It’s home to the lively Bai Truong beach
It took awhile for people to take notice of Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s largest island. Until recently, this gorgeous chunk of paradise, about the size of Metro Manila, was just a sleepy backwater, most famous for its pearl-farming industry and for producing the highest quality nuoc mam (fish sauce) in the country. Although it has yet to reach Phuket levels of saturation, the secret is definitely out with a number of big resort and other investment projects aiding the island’s transition from rough diamond to polished pearl. Despite all the development, there’s still plenty of unspoiled charm here. Bai Truong (Long Beach), a 20km-long strip of sand that runs down the central west coast of the island, is the liveliest beach with plenty of bars, restaurants, massage outlets and pretty spots for swimming in the tepid ocean. To get away from it all, pilot a scooter and head north to quieter, more remote coasts like Bai Ganh Dau and Bai Vung Bau.
When to go
The best time to visit Phu Quoc is in the cool/dry period between late November and late February.
How to get there
Cebu Pacific flies from Manila to Ho Chi Minh City. There are now over 20 hour-long flights per day between Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc.
This article first appeared in the March 2017 issue of Smile magazine.