on the island.
Bai Sao Beach located on the south side of Phu Quoc, is known for its powdery-soft sand and crystal clear waters. This is one of the best beach and the most beautiful stretch of beach. With turquoise blue waters (depending on the cloud cover and Sun), one can be easily enamored by the unspoiled beauty of the beach and the gorgeous landscape around. The beach stretches over 7 km with white smooth sandy shore where it is defined as the whitest and cleanest sand on the island.
One of the biggest and most popular beaches on Phu Quoc is Bai Troung or Long Beach, aptly named as the beach stretches 20km along the coastline. Located on the west coast of the island, this area is the main hub of tourism with the beach backing onto a ion of resorts, restaurants, and cafes.
Move ahead from Long beach and you can get to, Ong Lang Beach and Vai Bung Beach which are just a short journey northwards. Less crowded and more silent. Each has a handful of resorts and food shacks dotted along the edge their beaches.
Catch hold of a local and you can find even more secluded, undisturbed patch of sand of your liking.
The coral ecosystems that can be found just off the shore are home to some amazing sea wildlife and offer fantastic scuba diving opportunities. The main areas to North and South of the Island offer divers the chance to see the many incredible species living in the coral reef. The top spot for scuba diving is in the An Thoi Archipelago off the south coast of the island. Here the amazing coral reef stretches up to 25 meters below the surface and is home to stingrays, manta rays and bamboo sharks. To the north of Phu Quoc are Turtle Island and Fingertip Island which are other good diving spots with some idyllic beaches. These are great places to spot some of the smaller species of wildlife living in the area.
If you can only take one day trip excursion while you’re on Phu Quoc island, make sure its a boat tour of the An Thoi Archipelago. This cluster of remote little islands to the south of An Thoi Town, boast some of the most stunning beaches you will ever see.
Beyond the beaches, right in the main town of Duong Dong lies Dinh Cau temple which is a combination of a shrine and a lighthouse. If you want to shop then Phu Quoc is also famous for producing organic honey and pepper along with some fish sauce. So you know what to pick as souvenirs. Adventurous enough? Try the local dishes including Sea urchins and Sea Cucumbers which are considered local delicacy here.
Phu Quoc is a short ride away from Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi and Cambodia. The peak season runs from Dec to March while Rainy Season runs from June to Nov. Also remember, it is always hot here. If you are bored of the usual beach destinations, then surely make a trip to Phu Quoc before it gets too commercialized.
Garbage problem is there at some beaches. So when you come here please don’t contribute to the problem. Take your trash with you when you leave. Let’s do our bit.