Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc

It may surprise visitors to learn that Vietnam’s largest island is actually in the Gulf of Thailand. Directly south of Cambodia (which disputes the ownership of the island), Phu Quoc is a densely forested and highly mountainous island, complete with sandy beaches and a deep blue sea.

Visitors can reach Phu Quoc by air from Ho Chi Minh city, although it is much more common for travelers to arrive by sea. There is a fast ferry which leaves from Ha Tien, on the Cambodian border, and takes less than two hours. It is possible to book the bus and ferry tickets together in Ho Chi Minh City, and simply transfer once you arrive in Ha Tien.

Until a few years ago, Phu Quoc was relatively untouched by tourism, and was widely regarded as one of the cleanest and most unspoiled island in Southeast Asia. However, the construction of resorts, hotels, bars and restaurants, along with the typical dive schools and watersports centers, has seen an increase in visitor numbers year on year. No more are the unlittered beaches and quiet sleepy villages. There are, however, plenty of unspoiled places to explore inland.

As Phu Quoc is such a mountainous island, relying on walking or a bicycle will inevitably restrict your exploration to the beach and coastal areas, for the most part. If you want to have a chance to see a bit more wildlife and greenery, be sure to rent a motorbike and a map to take you up into the trails. These trails are quite safe in general, although some of them have become overgrown in parts, so it’s important to stay aware of your bearings and not venture too far away from the visible trail.

If you want to get out onto the sea, there are numerous opportunities to charter a boat for a fishing trip. One of the more popular activities is squid fishing at night – you will take a boat out into the bay and try your hand at catching a squid. Once there is enough for everyone, this will quickly be prepared into a dinner, which you can then enjoy on the boat, under the stars.
If you’re still not ready to go to bed, you’ll find a string of bars along Duong Dong which cater to tourists.

Don’t leave Phu Quoc without visiting one of the many markets, including the night market at Duong Dong, where you can purchase some of the island’s local produce, such as its famous fish sauce, peppers, seafood and even pearls.

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