Phu Quoc is a tranquil Vietnamese island near the coast of Cambodia. Visit Phu Quoc and you will be entering a paradise that hasn’t yet been discovered by the rest of the world. It is truly idyllic!
Phu Quoc Island is the biggest and busiest of a collection of 28 similarly beautiful islands in the area.
On Phu Quoc you will stumble across snow-white beaches, traditional villages with delightful people, and Buddhist temples. It’s a quirky place with a relaxed vibe. The perfect antidote to the chaos of Southeast Asian cities.
BEST THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU VISIT PHU QUOC
Relax on Bai Sao Beach
Bai Sao Beach is the epitome of a tropical seaside haven. The sand is icing sugar soft and the sea is azure blue and crystal clear. Sunbathing and swimming on Bai Sao is a salve for the weary modern soul.
The beach is close to An Thoi Town, a serene village 25km away from Duong Dong Town. Stay here and you’re a short motorbike ride away from the 7km stretch of unspoiled natural beauty.
Snorkel above the rocks to watch colourful fish zipping in and out of the reef or explore the periphery of the jungle next to the shore and listen to the wild birds calling to each other.
After a day with your toes in the sand, head to one of the posh loungers at the nearest beach bar, and enjoy a glass of chilled pink wine.
Dine in Ham Ninh Fishing Village
Ham Ninh Fishing Village is the ideal place to meet the locals and indulge in a meal of fresh, tasty seafood such as boiled crab and sea cucumber broth.
Ham Ninh is the oldest village on Phu Quoc Island and the residents make a living fishing and diving for pearls. You’ll also find plenty of craft stalls and excellent cafes.
The scenery around the village is gorgeous. Vibrant houses and boats, radiant sunsets, and the dramatic Ham Ninh mountains make it picture-perfect!
It’s a fantastic location for watching the world go by too. Deliveries arrive from Vietnam at the pier each morning and it’s fascinating to observe the organised chaos.
If you wish to relax on the beach for the afternoon, we recommend walking north along the sand away from the main village. The shallow coastal waters and large beaches can mean that rubbish collects near the houses.
Hike in Phu Quoc National Park
Phu Quoc National Park consists of the northern Phu Quoc district of islands. The park became a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2010. The islands are blessed with 314,000 square metres of unique plants, flowers, and trees. Beaches, forests, and mountains are all part of this incredibly diverse and beautiful national park.
Tourists need to check local regulations before setting off on adrenaline-fuelled adventures as the park is under the tight control of the Vietnamese authorities.
Access to the delights of this nature lover’s dream is from the Nguyen Sinh Nature Reserve. From there, respectful visitors can trek, camp, and take photos of rare wildlife.
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Ride the Hon Thom Cable Car
The Hon Thom cable car ride from Phu Quoc Island to Hon Thom (also known as Pineapple Island) is a thrilling 8km flight through the sky above turquoise surf, banks of coral, and tiny emerald-like islands. If you’re lucky the fishermen will cheerfully wave to you from their boats.
The attraction is officially the longest non-stop cable car in the world, an impressive accolade that was ratified by the Guinness Book of World Records.
When you arrive at the Phu Quoc cable car station visitors will notice something unusual. It has a distinctly Italian look and seems to have been designed to replicate Rome.
As an imaginative deliberate contrast, the station at Hon Thom makes you feel as though you have just landed on a deserted desert island.
Explore Phu Quoc’s dive sites
The ocean around Phu Quoc is densely populated by a huge variety of marine life. Under the water, you will find teaming patches of reef, an ecosystem that is home to 135 types of fish, 132 molluscs, and over 100 kinds of coral.
Sea-dwelling mammals such as turtles and dugongs (gentle giants closely related to the manatee) live here too. Phu Quoc is the hub for wildlife study in the Philippines.
There are plenty of boat tours happy to take divers out into the deeper seas for scuba diving and free diving. Make sure the operator you choose is mindful of the needs of the natural environment they work in.
Visit Coconut Tree Prison
The Philippines have a dark and brutal past and anyone who comes to lie on the beaches or trek through the jungles should be prepared to learn about the history of the people. Coconut Tree Prison is an informative and slightly disturbing place to do just that.
The prison camp was originally built by the French colonialists to incarcerate the Vietnamese people who refused to follow the rules.
In 1967 the government in Saigon transformed it into the ‘Phu Quoc Communist Prison’ to house political prisoners and provide a home for communist soldiers in the south.
At times there were nearly 40,000 prisoners being kept in appalling conditions and under the tight control of prison officers trained to carry out vicious punishments.
The prison is now a small museum that uses original artifacts, waxworks, and detailed exhibits to explain the story of Coconut Tree and the history of Phu Quoc itself.
PLANNING YOUR PERFECT PHU QUOC TRIP
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