Phu Quoc is the largest of all the Vietnamese islands, and just an hour's flight from Ho Chi Minh City, or a boat journey from the Mekong Delta. Even though it is a part of Vietnam, geographically, it is situated very close to the Cambodian mainland. Traditionally, the main industries of the island were fishing and farming, but nowadays tourism plays an important part in the island’s economy. The island is still well-known for the quality of peppers it produces, fish-sauce production, and is said to offer the most delicious seafood in the whole of Vietnam.
It is a typical tropical island, with a beautiful interior of coconut plantations and lush vegetation. The island has numerous stretches of white sand beaches, some of which are more developed than others. Development on the island has been slower than in other coastal parts of Southeast Asia, however that is not to say it has not escaped this. Having said that, the island remains tranquil, and one of the advantages of staying on Phu Quoc over more remote islands, is having access to numerous local restaurants and shops to browse when not enjoying the delights that the ocean has to offer.
There is a mountain range that runs the length of the island with the peak at over 600 metres. Part of the island is under the protection of the Phu Quoc National Park. For the adventurous, there are opportunities for trekking amongst the lush vegetation, visiting picturesque waterfalls, and gazing at the numerous birds, and other wildlife.
The main town on the island, Duong Dong feels deeply traditional, with bustling markets selling all kinds of produce, and a fishing port full of colourful working fishing boats. This offers a fascinating diversion for those needing something more stimulating than just a beach.
There are many wonderful activities on offer around the island, from travelling by boat to a private beach for a luxuriously picnic, to snorkelling in crystal clear azure waters, teeming with colourful marine life. Inland, as well as trekking in the national park, visiting the market and fishing port of the main town, perhaps visit a pepper farm to learn more about the cultivation of this plant that has become so prominent in western cooking.
A visit to Phu Quoc Island can easily be incorporated into a wider tailormade tour of Vietnam, particularly if spending time in the south. The best time to visit is between November and March when temperatures are warm and there should be little precipitation.
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