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Phu Quoc is an heart shaped island provides an unbeatable combination of perfect silky soft white sand beaches, superb hospitality and great value accommodation. Plan your visit to Phu Quoc Island by exploring our comprehensive digital travel platform and discover the beauty of Vietnam's "paradise" island.
Phu Quoc in Vietnam was once a sleepy backpacker retreat renowned for its fish sauce, pearl and black pepper production. Today this tiny heart shaped island is on the cusp of becoming Asia's next top holiday destination. There are plenty of activities for adventure seekers visiting Phu Quoc, such as joining other visitors on a island hopping and snorkeling expedition or trekking through lush rainforests teeming with exotic plant and wildlife. The hunt for the perfect pearl necklace may take devoted shoppers on a chase throughout town and history buffs can learn about the country's checkered past by intimately touring a decommissioned war prison. However most people come to Phu Quoc Island for one purpose: lazing the day away on a post card perfect beach and watching a brilliant sunset over the bright turquoise ocean.
Phu Quoc is quite simply Vietnam's paradise, its long stretches of white and yellow sand, crystal blue and turquoise waters, swaying palm trees, and lush rainforests dotted with waterfalls and streams attracts millions of local and international visitors each year. Phu Quoc represents an ever-growing population encompassing a myriad of ethnic groups, development and tourism, agricultural diversity, and it is home to a rich cultural heritage.
Phu Quoc has fresh air, clean water, friendly people, a very low crime rate, and best of all… a lot of sunshine. The island is extremely safe. There is a greater chance of you being robbed by your fellow traveler than by local as the punishment for petty theft here is quite extreme.
Phu Quoc is an “Island District” situated in the Gulf of Thailand 45 kilometers from the southern tip of mainland Vietnam and only 4 kilometers from nearby Cambodia (10.2289°, 103.9572°). The district is part of the Kien Giang Biosphere Conservation Area which in 2006 was recognized by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve.
What Does “Phu Quoc” Mean?
The meaning of “Phu Quoc” refers to the districts its rich ecosystem – “Phu” means fertile land and “Quoc” means nation. The island district is also marketed by the following names:
Pearl Island: For the numerous oyster bearing pearls found in the sea, 99 mountain island: The main island of Phu Quoc has numerous mountains with ridges that gradually descend from the north to the south.
Emerald Island: In reference to the island's jungles.
Regardless of what you call this place, one thing is for sure… Phu Quoc is simply spectacular.
In collaboration with the local, national, and international governments as well as a variety of NGO's, the following information represents the only source of credible facts figures and statistical information available today about Phu Quoc. All data has been cross referenced and credited accordingly. This data may be used for research, educational, commercial, and non commercial purposes.
Phu Quoc Island, much like Vietnam, has a diverse history filled with war and bloodshed having fought against the French, Cambodians, Thai’s, and the Americans. The island also has its own “Killing Field”, but on a smaller scale compared with its neighbor Cambodia. Initial inhabitants of the island include the Chinese, Khmer, French, and Vietnamese people. The following is a chronological (neutral) account of the islands varied history.
Early History – Oc Eo Period 1ST-7TH Century
According to archaeological evidence (Tombs, tools, pottery, etc) found on the island, humans first inhabited Phu Quoc 2,500 years ago (1st-7th century AD). In Vietnam, this period is known as the Oc Eo period. Most of the artifacts were unearthed in the northern part of the island and there is not much known about who these early inhabitants were or their ethnic origins. A lot of this archaeological evidence can be observed at the Coi Nguon Museum in Phu Quoc Island, near Long Beach Village.
In 1708, Mac Cuu merged Ha Tien (which included Phu Quoc) with Dang Trong, aptly known “the southern region”.
French Occupation of Phu Quoc
1964 to 1975 – Vietnam War (American War)
1975 to 1979 – The Vietnam Cambodia War
Phu Quoc Today
The Vietnamese government has great aspirations into developing Phu Quoc Island as the next big Asian tourist destination. They have already built an international airport, paved all the main roads, and in the third quarter of 2017 the island will have numerous 5 star resorts. By 2030, the Vietnamese government are expecting to have 3MN tourists to visit the island annually. The time to visit Phu Quoc island is now!
Phu Quoc is an isolated archipelago in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand. Formerly a territory of Cambodia and once called Koh Tral, the archipelago now belongs to Vietnam. It consists of 28 islands with a total area of 593.4 km². Most visitors arrive in Phu Quoc Island, the largest island and district capital, and travel to the other islands by inter-islands ferries and private boats.
The three main island regions consists of Phu Quoc Island (6 islands), the An Thoi Archipelago (15 islands), and Tho Chu (7 islands). Phu Quoc Island is the largest island in Phu Quoc district with a total area of 574 km² and it is the center of all tourist related activities.
The nearest country is Cambodia to the north east and Thailand to the west. The closest Vietnamese town is known as Ha Tien which is about 45 km from the main island and it takes about 2 hours to reach Ha Tien from Phu Quoc Island by ferry. Phu Quoc is much closer to Cambodia's Kampot Province which is just 18 km away.
