Snorkeling on Phu Quoc. By Aaron Joel Santos
The main drag, known as Long Beach, is relaxed and offers easy public access to the water. Toward the island's southern coast, Bai Sao is famous for its scenery and comes with the added adventure of navigating Phu Quoc's dirt roads. Further north, you'll find more secluded shores, from Ong Lang beach to the long, empty stretch of Bai Dai.
With more than 50% of Phu Quoc's land area protected as a national park, a large part of Phu Quoc's best assets are hidden inland in sites such as Suoi Tranh. Hire a motorbike and find your way around the island, stopping off to explore independent hiking trails and freshwater springs.
To get a better sense of local life on Phu Quoc, pay a visit to Dinh Cau, a modest temple at one end of Long Beach. Curious foodies can also swing by the fish sauce factories in Duong Dong, to learn how Vietnam's most important condiment is made. On the opposite side of the island, Phu Quoc's Coconut Tree Prison reveals a troubled history, while Vinpearl Resort's many attractions up north signal a new age in the island's development.
Begin your stay by getting your bearings in Duong Dong, the island's main town. Be sure to get a glimpse inside one of the island's fish sauce factories before passing by Dinh Cau Temple. For more on-land activities, pay a visit to the Coi Nguon Museum, a privately run outfit celebrating the history of Phu Quoc, or lay down a towel on Long Beach for some R&R. In the evening, make a point of visiting the local night market for fresh local seafood.
For your second day, hire a motorbike and head south to Bai Sao, an popular stretch of sand with few beachgoers. Have lunch on the beach before heading to Coconut Tree Prison for a Phu Quoc history lesson. Round out the day by taking a wander through An Thoi, the southernmost fishing village on the island, before heading back.
For an extra beach day, hire a motorbike again and travel north of Duong Dong to peaceful Ong Lang beach. You can grab lunch in sleepy Cua Can village before heading on to Bai Dai, arguably one of Phu Quoc's most secluded stretches of coast, and Ganh Dau. Once you've had your share of beach time, turn into the forest for more outdoor adventure.
Phu Quoc is best visited between November and April when rainy season is not yet in effect. Peak season for foreign travelers typically occurs in December and January.
Daily flights to Phu Quoc International Airport depart from Ho Chi Minh City, while high-speed boats travel between the island and the Mekong Delta towns of Rach Gia and Ha Tien.