Fabulous Phu Quoc, Vietnam's Largest Island

 

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Awash in the balmy waters of the Gulf of Thailand 45 kilometers off Vietnam's southwestern coast and due south of Cambodia's southern coast, Phu Quoc (written in Vietnamese as
Phú Quốc) is 574 square kilometres (222 sq mi) and has a population of around 103,000. Home to green forests and gorgeous sandy beaches, this once sleepy island has been undergoing major development as luxury resorts, casinos, restaurants and other tourism amenities take advantage of its paradisiacal allures, some examples of which are the following:

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Long Beach


One of the most gorgeous beaches on the island (above) is also the longest, stretching more than 20 kilometers of powdery golden sand on its west coast, with lovely views of mountains and sea - especially at sunset. In addition to offering the usual beach fun such as swimming, sunning while sipping coconut water, snorkeling, and kayaking, Long Beach also has a number of beautiful resorts to choose from. Off the sands nearby, you can visit pearl farms and producers of Vietnam's distinctive nuoc mam fish sauce.


Ganh Dau Beach


Up on the northwest coast, the Ganh Dau region has become a foreigner's holiday playground, with resorts, theme parks, golf courses, casinos, and more. But its core attractions remain its fantastic beaches, such as crescent-shaped Bai Ganh Dau Beach in the fishing village of the same name (from which you can even see Cambodia in the distance across the sea). This 500-meter stretch of palm-fringed yellow sand, considered among the islands best, and
you can see Cambodia in the far distance. You can spot sea eagles; diving and snorkeling amid the coral are superb; and luxury resorts hereabouts include Gio Bien and Peppercorn.

 

Sao Beach


Located on the east coast,
this seven-kilometer stretch of powdery, rippled white sand is another that's considered one of the best in Vietnam - indeed, all of Southeast Asia. Its relaxed vibe, turquoise waters, and ample amenities make it a popular visitor choice - and it's especially photogenic, especially during low tide in the morning. In addition to the usual beach activities, kite surfing is also popular here.

 

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Dinh Cau Temple


Phu Quoc isn't all sun and fun. You can also experience some of its traditional culture, such as as this temple, located on an oddly shaped rock at the mouth of the Duong Dong River near Long Beach. This shrine is important to the locals' spiritual life and is a symbol of the island. For example, before heading out to fish, fishermen and their families come to this sacred place, bringing offerings, burning incense, and praying to the sea goddess Thien Hau for a safe trip. There's also a small lighthouse here, a nearby beach, and spectacular sunset views.

Ham Ninh Village


On the east coast some 20 kilometers from Phu Quoc's capital Duong Dong, this fishing and pearl-diving village
is famous for its beautiful scenery (such as its "rock garden," a series of granite boulders dotting the shallow turquoise waters) as well as its laid-back lifestyle. Nowadays more locals are devoted to tourism, selling souvenirs, running restaurants (including beachside and even several floating just offshore; a big local specialty is seafood, especially crab). The waters are great for swimming and snorkeling, and accommodations tend toward small hotels and guesthouses.


For more information, check out PhuQuocLandExplorer.com.