Located in the Gulf of Thailand, 50km from the mainland of Vietnam and a mere 50 minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc possesses a wild beauty that is marked by pristine white sands, golden sunshine, turquoise blue waters, and authentic local culture that is apparent in its people and cuisine alike, leaving a lasting impression on visitors.
True to the local saying, “the island life is easy, but it’s hard to say goodbye to”, Phu Quoc Island presents a wonderland for travelers looking for fresh cuisines to taste, new adventures to experience, and such an unforgettable stay that people don’t want to leave.
What to taste?
Interestingly, travelers stopping at any restaurant on the island can immediately sense the signature flavours of Phu Quoc as the scent of the island’s famous fish sauce wafts through the air. This sought-after fish sauce is the key ingredient that connects the culinary specialties of Phu Quoc together in a bold and unique way.
One of the must-try dishes using this sauce is the herring salad, comprising a combination of thinly sliced herring fish meat mixed with grated coconut and fermented, resulting in a slightly sour taste and an enticing aroma. The sauce used in this specialty is made from Phu Quoc fish sauce mixed with lemon, sugar, chili, garlic, and roasted peanuts, together making up the soul of the dish. Spread on a thin piece of rice paper and cut in half with some added herbs, bananas, star fruit, and cucumber all wrapped neatly in a roll and dipped in the sauce creates an eclectic explosion of savory flavours – best paired with a side of sim wine.
Vietnamese-Style Herring Salad
Whilst visiting Phu Quoc, one would be remiss not to indulge in the rustic noodle dish called “Bún Quậy”, a local specialty of freshly cooked vermicelli on-the-spot, shrimp, fish, and finely ground squid cooked to perfection in a streaming broth and topped with seasoning and lots of shallots. The appeal of this noodle dish also lies in the “divine” sauce that diners are instructed to make from salt, sugar, chili, Phu Quoc peppers, and calamansi. The result is an irresistibly fragrant bowl of noodles so spicy and delicious that diners can’t help but shed a few tears of joy - a special experience to witness with a famed history dating back more than 20 years on the island.
Of course, the seaside paradise of Phu Quoc also presents a variety of top notch seafood including freshly caught grilled lobster on charcoal, sea buckthorn porridge, and grilled oysters with onion, lime snails, and more. Travelers get to dine, as the locals say, by “bringing the whole ocean to your mouth.”
What to play?
Besides the largest island of Phu Quoc that makes up for 580 sq km of land, there are also 22 small islands nearby waiting to be explored. Each island possesses its own unique beauty and attractions including Bai Sao, Bai Truong, Hon May Rut, Hon Mong Tay, Hon Mot, and especially Hon Thom. Tours are available to visit the islands and visitors may go fishing, or dive to see the coral reefs and live a day like a true fisherman.
Hon Thom with an area of 5.7 sq km attracts visitors thanks to its wild, romantic landscape. From the world’s longest cable car, the opening of Hon Thom Nature Park, and newly opened Aquatopia Water Park – the most modern water park in Southeast Asia – there is much to see in this vibrant part of Phu Quoc.
The Phu Quoc Safari is located in Ganh Dau, spanning 380 hectares of animal sanctuary currently housing more than 2,000 animals and 140 extremely rare wildlife species wandering through the land. Popular with children, this miniature natural haven leaves a lasting impression and exciting memories to bring home.
For those seeking a taste of charming local culture, Ho Quoc Pagoda, Dinh Cau town, Duong Dong night market, pearl farm, pepper garden, or sim wine garden are all ideal places to visit.
The Phu Quoc Safari
Where to stay?
After a long day of discovering mouthwatering cuisines and new adventures, a comfortable place to rest is next on the list.
Located on Bai Truong beach, InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort is considered an elegant symbol of Phu Quoc Island, with 459 thoughtfully appointed rooms adorned with elegant style, each with a private balcony welcoming the sea breeze and bringing a sense of familiarity and utmost comfort to guests.
With four outdoor swimming pools including a separate family and kids’ pool, and the 250 sqm Planet Trekkers Children’s Club led by professional caretaker staff, children will find a fascinating wonderland to play in. Meanwhile, guests may unwind and succumb to pure relaxation at HARNN Heritage Spa, floating upon the resort’s tranquil lotus lagoon, where treatment rooms designed with rustic bamboo structures present natural therapies to help rejuvenate the body and mind, striking a delicate balance from deep within.
Club Panoramic Suites
At InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort, the gastronomic journey has just begun with upscale dining experiences mirroring the local specialties of the island. Six unique dining venues at the resort bring guests on a colorful culinary experience with dishes meticulously crafted to not only retain but also elevate the authentic local flavors.
Finally, after experiencing the sea and landscapes below, it is time to travel up to INK 360, located on the 19th floor of the resort’s Sky Tower. The highest sky bar on the island, INK 360 features stunning designs inspired by a giant octopus otherwise known as the sea creature from the depths, the Kraken, becoming a new symbol of innovation and sophistication on the island. Guests may view the mesmerizing landscapes below, sip handcrafted cocktails while enjoying the sea breeze, and watch the sunset as it changes colors reflecting off the vast sea and horizon.
INK 360, 19th floor of Sky Tower
It can be said that there are not many places in the world where nature and culture converge and reconcile with people the way that it does in Phu Quoc. A little lively, a little peaceful and serene, sometimes reserved, Phu Quoc presents a special magic and emotion that leaves visitors feeling nostalgic.