Kem Beach (also known as “Bai Kem”, “Bai Khem”, “Khem Beach” or “Cream Beach”) is another one of Phu Quoc’s white sand beaches located just south of the more popular Sao Beach in An Thoi Town.
This beach use to be a restricted military zone but as of 2014 the restriction has been lifted. The administration of the beach has now been transferred to the island district managers to develop the tourism potential of this area. Contrary to what you may have read on the internet, Kem Beach is not the most beautiful beach in Phu Quoc, mainly because it is primarily a fish & seafood trading beach as the waters surrounding the beach are rich with shrimp, anchovies, and herring. It is still a nice beach, but only after the fishing boats have left and the fish market has closed, which is around 11:00am. The fish market is nice place to visit as you get to see the local fish trade in action – it makes for a great cultural photo op. In the near future Kem Beach will be redeveloped for tourism and the fish market found here will no longer exist.
Like Sao Beach, Bai Kem Beach is also renowned for its white sand. The sand is powdery and light but not as white as the sand found on Sao Beach The sand is also covered with a variety of trash and seaweed. The ocean here is calm and relatively clear with a greenish blue tint. The slope to walk into the ocean is low making it easy to enter and exit the ocean for you are your children. Sea urchins are almost non existent here due to their commercial value – if there is a sea urchin, chances are that a fisherman has already picked it up to sell at the fish market as they retail for 20,000VND ($1.00USD). If you are looking to swim and sunbathe here on Kem Beach then head further up north away from all the restaurants and boats. The water as well as the sand is much cleaner here.
What To See
Bamboo Boats: Aside from the beach, you can see a lot of round bamboo fishing boats in action and docked.
Fish Market: You can also see the morning fish market, which can get quite busy at times.
What To Do
Kings Well: There are boats here that will take you to the south east section of the area to a place called Fairy Wells (Gieng Tien) which has Lord Nguyen famous footprint. This area is only accessible by boat. The cost for this mini trip is 300,000 VND round trip for a private boat, or you can share this cost with other tourists. Trips to this unique place leave before 11:00am.
Try Herring Salad: Khem Beach is the best place on the island to try the unique Phu Quoc specialty, Herring Salad. Just ask for it at one of the numerous beachfront seafood restaurants
Where To Eat & Drink
There about 6 restaurants serving fresh seafood dishes which are all priced relatively the same and much cheaper than the seafood found in the Duong Dong night market. You can also buy fresh fish, shrimp, oysters, crabs or snails directly from the fishermen and have one of the restaurants cook them for you.
How To Get To Kem Beach
The route to get here is the same route to get to Sao Beach, Coconut Prison, and An Thoi Town and it involves going south on National Highway 46. The entrance is located directly opposite of the “Karaoke Song Nhac Cafe 252″ cafe.
Need To Know
- Cost of taxi from Duong Dong Town: 500,000 to 550,000 VND one way.
- Cost of taxi from the airport: 300,000VND one way
- Motorbike parking at the beach: 3,000 VND
- Xe Om (Motorbike taxi) from Duong Dong Town to Kem Beach: 150,000VND one way.
- Pharmacies: There are 2 pharmacies on the main road near the bridge and closer to Sao Beach:
1. Buu Chau Pharmacy
2. Quoc Hieu Pharmacy
- Nearest hospital: An Thoi Town
- ATMS: none