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Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc

 Area:                 589.23 sqkm

 Population:     103,000 million

 Language:       Vietnamese

 Currency:         VND

Phu Quoc is also called the Pearl Island, the largest island in Vietnam, is also the largest of 22 islands in this population, located in the Gulf of Thailand. Phu Quoc Island, along with other islands forming Phu Quoc island district, Kien Giang provincial. In 2006, the biosphere reserve of coastal and island district, Kien Giang including this area recognized by UNESCO as world biosphere reserve.
Phu Quoc Overview
Phu Quoc, the largest island in Vietnam, is also part of an archipelago consisting of 22 islands and islets. The island covers an area of 567sq.km (about 62km long and between 3km and 28km wide). At present, it is honeymoon holidays destination for couples.

Phu Quoc is called the island of "99 mountains" because of its many sandstone chains gradually descending from the north to the south. The longest one is Ham Ninh which stretches for 30 km along the eastern edge with its highest peak called Mt. Chua (603m).
Phu Quoc History
According to archaeological evidence (Tombs, tools, pottery, etc) found on the island, humans first inhabited Phu Quoc 2,500 years ago (1st-7th century AD).  In Vietnam, this period is known as the Oc Eo period.  Most of the artifacts were unearthed in the northern part of the island and there is not much known about who these early inhabitants were or their ethnic origins.  A lot of this archaeological evidence can be observed at the Coi Nguon Museum in Phu Quoc Island, near Long Beach Village.

In years of 1600, Phu Quoc Island today used to be known as Koh Tral by the Cambodians and the earliest reference to this island can be found in Cambodian documents dating as early as 1615, which include the island as being part of the Khmer empire. The exact number of Khmer’s living in Koh Tral during this period cannot be confirmed but one thing is for certain is that the Cambodian’s occupied the island first.
 
Around 1680, one of the Khmer kings granted Mac Cuu, a Chinese merchant from Leizhou city, Guangdong Province, China permission to settle and develop a large part of the southern Cambodian coast. Mac Cuu then established 7 trading centers, including Ha Tien and Phu Quoc Island, and shortly thereafter they were inhabited by Chinese and Portuguese traders. During this time there were a lot of battles between Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
 
In 1708, Mac Cuu merged Ha Tien (which included Phu Quoc) with Dang Trong, aptly known “the southern region”. Around 1714 Mac Cuu changed allegiance and sided with the Vietnamese. In return, he and his family were granted the right to oversee the development of 7 trading centers under the protection of the Nguyen lords who ruled southern Vietnam during this time.

In 1717, the Thai’s sacked and destroyed Ha Tien. The fate of Phu Quoc during this time was unknown. From 1720 through to 1750’s, Phu Quoc island was inhabited by Cambodian’s, Vietnamese and Chinese people and these inhabitants were making a living mainly from fishing. The trade of sea cucumbers was quite popular during this time.
 
In the 1770’s, the French missionary Pigneau de Behan, who was seeking to expand his missionary, which was based in Phu Quoc Island. He established a seminary for Vietnamese and Khmer converts and it was during this time that he sheltered Lord Nguyen Anh, future Emperor Gia Long when he was hunted by the Tay Son rebels. From 1782 to 1786, Phu Quoc became a stronghold of Lord Nguyen Anh, who later recaptured the mainland from the Tay Son rebels and become Emperor in 1802.
 
From 1862 Phu Quoc was occupied up by the French, as part of its colonization of Vietnam, and came under the administration of the Governor of Cochinchine. In 1867, Phu Quoc’s Vietnamese authorities pledged allegiance to French troops after the French conquered Ha Tien. The French established rubber, pepper, and coconut plantations on the island. Due to its isolation, the French also established a prison on the island.
 
Where the French left off, the American’s took over and during the American/Vietnam war, the American’s took over the Cay Dua prison (coconut tree prison) and expanded it to house over 40,000 prisoners of war. Many of the Vietnamese prisoners were tortured here. When the war ended in 1975, the prison was closed and later reopened as a museum.

After Saigon fell in 1975, Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge forces invaded and took Phu Quoc however the Vietnamese immediately reclaimed the island. Nearly 50.000 Vietnamese soldiers had been sent to Phu Quoc to prevent a further invasion by the Cambodians, who always claimed Phu Quoc to be a Cambodian island, called Koh Tral.  The Vietnamese forces then went on to capture Phnom Penh in 1979 and bring about the downfall of the Pol Pot regime.
 
 
 
Phu Quoc climate and best time to visit
Phu Quoc weather changes throughout the year, so it's important to do your research before booking your flight. Most of its rainfall happens from July to September. Sunny skies are common between November and March. You can enjoy consistently warm temperatures thanks to its tropical monsoon climate.
 
