Phu Quoc Island Vietnam
Phu Quoc Island
Phu Quoc Island is a little secret destination that many travellers don’t know about yet. The island is still undeveloped for the time being and even during the high session there are still plenty of remote and empty beaches. I’m not giving away any secret locations, though your best opportunities for empty sun drenched beaches under those coconut trees can be found around the northern and north-eastern part of the island.
Phú Quốc Island is located off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand. Half of the island is part of the Phu Quoc National Park which is mostly dense tropical jungle, mountains, hiking trials and wildlife. The island is appreciated for its white sandy beaches, calm warm waters and luxury resorts.
Duong Dong Beach
Duong Dong Beach is an urban beach located on the west coast of the island. It is not a beach where most tourists would want to visit as it is more a residential beach. Duong Dong is the largest town on the island and very popular as it offers a day and night market selling fresh produce, seafood and handmade crafts.
The most popular beaches are:
- Sao Beach
- Bai Khem
- Lang Chai Ham Ninh
- Bai Dai
These beach side villages offer a great selection of offshore excursions to coral reefs and islets that are best suited to scuba diving, snorkelling and sea kayaking.
Phu Quoc is famous for its production of very high quality fish sauce which is exported worldwide and is a major contributor to the islands economy. It is made by combining anchovies, salt, and water and sometimes pepper grown on the island. It is fermented through various stages for up to six months before being drained from large barrels into different grades ranging from top quality lighter coloured sauce to the basic cooking sauce. Phu Quoc produces over an 12 million litres of fish sauce each year and has around 85 factories on the island.
During the fishing season (which extends from July to December), fishermen harvest anchovies by net and immediately combine them with salt at a 3:1 ratio in water tanks. If you are interested in the history and process, Nuoc Mam Hung Thanh distillery offers interesting and informative tours.
If you are planning to buy fish sauce in Phu Quoc, it won’t make it to home! Please note that when departing Phu Quoc by air, carrying fish sauce on the airplane is not allowed and some airlines have banned it altogether because of risk of breakage and the pungent aroma that is extremely difficult to remove. Imagine getting the smell of Fish Sauce out of the cargo hold!
Other tours on the island worth visiting are: pearl store, pepper garden, “Sim” wine store and Bee farm. If your keen to see the Pearl farms of Phu Quoc your best bet would be start at the pearl farm shop run by an New Zealand based company in Duong Village which is located about 9km south of Duong Dong, along a dirt road that follows Long Beach. See their website for more information www.treasuresfromthedeep.com
They offer a large selection of remarkable pearls and information about the history of pearl farming on the island.
For my week-long stay, I chose to stay at Eden Resort Phu Quoc which is located on Western Phu Quoc Island. The resort offers 166 luxury rooms and bungalows featuring fresh and unconventional contemporary design preserving the Vietnamese heritage while offering outstanding comfort and luxury; and only steps from the white beaches and ocean. Boasting beautiful gardens, it offers an infinity swimming pool, peaceful private beach and experience of the wildness and mystery of the surrounding forest and mountain range.
Eden Resort Phu Quoc has two beachfront restaurants and a beach bar which serves international cuisine and the tropical region flavouring cool fresh drinks. Guests can also relax at the outdoor jacuzzi pool or enjoy a range of water sports activities by the beach. Eden Resort also provides an Open Deluxe Spa and well equipped fitness centre. Entertaining evenings can be spent singing at the karaoke rooms.
There are dogs roaming free throughout Vietnam. The Phu Quoc Ridgeback is one of only three breeds that has a ridge of hair that runs along its back in the opposite direction from the rest of the coat (the others are Rhodesian Ridgeback and Thai Ridgeback). The Phu Quoc is the smallest of the three ridgeback breeds. In Vietnam, these dogs are still considered rare and there were only 700 purebred dogs registered and recognised by the Vietnam Kennel Club.
Put Phu Quoc Island on your bucket list.