For an island retreat we love idyllic Phu Quoc, just a short flight from Ho Chi Minh City. Phu Quoc is just 50km long and 20km wide; largely mountainous and densely forested. Most people live and work around the coast, and the island offers many secluded bays, amazing seafood, magnificently clear waters and great diving and snorkeling opportunities in season.
Location & Geography
After only 50 minute flying from Ho Chi Minh City, you will set foot on the tropical paradise of Vietnam and the world: Phu Quoc Island. Located in the Gulf of Thailand, this natural and untouched wonder covers a total area of about 580 km2. PhuQuoc Island is indubitably the central point of Southeast Asia, as it is relatively close to many big cities such as Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, etc. and even Hong Kong! A part of Kien Giang Province, the district of PhuQuoc includes the island itself and 105 wonderful islets of all sizes. The island is 46 km away from Ha Tien, the closest mainland town of the province.
Natural landscape and reserves
The island has a roughly triangular shape with a north-south length of 50km and a west-east width of 25 km. A great part of the terrain is filled with beautiful sandy beaches, but there is a mountainous region with 99 peaks, among which the Peak of Chua Mountain is the tallest one at 603 meters. Due to Phu Quoc’s location in the Gulf of Thailand, itsclimate is monsoonal sub-equatorial with a temperate weather all year round, making trips to Phu Quoc possible any time in the year. However, the best time to travel to this island is around November to September in the dry season, when the sky is blue and clear and the rains are away. The average annual rainfall is 2879 mm and the average annual temperature is 27oC.
With a population of only about 85,000 people, Phu Quoc has 6 major towns and villages known as An Thoi Town, Cua Can Village, Duong Dong Town, Ganh Dau Village, Ham Ninh Village, and Rach Vem Village. Each of these towns/villages has its very own traditions and distinctions that will surely benefit your time in PhuQuoc.
Phu Quoc is most famous for its the cuisines and a natural wonderful coastline. The most famous food of Phu Quoc is fish sauce, which has become quite popular all over Vietnam and the world. Besides, another thing worth trying there is the spicy yet interesting black pepper. However, the factor that will definitely intrigue you to visit Phu Quoc is its untouched coastline featuring several heavenly beaches. They have yet to be explored to their full ability, but this fact might be actually positive as it gives the shores a romantic beauty that you can find in nowhere else in the world.
Sardine is sliced into thin layers, served raw with vegetables and a special kind of sauce made from peanuts. The taste might be too strong for first-timers, as the sauce is imbued with original fish sauce. However, eventually, the sweetness of the sardine will emerge and moderate this saltiness. Beside, the peanuts give the dish an inviting creaminess that compensates for the plainness of veggies. All in all, these components make a perfect combination that may stun you and keeps you yearning for more.
A hard-to-get sea creature that live only in deep water, thorn balls have become one of the most precious ingredient in Phú Quốc culinary culture. Thorn balls are renowned for the natural creamy texture and fattiness that overshadow its ghastly appearance. The locals either make porridge from it or have it uncooked with a little wasabi. This is considered a luxurious treat that you should not miss.
In cold rainy days, it is best you have dinner with a hot and delicious bowl of mackerel noodle. Mackerels are filleted, the remaining bones used to make the broth and the noodles homemade by hand. Simplistic as it may seems, the dish requires a high level of seasoning to achieve the delicate and yet, unforgettable flavor. Tràm Mushroom
In the rainy seasons, the timbers’ barks will fall off and feed the soil, nurturing, at the same time, these precious mushrooms that have become a widely used ingredient in Phú Quốc. The mushroom is best served in form of soup, as its sweetness will be emphasized and thus compliment other toppings. As it is hot and nutritious, the soup is a helpful dose of tonic for the sick and for those who are fatigued after long trips.
How to get there:
Vietjet Air and Vietnam Airlines have daily flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quocand back. Flight hour is between 50 and 60 minutes – one way ticket costs from $60-100.
Vietnam Airlines just opened a direct route from Singapore to Phu Quoc to make it more accessible to Singaporeans and expats living in Singapore to have a beach holiday.