Phu Quoc has been famous among travel experts as the most beautiful island in Vietnam (obviously the biggest island of the country too). Although it has been a long-time tourist attraction, the island is quite under-developed and the roads here are such disasters. Either they have not been built at all or just half-way built and no one is actually working on building them. However, the beautiful beaches compensate for it all. And actually the road trip may turn out to be a memorable adventure.
(More info about the island, accommodation and things to do at the bottom of the post)
Long Beach is the most popular beach with a lot of hotels and resorts along Tran Hung Dao Street. Not the most beautiful beach but you can find lots of entertainments and western restaurants here. Also close to the town center and the nicest place to watch the sunset.
Here is the view of Long Beach from our Paris Beach Hotel:
Thom Beach is in the North of the island. A very beautiful beach but sadly kind of deserted. We came there in the afternoon and saw only a few locals. Since it is not touristic, trash is everywhere, which quite ruins the beauty of the nature. However, we still had a good time. A trade off for the very tough road we had to take to discover this beach.
Sao Beach is the most beautiful one of all and in fact most people would not argue back when I say this is the best beach in Vietnam. I’ve seen Lang Co, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Con Dao but this Sao Beach far surpasses them. Next time I go to Phu Quoc, there is a high possibility I will choose to stay here, though it is a bit isolated from all the fun downtown.
The water is so transparent that you can see through to the bottom of the sea floor. And the sand is all white and soft here. Just fabulous!
In Vietnamese, “Sao” means star, and here is the reason why: so many starfish can be seen
Words can’t describe so you’d better go and discover these beaches yourself. Here are some travel info and tips I can give:
1. Time to visit: best is from December to April when there is a lot of sunshine, the sky is clear and blue. Rainy season is from July to November, which can be stormy sometimes so you may want to consider your travel schedule carefully. This local website can be interesting to find more info about the island.
2. Place to stay: check out Travelfish and choose which beach you want to stay. There are still several beaches I didn’t visit which included Dai Beach, another popular beach in Phu Quoc, hence no pictures above. Remember if you want to stay in Sao Beach, be prepared that there will not be many choices for restaurants or bars or even hotels. And it is costly too to go from the airport to Sao Beach by taxi (it’s quite far).
My friend and I stayed one night at Coi Nguon Phu Quoc (they also have a private museum). I liked this place with its nice big clean rooms, very good price and lovely staff. The only thing is the hotel is 5 minutes away from the beach (Long Beach).
Then we moved to Paris Beach Hotel, right next to the beach. They have both cheap hotel rooms and bungalows. Food is good, but we had a not-so-good experience when it came to the check out. They messed up a little bit in the final bill and then forgot to give us our ID paper when we left. Also no wifi in the bungalow room.
3. Things to do: Here are a list of 10 things to do we saw in a local map for tourists:
(1) Enjoy a sunset along the west coast (Long Beach and Dai Beach) – Yeah! We did it!
(2) Dining on the sand at beautiful Sao Beach – “Checked” too!
(3) Visit a pepper plantation – Well, we only drove our bike past several plantations, does it count?
(4) Take a boat trip diving or snorkeling the reefs – Tough for me coz I can’t swim, yeah shame on me
(5) View the splendor of Phu Quoc’s Cao Dai Temple – We went past it, so checked!
(6) Take a forest nature walk – Does “a forest nature drive” count?
(7) Enjoy the best deserted island beaches – Yup! We “discovered” Thom Beach
(8) See the sunrise at Su Muong Pagoda – Next time..
(9) Swim in mountain streams & waterfalls (May to November) – Next time too..
(10) Visit the coconut tree prison – Personally, I’ve got enough after seeing the prisons in Con Dao..
But I would like to add 2 more things:
(11) Take a bike trip on the coastal road around the island
(12) Do a night squid fishing trip
4. Things to be aware of:
(1) Protect yourself from the starving mosquitoes on the island! No joke!
(2) If you’re not an experienced motorbike driver, don’t risk driving the coastal road by yourself. Hiring a Xe Om (Motorbike taxi) can be a wiser choice.
(3) Look out for the jellyfish!