The maritime zone situated between the coast of Phu Quoc Island of Vietnam on the one side, and the coast of Kampot Province and the Poulo Wai group of islands of Cambodia on the other, encompasses waters which are of great importance for the national defense and the economy of both countries.
Proximity To Major Asian Hubs:
Phu Quoc is also located relatively close to all the major Asians cities such as Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Phenom Penh, Siem Reap, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hainan, South Korea, and even Hong Kong, which is one of the reasons why the Vietnamese government decided to transform the region into a special economic zone and tourist destination.
Tourism is, by far, the island’s biggest industry and it continues to grow annually. Resort hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, and operators that organize sports activities dominate the industry. Fishing and fish related products are the second source of outside income. The average annual GDP growth is 22% and the per capita income is over 70,000,000VND per year. In 2017, Phu Quoc's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita hit US$5,469, representing a three-fold increase against 2012.
Phu Quoc Island Jobs
Most people working in Phu Quoc are employed either in the lodging and hospitality industry, tourism, energy industry, or work in subsistence farming and agriculture. For expats who plan on working in Phu Quoc, the hospitality industry is the most pragmatic choice. As the cost of living in Vietnam is relatively low in comparison to other countries, most expatriates in Phu Quoc find themselves living a comfortable, almost luxurious, lifestyle.
The best resource to find a job on Phu Quoc is through your network. If you know someone already working on the island, just reach out to them. If you do not have a network you can use the following job boards:
113,000 people in Phu Quoc District (March 2018 est).
The population density is evident along the coastal region of Duong To, the metropolitan area of Duong Dong, Cua Can, and An Thoi. A high degree of urban development in recent years has attracted a growing urban population, which currently represents 39% of the total population of the island.
Distribution by age
0-14 years: 28.6%
15-64 years: 64.1%
65 years and over: 7.3%
Ethnicity's include Kinh, Khmer, Hoa. Among them, the Kinh people account for 96.3% of the population, ethnic Chinese and Khmer 2.4% is 1.3% of the total population.
Language on Phu Quoc
Most hotel staff speak at least some English, French, Russian, and Vietnamese. Outside of the tourist area only Vietnamese is spoken. Hand signals and pointing at your map and where you want to go work well for directions. For prices, always ask sellers to write it down or show you the price via calculator. Having a smartphone comes in handy on this island.
Phu Quoc SmartCity
Phu Quoc will be transformed into a digitally connected island through strategic investments in technology and communication infrastructure. The initial smart city roadmap was released in 2011 and by 2017 key milestones were achieved with the island now having stable electricity, a quality digital tourism product, and 4G LTE technology. The next stage involves investment in e-government, implementing edge computing technology, and internet of things city devices. A data center, a concentrated operation center and continue implementing basic and smart services will follow.
The objective for the Phu Quoc Smart City initiative is to focus on tourism, traffic, e-government and environment while continuing to transform Phu Quoc into a world class tourism destination.
Phu Quoc has two seasons — a wet season, dominated by the annual monsoon, and a dry season. Most tourists visit Phu Quoc during the dry season to soak up endless days of sun and comfortable temperatures with low humidity.
Dry Season (November to March)
The best time to visit Phu Quoc is during the dry season because the weather is less unpredictable, it is less humid, you can watch more sunrises and sunsets, the sea is calm and clear, and the island restaurants, resorts/hotels, and tour operators are 100% in service as it is peak tourist season. However there are also more visitors to the island, prices are at there peaks, and some of the waterfalls have dried up due to the lack of rain.
Wet Season (April to October)
During the wet season, prices are very low, you can book a last minute flight to the island at a very good rate, and the waterfalls are gorgeous. However it does rain a lot and once the rain starts, it sometimes feels like it will never end. If you here in July and if you are lucky you may even see a water spout!
Annual monsoons that affect Phú Quốc:
Winds on Phu Quoc have two directions: the northeasterly winds (“northeastern monsoon”) which last from November to March and the southwesterly winds (“southwestern monsoon”) which last from April to October. The northeasterly winds coincide with the dry season and mainly affect Phú Quốc’s eastern coast resulting in the sea there to be more rough and garbage to be blown in from mainland Vietnam.
Some of Phú Quốc’s best beaches, e.g. Sao Beach & Kem Beach, are located along the eastern coastline and are dramatically affected by the northeasterly monsoonal winds while the west coast beaches (e.g. Long Beach & Ong Lang Beach) remain relatively unaffected.
On the contrary, the southwesterly winds coincide with the wet season and the devastating monsoon which is typical of this geographical area. It is during this time that most of the rain falls down on the island. The southwesterly winds mainly affect the sea located on the west coast of Phú Quốc while the sea surrounding the eastern coastline remains calm. Most tourists who are frightened off by the southwestern monsoon are unaware that the winds are far from constant, and that sunny or partially sunny days outnumber the rainy days during this time. Most of the torrential downpours are quite short with some coming as a refreshing cure to the searing heat of the summer.
One important warning—the southwesterly winds bring large waves and dangerous undercurrents to Phú Quốc's western beaches. If you do plan on swimming, do not swim too far from the shoreline and always obey the beach flags. The wet season (summer time) is the best season to visit and discover the beauty of the beaches dotting the eastern coastline.