Phu Quoc Island is ideal for a wide range of outdoor activities. It has mountains and unique wildlife on the northern part and pristine beaches on the southern end. Humidity level is low and temperatures average at 27.5°C during the dry season. Make sure you book your hotel in advance, as Phu Quoc gets packed with locals on public holidays and weekends.
 
Best Time to Go to Phu Quoc Island
The best time to go to island is during the dry season. From November until March, Phu Quoc weather sees sunny skies and temperatures between 25°C and 28°C. You can sunbathe, snorkel and swim at Long Beach and Ong Lang Beach. Phu Quoc National Park and Suoi Tranh Waterfall are great for picnicking, jungle-trekking, camping, and bird-watching.
 
Rainy Season in Phu Quoc Island
Rainy season on Phu Quoc Island falls between July and September. Expect heavy showers in the late afternoon. Its average monthly rainfall ranges between 190mm and 361mm. Phu Quoc weather conditions are still pleasant, but roads can get very muddy at this time of the year. Try to avoid exploring Phu Quoc Island on motorcycle or bicycle.
 
There are many things to do on the island during the monsoon season. Phu Quoc Island has local markets, fishing villages, Cao Dai and Buddhist temples, pearl farms, and pepper plantations. Families can spend a fun-filled day with the little ones at Vinpearl Land Amusement Park.
Phu Quoc Transportation
By Air
Phu Quoc International Airport (PQC) is located at the southern end of Long Beach, approximately nine kilometres from Duong Dong town. Opened in 2012, the new airport was built to accommodate larger aircraft and international flights. Domestic routes include Can Tho, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Hanoi, while regional international routes include Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
 
By Boat
Weather permitting, fast ferries make the trip at least once a day from both Ha Tien and Rach Gia to Phu Quoc and in the reverse. The vast majority of travellers take the catchily-named Superdong fast ferry, which is efficient, orderly, air-con and comfortable. Seating is assigned and you even get a bottle of water, a moist towelette and entertainment on flatscreen TVs. Phu Quoc Express is another popular operator.
 
The Superdong office in town has English speaking staff and is open daily from 06:00 to 20:30. Superdong ferries arrive/depart from Bai Vong Pier on the east coast of Phu Quoc. When you buy your ferry ticket, you can also purchase a bus transfer to/from the pier for only 30,000 dong per person. The bus leaves the office one hour before boat departure.
 
Phu Quoc to Rach Gia: Departs at 08:00, 13:00. Takes 2 hours 30 minutes and costs adults 340,000 dong, children 250,000 dong, elderly 290,000 dong, disabled 255,000 dong. On Saturday, Sunday, public and summer holidays, extra departures may be added at 08:45 and 12:40.
 
Rach Gia to Phu Quoc: Departs at 08:00, 08:45, 13:00. On Saturday, Sunday, public and summer holidays, an extra departure may be added at 12:40.
 
More departures can be added during peak holiday seasons (Saturday, Sunday, Tet and during summer months of May to July). In times of rough weather, when winds exceed safe levels, boats can be cancelled for days on end—in which case everyone scrambles to get a flight. Weather is more unpredictable in rainy season and flying may save you from the headache.
 
Phu Quoc to Ha Tien: Departs at 08:00, 13:00. Takes 1 hour 15 minutes and costs adults 230,000 dong, children 160,000 dong, elderly 195,000 dong, disabled 170,000 dong. On Saturday, Sunday, public and summer holidays, extra departures may be added at 09:45 or 10:00 and 14:30.
 
Ha Tien to Phu Quoc: Departs at 08:00, 13:50. On Saturday, Sunday, public and summer holidays, extra departures may be added at 07:30, 10:00, 12:00, 12:15 or 14:00.
 
Getting around
Phu Quoc has a reasonable network of roads, with key north to south and east to west roads now sealed and easygoing. There are still dirt roads, mainly on the north and north east coast, that give you a taste of what Phu Quoc was like 10 years ago. The going can be slow and it requires some experience and finesse—nearly every day we saw someone hobble into a hotel muttering about hitting a slippery patch of sand. Wet season is especially difficult, when the quality of the unsealed roads deteriorates into a muddy mess.
 
Phu Quoc’s freshly paved roads, dramatic scenery and numerous beach options make it a great place to explore by bicycle or motorbike and this is the most popular way for travellers to get around. However, by law, in order to drive a motorbike, foreigners must have an International Driving Permit. A fatal motorbike accident involving a tourist and prominent local in 2014 led to the change and local authorities do enforce it with regular stings specifically targeting foreigners. Long-time residents told us the fine can be as hefty as US$100, or worse, the bikes are confiscated by the truck full and held ransom for days, the fine increasing by US$100 a day. Also check the fine print of your travel insurance.
 
