For a long time, peaceful Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam with another name of “Đảo Ngọc” meaning “Pearl Island” has become a favorite destination of both domestic and international travelers through the year. And if you are wondering where to go for this winter holiday, Phu Quoc Island is definitely a choice since it has been voted as one of the best five destinations in winter by the National Geographic website. As said by the site, there’s no reason to hibernate this winter when there are new beaches, slopes, sports, and festivals to discover.
Located in the Gulf of Thailand just off the Cambodian coast, the Phu Quoc Island houses some of the best beaches in Vietnam. The island once housed the so-called “coconut tree prison” (now a museum), where Vietcong prisoners of war were held through 1973. What’s bringing international travelers and, so far, restrained development to Phu Quoc today are its warm, turquoise waters; secluded, deep sand beaches; and lush, mountainous interior (protected as a national park).
When to Go: Phu Quoc Island is a destination of 12 months since each period in the island brings to it a different beauty. But for many travelers, the best time to visit this beautiful and peaceful island is the dry season in this island from December to March with average daytime temperatures between 77° and 82°F.
How to get there: The new (2012) Phu Quoc International Airport is located near the midpoint of the island’s western coast in Duong Dong, the largest town, so you can visit Phu Quoc by taking flight from Tan Son Nhat Airport (Saigon), Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi) or Danang Airport (Da Nang). In addition, if you are in Singapore or Russia, you can take a direct flight from there to Phu Quoc Island.
How to Get Around: You can take a taxi from the airport to your accommodation in Phu Quoc or just request the hotel to provide you an airport pick-up service. The most convenient way to travel around the island is by motorbike taxi or (with extreme caution) by motorbike.
Where to Stay: There will be a wide array of accommodations for you to choose in Phu Quoc.
Where to Eat: Pull up a plastic chair and sit under the stars at the bustling Dinh Cau Night Market to try whatever local fishermen hauled in that day (sea urchin, prawns, clams, squid, scallops, sardines). Held most evenings near Cau Temple in Duong Dong, the market has dozens of stalls and is a good place to shop for souvenirs (although most items aren’t produced locally).
Vietnam visa to travel to Phu Quoc Island: If you come to visit a destination in Vietnam before traveling to Phu Quoc Island, you may be required to have a valid visa to Vietnam. In this case, you may apply for a visa via any Vietnam Embassy/Consulate or apply for a visa on arrival. But if you travel directly from your country to Phu Quoc (including a transit in any Vietnam airport before taking next flight to Phu Quoc Island), you will be exempted from a Vietnam visa for up to 30 days.
Fun Fact: Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s nuoc mam (fish sauce) capital. The island’s signature (and powerfully pungent) sweet-sour Phu Quoc sauce is the essential Vietnamese condiment and, in 2013, became the country’s first product granted European Union Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status.