Guidebook Head to Phu Quoc Island before it becomes overrun with tourists

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Head to Phu Quoc Island before it becomes overrun with tourists

Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam, explains Traveller. “It sits in the Gulf of Thailand, minding its own business. Until recently, this consisted of making a world-beating nuoc mam fish sauce, cultivating black and white pepper and a nature reserve occupying most of the northern part of the island. The fish sauce is so pungent, Vietnam Airlines is reputed to have installed special sniffers to prevent passengers taking it in their luggage and endangering the purity of the baggage hold. The pepper is undeniably delicious, growing in palm-shaded vineyards in the sandy interior.”

“It’s been described as the jewel in Vietnam’s crown,” writes Metro UK. “It’s been popular with backpacker crowds for a while but couples – young and old – and even families are descending on the low-key island with its easy access, incredible coastline and laid back atmosphere.” Pronounced "foo kwok", it’s actually a district sitting just off the coast of Cambodia made up of 28 islands, most of which are uninhabited while some are planned for development as private resorts, reports the UK Telegraph.

80% of the island is protected as the Phu Quoc National Forest, writes Frommers. “Exploring the dirt-track byways of the forested isle, among picturesque pepper plantations and long stretches of deserted beach, is a hoot.” It also offers “a good, affordable opportunity to relax, spend time on the beach, and snorkel or scuba-dive,” but get there soon so you'll be able to say: "I went there before it was touristy." The island has “a spectacular variety of seafood, cooked in many tasty styles,” says The Culture Trip and accommodation ranges from “bamboo shacks hidden in groves next to the beach, to glamorous restaurants in luxurious hotels, you’ll have plenty of mealtime options.”

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