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 Phu Quoc Island part 1

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Phu Quoc Island part 1   Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:41 pm

Phu Quoc Island


Until recently this was a fishing island known only among Vietnamese for its fish sauce. In the last decade tourism has developed fast. Nowadays the accommodation offer is quite varied. From cheap bungalows in front of the beach, to some of the best beach resorts I have ever seen.
The color of the waters, the soft sand beaches, the landscapes and the sunsets in Phu Quoc are spectacular.

1. Phu Quoc, Northwest
The island of Phu Quoc has a triangular form. On the west side of the Island, lies the biggest beach, called Long Beach. It is here that most of the hotels are located. The beach on this side of the island is more than 5 miles long. North of Long Beach lies the island's biggest town, Duong Dong. South of Long Beach lies the second largest town in Phu Quoc, An Thoi.
On the east side of the island are some famous white sand beaches, like Bai Dan and Bai Sao. North of these beaches lie some fishing villages. Northwest lies Ganh Dau, and some unspoiled beaches. On the Island center there are the pepper fields, the rain forest, the Suoi Da Ban river and its waterfalls.

2. Phu Quoc, Long Beach
To get to the island you have two options, planes and ferries. From Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) by plane to Duong Dong the flight takes less than an hour. You can also fly from Rach Gia (South of the Mekong Delta).
You can go from Rach Gia to An Thoi (South of Phu Quoc Island) by ferry. Even though there is a fast ferry, I can only recommend going to the island by plane, because most of the times the sea is not very calm.
No matter which transportation you choose to get to the island, reserve ahead.
Cruise ships also visit the island. I think it is on Saturdays that ships dock in Duong Dong.
If your hotel does not have a pick up service, you will have to take a taxi from the airport.

3. Phu Quoc, Long Beach Resort
Although there are also some good hotels North of Duong Dong, the best hotels are on Long Beach. Currently there are two luxury resorts on Long Beach. New ones are under construction.
If you are on a tight budget, there is also some accommodation for you on Long Beach.
Most of the resorts have bungalows on the beach. And they are not as expensive as you may think!

4. Phu Quoc, Long Beach sun set
Although tourism is developing fast, this is still a fishing island. Every day you see fishermen going to the sea first thing in the morning. In the afternoon, they come back. Most of the times with their nets full.

5. Phu Quoc, Long Beach, fishing boat
Phu Quoc Island is also known as the Emerald Island because of its tourism potential. In the last 25 years the population has increased more than ten times. In 1975 no more than 5,000 people inhabited the island. Currently, more than 70,000 people live here. Forecasts say that tourism will still draw more people to the island.

6. Phu Quoc, Long Beach, Saigon Phuquoc Resort
Phu Quoc Island is the largest island in Vietnam. The island is part of the Kien Giang Province. Khmer and Thai still claim the sovereignty of the island. But the major threat for the island is tourism. I am sure that the unique beauty of its landscapes and its weather, will draw thousands of visitors in the future.
Although some of the development plans the Vietnamese government had for the island have been pulled back, the tourist industry has set its eyes on the island. It is only a question of time before big resorts are built.

7. Phu Quoc, Long Beach, fishermen
Phu Quoc Island has two main seasons, the rainy and the dry season.
The rainy season lasts from April to November. The dry season goes from December to March. It is better to come during the dry season, but the rainy season is not that bad. In June, July and August it rains, almost, everyday. But rains are strong showers that refresh the air. In a few minutes the sun shines back.
Temperatures do not vary much year round. the average temperature is 80 Fahrenheit degrees (27 Celsius). I was here during the dry season, and it was never too hot. By the way, I think that I have never had so many sunny days in a raw in my life!

8. Phu Quoc, Long Beach, Phu quoc and sunset
Phu Quoc Long Beach is the only beach from where you can see the sun sets in Vietnam.
Thanks to the island's warm weather, you can swim all day (and all night) long. Specially recommended is a swim during sun set. Can you imagine what it is like to swim in these golden waters?

9. Phu Quoc, Long Beach, after sunset
The first inhabitants of Phu Quoc were Chinese and Vietnamese who earned their living with the sea cucumbers. In the 19th century the French set up some rubber and coconut plantations in the island. During the Vietnam-American War a big POW detention camp was built in the South of the island.
In 1975 the island was liberated. Since then, tourism has developed fast. Mainly during the last decade.
If you want to visit the island, you can ask your hotel for an island tour, or you can rent a motorbike. There is almost no traffic on the island. If you have ridden a motorbike (a scooter, actually) before, I recommend the motorbike tour. The island is too big to be visited on a bicycle -- 30 miles from North to South (50 Km) -- , but you can do some nice excursions pedaling.
If you want to visit the entire island, you will need two or three days. Ask your hotel for a road map of the island. Although most of the roads have not been paved, they are in good condition. If you are going on a motorbike, wear dark clothes. If it has not rained for a while, all your clothes will look sand red by the end of your tour.

10. Phu Quoc, Long Beach, view from the bungalow
Phu Quoc Island is still a well kept secret. This crystal clear water island is one of the less spoiled areas in the Southeast Asia region.
Massive tourism has yet not arrived here. The Vietnamese government has plans to develop foreign investments and foreign tourism to this paradisiacal island, but at the same time they have a special interest to keep it as it is.
Some years ago, some Vietnamese politicians wanted to make of this island a second Singapore (both islands are the same size). They even sold some plots of land to foreign companies. Thank God, all these plans were stopped some years ago.
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