Phu Quoc Island City
One step to everywhere
On the evening of January 8, 2021, fireworks burst into the sky of South Pearl Island. Phu Quoc officially became the first island city of Vietnam. Duong Dong is not only the administrative center of Phu Quoc island city, but also an attractive dining and entertainment destination for tourists of this Island. If you’ve ever been to Bali (Indonesia), the bustling Duong Dong area is like Kuta, or Patong Beach, Phu Ket (Thailand) can be imagined by foreigners and first-timers.
As the capital of Phu Quoc, Duong Dong center becomes a “must-visit” destination for tourists when traveling to Pearl Island. Duong Dong is located in the Northwest, is centrally positioned, and adjacent to many key areas of Phu Quoc. Duong Dong is 10km from Phu Quoc International Airport. The road from the airport to Duong Dong is named Tran Hung Dao. It is a sea road, so there are many restaurants, hotels, bars, cafes, markets, and shopping areas.
Duong Dong is about 30km from An Thoi town by road and 16km from Vingroup’s Vinpearl resort complex (Ganh Dau). Duong Dong town is about 30km from Bai Kem where the Sun Premier Village Kem Beach Resort is located. Duong Dong is also very convenient to get to famous attractions of Phu Quoc such as Ham Ninh Fishing Village, Phu Quoc National Park, or Da Ban Stream.
How to get to Duong Dong?
Currently, there are many direct flights to Phu Quoc airport. Phu Quoc Airport is located in the central area and only about 10km from Duong Dong town. After arriving at Phu Quoc airport, visitors can choose to take a taxi or bus to Duong Dong town easily.
If you take a speedboat from Ha Tien, you will dock at Phu Quoc port near Ham Ninh fishing village, about 14km from Duong Dong town. If you take a high-speed train from Rach Gia, you will dock at Phu Quoc port near An Thoi town, nearly 30km from Duong Dong. Phu Quoc passenger seaport has just been completed on the west coast, very central for pedestrians.
From downtown, there are 2 main directions to Bai Sao. The first direction is very convenient and fast, which is from the down town, take Tan Hung Dao street, turn into Phu Quoc airport (not entering the airport area) and go straight, then turn right onto provincial road 46 running about 17km to Cau Sau market, notice that on the top of the slope as soon as you cross the market, there is a signpost to Bai Sao.
The second direction is a bit farther but easier to go, it is from Duong Dong town, follow road 30 April past Suoi Tranh about 200m to a roundabout, then turn right at the first exit to go to provincial road 46. Continue straight. Go to Cau Sau Market, turn in and go about 2km to Sao beach.
In addition, from Duong Dong, follow TL47 to the South of the island, then continue to the east to reach Ham Ninh fishing village. Another way is to travel by speedboat Superdong from Rach Gia to Bai Vong port, then take a taxi or motorbike taxi to the fishing village only about 4km from the port.
Tourist attractions in Duong Dong
Duong Dong center is the most densely populated place of Phu Quoc, about 200,000 people. Coming to Duong Dong, visitors will learn about the culture, cuisine and life of the indigenous people.
Duong Dong Market – bustling every morning
Duong Dong Market is located right next to the sea mouth, right in the center of town, and is the largest market in Ngoc Island. In every season, all products of Phu Quoc can be found here. But the most impressive thing is the fresh seafood with extremely reasonable prices, and the honest, simple sales style of the people on the island. Many people have said that they do not know what to buy here because there are too many choices.
Seafood stalls are always crowded with buyers and sellers, packed in styrofoam boxes to bring back as gifts to the mainland. The market also sells pre-processed and dried seafood, so it is very convenient to buy as gifts.
Duong Dong Market – A must-visit destination for seafood lovers
In the morning, Duong Dong market focuses on selling specialty dishes of Phu Quoc. These dishes cannot be found at other restaurants on the island. Visitors can enjoy great dishes. Duong Dong Market will be the ideal place for visitors to discover and experience local cuisine.
Dinh Cau – spiritual symbol of local people
The people of Phu Quoc are mostly fishermen who cling to the sea day and night, always hoping for a peaceful sea for the full batch of fish and shrimp. Therefore, Dinh Cau became a symbol of indigenous beliefs, local people often come to burn incense and pray for peaceful sea trips.
Dinh Cau is located under a canopy of ancient trees at a cliff with a strange shape reaching out to the sea. This is a simple ancient shrine and quite small compared to the majestic surroundings, the current architecture has been renovated in the past few years. Visiting Dinh Cau, visitors will partly understand the spiritual life of sea fishermen.
