Photo: Beached boat on Bai Sao.


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Lying in hammock, looking out over a glassy Gulf of Thailand glowing amber from the setting sun, consider yourself lucky to be in the know about one of Vietnam’s best kept secrets. Covering a total area of 574 square kilometres, Phu Quoc Island gets almost none of the press as those islands over in Thailand — and yet with its rugged jungle, seductive sands and sparkling waters, it more than matches them. Sadly, developers have taken notice of the island’s potential and change is afoot. With a new international airport, cruise ship port and an enticing visa-exemption scheme, Phu Quoc is being primed for mass tourism.

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Long Beach is the star and it is bearing the brunt of the boom. In the dry season, the 20-plus kilometre stretch of yellow sand that runs from Duong Dong town down the central west coast of the island is the liveliest beach of the island, the entire length offering beachfront accommodation and places to play, laze and dig into seafood while digging your feet in the sand. Being one of the few beach destinations in Vietnam with a western coast, at the end of the day everyone gathers here to worship the memorable sunset.

Enjoy Phu Quoc’s unspoiled beaches … (that is a joke) Photo taken in or around Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

Enjoy Phu Quoc’s unspoiled beaches … (that is a joke) Photo: Cindy Fan

If beach bustle isn’t your scene, it’s possible to find that wild, unspoilt feeling that first drew travellers here. Phu Quoc’s freshly paved arterial roads coupled with dramatic scenery make it a fantastic place to explore by motorbike. Ong Lang, Bai Vung and Bai Sao are just a few of the beaches you should consider staying at or at least visit. Anyone with a window seat on the plane will be struck by how staggeringly green the island is. More than half of it is national park and in 2006 the island was included in the UNESCO designation of Kien Giang as a World Biosphere Reserve. The north and east coast remains relatively untouched by tourism. If you want to experience what the island was like just 10 years ago, head out on the dirt roads that will take you past lush jungle and the island’s many famed pepper plantations.

But surf and sand is what you’re probably here for and whether you’re after PADI certification, to find Nemo through a snorkel mask or just want to splash around, a day on the water is a must. Better yet, charter a boat to discover paradise in the An Thoi islands, an archipelago of 15 islands and islets off the southern coast where you’ll find secluded coves, soft white sand, azure waters, coral reefs and ... Travelfish members only (Around 1,000 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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