10 reasons you should quickly discover the secret of the paradise island of Phu Quoc (before everyone knows about it)

Phu Quoc (pronounced “foo kwok”) – an unassuming Vietnamese island sitting pretty just off the coast of Cambodia – is one of south-east Asia’s best-kept secrets. The year-round cool climate, poetic scenery, unspoiled beaches, and charm of the local culture are the reasons why you should choose Phu Quoc as your destination.

Phu Quoc is a favorite destination of domestic and international tourists thanks to its natural beauty, delicious food, and good quality of tourism services. Phu Quoc is also highly appreciated by many famous travel websites, and is known as a “paradise on earth” in Asia. According to Soo Kim, editor of the Telegraph, the travel column has 10 reasons for you to choose Phu Quoc as your maritime holiday destination.

Phu Quoc Island City (Kien Giang province) is made up of 22 small islands, of which Phu Quoc island (Pearl island) is the largest. The entire island district has an area of ​​about 589.23 km² (2021 data).

Most of these islands are uninhabited, some islands are exploited for tourism or developed into private resorts. One of Phu Quoc’s most beautiful islands is Hon Xuong located in the southern part of the island district – commonly known as Robinson Crusoe Island, now accessible only by boat. The island is a popular day trip destination. Tourists traveling in groups can come here to swim or camp overnight as part of the tour.

Hon Thom is the second largest island of the district, connected to Phu Quoc island through the world’s longest sea cable car system, about 7,899m.

Visitors here can participate in a number of water sports activities such as scuba diving, swimming, and boating.

Phu Quoc Island City boasts a 150-kilometer coastline with a stretch of soft sand and about 20 pristine beaches that have not been affected much by mass tourism.

Bai Khem is one of the most beautiful beaches with fine white sands caressed by white waves like champagne. Bai Sao is considered the “jewel” of Phu Quoc, also known for its clean beach and white sand strip.

Bai Dai is located in the west of the island district with a 20 km long coastline, an ideal destination to watch the sunset. This is also one of the most famous beaches in Phu Quoc.

The average temperature of Phu Quoc is about 27oC. The hottest time is in April, the temperature is at 29 degrees Celsius. Therefore, Phu Quoc is a great place for travelers looking for coolness in summer and warmth in winter.

Especially when the UK and many European countries are experiencing cold winters with snow everywhere, in Phu Quoc, tourists are enjoying the clear blue water in bikinis.

Kien Giang province identifies tourism as a key economic sector of Phu Quoc, so it invests in developing infrastructure here.

In Phu Quoc, visitors have many choices of accommodation for themselves and their families. From budget hotels to luxury resorts such as Intercontinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort, RitzCarlton, JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa.

The island’s luxury resorts also often appear on Instagram and receive high ratings from international visitors.

Phu Quoc is a hub of marine activity, housing large patches of coastal ecosystems, and nearly 108 species of corals, 135 species of coral reef fish, and 132 different types of mollusks, as well as migrating fish and marine mammals in its surrounding waters. Phu Quoc is one of the few places in the country where wildlife enthusiasts can spot unique species like dugong, the hawksbill turtle, and green turtle.

Around 50 percent of Phu Quoc Island is a national park set within the Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve, which fosters the conservation of its tropical rain forests featuring waterfalls, coral reefs, wetlands, and other parts of the surrounding natural landscape, as part of Unesco’s MAB (Man and the Biosphere) programme. The island also has a mountain landscape of 99 peaks running along the 48-km length of the island, with Chua Mountain being the highest at 603 metre. The island also has a beautiful mountain landscape. Ham Ninh Mountain is a place that many tourists choose to visit.

With an economy still based around fishing and agriculture, the island is dotted by sleepy villages whose claim to fame is fish sauce (in a similar vein to what olive oil is to Italy or tequila is to Mexico), which is said to be the world’s best.

Back in 2013, its fish sauce became the first Vietnamese product to be given the European Union’s Protected Designation of Origin Status, which recognises local goods “whose quality or properties are significantly or exclusively determined by the geographical environment”, according to the country’s ministry of industry and trade. There are currently around 85 fish sauce producers in Phu Quoc.

The island also boasts the best organic pepper, producing around 1,100 tonnes of it every year using traditional farming methods and sustainable agricultural technologies.

Tourists can access tours of both the fish sauce factories and pepper farms for a closer look at local life. Or explore pockets of local charm at the night market in Duong Dong, one of the island’s main towns, where you can sample local delicacies.

And for the hipsters who need their fix, there are some quirky restaurants to explore too, such as the Crab House, a sports-themed seafood shack run by a Vietnamese American local raised in the south of the US before returning to his hometown. Donning giant neck napkins, visitors can tuck into large bowls of fresh crab and lobster coupled with flavourful spicy sauces sprinkled with a dashing of American southern soul.

For the best aerial views over the town and the island, the chic Chuon Chuon Bistro & Sky Bar hits the spot with its hilltop location and could easily pull its weight in Shoreditch or Brooklyn.

Decked out in surfboards and lanterns, with a mix of young locals and tourists, Rory’s Beach Bar (run by a chatty and laid-back Australian sibling duo) offers a no-frills barefoot beachfront location for a relaxed sunset drink, with chairs and tables placed right on the soft sands of the water’s edge.

The country’s complex history runs deeper than the Vietnam War, from its battles with France and Spain to its contention with Cambodia over the ownership of Phu Quoc – both countries laying claim.

One of the most harrowing but moving memorials of the Vietnam War can be found at the Phu Quoc Prison, which was the largest prisoner camp in the south of Vietnam back in 1973. While the prison, built around 1950, has been closed, the site has been repurposed as a museum and memorial, built with fake prison quarters and mannequins depicting the prisoners’ life and history of the camp, which is visited by local tourists, including some of the former inmates who are still living today.

Tourists to Phu Quoc can visit visa-free for up to 30 days and access from London just got easier with last month’s launch of direct flights from Gatwick to Phu Quoc International Airport, the first direct service from Europe. The island forms a calm base from which to explore other more hectic and tourist-heavy parts of the country, such as Ho Chi Minh, which is just an hour’s flight from the island, while the capital Hanoi can be reached in just over two hours by plane.

Now with the cruising options of Emperor Cruises Phu Quoc, there are more reasons to come to Phu Quoc to discover, dream, explore, indulge, relax, and immerse yourself in nature. Enjoy every single moment and create your own memories!