Especially at sunset, the view from Dinh Cau will be a magnificent scene, the whole sea and sky will turn dark yellow and the waves will rush and sparkle with cool sea breezes…
Fish sauce production barrel house – Phu Quoc specialty not to be missed
In the center of Duong Dong, there are many establishments producing fish sauce – a specialty that cannot be ignored when coming to Phu Quoc. To serve the needs of tourism and promote local specialties, besides the production function, these barrel houses are also open to visitors. Visitors will be able to witness with their own eyes the production process of fish sauce and buy fish sauce as a gift at the place of production.
Night Market Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc Night Market serves mainly tourists with souvenirs and local cuisine. The night market starts operating from 15:00 to 23:00, on weekends, visitors have to jostle with each other to the point of “sweating” to be able to visit this night market.
Phu Quoc Night Market at Duong Dong Center – Food Heaven
Coming to Phu Quoc night market, visitors are spoiled for choice with their favorite dishes with a variety of fresh seafood. Many souvenirs are made from the creative marine products of islanders for visitors to visit here. The bustle at Phu Quoc night market is a symbol of the dynamic and joyful life of an island district located 120km away from Rach Gia city.
What to eat?
Duong Dong Phu Quoc is famous for delicious dishes and specialties with the breath of the island. A list of delicious dishes you should enjoy: crab cake soup, mackerel cake soup, seafood noodle soup, grilled squid, crab, sour soup cobia or vermicelli with chicken, grilled mackerel, grilled beef skin fish , grilled herring salad, grilled urchin and various kinds of delectable fried clams, oysters and sea snails.
Where to go in Duong Dong – Phu Quoc is always a question for many people before setting foot on Pearl Island. If you are also wondering, you can be completely assured because Duong Dong town is the capital of Phu Quoc, which has a high population density.
Therefore, in Duong Dong, there are many motels and hotels from affordable to high-class for tourists to choose from. However, there is also a note that in the high season, visitors should book early to avoid the no vacancy signs or not being able to choose the right room for their needs.
Looking at the tourist map of Phu Quoc, you can see that most motels and hotels in Duong Dong are mainly located near Tran Hung Dao street – a road close to the sea and connecting between Duong Dong and Phu Quoc airport. In Duong Dong, there are about 5 5-star standard hotels, all of which are located near Duong Dong beach, just a few minutes walk from the sea. In particular, Seashells Phu Quoc Hotel & Spa is the closest 5-star hotel to the center.
In Duong Dong, there are not only 5-star hotels but also budget hotels and lovely homestays. The majority of backpackers, experienced travelers, and people with average financial levels will choose accommodation facilities in Duong Dong. There are motels, 2-3 star hotels, lovely homestays with very affordable prices. From Duong Dong, it is also possible to “take a single step” to the famous attractions of Phu Quoc, so it is easy to understand why Duong Dong is the stopover choice for many people.
Entertainment services in Duong Dong
As an island district located far from the mainland, the pace of life in Duong Dong has many dynamic features. Duong Dong is not boring because there are many lively entertainment services. Tran Hung Dao Street, the street with the most hotels and resorts in Phu Quoc, is also a retail street for shopping lovers.
Street 30/4: It can be said that this is the eating street in Phu Quoc because there are many restaurants and eateries. This road goes to Sung Hung Co Tu pagoda, Tranh stream, Ham Ninh fishing village, Bai Vong wharf. Hung Vuong Street: This road creates a junction with road 30-4, passing Viet Xua restaurant, Khai Hoan fish sauce barrel house and raft shop (Hai Tram), Hung Vuong bridge, Clam restaurant.
In Duong Dong, there are many entertainment and nightlife spots such as bars, clubs, and KTV… or night squid fishing and walking on the beach are great options for a lovely evening. Traveling to Duong Dong center to discover the culture, cuisine, and indigenous people is only part of the Phu Quoc travel itinerary.
An isolated place to hideaway
If Phu Quoc is likened to a big fish wagging its tail, Ganh Dau’s nose is considered the mouth of a fish. The northern Ganh Dau cape is a quiet, primitive place and the population is quite sparse. This tourist destination possesses pristine beauty, it’s an idyllic and serene space.
There are many ways to get to Ganh Dau cape, visitors can go through Cua Duong, Cua Van, go more than 20km through the red dirt road between the mouth of Phu Quoc primeval forest in the northwest direction to Ganh Dau cape. In addition, you can also follow the western route, to Rach Tram to Ganh Dau by sea. Unlike famous beaches like Bai Sao, Bai Dai…of Phu Quoc, Ganh Dau cape is like an isolated sky.
Standing from above, looking down, visitors can see Ganh Dau cape bend as soft as a crescent moon half a kilometer long, it is surrounded by 2 protruding mountain mallets like the wings of a seagull bird. Also from Ganh Dau cape, visitors will see Koh Seh Island and Ta Lon mountain of Cambodia or Hon Bang, Hon Thay Boi in the west emerging in the middle of the sea.