If you do choose motorbike, every hotel, guesthouse or tour agency will happily rent you one for 150,000 dong a day (but don’t expect any support with the fine).
 
The speed limit in town is a strict 40 kilometres per hour, or 50 kilometres per hour outside of town—there are police stings in this regard too. When in Duong Dong town, if you don’t see anyone else parked in a spot it is probably because it is not allowed.
 
On the flipside to all these motorbike caveats, you won’t find any of the usual pay-to-park schemes at beaches. No protection is needed as in other parts of Vietnam. Many locals told us it was perfectly safe to park, lock it and enjoy a day at the beach, be it a busy or quiet one.
 
Sample distances:
Duong Dong town—Phu Quoc International Airport: 9km
Duong Dong town—Ong Lang beach: 10km
Duong Dong town—Bai Vong port: 14km
Duong Dong town—Vinpearl Land: 23km
Duong Dong town—An Thoi: 27km
 
Things to do and see in Phu Quoc

Watching the sunset
Phu Quoc is one of the best places to watch the sunset at the end of the day in Vietnam. The golden sun sets into the deep blue sea along the western coast of the island; there are top 3 favorite spots were to watch the sunset are and these are her picks

Ganh Dau Beach: 
For a picturesque sunset experience, head over toGanh Dau Beach (Bãi Gành Dầu)  in Ganh Dau Village located in the 
northwestern part of Phu Quoc Island.  Walk out to the far eastern section of the beach and take a seat on any one of the many large granite rocks facing the sea and watch the sun slip below the horizon in between the two far off islands – Bang Island and Mouse Island. It is a romantic spot which you will share with many young local couples.

Dai Beach: Just south of Ganh Dau Beach is where you will find the upscale Dai Beach (Bãi Dài), a beach lined with 
5-star luxury beach resorts as well as Phu Quoc’s casino. With a well-groomed beach and plenty of beach bars, you would never have guessed that this beach was once deserted.   The sunsets here are amazing but since most of you will probably not stay at one of these posh resorts, we are going to tell you about the lesser known public undeveloped section of Dài Beach which is accessible to everyone, equally beautiful, yet wilder.  Located just north of Vung Bau Beach, past the Hon Mong Tay Resort, and south of the Grand World Resort, lies the secret Dai Beach. There is a small simple snack bar located on site, plenty of beach hammocks and chairs, and stretches upon stretches of practically deserted beach. It is the perfect spot to chill and reflect while watching a beautiful sunset with nearby Turtle Island in the view.
 
Ong Lang Beach: The sunsets from the popular, yet quiet, beach area known as Ong Lang are spectacular year round. Depending on when you visit the island, you’ll see one of two different types of sunsets: the summer season (wet season) will give you a powerful wave display while the sun sets, while the winter season (dry season) makes for a more serene sunset over a glass-like motionless sea. Either way, neither will disappoint. Anywhere along Bãi Ông Lang beach is a good spot to watch the sunset.

Try Jet Skiing
Phu Quoc has the most 
beautiful beaches in Vietnam and the island is destined to become the power water sports capital of the country. Here on Phu Quoc, you can try jet packs, kite surfing, parasailing (the view from above is awesome), ride a banana boat, water skiing, SUP paddle boarding, wake boarding, windsurfing, kayaking, and jet skiing.  Newer bigger faster jet ski can be rented at most of the luxury resort and at some bars.

Snorkeling from the beach
Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s best snorkeling destination and what’s great about this island is that you do not need to join a tour to discover the islands marine life as most snorkeling can be done from shore. The 28 island archipelago collectively known as “Phu Quoc District” is surrounded by coral reef teeming with life and all you need is your snorkel, mask and our guide to 
have the best moments.

Freedive in Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc is developing into a premiere freediving destination as it is an archipelago consisting of twenty-eight islands all surrounded by canyons and coral reef.  On Phu Quoc, the freediving is better than the scuba diving, and the snorkeling is better than freediving.  Although not a new discovery, freediving has been here on Phu Quoc for a decade and was mainly done to catch fish (spear fishermen).  Today it is a real sport enjoyed by true hardcore fans of the activity.
 


Phu Quoc Travel Tips
Phu Quoc is now famous for honeymoon holidays and beach holidays. If you choose this destination for your relaxation, its weather is quite hot; therefore, you should bring hats, skin cream, thin clothes, and sandals.

Do not forget to bring camera along with you to keep your beautiful moments
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