Also being called Pearl Island because of clear water, Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam with an area is approximately the size of Singapore’s area (in 1960). The island is famous for its pristine beach and peaceful atmosphere.
Once being left out from urbanization, Phu Quoc has been one of the most attractive beach city of Vietnam, which welcome thousands of tourists coming for a taste. Phu Quoc beach offers seductive white sands and blue sparkling waters, which look amazingly beautiful during sunrise or sunset. Fortunately, the place is considered as where modernity meets tranquility with peaceful beaches and vibrant tourism activities.
Like Vietnam itself, Phu Quoc Island has a varied history with numerous nations occupying the island over the past couple of centuries, including Vietnam, Cambodia, France, and America. Phu Quoc was famous for its sea cucumbers, shipped by Chinese merchant junks from Phu Quoc to the even the Emperor of China for many years.
The history of Phu Quoc Island
In 1975, the Vietnam – Cambodia war was started by Khmer Rouge soldiers who raided and took over Phu Quoc island. The island was a stronghold for over 50,000 military personnel. However, the ward ended in the late 1980s.
Meanwhile, during the 1760s to 1780s, Phu Quoc island served as a French missionary’s base. As a relatively remote and forested island with the potential of an economically marginal area, the French colonial administration government decided to turn the peaceful island into a prison. After the French colonial period, Americans took over the island while the French left behind about 40,000 Viet Cong prisoners here. One of the most well-known prisons could be named Coconut Tree Prison (Nha Lao Cay Dua), which is still in use nowadays.
Throughout many years of a rural island with no urbanization, Phu Quoc has been developed to be a travel city thanks to its magnificent beaches, national forest, and other landscape.
Must-visit attractions in Phu Quoc
- Sao Beach: Sao Beach is one of Phu Quoc's most beautiful beaches with sparkling white sand, crystal-clear water, and fresh air, which can bring relaxing and peaceful moments. If you are looking for a perfect beach having palm trees swaying in the wind, a forest as a backdrop, and a few bars to enjoy a cocktail while watching the sea, Bai Sao is a great choice for you.
- Phu Quoc prison: Phu Quoc prison, a special national monument, is an interesting destination for many local and foreign tourists when traveling to Phu Quoc island. Phu Quoc prison is evidence of crimes from colonialism, but also a spirit of the Vietnamese soldiers in prison during the war, fighting for revolution. It has the other name as Cay Dua prison (The coconut tree prison).
- Duong Dong Market: If you want to discover their culture, there is no place but a local market that could satisfy your hunger. There are 6 main markets in Phu Quoc including Cau Sau market, An Thoi market, Ganh Dau market, Ham Ninh market, Bai Thom market, and Duong Dong market. In particular, the Duong Dong market is the largest and most well-known one. It is the largest market on this Pearl island, which offers diverse goods, and foods.
- Ho Quoc Pagoda: Ho Quoc Pagoda, also known as Truc Lam Ho Quoc, is the largest and most peaceful Buddhist temple on Phu Quoc Island (Kien Giang). The temple is situated along the coastal 10-km road in the North of Sao Beach, that’s why the panoramic sea view afforded from the temple grounds is unsurpassed and very worth a visit.
Phu Quoc is a very conservatively place as it was included in the UNESCO designation of Kien Giang as a World Biosphere Reserve. Phu Quoc people mostly rely on fishing and tourism to earn living. The place is actually quiet with less traffic and people, which is perfect for a relaxing trip for travelers.
Weather in Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc dry season ranges from November to April, which may result in the tourist season peak from December to February. The peak time comes with skyrocket hotel prices with few options due to over-booking.
April to May period is unpleasantly hot. So you may prefer to visiting Phu Quoc from June to August for the summer holiday with low season rates. This time is recommended for tourists to visit Phu Quoc to avoid the crowded but high priced holidays.
Meanwhile, rainy season lasts from May to October, when rough seas and frequent downpours can be expected.
Best place to relax in Phu Quoc
With a newly opened international airport, travelers can consider flying straight to Phu Quoc island for the most convenience. Another way to be considered to entering Phu Quoc is by cruise ship. The place is a special economic zone, in which international visitors can get a 30-day visa exemption to enter. The visa is applied for all foreigners who enter, exit, or transit by both flying or cruising.
- Cash is limited: Besides the airport, Long Beach, and Duong Dong town (the most crowded tourism spots), ATMs can rarely be found in other part of the area and locals hardly accept card payment. Therefore, remember to stock up cash before starting your journey.
- Explore the beautiful sea is a must: Regardless of having a PADI certification for diving, or just a light swimmer, you are definitely suggested to spend time on water. Surfing, lying on the beautiful white sand, snorkeling, or just splashing around will be so relaxing and enjoyable that the atmosphere will leave a love mark in your soul.