Phu Quoc

A visit to Phu Quoc is a good, affordable opportunity to relax, spend time on the beach, kayak its quiet inlets, scuba dive or snorkel the coral reefs, or simply have a great seafood meal followed by a cocktail on the beach. With its five-star resorts and elegant family-run bungalows, Phu Quoc is one of Vietnam’s star attractions in its own right. 
Phu Quoc is called the island of pearls from the wealth bestowed to it by nature and its rich tourism potential. The island has many beautiful beaches. Visitors to Phu Quoc can swim, hike, visit the caves, go jungle trekking, and more.

Things to do in Phu Quoc:

  • Try scuba diving around the hard and soft coral reefs as well as coral fish has been on the must-do list of adventurous lovers.
  • Visit Phu Quoc National Park: Phu Quoc National Park is a good destination for tourists as it offers a wide range of activities such as camping and trekking. It’s also ideal for those who want to study the tropical forest. As Phu Quoc develops into Vietnam’s ecotourism capital, the jewel in its crown, the park will become ever more attractive to visitors from around the world.
  • Patrol around beaches by motorcycles.   
  • Shopping at Phu Quoc Pearl Farm: On an isolated stretch of Long Beach, Phu Quoc Pearl Farm is a requisite stop if you're shopping for pearls. A small shop sells pearl necklaces and earrings, and wall panels describe (in English) how the oysters yield their goods. There's a tiny café on site. Avid pearl hunters can find cheaper wares at kiosks in thevillage of Ham Ninh.


Where to go in Phu Quoc:

Phu Quoc's quiet dirt roads are a great place to get your motor running and ying ying ying all over the island. Motorbike rental for 1 day costs about $7 and can be arranged at any hotel front desk or from the motorbike taxi lads themselves at the airport.

Heading north along the west coast of the island, roads of thick red dust connect villages set along salty inlets crowded with small fishing boats. You'll first come to the beach area of Ong Lang, which hosts a small clutch of resorts and services along a quiet stretch of sand; a small turnoff from the main road takes you there. Continuing north, follow long stretches of open beach lined with fish and squid out to dry on large bamboo mats. There are lots of opportunities along the way for complete seclusion. The coastal road reaches Gan Dau, a small town of busy Fish Sauce Factories. Farther out on the peninsula area, you'll find a few local hangout spots with hammocks under shade trees by the beach.

From Gan Dau, you can turn inland and make a long clockwise loop. It's 13km along jungle road to the town of Rach Vieu, and another 6km east brings you to the Suoi Cai Crossroad. From there you can go 13km to the beaches of Bai Thom (a military base on the far north end of the island), or even get motocross for the long trip down the treacherous trails on the island's east side; most take the short loop inland, some 16km heading back to Duong Dong town.

Going south from central Duong Dong town, toward the An Thoi Port area on the far southern tip of the island, are a few attractions. Lying some 25km south is the beautiful Khem Beach, a long white-sand stretch lined with palms and with some actual pounding surf. On clear days, it's great for snorkeling. You'll just spot a few lazy beachside sugar shacks with low tables under umbrellas and lots of hammocks in the shade where you can sip a cool drink, order lunch, and watch the day go by. It's a popular beach for domestic tourists, though, so it gets pretty crowded on the weekends.

Along the coast, Phu Quoc Pearl Farm (Duong To Village, 10km on the western coastal road) is a relaxed roadside stop overlooking a long stretch of open beach along the dusty coastal road, as well as a small museum with good explanations about the complex process of pearl farming and a very high-end boutique with some very unique colored and clear pearls in fine gold and silver settings. Stop here if you're heading to Sao Beach in the far south.

Nha Tu Phu Quoc is the old jail where the French housed Vietnamese dissidents. The sight is just an enclosed field with old fallen-down sheet metal Quonset huts, but there is a little adjoining museum with some photos and information (daily 7-11:30am and 1:30-4pm).


How to get to Phu Quoc:

By plane: Vietnam Airlines offers daily flights from both Ho Chi Minh City and Rach Gia, a small coastal town adjacent to Phu Quoc on the Mekong Delta mainland. Some flights actually hop from Ho Chi Minh to Rach Gia and then on to Phu Quoc. From Ho Chi Minh, the flight is about 45 minutes and leaves Saigon's Tan Son Nhat domestic terminal daily at 5:55, 6, 6:40, 8, and 10:15am, and noon. Return flights from Phu Quoc Airport to Saigon leave daily at 7:25, 8:10, 9, 9:30, and 11:45am, and 1:30pm. Vietnam Airlines’ Ho Chi Minh City office is located at 116 Nguyen Hue (District 1), across from the Rex Hotel. A motorbike taxi from the airport to Long Beach is just about $65.

By boat: Numerous companies operate speedy hydrofoils that sail between Rach Gia and Phu Quoc. Boats leave the mainland daily between 7am and 8.30am, and return from Phu Quoc between 12.30pm and 1.30pm. Ticket prices for the 2½-hour journey range from 150, 000 to 200, 000d for adults, and 70, 000 to 90, 000d for children. Tickets must be purchased in advance, though you can usually find a seat by booking as little as 30 minutes ahead.

All passenger ferries departing and arriving at Phu Quoc use the port of An Thoi on the southern tip of the island.

Phu Quoc’s rainy season is from July to November. The peak season  for tourism is mid-winter when the sky is blue and the sea is calm. However, when it is not raining, it is roasting hot; therefore, never forget to brining sunglasses and plenty of sun cream.

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