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PLACE TO VISIT
There are so many wild idyllic beaches on Phu Quoc Island that you will find amongst them a good selection on which to enjoy your holiday. While they all pretty much have white sands, calm seas and warm waters, there are also lots of variations to choose from. Which one is the best? Maybe we can help you decide!
On the west side of the island lies the main beach called Long Beach. It is here that most of the hotels and resorts are located. The beach on this side of the island is more than 5 miles long, heading south from Doung Dong Town. You will find some sections here totally deserted, while other parts are packed with hotels.
On the east side of Phu Quoc lie some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Getting to Sao beach is a bit tricky. You will need some local help to get here. If you take a taxi, it won’t be so difficult to find the place, however remember it is a little isolated. There are a couple of restaurants here and one place with basic accommodation.
Ong Lang Beach
Accessible within a 20-minute drive from Duong Dong, Ong Lang Beach is divided into a series of rocky stretches with numerous coconut trees, she-oaks, and banyan trees providing shade. You can also find local restaurants and hawker stalls nearby the beach’s access point while resort-owned bars and lounges serve imported wines, beers and cocktails until late. Featuring a good mix of luxury and mid-range resorts with private beach sites, check out our guide of Ong Lang Beach’s most popular hotels to find one that best suits your budget, preference and travel dates.
Cua Can Beach
Located on the west coast approximately 10km north of Duong Dong town and just beyond the village of the same name lies a beautiful peninsula. Consider asking for a lift from a local fisherman to get here or adventure through the many wooden bridges in the nearby village.
Ganh Dau Beach
Located at the top of the island on the north west coast approximately 28kms from Duong Dong lies the quiet and peaceful collection of beaches of Ganh Dau. Just adventure through the village and you’ll find this little piece of paradise. There’s one local beach side restaurant that serves a good selection of seafood.
Bai Dai Beach
Located on the upper west coast just beyond Vung Bau Beach lies a long stretch of deserted pristine beach of Bai Dai running for more than 2 miles along this sunset drenched coast. Hurry up and check it out before the golf balls start flying past your head.
Vung Bau Beach
Located on the upper west coast just past the town of Cua Can and approximately 10kms from Duong Dong lies a beautiful half moon beach that is mostly uninhabited except for some local houses at the northern end and one restaurant catering to all visitors. If you’re looking for some adventure, there’s a dive shop along the main road that will take you to nearby islands for a small fee.
Bai Thom Beach
Located on the far north east of Phu Quoc approximately 35kms from Duong Dong you will be find a long stretch of uninhabited beach. While not one of most attractive of beaches, it is quite remote and getting here will be quite challenging, best option is by motorbike.
Bai Vong Beach
Located on the east coast about 8kms from Doung Dong on the way to Bai Sao, you will find the palm lined beaches of Bai Vong, with a couple of local restaurants serving local tasty food. Follow the tracks by motorbike to find the more remote parts of these swallow beaches.
Landmarks & Historical
Phu Quoc Island has an many man made cultural and historial landmarks and memorials that you can easily visit when you tour around the island. See our Touring Map for the exact locations.
Dinh Cau Rock Temple (Dinh Cau Shrine)
One of the many attractions in Phu Quoc is Dinh Cau Rock, which is located at the mouth of the Duong Dong River. It is a combination of Buddhist temple and lighthouse that was built in 1937 as a dedication to Thien Hau (the Goddess of the sea) who provides protection for the fisherman and vessels that head out to the open waters. Climbing the steps allows a better view of many fishing boats navigating the narrow river opening, as well as views along the coast. The beachfront here also is a good place to view the sunset and local life in the evenings
Coconut Tree Prison (Nha Lao Cay Dua Prison)
One of Phu Quoc historical sites which is still partially in use today is Coconut Tree Prison located about 5kms north of An Thoi Town. The prison was built by the French colonial administration before World War II and was later used by the Americans during the Vietnam War to house tens of thousands of prisoners, in its heyday covered an area of over 40 hectares housing an estimated peak of 40,000 VC prisons during the Vietnam War. Across the road from the prison there is a large commemorative monument, with plans to build a decent museum, to replace the small shed that currently exists there (open Tues – Sun 7.30am to 11am & 1.30pm to 5pm).
The War Memorial is located opposite Coconut Tree Prison as a commemorative monument to this official heritage site. It is located in the southern part of the island 5kms north of An Thoi town. It’s found just beside the roadway on the hill and consists of three abstract wave forms, in which the middle wave has a human shape cut out.
Sung Hung Pagoda
Located in Duong Dong Town, visitors will experience the peaceful ambience under the old banyan tree at Sung Hung pagoda. Built in the early 20th century, this pagoda is surrounded by huge old trees. The main entrance conforms to a three-gate style (called Tam Quan).
The statue of the Goddess Quan Am Bo Tat overlooks the centre of the courtyard over a small lotus pond. In the main hall, Tam The Buddha is placed on the highest altar. On the wall is a painting depicting Monk Duong Tang’s journey to the West. Behind this is the shrine that worships Gautama Buddha’s ascendancy to Heaven.
