Are you in a public place? Is anyone looking over your shoulder? Because I am about to tell you a secret about the best beach in Vietnam that you are going to want to keep all to yourself, trust me.
Actually I have two secrets to share with you. The first one is that I actually have a lot of fun at work and the second one is I have discovered Paradise. The two are not completely unrelated.
You see in my work as a travel consultant I often have to travel to South-East Asia to find the very best boutique hotels for tailor-made holidays in Vietnam and Cambodia. And basically what that involves is staying in beautiful, luxurious hotels and travelling to far-flung corners of both countries. Although admittedly it’s not quite as glamorous as it sounds and I rarely look as good as the lady on the top of this website – I am normally running or cycling between hotels in great humidity with what little make-up I braved to wear dripping down my face.
Although admittedly it’s not quite as glamorous as it sounds and I rarely look as good as the lady on the top of this website – I am normally running or cycling between hotels in great humidity with what little make-up I braved to wear dripping down my face.
Anyway, I digress. So, this one time at ‘work’ I sent myself to the tropical island of Phu Quoc, which is located just off the south-east coast of Vietnam. I was fortunate to be joined by my old work pal Tanya on this occasion who spent her days testing the local cocktails while I sweated my way around the hotels.
The island is just an hour’s flight from Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh City to the politically correct), and the roads are surrounded by luscious jungle foliage. It has a wonderfully undeveloped feel as you make your way to Long Beach, the island’s main beach which is only about 20 minutes or so from the airport.
And wow, what a beach. The wide strip of rich, yellow sand met the clearest, calm water that you had ever seen. The water was crystal clear, there was not a wave in sight and I wanted to throw a big stone in the water to just check it was all real. Meanwhile, slightly wild and ravaged palm trees lined the coast, adding to the Bounty-advert feeling.
It was beautiful. Cute bungalows and low-rise cottages lined the beach with makeshift restaurants (aka tables and chairs) out the front, where you would sit for hours munching on the freshest seafood and strongest gins with your bare feet in the sand. In the evenings lanterns softly illuminated the ‘restaurants’, making it all the more perfect.
A short stroll north of the main beach (Long Beach) would take you to the middle of nowhere, the edge of the ocean, somebody’s back garden and you watched naked children play in their own little Paradise so blissfully unaware that the rest of the world does not look like this.
So please, whatever you do don’t mention this little island to anyone… and we can keep it all to ourselves. Definitely don’t go and post it online or anything stupid like that.
There are regular flights every day between Saigon and Phu Quoc. The main airlines that run the route are Vietnam Airlines and VietJet airlines – personally I would recommend travelling with the former as VietJet often run notoriously late (although the staff do wear very cute little red shirts with tweed shorts!)
This is the perfect getaway for those who want to get away from it all and relax on an idyllic beach. Long Beach is the only real habited stretch of coast on the island. There are a handful of nice resorts – I especially loved Cassia Cottages and La Veranda, which are on the main strip.
Sunset and snorkeling boat rides and jungle treks inland can be easily arranged through your hotel. Or just walk up or down the coast past Long Beach and watch local children running around and fishermen returning with baskets full of fish. You can also head to the main town, Duong Dong (near Long Beach), which although not all that interesting has a good night market full of interesting local delicacies!
If you would like me to help organise your stay in Phu Quoc please contact me via my contact page (in the ‘about’ menu) or take a look at my travel agency site Fleewinter – which sells luxury holidays to Vietnam.