Phu Quoc welcomes you
We board the boat to Phu Quoc island at An Thoi harbor. It takes about 15 minutes from the island wharf to get to Duong Dong town by motorbike. Before reaching the town, I have the opportunity to witness the daily life here, passing by small houses, fruit gardens and shady coconut trees.
See more Phu Quoc island travel guide at here.
Text by: Lam Linh
Sun, wind, sea and white sandy beaches
Duong Dong town is situated near a sandy beach where the local people often take morning walks and enjoy the sunshine on the Dinh Cau cape. Here stands my guesthouse with a sea view room. For a double, prices are around VND250,000. Duong Dong is the most bustling town on the Emerald island with a wide selection of restaurants and services. It’s noted for its night markets, which display an array of inexpensive fresh seafood, attracting a large number of visitors every night, from 6 to 10 p.m.
You can rent a motorbike to tour the island. The red soil path from Duong Dong to An Thoi runs along the coast with white sandy dunes and high green coconut trees. You will come across numerous pearl farms where you can buy souvenirs for family and friends. Plans are underway to build new resorts along this beach path for guests to enjoy in the near future.
An Thoi town near the wharf is also undeveloped. There are hotels and resorts along the 150km coast from An Thoi with magnificent beaches, extensive sandy banks and big waves. The resorts are set on the beach. Sea view rooms with modern comforts are priced from VND1,000,000. One of the most remarkable seaside resorts on the island is the popular Bai Sao, set on a clean blue water beach. After swimming with the small fish in the sea, you can enjoy delicious seafood at a reasonable price in the restaurant. Do not forget to try the shark hotpot and sea-chestnut – a specialty only found on Phu Quoc.
When exploring the island, don’t forget your swimming gear so that you can jump into the sea anytime and play in the breaking waves. A picnic with your family or friends on a deserted beach will make an unforgettable memory. You can also immerse yourself in nature or discover the fabulous coral reefs in Hon Thom and Hon Roi. About ten minutes from Hon Thom by boat, the squid-fishing village comes alive at night with dozens of fishing boats lit up like fireflies.
Rambutan, fish sauce, pepper and seafood
There are 99 mountains and hills on Phu Quoc, which is surrounded by primeval green forests, falls and streams. If you travel along the path across the island in June, you will have the chance to visit a rambutan garden with ripe fruit, ready to be harvested. The owners will invite you to try the sweet rambutans they have just picked. You can select the best fruit to buy and bring home, but keep clear of the black ants that like to scale the trees. Rambutans bought directly from the farmer like this are excellent value. The garden itself also makes a great photo opportunity.
The Emerald island is also famous for its pepper gardens, situated near Ghenh Dau. The roads to the South of the island pass through pristine forests, down unpopulated slopes. Phu Quoc pepper is plumper, more fragrant and hotter than that grown in other regions, especially the red pepper. The local people sort it into three categories: red, white and black.
If you are lucky, you might get the opportunity to see the white carpets of coffee flowers. Although there are not as many coffee plants as in the Highlands, their flowers attract numerous bees, enhancing the picturesque beauty of Phu Quoc.
During your trip, don’t forget to visit the outstanding Nha Thung fish sauce manufacturer. Phu Quoc fish sauce is not only well-known in Vietnam but all over the world. The fish sauce used to be contained in big wooden buckets, made of litsea trees. Nowadays, people replace this kind of tree with ven ven trees (Anisoptera cochinchinenis) because litsea trees have become rare. The buckets are tied with rattan, found in Ong Tam and the Bac Dao mountains. The local people only use anchovies to make the fish sauce.
On our last night on the island, my friends and I camped on the beach. We fried some fresh squid and sipped glasses of tomentose rose myrtle wine. Under the starry sky, listening to the hypnotic sound of the waves and wind in the trees, Phu Quoc truly left its mark on me.
Phu Quoc, the biggest island in Vietnam, covers an area of about 600 square kilometers. It takes about 3 hours to travel from Kien Giang city and one hour from Ha Tien town by train or 50 minutes from Saigon by plane.
Air Mekong offers direct daily flights to Phu Quoc from Hanoi. This is the longest direct route in Vietnam and takes about two and a half hours.
The two most populated towns in Phu Quoc are An Thoi and Duong Dong. Hotels are priced at about VND250,000 a night and a motorbike can be rented for VND120,000 a day.
Famous attractions in Phu Quoc
+ Dinh Cau Phu Quoc, also known as Long Vuong temple. Dinh Cau, built in the 17th century, is located about 200m from Duong Dong town in the west. Before heading out to sea, or on special occasions, the local people burn incense. On October 15th and 16th in the lunar month, there is a festival at the temple.
+ Hang Doi (Bat Cave) is situated next to the Tranh stream. To get here you have to head upstream, crossing high and dangerous mountains. Remember to watch out for pythons, snakes and centipedes.
+ Phu Quoc National Park is located on the northeast of the island. It is largely untouched, with primeval jungle.
+ Vuon Tao (Apple) Restaurant: is famous for raw herring, served with more than ten vegetables, the restaurant’s special sauce and tomentose rose myrtle wine.
+ Zen Restaurant: is a luxurious restaurant, with a large garden, which can seat up to 500 guests.
+ Song Xanh Restaurant: the newest restaurant in Phu Quoc with a view of the Duong Dong river.
+ Trung Duong Restaurant: a high ranking favourite.
+ Huong Bien Restaurant: situated on the top floor of the Huong Bien Hotel, is an ideal place for dinner.
More restaurants in Phu Quoc at here.
See more Phu Quoc island travel guide at here.