Phú Quốc is just off the coast of Cambodia, the southerly most part of Vietnam. It is a great place to wind down after a tour of the Country which will have your mind buzzing with the things you have seen. It a mountainous island covered in forests, just over 1,300 square kilometres in all and home to 80,000 local inhabitants. This is the Gulf of Thailand the Vietnam’s mainland is just 45 km away. Cambodia is closer, just 15 km though the island is very much Vietnam.
It was formerly a French base and during the Vietnam War, Viet Cong were imprisoned there. Today it is famous for a number of things including its wonderful beaches, fresh seafood and the production of fish sauce (nuoc mam). Fortunately Phu Quoc has not been overdeveloped as yet and this Phu Quoc travel guide hopes to make out a strong case as to why you should consider it in your Vietnam travel plans.
It is known as Paradise Island and quite rightly so.
How to get there
There is a new international airport close to Duong Dong; there are several daily flights from Ho Chi Minh City and international connections with Siem Reap and Singapore operated by Vietnam Airlines.
There are hydrofoils between the Island and the mainland at Rach Gia with the journey around two and a half hours. A similar journey on small ferries from Ha Tien is an hour shorter. The seas are rough during the monsoons and sea travel is not advised and regularly cancelled anyway.
Best time to visit
The Island has a tropical climate three seasons:
High Season is between November andMarch, when the daily temperature on average is around 30 C rising from 23C in the early hours.
Shoulder Season follows but is splitApril to June and then late October. Temperatures are slightly higher but humidity increases as well.
Low Season is monsoon time, July to September.
Things to see and do
Phu Quoc is a place you can relax after Vietnam travel packages or just keep on going. If you want to get out and see things then here is a list out Phu Quoc travel guide recommends.
• At the south of the island there is the fishing town of An Thoi. You can take a trip to the small islands south of Phu Quoc.Ham Ninh is another fishing village alternative.
• The best beach on the island is Sao Beach in the south east just north of An Thoi.
• The Suoi Tranh waterfalls are especially good after it has been raining. There is little water in the dry season from November to April. You can actually swim there at many times of the year just below the waterfall.
• Thepearl farms south of Duong Dong are worth a visit and there are obviously shops where you can buy pearl products for gifts and souvenirs.
• Pepper farms are interesting a great ideas for souvenirs and presents.
• Fish sauce factories also welcome visitors; the flavour it adds to Vietnamese cuisine is legendary though the smell is not particularly attractive.
• There a night time tours in search of squid and the chance to eat the freshest ever seafood on board.
• Snorkelling and scuba diving are popular activities on the Island.
• There are day and night markets to enjoy with restaurants close to the night time ones.
In high season Phu Quoc is busy and it is advisable to book accommodation in advance. Those on Vietnam tour packages will have that done for them of course. There is something for all budgets from hostels to excellent hotels.
The area around Duong Town can get especially crowded so a quieter option is in the north west of the Island at Vung Bau or Rach Vem Beach.
You may want to do some independent exploring even if you are on Vietnam private tours. You can do that on cycle or motor bike but you need to be careful and have a basic first aid kit if you go off by yourself.The medical facilities are stretched in the high season and you should therefore avoid accidents at all costs.
Other than that the island is a safe place and the locals very welcoming. If you are at the end of your holiday in Vietnam you will have already found that out.
We hope this Phu Quoc travel guide has been helpful and will encourage you to find out more about the Island.