The wild beauty of the North Island
Rach Vem is a quiet fishing village by the sea located in the north of Phu Quoc Island, which is famous for its docks reaching far into the sea and floating fish rafts. Rach Vem Beach is the only beach in Phu Quoc that still retains the pristine beauty that few places can match.
Coming to Rach Vem, visitors have the opportunity to experience the idyllic beauty of an old fishing village in Phu Quoc, enjoy fresh seafood caught right from the raft with all kinds of crabs, grouper, cobia, mantis shrimp, cap shrimp, … typical of Phu Quoc’s seas.
Not only that, if you like to immerse yourself in nature with white sand and clear blue sea, visitors can board a fisherman’s boat to come to Rach Vem Beach, a beach that still retains its rare wild beauty.
The Speciality of Phu Quoc and Acclaimed worldwide
Dubbed the “pepper kingdom” of Vietnam. After ripening, the peppers are harvested and separated, the red ripe peppers are dried separately called “Red pepper”, the remaining green seeds after drying are black, called “Black pepper”. Black pepper is peeled and only the core of the seed is left. It is called ” Tieu So”, named as it looks like a white human brain and skull. Tieu So is the most delicious and popular pepper today.
Phu Quoc pepper is grown mostly in Ganh Gio hamlet, Suoi Da hamlet, Suoi May hamlet and Khu Tuong hamlet, Phu Quoc pepper is not only famous in the country but also a famous brand in the world. In Phu Quoc, pepper not only brings great economic value but also attracts many tourists every time they visit Phu Quoc.
If Phu Quoc fish sauce is special because there are anchovies that are only available in Phu Quoc waters, then Phu Quoc pepper is famous for its soil, as well as the manual care process of the islanders. This brings out a special delicious pepper, fragrant and spicy enough to make you talk about Phu Quoc pepper forever.
Delicious taste from Pearl Island, the taste of traditional value for over 200 years
Having the name in most dictionaries English-Vietnamese, French-Vietnamese… without translation, acclaimed around the world. Nuoc Man or Fish Sauce is indispensable in Vietnamese cuisine and meals, but not all Vietnamese or foreigners like its strong smell.
In fact, Phu Quoc fish sauce is a kind of fish sauce that is not only famous in Vietnam but also known all over the world. The delicious taste from Pearl Island has created a cultural beauty in the cuisine that is extremely impressive in the eyes of tourists.
Coming to Phu Quoc, you can not only visit the beautiful island but also discover the traditional fish sauce village which is more than 200 years old. With a rich flavor, and the same red-brown color of cockroach wings, it has created a delicious fish sauce.
History of Phu Quoc fish sauce
The origin of Phu Quoc fish sauce is from the harvest of seafood and hunting wild animals. Some coastal people have chopped wood in the forest, forming rudimentary boats for fishing; Fresh fish is often used to serve the daily meals of fishermen.
Thanks to the abundant fish resources, fishing has also become convenient, helping to increase the catch but the low consumption caused the fish to become rotten and difficult to use. To overcome this problem, the local people here have devised a way to preserve fish by salting them in the crock pot to help them have a longer shelf life.
The fishing trips last from 2-3 months on the sea, so they have changed the taste of the fish marinated in the “am” or “pottery or ceramic vase”, the fish is fragrant and delicious to eat. From that experience, fishermen began to think about how to process fish into fish sauce to make a spice that adds flavor to Vietnamese family meals.
A special feature of Phu Quoc fish sauce is the abundant and fresh source of anchovies caught in the waters of Kien Giang and Ca Mau in the Gulf of Thailand. The salt used to marinate fish is Ba Ria-Vung Tau sea salt, with low impurity content, stored for at least 3 months to get an acrid taste at the tip of the tongue, then a sweet aftertaste in the throat.
Phu Quoc fish sauce barrel house
At first, people only kept fish sauce in small ponds, but then slowly formed wooden crates with a capacity of 7-13 tons of fish. The type of wood used to make the barrels is “lời bời” or “litsea cubeba” that are harvested from the local forest then the barrel is bound with rattan fibers.
Wood and rattan fiber are mainly on the island, fish for the sauce are anchovy, lead chalk, striped pepper, and are all caught year round. The best quality fish season is around 4 calendar months (starting January 5), because at that time the fish sauce has the best quality.
After catching, people will clean the anchovies and salt them right on the ship offshore to ensure freshness. Only when the ship is docked, this mixture (chượp) can be transferred into wooden crates made from Litsea cubeba, to be aged by the compression method.
After 9 to 15 months, the “chuop” will produce the finished fish sauce with the professional pulling method. Phu Quoc fish sauce has a characteristic and natural red-brown color of cockroach wings due to the way the fish is fresh then incubated so long in wooden barrels.
