On the banks of the mighty Duong Dong River lies Phu Quoc's largest urban center — Duong Dong. In addition to boasting a rich pot of ethnic diversity, Duong Dong also encompasses a variety of attractions including a couple beaches, temples, fish sauce factories, night market and pepper farms. Duong Dong is Phu Quoc Islands most populated city comprising of more than 70 percent of the island districts total population.
Phu Quoc's Economic Heart
Dương Đông (pronounced “Sa-zoo-ong Dong”) is the the administrative capital of the island. The town is located on the west coast of the island and has a population of roughly 80,000 inhabitants. Duong Dong is the epicenter of all tourism on Phu Quoc.
Town In Transistion
Visitors should know that Duong Dong is no tropical “paradise”, as it may or may not be presented in travel guides and brochures. The city appears at first glance to be old, congested and run-down, and, though it's perched on the edge of the Gulf of Thailand, its beaches are often inundated with trash. Antiquated clapboard buildings on stilts line some of the inner streets but are slowly being replaced by concrete structures. However the town is in a rebuilding phase and by 2030 Duong Dong will be a high end urban center. The abandoned airport will be transformed into a digitally connected city, there will be a yacht club, numerous waterfront plazas, as well as an international cruise ship port.
The people for the most part are friendly, and their future more hopeful than that of the residents of many other cities in Vietnam. Restaurants are everywhere, luxury shopping plazas are popping up, and some of the simplest bars are gathering places for truly interesting people. There's also an electricity in the air, buzzing with growth, dreams, plans — history in the making.
Hub of the Island
Duong Dong has direct access to rivers, ocean, and four out of the five major roads on the island (DT45, DT973, DT47, and Tran Hung Dao Street). The city is centrally located for reaching any part of Phu Quoc by land or by sea within an hour's time. Because of this access, Duong Dong is also where you will find the headquarters of the bus lines, rental car agencies, tour agencies, airlines, speedboat operators, as well as sightseeing boats.
Danger & Annoyances
Duong Dong is not without its fault. Visitors should be careful of their smartphones and personal belongings while walking around the city as the number of reported snatching's have gone up recently.
One of the islands biggest “black eyes” is a coffee shop called “Buddy Ice-cream” run by an old Australian expat. Besides selling fake products, using fake environmental logos, and even harassing our staff – his unethical business practices have resulted in a poor user experience for tourists and locals alike. It is best to avoid this coffee shop for your families health and safety.
Planning Your Time
A self-guided, daytime walking tour of Duong Dong is a must for anyone wishing to get a complete understanding of the island. You can see everything you need to in one full day. There are also a handful of excellent restaurants and a plethora of cheap, local eateries to keep you happy.
Duong Dong is small enough to be explored comfortably on foot. However, the most popular mode of transport is a taxi. A ride anywhere in town should cost no more than a few dollars.
The most prominent area in the capital is around 30/4 street, boasting cultural sites, markets, great restaurants, and a variety of shops.
Need To Know
The area by the two night markets, Mui Dinh Cau, and the main bridge marks Duong Dong's downtown core. Here you will also find the post office, police station, cruise ship port, and access to the Duong Dong River.
The Duong Dong River divides downtown Duong Dong from Old Duong Dong Town, where most of the islands locals live. If you are planning on visiting the northern part of the island you have to cross this river. There are currently 2 bridges that connect you with the north, the new bridge located on Nguyen Trung Truc Street, which passes by the Duong Dong Market, and the older one located on Hung Vuong Street (also called DT45). There are some amazing AirBNB rentals available here.
Located on the banks of the Duong Dong River you will find the port where all the fishing and sightseeing boats are docked. This is a good place to see very colorful boats and fishermen unloading anchovies, the key ingredient in Phu Quoc Fish Sauce. If you want to go night fishing or explore the northern islands, you can also commission a private boat from here.
Begining at the mouth of the Duong Dong River, Mui Dinh Cau Cape is where the sea merges with the island center. Mui Dinh Cau consists of the unique Dinh Cau Temple, Lighthouse, Pier, and Dinh Cau Beach.
