Lying directly south of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand is the island of Phu Quoc, the largest of Vietnam’s islands and a genuine contender to Thailand’s more famous beach destinations. In the dry season, December to May, 4-5 nights on Phu Quoc is the perfect end to travels in Vietnam. The sea is sparkling and calm, the beaches pristine and the interior mostly wild jungle. In the rainy season, June to November, Phu Quoc is best avoided.
Phu Quoc Island has, for most of its history, been a sleepy, unassuming island centred on agriculture and fishing. This is now changing rapidly. The Southern part of the island is fast developing with hotel developments (some unfortunately incongruously large), lively bars, charming cafes, bustling shops and fine eateries. The waters surrounding the island are home to a colourful mix of marine life; many go scuba diving or snorkelling to catch a glimpse of the underwater life in its natural habitat. The northern part of the island, is mostly a natural, UNESCO-protected park characterised by lush rainforests, unspoiled landscapes and diverse wildlife.
Though the island is fast developing, it manages to retain a pleasantly peaceful atmosphere. The most popular time of the year for tourists to visit is usually from December to May, when the dry season is in effect; the rest of the year experiences the rainy season, with August typically the wettest month.