With the elaborate fish sauce production process, Phu Quoc people have created a fish sauce with a mild aroma, natural fatty taste, and a certain consistency which stimulates the appetite right after enjoying. Some nước mắm production factories in Phu Quoc are open for visitors to visit and buy this specialty.
Here visitors can enjoy the magical view of the sun and moon floating on the sea.
Ham Ninh fishing village is located on the east coast of the island, behind are mountains and forests, ahead is the immense sea. The local population is concentrated along the banks of Rạch Hàm. This ancient village of Phu Quoc has housed fishermen for many generations. When Duong Dong estuary echoes the sound of waves, Ham Ninh is a quiet and safe berth for boats. Sailing boats and gourds come from the mainland to dock here to load goods and then carry seafood back to the mainland.
Ham Ninh beach is a few hundred meters away but still dry. When the tide is low, the vast sandy beach runs far out to sea, when the water rises, it fills the beach and reaches the edge of the forest. Standing on Ham Ninh beach, the islands of the Hai Tac archipelago (of Ha Tien) are far away. To the southeast, we can see Hon Nghe on the immense blue water. To the south is Ong Doi cape – the furthest cape of the mainland Phu Quoc Island.
Visitors come here to enjoy seafood, the floating restaurants, and to admire the long docks reaching out to the sea, all worthy of instagram photos. The specialties of the fishing village are delicacies such as live walrus soaked in wine, deep-fried walrus, sea pineapple, and crow’s beak fruit soaked in medicinal wine. Crab is a specialty of this region, almost every season. Visit Ham Ninh in the very early morning or on moonlit nights to fully enjoy the beauty of this sea.
A spiritual destination not to be missed when traveling to Phu Quoc
Even if you are not interested in religion, come for the beautiful view that covers the entire turquoise sea. Peacefully located between the blue sea and the majestic green mountain is Ho Quoc Pagoda in the beautiful pearl island of Phu Quoc. Ho Quoc Pagoda was inaugurated in 2012 on an area of about 12 hectares with feng shui terrain, “tựa sơn hướng thuỷ” in front is the uninterrupted blue sea, the back is leaning against the towering mountains, the buddhist shrine is close to other tourist attractions in south of Phu Quoc.
True to its name, “Ho Quoc Pagoda” is the defense of the border, protecting the integrity of the southernmost territory of the Vietnamese fatherland. The pagoda was built according to the architecture of the Ly – Tran dynasties 11th – 13th centuries, which are common temples of the Truc Lam Zen Monastery in the North. The pagoda is made of precious iron wood, so the height of the pavilions in the temple is also limited according to the height of the columns. The wood is ornately carved.
Ho Quoc Pagoda complex includes Tam Quan (three) gate, main hall, Thien Quang courtyard, drum tower, bell tower and ancestral worship temple. Existing in these buildings are the statues of 18 Arhats, the Emerald Buddha and many other structures. Ho Quoc Pagoda is located about 27km from the center of Duong Dong town, on the south of the island.
Phu Quoc pearl
Locally and globally acclaimed, the Pearl island of Vietnam and Phu Quoc island city have quality pearls as their specialty. According to the evaluation of cultures by pearl specialists, Phu Quoc pearl is ranked the world’s best quality. Previously, it was reserved for the Emperor, lords and noble class in the society. However, it is today high-grade jewelry for the wealthy. It is said that sparkling pearls likely keep mysteries. Seemingly, that the best universal quintessence converge in Phu Quoc pearl.
Culturing oysters is not only for precious pearls but also for fine handicraft articles such as articles encrusted with mother-of-pearl, clothes buttons, and many other kinds of jewelry. Powder of pearls is used to make up medicines for treating many diseases of bone, joint, skin, etc. Cosmetic producers extol pearls as a magic remedy to lighten and beautify the face. In addition, the oyster’s meat is a delicious and nutritious specialty.
According to the researchers, the pearl farming industry in Phu Quoc began to develop strongly in the last 10 years, with the cooperation of Australia and Japan with domestic partners. Phu Quoc pearls can be priced quite high. Depending on different qualities, colors, and shapes, the price of each one can range from a few dozens to a few thousands of dollars.
Pearls are displayed in many shops selling souvenirs in Duong Dong market, Dinh Cau night market, An Thoi Port, and Bai Vong – Ham Ninh Port, etc. Currently, in Phu Quoc, there are many large pearl culture facilities such as Ngoc Hien pearl, Quoc An pearl shop, Japanese pearl farm, and Australian pearl farm.
On the tour of the South Island, there will be a stopover for tourists to see the famous cultured pearls in the island city. Visitors can choose the most beautiful pearls to buy as the best gifts for themselves or friends. However, the output of the Phu Quoc pearl is limited. Hence, travelers always want to buy the most genuine Phu Quoc pearls as souvenirs when they come to Phu Quoc.