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How about a vacation in a place with white sand beaches and serene blue skies? Expensive idea? Not at all. Consider Phu Quoc Island this year for your international getaway. Phu Quoc is a beautiful island in the Gulf of Thailand in Vietnam off the coast of Cambodia. The island is picture-perfect with palm-lined coast and beach resorts that will make you want to stay here forever.
Phu Quoc is one of the largest islands in Vietnam spreading around 574 sq km. area including 21 small islands that make up this administrative district. It has a population of 100,000 inhabitants and located on the west coast along the Gulf of Thailand. The best part of this island is that you can visit visa-free for upto 30 days. This is for all foreign tourists that come here since 2014. The island economy is dependent primarily on fishery, agriculture and tourism which is a fast-growing sector here. Tourism has been lately booming here with investments on supporting infrastructure and several star hotels and resorts.
More than 50% of the island is part of the National Park called Phu Quoc National Park that has a dense tropical forest, mountain features, wildlife and walking trails. Duong Dong is the biggest town on the island that trades on local produce and fish. It also has a night and day market that sells craft items and is a must-visit for everyone who comes to this island.
The island has a subequatorial climate with plenty of monsoon rains. The hottest months around here are with temperatures soaring to 35-degree centigrade.
Tip: Due to frequent rains and hot climate, it is advisable to carry cotton clothes to be comfortable during your vacation here.
Phu Quoc has an international airport that serves the area of Kien Giag, Khanh Hoa, and Phu Quoc and the rest of Vietnam. The Phu Quoc Airport as it is called, has many direct flights to Phu Quoc from more than 13 destinations in 5 countries across the world. These flights connect the island to Europe, East Asia, Central Asia, South East Asia with regular flights from Moscow, Guangzhou, Seoul, Hong Kong, Kualalumpur, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam Airlines, China Southern Airways, Asiana Airways, and Air Asia airlines provide flights to Phu Quoc regularly beside others who bring in the tourists from all over. There are more than five domestic flights from Phu Quoc as well.
The longest direct flight to the island is from Moscow that takes around 9 hrs and 50 min and flown by Vietnam Airlines. There are many connecting cheap flights to Phu Quoc that are usually available on this route.
Tip: To take advantage of early bird offers you should plan your travel and flight 90 days in advance. In fact you should opt for the hotel room flight ticket to get maximum discount on the combo deal.
Other attractions and historical sites include Coconut Tree Prison, and the Nuoc Mam Hung Thanh fish sauce factory that are worth a visit on the island.
Tip: Always wear a helmet and use a dust mask as the roads are dusty and you will get covered in them during your day in the island, especially if you are on a bike.
The best area to stay if you want to move a lot in the island is Long Beach. There are many other remote resorts where you can stay but traveling frequently out of them is a hassle unless you have rented a motorbike. Long Beach is a busy area and also provides great places for local food. Check for air conditioning before you book a room as not all have this convenience and comfort available. If you want a more secluded vacation away from the crowd, then try the resorts on the Ong Lang beach as they are quieter and wide apart.
If you want to eat authentic Vietnamese food, head out to Duong Dong’s night market. It is the best place where you will find good local food at cheap price. Though there are some seaside restaurants, the quality and price may be erratic and mostly inflated. Best is to do with the in-house restaurants of the resorts which offer a reasonable menu to satisfy the foodie in you.
Unfortunately, there are no organized bus or taxi services on the islands so you are at the mercy of the drivers if they charge erratic fares. However, you can hire a motorbike if you really want to be mobile and intend to discover the place at your own pace.
Tip – Before you hire the motorbike, check it thoroughly as most of them are in a pathetic condition and tend to fall apart. Wear a face mask or helmet to protect from dust and enough sunscreen.
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