Phu Quoc: The remote archipelago
Located in the very South-West of Vietnam, Phu Quoc Island, also known as the Pearl Island, forms part of the Kien Giang province. With only about 103 000 inhabitants, Phu Quoc consists of 22 islands covering an area of approximately 585 km². Above all, it is a popular tourist region known for its indigenous forests and picturesque landscapes.
Most of the region’s economic activity takes place in the archipelago’s main city, Duong Dong. Here you will find tourist infrastructure, day and night markets, and many factories producing a popular traditional fish sauce. Known as “nước chấm”, this sauce is made from a fish much like anchovy and is used in most Vietnamese speciality dishes in the region.
Vietnam is the world’s largest exporter of black pepper and the island has various plantations which can be visited on a day trip. A local will lead you around a farm and show you how the pepper is farmed and handled. Often these excursions will include exposure to the range of activities taking place at such a farm, which can include other consumables such as honey, beer, and even wine.
Moreover, the island has an abundance of pearls that are used for necklaces and other jewellery. You can visit the jewellery shops and purchase these during your stay.
The island has a nature reserve status, as roughly 50% of its territory is controlled by the forest department. This allows for the preservation of its natural assets and as well as its tourism cachet. Indeed, the Phu Quoc forests have fauna and flora aplenty, with some plant species that are more than 1000 years old! There are many nature walks available in the mountains, as well as many areas for strolls along the rivers and streams.
Phu Quoc is popular for its white-sand beaches and wild coves. The most popular places for tourists are Ong Lang Bai, Bai So, Bai Dam, and Bai Truong. Other beaches such as Sao and Kem are a little less developed. Holidays here are popular for the sun and white sand, as well as the blue, almost transparent, lagoons. The island’s natural beauty extends beyond the land ‘ in Hon Doi Moi and An Thoi, you can go diving to explore the coral reefs.
Good to know:
At the time of writing, foreigners are restricted from Vinh Dam Bay, as these are under military control.
You might be delighted by squid fishing in Phu Quoc, which usually takes place at night. You can simply join the fishermen who are equipped with powerful lights to head out in the dark. In addition, you can take a boat trip across the archipelago to meet the locals and discover their culture and traditions.