Phu Quoc Island



Phu Quoc Island

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Claimed by Cambodia, this kite- shaped island played a key role in Vietnam’s history as the base for French missionary Pigneau de Behaine, who sheltered the future emperor, Gia Long, during the Tay Son Rebellion. Around 31 miles (50 km) long and just 12 miles (20 km) wide, the island is still relatively undeveloped, with most tourist facilities in its main town, Duong Dong. More like a big village, it has a lighthouse, central market, and fish sauce factory, which also offers tours.

Almost 70 percent of the main island is occupied by the Phu Quoc National Park. Established in 2001, it is covered with tropical forest. At present, there are few hiking trails, but the pools at the park’s southern end are scenic and good for swimming.

Halfway between Duong Dong town and the park is the Khu Tuong black pepper plantation. The Vietnamese staple, nuoc mam (fish sauce) is also produced here, and connois- seurs can attest to its quality.

Phu Quoc is also blessed with many unspoiled beaches, known in Vietnamese as bai.

Bai Truong, along the southwest shore, is the best known. Lined by many hotels, it offers wonderful sunset views. To its north is the rugged Bai Ong Lang, with tiny resorts nestled in its coves. Just offshore is Hon Doi Moi with a coral reef teeming with marine life. It is also great for snorkeling and diving. The An Thoi island group at the southern tip also has a coral reef. The southeastern shore hosts the barely developed but stunning white-sand stretches of Bai Sao and Bai Dam. Scuba gear, island trips, and fishing equipment can be arranged in Duong Dong. Phu Quoc is also home to a fascinating cultured pearl farm and  gallery on its southwest coast.

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