Phu Quoc island lies in the Gulf of Thailand just off the coast of Cambodia, it is almost the same size as Singapore, 574 sq. km. but with a population of only 100,000. The island has quickly become a destination for western sun seekers and the amount of hotels being built and the smart international airport show how quickly this has happened. Much of the island is protected with around 70% being a National Park but the coastal area is quickly being built up and trying to find the quiet secluded beaches of a few years ago probably required hiring a motorbike.
The main resort area is currently along Long Beach which perhaps should be re-named Long Narrow Beach as the hotel loungers extend the short area from the start of the beach to the water’s edge but there other beaches around the island more suited to visitors who simply want to stroll along the beach. Certainly at Long Beach the only way to access the beach is through some of the resorts where of course in most you can sample the bar and restaurant facilities.
Check out the usual booking sites such as www.booking.com or www.hotels.com. We stayed at Bauhinia Resort www.bauhiniaresort.com in Duong Don, a small simple hotel only five minutes walk from the main road running along Long Beach.There are numerous eating places and cafes and bars within easy walking distance and taxis are very cheap for visiting the Night Market or other parts of Long Beach.
The Bauhinia has a lovely terrace and pool area and delightful staff, the hotel has recently been bought by Ryan and cousin from Hanoi who I am sure will be making small changes without spoiling the ambience. The rooms in the main building are simple and there are some garden and pool side bungalows which adds to the atmosphere.
The area has a wide range of places to stay from simple hostels to upmarket resorts, the Bauhinia suited us with a relaxed friendly feel.
Hai Nam, Tran Hung Dao, just past the arch going towards Dinh Cau night market was excellent, the service could have been a bit warmer but the fish and seafood was top notch, worth booking.
Saigonese Eatery, 73 Tran Hung Dao, was the best eating experience during our stay, the modern eatery has a great local chef/owner who does his own take on Vietnamese cookery. Lovely staff, and a great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Rory’s Beach Bar, 118/10 Tran Hung Dao is about five minutes in a taxi from the Bauhinia and was a highlight of our stay. Get there in time for the amazing sunset, enjoy the beers, cocktails and also the food. A very enjoyable evening was spent there and the service is great.
Ganesh, 97 Tran Hung Dao, is as you may guess an Indian restaurant and is very popular. The food was good, the service mixed but is was a pleasant place for a relaxed dinner.
Yen Son, Tran Hung Dao, is at the foot of the road down from the Bauhinia, it was recommended by the staff on our first day and is very simple, cheap and decent place to eat. It seems very popular in the evening but shuts early, no frills place but good.
Lanchia Hostel Bar & Restaurant, 84 Tran Hung Dao, this was our go to place for a beer or a wine. It was the busiest bar on the strip and sometimes difficult to get a seat but the friendly staff always sorted something out for us.It caters for a wide range of customers who obviously agreed with us that it was the best bar in the area.
Skye Bar, Tran Hung Dao is worth a visit for a sunset cocktail, after sunset the music cranks up and it’s time to leave it to the young crowd.
Rory’s Beach Bar, see above, was by a long way the best bar we visited.
As in other places in Vietnam there is always lots of choice between beer, wine, spirits and of course cocktails. As ever there is Vietnamese wine available or imported wines and prices vary greatly from place to place.
The Bauhinia can arrange various excursions with a company called John’s Tours and we thoroughly enjoyed a tour of the southern part of the island which included a good seafood and fish lunch at a lovely beach.
The Dinh Cau night market is worth a visit, there are some interesting stalls for souvenirs and many places to eat, it is only five minutes by taxi from the main Long Beach strip and it is easy to get a taxi back.