Hung Long Tu Pagoda
Hung Long Tu Pagoda was built by a well known monk named Nguyen Kim Muon (1892-1946). Located five kilometers from Duong Dong Town, this pagoda is located in a tranquil and peaceful setting, built on a rocky outcrop, the grounds contain an ornate statue of Buddha. The Pagoda is also known as the Su Muon pagoda, the architecture of the building is unique.
Legend of the Magic Well
It is said that when Prince Nguyen Anh was sheltering on Phu Quoc Island from the Tay Son rebels, he stamped his foot and pointed to the earth with his magic sword from where water erupted to provide to his thirsty force. This is where you will the royal or magic well as it’s known and you can even see the shoe prints in the stone. To find the well, start from An Thoi Town, there a path heading east for about 2kms along the seaside, past crystal-clear sea before reaching a white sandy beach where there’s a small shrine on the rocky cliff and an armchair shaped stone.
There’s a number of other temples located all around Phu Quoc and in Duong Dong so feel free to take a polite visit and remember these temples survive mostly through donations. These temples offer an interesting insight into the Buddhist religion and also offer the visitors an amazing array of colourful sculptures to view.. .
Phu Quoc National park covers more than 50% of the island so it is definitely worth considering a visit, especially if you would like to escape the heat of the daytime sun, a walk along a park trail or motorbike ride on one of roads in the north will give you a taste of this natural environment on Phu Quoc.
Background and Park area
Phu Quoc National Park was established by the Vietnamese Government in 2001 after upgrading the previous Natural Protection Area and Nature Reserve to include an area of 31,422 hectares, which includes 8603 hectares of strictly protected area, 22,603 hectares of biological restoration area and 33 hectares for administration and services. An additional 6,144 hectares is dedicated to a land-buffer zone and around 20,000 hectares of sea-buffer zone, though the final Marine protection zones are yet to be declared.
Location and topography
The National Park is mostly located across the North of the island with the northerly and eastern boundaries following stretches of the coastline, except for the northerly villages of Gành Dầu and Rach Vem and Cửa Cạn. The park is situated within the boundaries of the following communes: Gành Dầu, Bãi Thơm, Cửa Cạn and in part of the Communes of Cửa Dương, Hàm Ninh, Dương Tơ, and Duong Dong Township.
The highest point in the national park is Mount Chua at 603m, with plans in future for a walking trail to a look out from this point. The national park contains a number of seasonal streams, with the most sizable being the Rach Cua Can river, which flows into the gulf of Thailand on the West Coast of the island just north of Cua Can village.
Visiting the National Park
Phu Quoc National Park is not strictly defined, however until the National park is made more accessible for the needs of tourism, the following options are available for visitors keen to explore what is on offer;
• Hire motorbike on your own and explore the northerly parts of the island. The best areas and most forested parts can be found on the road toward Ganh Dau. To get there, take the road from Duong Dong towards Bai Thom and turn off toward Ganh Dau, the National park becomes more apparent the closer you get to Ganh Dau Village.
• Walking Trails are limited, though for a great way to experience the national park there is a good walking trail 5kms before Ganh Dau, where the going is relatively easy and trail wide enough to take in the surrounding environment. The walk is a particularly pleasant way to escape the heat, as the vegetation provides cover from the heat of the sun. Take the same road mentioned previously towards Ganh Dau and 100m after the 5km Ganh Dau road marker on the left hand side you’ll find an opening in the national park with a clearly defined walking trail which continues for a couple of kilometers. Note, besides the 5km Ganh Dau marker, the actual trail is not sign posted.
• If you’d like to experience the National Park along with other sites, you might consider booking a tour through one of the many tour operators on the island, or enquire with your hotel.
Flora and fauna
Located on an island with mixed terrestrial and coastal climates, Phu Quoc National Park contains many forest types and landscapes including mangroves and wet lands, sparse forested areas, coastal vegetation and forest on rocky mountains. Studies by the Vietnam-Russia Tropical Center in 2005 recorded 1,164 higher plant species, including 23 orchid species and 12 rare plant species including the globally endangered Paphiopedilum callosum which was recently found in the park (www.wildlifeatrisk.org).
A total of 208 animal species were recorded in the National Park, including 28 mammals, 119 birds, 47 reptiles and 14 amphibians. Of these animal species, 6 mammal, 4 bird and 9 reptile species are globally endangered. The rare species include lorises, the long-tailed macaque, silver langur, otter, and hornbill.
The future of Phu Quoc’s National Park
The national park is well recognised for it’s bio diversity and potential in future to attract tourism given the large portion of the island which is dedicated as national park area.
In recent years, local and Vietnamese authorities have made efforts to manage the National Park in a move towards protecting the environment and the ecosystems on the island. While some harmful activities still take place like hunting and trapping of animal, illegal logging, and land clearing, authorities are improving their surveillance and have greater powers in protecting the area. Additionally there is increasing community involvement and education taking place, informing local residents in the environmental value of the national park and in ways to protect the ecosystems.
Satefy tips while walking and trekking
• Always plan your trip carefully in advance.
• Leave written details of your route and expected time of return with a responsible person.
• Take your time; set a pace that the slowest member of your party can handle.
• Make sure you have plenty of water, and that you know where fresh water is available along your track.
• Always carry a well-equipped first aid kit.
• Never light a fire on a day of Total Fire Ban.