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Sitting back in a hammock, looking out over the quiet surf, you may wonder why more people don't know about Vietnam's Phu Quoc Island. It gets almost none of the press of those islands over in Thailand -- and yet with its rugged jungle, squeaking white sands and sparkling cobalt waters, it can more than match them. And though an unbroken beach stretches for almost the entire length of the island's west coast, only a small part of it has been developed.
We've seen many an island in Southeast Asia, and we've never stumbled across somewhere quite like here. The mix of isolated and deserted beaches, and a few thriving yet unadulterated Vietnamese towns, make Phu Quoc a rare find indeed.
Given its ease of access (a 21-minute flight from Rach Gia or an hour's flight from Saigon), it's amazing the island isn't far more developed, and while the Vietnamese government has huge plans they remain unrealised, and hopefully will remain just on paper for the foreseeable future.
The island has something for everyone -- really! Ringed by over a dozen bays and beaches, some yellow sand, others brilliant strips of white, with an archipelago of islets off its south coast, a jungle-covered interior and a handful of fishing villages, there is enough to do for a longer stay than you may be planning.
Accommodation on Phu Quoc encompasses a full range of options from affordable backpacker guesthouses through to quite fancy beach resorts and hotels. Hoteliers report that some guests do nothing more than the daily bungalow-beach-restaurant-beach-bungalow circuit for days on end -- for couples in particular, Phu Quoc is a favourite.
But with a motorbike and a map, there's loads of exploring to do here, and while some of the beaches are under military control, the majority are open to the public.
Many leave Phu Quoc as their final stop in Vietnam before leaving, only to find that a couple of nights just aren't enough. As a result, flights are changed and itineraries are revised -- so take it from us, revise your itinerary upfront and be sure to allow yourself enough time on Phu Quoc.
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