Phu Quoc is blessed with diverse animals and plant species, some of which are endemic to the region. There are 43 mammal, 119 species of birds, 47 species of reptiles, 14 species of amphibians, 125 species of fish, 132 species of mollusc and 62 species of sea weed. Interestingly enough, Phu Quoc is also one of the two places in Vietnam where the Dugong, a marine species on the brink of extinction can be found, although unlikely.
Most visitors come to Phu Quoc to enjoy the many beach resorts and are not aware that the island district is mostly a national park teeming with life. Some of the more common animals you may see in Phu Quoc include:
The white bellied sea eagle
Giant Black Squirrel
and of course the famous Phu Quoc Ridgeback Dog
Snakes, butterflies, geckos, and bats are also common. Less common are hawksbill turtles, green turtles, whales and dolphins, although they have been spotted (learn more about dolphin watching in Phu Quoc).
Phu Quoc Flora
There are 1,164 green plant species, belonging to 137 families and 531 genera.
Seagrass beds in this area are the largest in extent in Vietnam with 9 species recorded. This habitat is considered important not only for the livelihood of local communities but also since it harbors significant biodiversity and supports populations of migratory endangered species.
Seagrass bed distribution
The shallow waters around the islands with sand, muddy sand, gravel substrata support development of extensive seagrass beds. Seagrass beds are found abundantly in the littoral and sub littoral of the coastal waters of the northern area (from Rach tram to Ganh dau), along the eastern coastal waters (from Mui duong, Bai thom, Xa luc, Bai bon, Ham Ninh, Bai vong, Mui Chua hamlets) and the south-eastern part (An thoi). The total area of seagrass beds is estimated about 13,000 ha.
A total of 98 species in 51 genera of marine algae have been recorded in the waters of Phu Quoc islands. The dominant phyla were Rhodophyta (62 species) and Chlorophyta (16 species). The Phaeophytes Turbinaria decurrens, T. furcigera, the Rhodophytes Gelidium pusillum, Ceramium gracillium, the Cyanophyte Lyngbya martensiana and coralline algae Amphiroa fragillissima, Jania ungulata f. brevior, Lithophyllum samoense were most common. Numbers of species of algae per site
varied widely from 8 (Hon Mong Tay) to 49 species (Bai Thom).
Coral reef communities occur in patches around most of the islands in An Thoi area and some locations around Phu Quoc, the biggest island. The corals grow directly on native rock bed stretching from the islands. Fringing coral reefs mainly occur on the west and southwestern part of Phu Quoc and most of the smaller islets. There are currently 108 species of corals, 135 species of coral reef fish, 3 types of migrating fish, 132 types of mollusks and 6 types of marine mammals living in Phu Quoc sea area.
The area supports 89 species in 37 genera of scleractinian corals, 1 Hydrozoan and 19 soft and gorgonian corals. Several species are yet to be confirmed and may be new records to the list of corals in Viet Nam. Acropora, Montipora, Porites and Pavona are the dominant genera at most site.
The morphology and profile of coral reefs in Phu Quoc waters varies considerably. The 20 meter bathymetric contour runs along the western shoreline of the islands while the eastern parts of most islands are steep hills. The bottom topography in the southern island group is irregular with a very deep strait (60 m) between Phu Quoc and Hon Dua Island. On the western sides, native rock blocks are found on the sea bottom to a depth of 5-7 m beyond which are gentle slopes often of gravel, coral debris, littoral materials and occasionally muddy sand.
In general the structure of the reefs in this area can be divided into three different zones:
Based on the scale and distribution of coral reefs around the islands, the area of coral reefs can be roughly estimated ca. 600 ha.
Coral species distribution:
Within the zone, the west of Hon Thom and Ganh Dau communes are affected by the highest coverage of coral bleaching, with around 90 per cent. In the core areas of Hon Vong, Gam Ghi and Hon Xuong, 20-40 per cent are affected. In general, condition of the reefs in Phu Quoc Island is still not bad with mean coral cover ranging from fair to good.
Coral Reef Animals
Molluscs or Mollusks
Up to present, some 132 species in 83 genera from 35 families of reef-associated macro-molluscs were recorded in Phu Quoc waters.
There are 9 species in 4 genera of crustaceans recorded at Phu Quoc islands. Among them, 4 species of lobsters including Panulirus ornatus, P. homarus, P. longipes and P. versicolor are commercially important species.
A total of 32 species in 23 genera of 15 families of echinoderms are found in Phu Quoc. Of these, the family Holothuriidae was the most abundant.
Mackerels and tunas waters surrounding the islands Hon Dam Ngang, Hon Mong Tay, Hon Vong, Hon May Rut, Hon Kim Quy (An Thoi area) at specific periods of the year.
Coral reef fish
Some 135 species of reef associated fishes, in 60 genera from 27 families, were recorded at the Phu Quoc islands. The abundance of ornamental fishes such as damsel fish and wrasses was high in some areas around the island. Groupers and snappers were recorded at low numbers while parrot fish occurred with higher numbers on most of the reefs.
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