South Vietnam

Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Phu Quoc is the largest island currently administered by Vietnam. Situated in the Gulf of Thailand, the island is part of Kien Giang province. The district of Phu Quoc includes the island proper and 21 smaller isles. The district seat, Duong Dong, which is located on the west coast, is also the largest town on this island, whose total area is 574 km².

In the early 17th century, Phu Quoc was a desolate area, where Vietnamese and Chinese immigrants earned livings from sea cucumbers.

From 1782 to 1786, Phu Quoc became a stronghold of Lord Nguyen Anh, later Emperor Gia Long, in his confrontation with Tay Son forces. In 1869, the French occupied it and set up rubber and coconut plantations in the island. From 1967 to 1972, a P.O.W detention camp of 40,000 inmates during the war covering on 400 hectares was built at An Thoi by the Saigon regime. After being liberated on 30 April 1975, Phu Quoc has been converted into an ideal tourist destination for nature and sea lovers.

The truly exciting about this place is pristine deserted beaches perfect for countless of water activities such as scuba diving. It also features a wide array of jungle habitats and fishing villages that is truly unique to Vietnam. The sand along the beaches is clean, and the air is mostly peaceful. Another attractive thing about Phu Quoc is its relatively short rainy season. \

Unlike the 4-5 months of downpours in Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc has rain in September and October, and remains relatively dry the rest of the year. There are cheap bungalows for rent on the island, most near Duong Dong, the island’s main port and city.

Rapid Development

Phu Quoc, along with the rest of Vietnam, is rapidly developing. The laid-back tropical island that Phu Quoc is today might not remain for much longer. While development would bring much needed revenue to the local population, who knows what it will do to the rustic and quaint feel that defines Phu Quoc. 20 percent of the island is covered by a national forest. Guided treks along the dirt paths of the island are possible. Despite the commercialization and modernization that continues to take place, it will be surprising to find out that the island remains as beautiful and unadulterated.

Those familiar with Vietnamese cuisine will know that Phu Quoc is the fish sauce capital of Vietnam. The brands produced on the island are popular throughout Vietnam. Vietnamese food lovers the world over search through local Asian markets to find fish sauce produced in Phu Quoc. The pungent sauce is produced at several factories around the island.

Fish sauce is made from fermented anchovies. However, fresh fish is everywhere on Phu Quoc. The squid and shrimp on the island are usually fresh. You can see the fishermen using lights to lure the squid into their nets at nighttime. Some of the beach side eateries serve seafood fresh off the boat. Try some stir fried squid or a giant prawn.

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