The voices of the Vietnamese island Phu Quoc, located on the border with Cambodia, are very diverse. Some people claim it’s still heaven on earth while a few think this old fisherman’s island has all but been destroyed. Phu Quoc is called ”The new Phuket” for a reason: more and more tourists are finding it, and the nature is disappearing as big resorts take over the island. But there are still reasons why tourists have come to love Phu Quoc. It’s a beautiful little island where life is simple and you can get a beautiful vacation with amazing beaches, food and drink for very little money to speak of. You just need to find your way around the worst crowds to discover your own paradise.
The Natural Beaches
Many people head down to Long Beach after arriving in Duong Dong (the biggest town in Phu Quoc) and get a shock. It’s exactly the way many of us don’t want to spend our holiday. People are almost lying on each other, you never know where you are allowed to put your towel out and in some places it’s extremely dirty. BUT – if you rent a motorbike and discover the island further away from the town, you will understand what people mean with that Phu Quoc is the living example of those images you see of islands with white natural beaches and palm trees hanging over the water. The island is full of beautiful nature-filled beaches where you can find your own private space to lie down on the softest sand you could imagine.
Phu Quoc is full of amazing fresh seafood. You can order a hot pot and grill your own seafood and fish on your table; or try amazing fresh Vietnamese shrimp spring rolls, or seafood pizza. I discovered two favorite restaurants in Phu Quoc during my stay; the first, Mango Bay, is a little more fancy than usual and is located by the beautiful One Lang Beach. It has a gorgeous romantic setting and it really feels like you’re at a fine dining restaurant. The food is beautifully made and the restaurant is perfect for a date night or celebration. The other one is called Happy An and is a local family-owned restaurant in the middle of Duong Dong with the best mango/coconut smoothie – perfect if you don’t want to eat seafood for breakfast.
The Music Festival
If you want to party as well as relax whilst traveling, Phu Quoc hosts one of Asia’s biggest electronic music festivals called Epizode every New Year. Featuring big international DJs, it’s the perfect way to make something extra out of your Phu Quoc journey. And if you’re not that into electronic music you can just see it as a great opportunity to drink cheap drinks on one of the best beaches of Phu Quoc and listen to some chill daytime music at the same time.
The Crystal Clear Water
The biggest difference between swimming off the coast of the main land and swimming from an island is the water. When you are stuck in the middle of the sea the water is cleaner, clearer and much richer animal life. As soon as you get away from the main beaches, the water of Phu Quoc is as clear as glass. The sea is also very calm and offers beautiful snorkeling opportunities whether you choose to go on a boat trip or stay close to the beach.
The Budget Friendliness
On this island it is easy to stay cheap. A great hostel costs around $20 for a double room, and since the island is small and you can rent a motorbike for $7 for 24 hours including gas, you never have to feel stuck. A beer costs 50 cents and you can get a great home-cooked lunch at a local café for a few dollars. Of course, there is also the possibility to stay and live more extravagantly – but the great thing about Phu Quoc is that you don’t have to. All you need is a motorbike.
Have I convinced you to visit Phu Quoc? Have you already been? Let’s discuss in the comments!