Phuket has long been known as South East Asia’s beach paradise – white sand beaches, crystal clear water, and a never-ending array of activities to cater to every type of visitor.
However, if you’re wanting to try something new but opt for an equally idyllic option, then the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc may just be the tropical gem you were looking for.
Situated in the warm waters west of Vietnam’s southern coast, Phu Quoc boasts all you could ask for in a tropical beach holiday and more. The island is brimming with vibrant culture, thrilling adventures, and mouth-watering cuisine – not to mention the hospitality of the local people.
Adrenaline and serenity
Now that tourism has finally reopened in most parts of South East Asia, our dreams of sipping an ice-cold cocktail whilst admiring a sunset over the glistening Indian Ocean can become a reality again – yipee!
There’s endless opportunities for thrill seekers in Phu Quoc. Whether it’s kayaking between its turquoise bays, motorbiking along its winding jungle roads, or snorkelling in its colourful coral reefs, the island is a world of adventure waiting to be discovered.
And when you’re in need to recharge your batteries and get your fix of ‘vitamin sea’, the island offers endless white sand beaches. Popular beaches include Sao Beach, perched upon lush green vegetated hills. There’s also Ganh Dau beach, which is adorned with thousands of bright red starfish along its shores from January to May.
Discovering new delicacies
Whilst the main industry in Phuket has now moved to tourism, the locals here still work mostly in agriculture and fishing.
In particular, the island is famed throughout Vietnam for its fish sauce, which is deemed to be the best in the whole country. You can delve into the production process through a tour in Nuoc Mam Hung Thanh, a local fish sauce distillery.
And if you’re not yet familiar with Vietnamese food, you’re in for a treat. You can enjoy the likes of Pho (noodle soup), Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich), plus exquisite seafood freshly caught from the surrounding waters. Your taste buds will be left reeling.
The local culture
Culture vultures are also in for a treat when visiting Phu Quoc. The island offers many a temple, such as the Ho Quoc Pagoda. With its enormous colourful staircase and towering curved roofs, the temple is the perfect retreat to observe the local Buddhist customs.
Or why not simply take to the streets for a spot of people watching? Local fishermen out at sea, women selling local produce in street markets and children happily playing alongside – it’s impossible to have a dull moment!
For anyone craving a slice of paradise in their lives, Phu Quoc most certainly fits the bill. And – especially if you avoid going to the main tourist areas in peak season (October to March) – you can avoid having to share it with gazillions of hot and sweaty tourists. Sign me up!