One of the bright stars in Vietnam’s ecotourism travel sector is Phu Quoc, a twenty eight island archipelago located in the Gulf of Thailand bordering Cambodia. Ecotourism on Phu Quoc Island, the districts largest island (also the largest island in the Gulf of Thailand), focuses on responsible travel and tourism to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well being of the local people. Ecotourism on Phu Quoc is seen as a critical tool in order to provide more sustainable sources of livelihood, foster cultural protection, and biological diversity. Phu Quoc is one of the most important tourism areas in Vietnam. Besides its nearly 150 km long coasts, rich historical and cultural heritage, it also has a marvelous biodiversity due to climatic variety and the fact that it is an island archipelago. Phu Quoc’s natural assets includes its rich fertile soils, mountains, forests, streams, caves, canyons, coral reefs, birds and animals.
The mission of Phu Quoc’s ecotourism initiative is to protect the 28 island archiepelagos’ unique natural environment and host culture through the promotion of responsible travel and educational programs relating to sustainable tourism for residents, businesses, and visitors to Vietnam’s largest island. Those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities on Phu Quoc abide by the following universally recognized ecotoursim principles:
Minimize impact (reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose, use e-maps & e-guides).
Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
Provide positive experiences for both visitors and locals.
Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people,
Raise sensitivity to host Vietnam’s political, environmental, and social climate.
Phu Quoc Ecotourism
The following is a description of the eco-tourism products and activities found on Phu Quoc Island:
Agritourism:Agritourism or Agrotourism on Phu Quoc is where agriculture and tourism intersect and involves any agriculturally based operation or activity on the island that is open to tourist visits. On Phu Quoc, visitors will find peppercorn farms, fish sauce factories, sim fruit harvesting, and beekeeping.
Nature tourism: An ecological sustainable tourism where the primary focus is to experience the islands natural areas with a minimal carbon footprint. Nature tourism activities on Phu Quoc Island include nature walks and hikes, wildlife watching (bird watching and animal observation), and nature photography.
On Phu Quoc Island the loss of farm land resulting from the ever-increasing densification of the island makes it difficult for its inhabitants to produce food they need in proportions of any significance. However the island does produce a few niche products that are of world class quality which are peppercorn and fish sauce, as well as some local specialties such as sim wine and Phu Quoc honey.
Phu Quoc Pepper Farm Tours
Touring one of Phu Quoc’s many pepper farms provides visitors insight into how one of the best peppercorns in all of Asia are cultivated. Phu Quoc District is the largest peppercorn growing area in the south of Vietnam with over 500 hectares of dedicated agricultural land under management yielding over 1,200 tonnes of the crop per year on average. The quality, taste, aroma, and growing conditions of this high quality pepper variety has resulted in Phu Quoc’s pepper receiving a location specific trademark. As a visitor to Phu Quoc you can independently visit these pepper farms or join a pepper-based tour.
Phu Quoc is one of the three major hubs in Vietnam that produces the traditional way of making fish sauce, the other two being Con Dao and Nha Trang. However Phu Quoc’s fish sauce is far superior than the latter two hubs and it is recognized to be the best in the world and one with the highest protein (nitrogen) content.
On Phu Quoc Island you can visit fish sauce producing factories and witness first hand how this ancient sauce is made. The ingredients needed to make the traditional fish sauce consist of sea salt and black anchovies, both of which are stored in large wooden barrels made of wood harvested from the island itself (boi loi wood). After a 10 to 15 month long fermentation process, the “first press” is ready to be harvested and bottles.
Sim wine is a wine made by mixing local sim fruit, which kind of resembles a blueberry, with rice wine and sugar. There are a few sim wine production factories / showrooms you can visit on Phu Quoc Island.
Phu Quoc honey bees work hard, make life sweet, and sting when necessary. There are a few Phu Quoc Bee Farms on the main island of Phu Quoc that operate as for-profit ecotourism destinations. You can learn about the bee making process, sample local honey, and enjoy the country ambiance.
In 2006 Phu Quoc Island was recognized by UNESCO as a “World Biosphere Site” rich with diverse flora and fauna, interesting topography, and having a unique ecosystem with which most of it can be explored. With its exceptional marine and terrestrial sites, Vietnam could become one of the world leaders in ecotourism with Phu Quoc playing a key role. The following are some of the low impact natural ecotourism activities you can do on Phu Quoc Island:
Phu Quoc National Park
Phu Quoc National Park covers more than 60% of the island and it is teeming with wildlife, a variety of plant, and diverse topography. Learn more
Hiking & Trekking
There are ample opportunities to hike and trek the Phu Quoc National Park. Learn more about them today! Learn more
See Waterfalls & Streams
Phu Quoc is fortunate to have a variety of waterfalls, streams, and rivers that tourists can enjoy year round. Learn more