Phu Quoc, a largely undeveloped 567-square-kilometre island and former penal colony off Vietnam’s southwest coast, is one of Southeast Asia’s most laid back and little-known escapes. More than half the island is national park and the island is known for its bountiful fishing grounds, black pepper trees, high-quality nuoc mam (fish sauce), used extensively in Vietnamese cuisine and deserted beaches.
In the northeast, Bai Thom’s coconut husk-strewn, palm frond-brushed beach and azure ocean backdrop provides an idyllic picnic setting.
To the northwest, Bai Dai offers the perfect vantage point to enjoy Phu Quoc’s spectacular sunsets. Bai Truong, or Long Beach, stretches 20km along the eastern side of the island from Duong Dong almost to An Thoi port in the south and shelters the biggest cluster of bungalow-style accommodation with a smattering of open-air beach bars and decent restaurants.
PERFECT FOR COUPLES WHO:
Want to get off the beaten path.
MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACH:
Bai Sao (‘Star’ Beach) or Bai Khem (‘Cream’ Beach), the island’s most stunning swathes of superfine white sand.
Snorkelling, diving or sailing with endangered dugong and leatherback and hawksbill turtles, as well as a range of tropical fish endemic to Vietnamese waters.