With a Gulf of Thailand setting, holidays to Phu Quoc give you seaside Vietnam at its best. Expect mile upon mile of soft, pale sands and warm, glass-clear waters.
Vietnam’s rising star
Anchored just off the south-west coast of Vietnam, Phu Quoc has – until recently – been a well-kept secret among backpackers and locals alike. These days, it’s set to become the next big thing in Vietnamese beach resorts. And, as we’re the first UK airline to fly there, you’re in a prime position to enjoy its desert-island style sands, forest-cloaked hills and first-rate diving.
Thanks to its position in the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc lays claim to some of Vietnam’s best beaches. Its headline act is the aptly-named Long Beach – a 12-mile sweep of flour-white sand, backed by rows of palms and restaurants. And it’s got plenty of pin drop-peaceful patches tucked up its sleeve. Lots of the beaches in the north can only be accessed through forest tracks, so total seclusion is guaranteed.
Away from the coast, it’s a completely different story. In fact, 90% of the island is covered in forest. Over 31,000 hectares of that is dedicated to Phu Quoc National Park. Here, walking trails lace through mangroves, past streams and up mountains.
You can tailor-make your time in Vietnam with our Multi-Centre getaways. Pair a beach break in Phu Quoc with a city stay in places like Ho Chi Minh City. Or combine it with one of our action-packed tours, which line up sights like the floating markets of the Mekong Delta, the historic Cu Chi tunnels, and the world-famous Angkor Wat temple, which is across the border in Cambodia.
Things to See and Do in Vietnam - Phu Quoc
There’s a reason why Vietnam’s best beaches lists always mention Phu Quoc, without fail. It’s got a liberal sprinkling of white-sand beaches, backed by palms and thick forest. You’ll find the least-visited to the north of the island, where the sands are bare, apart from local fishermen going about their daily business.
Long Beach well and truly lives up to its name, unravelling along the island’s south-western coast for five miles. All eyes are on this stretch, and most of the resorts have nabbed their very own section of caramel-coloured sand. That’s not to say it’s all hustle and bustle, though – there are still deserted spots left to the south.
Quiet and calm are the two words that sum up Rach Tram Beach. This north coast beach features white sands, calm waters and a forest backdrop. It’s completely cut off from the tourism bubble, so the only people disturbing you will be the odd fisherman drying their catch on the grass verges behind.
Souvenir stalls rub shoulders with seafood vendors at Duong Dong's night market. You can pick up pearls, shells and clothing on the cheap. And follow it with a fresh-as-they-come seafood dinner – you can pick your crabs, lobsters or prawns straight from the tank.
A good range of shops line up along Long Beach, which means your souvenir needs are all sorted. Conical hats and black pepper are just some of the goods. And you can stock up on beach essentials, too, like bikinis, suncream and snorkels.
Phu Quoc’s not known as Vietnam’s Pearl Island for nothing. They come in every colour under the sun here, from black to rare gold. Pearl farms are your best bet for the real deal. Plus, they have a huge variety of beautifully crafted necklaces, earrings and rings.
As the isle’s main town, Duong Dong comes up trumps in the bars-with-a-twist department. It’s a great place to head for a relaxed tipple, with rooftop cocktail bars and a Czech-style microbrewery. For cartoon fans, there’s also the Simpsons-themed Moe’s Bar.
Long Beach leads the way when it comes to nightlife. The bars here double up as clubs, thanks to live DJs and beach bonfires. Coco Bar is a popular choice, with a homemade rum menu ticking off flavours like banana, coconut and passion fruit. Plus, if you’re travelling during a full or half moon, you can expect things to get even livelier.
Fish sauce is to Phu Quoc, what tapas is to Barcelona. The island prides itself on making the real deal, since anchovies flourish in the waters off shore. There are heaps of distilleries, which churn out 2.6 million gallons of the stuff every year.
Ham Ninh flower crab
Seafood is, of course, the star attraction on most menus here. Red flower crabs are the speciality, though. They’re so fresh, that you can usually choose your crab from the tank. The accompanying dipping sauce is a mix of black pepper, salt and lime juice.
This backpacker staple is a favourite on the island for breakfast or dessert. Slices of banana are added to thin, crepe-like pancakes, and topped with condensed milk or sugar.
It’s a special dish, since boletus – similar to a mushroom – only grows in the island’s forests during rainy season. As well as the boletus, fresh squid, prawns and minced meat are added to the soup.
Fried pork with rice
The name says it all – sliced onion, garlic and spices are thrown into a flaming-hot frying pan, with cooked rice and pork. Fish sauce is a popular addition, too.
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Ganh Dau Beach
Sheltered by two mountains, Ganh Dau Beach is considered one of the best in Phu Quoc. A white strip of sand unravels alongside thick green forest, while the calm waters are a snorkeller’s paradise. Even though this Vietnamese island is developing fast, Ganh Dau Beach remains largely unspoiled, so there are plenty of peaceful spots for watching the sun sink in the evenings.
Fishing is Duong Dong’s lifeblood, and everything in the town is tinged with a maritime theme. Wooden boats crowd along the riverbank, and the daily seafood markets are a hive of activity. Where the waterway meets the Gulf of Thailand, a pair of palm-lined sandy beaches roll out in either direction. Closer to the centre, the shoreline’s sprinkled with colourful temples, street cafés, and an iconic stripy lighthouse.
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If you’re after an adventure, spend a day mapping your way to the beaches of Rach Tram and Rach Vem. They’re hidden awayat…View details »