Want to visit the beautiful beaches of Southeast Asia without having to worry about the crowds? While many hidden gems lurk along the coasts, none quite measure up to Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island. With pristine beachfront and a laid back local culture, the Pearl Island has something on offer for tourists and adventurers alike.
What to Know
While Phu Quoc (pronounced “foo kwok”) is a relatively small island, it is quickly becoming a well-connected international destination, meaning travel to the island is easier than ever. Phu Quoc lies between several major hub cities, and is just a short flight from Singapore or Hong Kong. Even better – the island has a 30-day visa exemption. Pack for hot weather, as temperatures hang around a warm 80° Fahrenheit (27° Celsius) year round. Seeing as the island has large swaths of preserved jungle, immunizations and bug repellent are musts! Language is no barrier in the resort areas, as staff are usually multilingual, though Vietnamese is unsurprisingly the predominant language, particularly in more rural areas. Locals are quite friendly, however, and if you’re willing to use hand signals and/or translator apps, you’ll get by just fine. Phu Quoc’s relaxing atmosphere makes it perfect for romance, family vacations, and relaxation, though there is a two week summer music festival annually, should you desire a more festive climate.
Haven of Relaxation
The biggest draw of Phu Quoc is the beaches, and with soft white sands and crystal-clear water, it’s not hard to see why. Long Beach is a great option for those in beachfront resorts, and Starfish Beach offers wondrous interactions with its namesakes. Sao Beach, on the Southernmost point, is another highlight with its intimate atmosphere and gentle waves. Activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing can generally be arranged on beach or at nearby resorts. Phu Quoc has more than just beaches, however. More adventurous travelers may enjoy the national park that makes up more than fifty percent of the island. Inside you’ll find trekking paths, hidden waterfalls, and even wild monkeys (guides highly recommended). Those looking to stay closer to civilization can explore the wet markets of Duong Dong, Phu Quoc’s largest town, or take a trip to a picturesque fishing village along the coast.
While Phu Quoc offers the traditional resort fare, the real cuisine highlights are the local seafood huts that feature incredible fresh delicacies caught from the very waters you swim in. Grilled fish from the beach doesn’t need any dressing up to be delectable, but should you desire a more local flavor, head to the restaurants in town for a sampling of seafood dishes such as Banh Canh, Bun Quay, or Bun Reiu Cua. Rinse it all down with another local favorite – sugarcane juice. Before you go, don’t forget to visit the Phu Quoc Night Market where you can try ice cream rolls, a popular street food. Food here is relatively inexpensive, each meal averaging below five U.S. dollars.
Teeming with incredible experiences, rich culture, and great eats, Phu Quoc Island truly is a destination that should not be missed.
Header photo by Eila Lifflander on Unsplash