The Duong Dong cruise ship port handles cruise liners carrying 5,000 to 6,000 visitors and 20,000 tonne cargo ships. The port will occupy 180 hectares with 2.8 hectares allocated onshore for the passenger terminal and other buildings and 176.5 hectares of water surface set to hold a wharf, a breakwater and other necessary facilities.
Still underdevelopment – refurbishing the old airport into a 9,000 square meter modern mixed residential and commercial.
Dinh Cau Beach is a small local beach that is technically considered to be part of Long Beach however if you look carefully you can see that Dinh Cau is a separate beach altogether.
Located across the Duong Dong River in old Duong Dong Town lies Duong Dong Beach. Duong Dong Beach is an urban beach located on the west coast of the island. It is not a beach where most tourists would want to visit as it is a more of a residential beach.
Ganh Gio Beach is a lovely short stretch of beach that has fine yellow sand and is one the cleanest beaches in Phu Quoc mainly because the beach is taken care of by the resort. Being lesser known than the other beaches, it appeals to those seeking a tropical paradise in a secluded environment.
You do not need to travel far up north or south to visit Phu Quoc’s famous pepper farms. At the edge of town along 30 Thang 4 Street you will find 3 pepper farms which are open to tourists.
There are 3 fish sauce factories in Duong Dong town that are receptive to visitors and all of them can be found along the Duong Dong River just behind 30 Thang 4 Street.
You can try your luck at catching squid at night by either joining an organized tour or by commissioning your own boat from Duong Dong Town.
There are a couple of karaoke bars found along 30 Thang 4 Street and Vo Thi Sau Street however the cater to mainly to the local population.
At the center of town there is a public sports center that has tennis courts, basketball, as well as rides for kids.
There are boat trips up the Duong Dong River where you can see the Fish Sauce factories from the rivers edge.
Every morning the town’s main market (Cho Duong Dong) comes to life with the buying and selling of fresh fish, vegetables, and consumer goods. This is a great market to buy fresh fruits and unique local food like the Phu Quoc Mushroom, Fresh Island Pepper or Herring to make the infamous Herring Salad. You would be surprised how cheap everything is here. The market is located behind the construction site of a new bridge which kind of makes it a bit difficult to find.
Note: Due to the fact that this is a local market, not a tourist market, we do not recommend that you go in large groups, it will be easier for you and less intimidating for the vendors if there are just 2 or 3 of you, rather than a whole gang.
If you want to discover Cao Daism or have a panoramic view of the Phu Quoc National Park, Duong Dong Town, Dinh Cau Temple, etc then head over to the Cao Dai Temple on Nguyen Trai Street. Parking and admission are both free. Remember to dress appropriately.
The oldest pagoda on Phu Quoc with multiple levels as well as a cemetery.
A unique rock temple located in the heart of Duong Dong Town. This temple, which is also the symbol of Phu Quoc, should not be missed.
This is the infamous night market that sells seafood, pearl jewelry, and other souvenirs. Plenty of restaurants and bars can be found here, most of which serve similar types of dishes – seafood BBQ and traditional Vietnamese food.
The other “less touristy” night market located close to the Dinh Cau Temple.
At Dinh Cau Beach you can enjoy a snack around the temple or opt for a full seafood meal at the night market. In the evenings a lot of locals sit around and drink sugar can juice (Nuoc Mia) and watch the sunset.
If you are craving Pho, Com Tam, Bun Bo Hue, Com Ga, or local sweets then head over to 30 Thang 4 Street. There are plenty of restaurants and street side eateries found here.
There are plenty of hotels, resorts, and guesthouses in Duong Dong Town. If you are looking for a simple hotel or guesthouse, then you can find some near Duong Dong Port and a lot along 30 Thang 4 street. The accommodations here are limitless.
The Sea Shells Resort is located in the Mui Dinh Cau area off of Vo Thi Sau Street. It is the only luxury resort in downtown Duong Dong.
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