Phu Quoc Island is an idyllic vision of sandy beaches, thick jungle, and clear blue waters. It has undergone many transformations from an undisturbed island with a population of fewer than 1000 people to a topic of contention and fighting between countries and now a quintessential Vietnamese holiday destination.
What you expect
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.
It sits just South of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand and has two seasons, the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season runs from around June to November and the dry season from December to March. The hottest time of the year is between April and March when temperatures can reach a roasting 35 degrees celsius, however, Phu Quoc is warm throughout the year with temperatures mostly remaining above 22-23 degrees celsius. To catch Phu Quoc in its prime it’s best to travel during the dry season when the sun is out, the humidity is low, and the skies are clear.
Phu Quoc is already the ideal place to escape the stresses of everyday life and immerse yourself in island living.
What to see
The main attractions of Phu Quoc are the 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 con-struction, there are still plenty of beautiful beaches to enjoy.
One of the biggest and most popular beaches on Phu Quoc is Bai Truong 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. This beach is the epitome of a relaxing island getaway. It has everything you could possibly desire right at your fingertips, soft white sand, clear blue waters, delicious seafood, fresh fruit, and much more. Although some areas of the beach, especially the northern end, have become quite developed and can get a little crowded at peak times, because of the beach’s size, there is still enough space for everyone to have their own piece of paradise.
Slightly quieter than Long Beach, Ong Lang Beach and Vai Bung Beach are just a short journey northwards from Long Beach. They both offer the same calm blue water and sandy beaches but with less of a crowd. Each has a handful of resorts and food shacks dotted along the edge their beaches.
For those who prefer an even more secluded, undisturbed patch there are plenty of other beaches to choose from, some of which may need a little local knowledge to find them.
The sunsets on Phu Quoc are truly unmissable, and the beach is the perfect place to take in this daily wonder. As the hot, round sun glides effortlessly down the clear sky, its brilliant light cloaks the island in a golden glow. The glass like ocean reflects the light like a final parting call to the sun before it descends behind the still horizon. This is the perfect way to top off any day on Phu Quoc and adds a hint of island magic to any holiday.
What to do
Scuba diving is another of Phu Quoc’s biggest draws. 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, bamboo sharks and the occasional turtle as well as a host other creatures. To the north of Phu Quoc are Turtle Island and Fingertip Island both of which are surrounded by coral of up to 10 meters in depth. These are great places to spot some of the smaller species of wildlife living in the area.
As well as scuba diving, there are more and more watersports being introduced to Phu Quoc each year. Snorkelling can be a great way of getting a peek at the coral and some of its inhabitants. Some resort are now offering jet skiing, kayaks and windsails which can be hired and used to explore the stunning coastline, taking in the beauty of the island from the sea.
After discovering the coastline, visitors also have the chance to explore the jungle of the national park which covers much of the island. The park’s varied ecosystems, including mangrove forests, palm bushlands and forests. Hidden within this green and luscious environment are communities of interesting animals and insects with a total of 208 species within the national park. Some of these species are rare, such as the long-tailed macaque, silver langurs and lorises which can all be found in Phu Quoc National Park. The best ways to see all of this remarkable nature is either on food or by motorbike but the paths can be a little trickly to navigate.
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