Phu Quoc's beaches
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What we say:
Bai Truong Beach
Phu Quoc's longest beach is Bai Truong, which is far better known as Long beach. In excess of 20 kilometres long, Long Beach runs down Phu Quoc's west coast and its grainy yellow sands, aside from the very occasional fishing hamlet, are utterly deserted — well, except for the 30-plus resorts and guesthouses that are plugged into the northern end of the beach.
The downside of the beach being deserted is that the vast majority of it is covered in refuse — not garbage so much (except for plastic water bottles) as flotsam — coconut husks, driftwood and so on. In high season the resorts mostly clean the beach in front of their plot, but most of the beach is left as it is. It's not a huge deal, but does take away from the attractiveness of the beach.
The Vietnamese government has huge plans for the beach, including all manner of mega-hotels, resorts and whatnot. Thankfully the only evidence of any of these plans are a bunch of billboards declaring their existence — don't hold your breath.
Bai Truong is lined for almost its entire length by grassy stretches and coconut palms, meaning it's easy to ride down as far as you want, pull over and go for a swim. It has great potential for picnics.
Bai Sao Beach
Over on the east coast, towards the southern tip of Phu Quoc, sits stunning Bai Sao beach. Glistening, squeaky white sand, turquoise water and a semi-abandoned feel make this one of the top spots on Phu Quoc. A couple of basic places to stay lie towards the centre of the beach along with two seafood eateries, but the best part of the beach is towards its southern tip, which is now occupied by the Longbeach Club, a restaurant/lounge area where tour buses now drop passengers off for their Bai Sao leisure time. You can avoid the hassle of hawkers and the like by setting up near the boulders, around which you can clamber to an even better beach, Bai Khem.
Bai Khem Beach
Just over the boulders from Bai Sao beach, Bai Khem is breathtaking in its beauty — but there's a catch — it's a military zone, and tourists (that's you) are not permitted. If you try and reach it from the road you can expect the military checkpoint to turn you away. By climbing over the rocks from Bai Sao you can get a glimpse of the beach and depending on how cheeky you're feeling, have a swim, but bear in mind you are breaking the law and if you're caught, you will be in trouble.
Ong Lang Beach
Set to the north of Duong Dong, Ong Lang is home to three spots to stay and has a similar grainy sand to that of Long Beach. It feels even more deserted than Long Beach — if you're after a bit of serenity, you could do far worse than here.
Bai Vong Beach
Just to the south of Ham Ninh, Bai Vong is a broad and very shallow beach, with a fine pale sand. Ideal for picnics and paddling, the waters aren't great for snorkelling, but with a bit of shade and a handful of very basic places to eat at, it's a fine option for a couple of hours.
Phu Quoc is ringed by beaches and for those with the time, there are plenty of other strips of sand worth exploring — Bai Thom on the northeast and Bai Dai on the northwest are both rather fine. A few other beaches near An Thoi may also be worth exploring, though we didn't get to them ourselves.
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