Situated closer to Cambodia than Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc has arguably the best beaches in the country. An international airport opened in 2012, raising the island’s profile and bringing in droves of visitors. Despite this, the island retains a laid-back, underdeveloped charm, and its coast is still dotted with small fishing villages with brightly painted boats. The interior of the island includes plenty of forest, while some of the land is earmarked for growing black pepper—pepper from here is famous throughout Vietnam. The best beach lies to the west of the town of Phu Quoc; it's a 13-mile long straight stretch with golden sands, coconut palms, and clear turquoise waters. The An Thoi Islands, south of Phu Quoc but still part of its marine park, offer excellent snorkeling and diving during the dry season from December through May.
By Sanjay Surana, AFAR Contributor
get down Sao down
going to Sao beach after long beach feels like going to an entirely different island. the blues and the greens look different, the daylight even seems brighter, crisper. one goes for a dip in the playful currents at long beach, looking forward to the taffy pink sunsets; one is gently engulfed by the ticklish waves at sao, put under a spell, wishing time would just come to a standstill.
Sunset at Phu Quoc Island
What a beatiful sunset! These are two local fishermen, doing their work on Long Beach, Phu Quoc, Vietnam. The sun looks like a bulb, fixed on the cloudy ceiling... Besides the bustling Long Beach, the island seems well underdeveloped.. Just grab a scooter and explore the island on your own. You will find lonely beaches and explore authentic fishing villages.. But don't wait too long - the development has just begun...
By Stephan Lirk
Phu Quoc: The Idyllic South East Asian Island That Comes With Torture Instructions
Phu Quoc is a tiny, idyllic island at the very southern tip of Vietnam that takes about three hours to traverse over dirt roads. An airport was installed about two years ago, roughly the same time a small patch of road on the West Side of the island was paved and resorts were built, including the exclusive La Veranda, where honeymooning couples go to snuggle on the beach and get their tan on. The hotel’s brochure lists activities to do on the island, like “snorkeling, reef diving, waterfalls, hiking in virgin forests, shopping at the market…” at the very bottom of the list, on the back page is “Coconut Tree Prison.” Located at the far end of the island, the prison is not a very popular destination for La Veranda guests – the hotel employees gave me a strange look when I told them where I wanted to go and it cost me a whopping forty dollars for someone to take me there. The actual prison memorial is like a live re-enactment of the Josef Goebbels Handbook, complete with (American) mannequins torturing (Vietnamese) mannequins and a set of instructions for each torment, no matter how self-explanatory it may seem. It is insane. And completely bizarre.