There are two ways to get to Phu Quoc: by sea and by air. Domestically, flights to Phu Quoc are available from many cities in Vietnam including Ho Chi Minh City (45-minute flight), Hanoi, Rach Gia and Can Tho via Vietnam Airlines (the national carrier) and several budget airlines: Jetstar Pacific, Vietjet air and Vasco (a subsidiary of Vietnam Airlines). In peak season, there can be as many as 15-20 daily domestic flights to Phu Quoc, but it is advisable to book early to avoid disappointment as flights to Phu Quoc can sell out during the high season of December to April. From Phu Quoc International Airport, visitors can travel the 9 km to the main town of Duong Dong by taxi, motorbike or hotel transfer. Internationally, there are direct flights to and from Phu Quoc from Siem Reap, Cambodia and Singapore via Vietnam Airlines with more routes being added all the time. Best of all, because Phu Quoc is classified as a Special Economic Zone, visitors of all nationalities flying in / out of Phu Quoc only (and not visiting the Vietnamese mainland) are granted a visa exemption to stay up to 30 days. Please check with the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your country for additional requirements including having a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond your stay and a round-trip ticket to / from Phu Quoc. Alternately, getting to Phu Quoc by ferry is cheap and easy. Ferries leave from the coastal towns of Rach Gia or Ha Tien on the Vietnamese mainland. If traveling from Cambodia, Ha Tien is easily accessible from the seaside resort towns of Kep (25 km) and Kampot (66 km). There are a few ferry companies including Superdong, Duong Dong Express and Ngoc Thanh, with Superdong offering the most reliable service, providing one morning and one afternoon departure from Rach Gia for the 2.5 hour journey and four daily departures from Ha Tien for the 1.5 hour trip. There is also a slow ferry from Ha Tien to Phu Quoc operated by Thanh Thoi for those traveling with cars. Ferry tickets can be easily bought through your hotel, at travel agencies or at the ferry dock. The best time to travel by ferry is from late October to May when the weather in Phu Quoc is dry and the seas are calmer. During the wet / monsoon season (June to September), ferries are still scheduled to run daily but inclement weather may make for rough seas or cancellations. Most fast and slow ferries will take you to Bai Vong Port on Phu Quoc, close to Long Beach. From there to the main town of Duong Dong, there are multiple transportation options, including motorcycle taxis (each able to carry one passenger with minimal luggage), taxis and shared mini-buses.
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Phu Quoc Island Wellness and Beauty
Phu Quoc is a wonderful island to pamper yourself in! On the island, there is an array of wellness centers and spas that unwind your weariness and bad mood. One of the highest-rated spas on the island is Le Spa, a boutique day spa, at Le Veranda Resort Phu Quoc. Completely rebuilt in November 2017, the brand new boutique spa occupies its own two-story building in a lush garden setting, featuring a covered yoga deck and 3 traditional French colonial treatment rooms, all with a refined French colonial ambiance. A full body scrub will flush toxins, hydrate, refresh your body, increase blood flow to your skin to help it rejuvenate. Then massage therapies from Swedish, Thai, to Vietnamese will help you relax and revive from head to toe. Not only adults but also kids can enjoy the body treatments. At La Veranda, a special treatment is designed to help children aged 4-12 relax their body and prevent hyperactivity. Mild and gentle virgin coconut oil is used to avoid possibilities of skin allergy. The light massage will give your kids physical and emotional pampering that they enjoy. Ladies may be also keen on beauty care for skin, face, body, and nail. Extra courses for dry, acne and sensitive skins are on offer to help enhance blood circulation, alleviates excess skin surface cells, prevent the growth of acne, and balance the level of your skin. Waxing treatments and nail care are also popular choices of female tourists coming to Le Spa. Three special treatments that are highly recommended are La Veranda Neuromuscular Treatment, King Gia Long Royal Warrior Treatment, and Anti-Stress Jet Lag Treatment. La Veranda Neuromuscular Treatment An intensely therapeutic deep tissue massage using the masseuse’s body weight with acupressure to aid in pain management as old injuries, trapped nerves or chronic pain is nursed back to full strength by flushing lactic acid and other metabolic waste from your muscles, allowing more oxygen-rich and nutrient- filled blood to flow in. Expect a deep and thoroughly relaxing massage. It relieves chronic muscle pains, restores proper alignment, and increases flexibility in problem areas and chronic spinal pain. A highly specialized and customized massage treatment including 4 to 5 sessions is recommended with each visit lasting between 2-4 hours using organic massage oils. King Gia Long Royal Warrior Treatment The 3.5-hour treatment costs 4,030,000 VND but worths the money. In the past, before becoming the first emperor of Vietnam, Gia Long often came to Phu Quoc Island to rest and recharge between battles. Crafted for the highly stressed individual, this luxurious Royal Treatment pays homage to one of Vietnam’s greatest warriors. Re-charge with 3-steps starting with a detoxifying scrub, followed by a customized deep-tissue massage with for back and muscle pains complemented with Vietnamese cupping to release trapped energies. End with an anti-aging facial to protect skin against oxidation. Anti-Stress Jet Lag Treatment This jet lag treatment is an ideal Welcome Ritual. A treatment comprising of full body work concentrating on back, neck, shoulder and foot reflexology to soothe the body and promote circulation after a long tiring flight. A soothing warm welcome to start your stay. Consider These Information When Booking At La Veranda’s Le Spa: – Advance bookings are highly recommended to ensure your preferred time and treatment is available. – Arriving 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment will allow you time to fill in a consultation card and discuss any concerns you may have with spa consultants. – Guests are asked to refrain from using mobile phones within the spa. Valuables and jewelry are best kept in your room’s safety box. – Pregnancy: Inform the masseuse/therapist if you are pregnant so that the spa consultants can guide you in choosing treatments suitable for this special time. – Health: Inform the therapist any health conditions, allergies or injuries, which may affect your treatment experience. – Gentlemen are advised to shave prior to all facial treatments to ensure a maximum result. – Cancellation: Four hours notice is required should you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment. A 50% charge will apply for cancellations of less than four hours notice and a 100% charge will apply for cancellations with no notice. – All treatments include services charge and applicable government tax. Aside from treatments you can book, Le Spa also offers wellness classes and activities including morning yoga by the sea, Vietnamese massage workshops, neuro-balancing analysis and private yoga sessions. All treatments make use of artisanal, organic products which are also available for purchase, allowing guests to take the wellness glow home with them. Other Options To Consider With tranquil beaches, salubrious sea air and year-round sun, Phu Quoc is truly the ideal Wellness and Beauty destination. Aside from La Veranda, there are numerous spas and salons range from inexpensive itinerant providers on the beach to high-end, world-class spas found in other luxury 5-star hotels. Sitting on the beach, you’re likely to be approached by ladies offering on-the-spot massages and other services including mani / pedis and even hair removal. In most cases, these women are minimally trained with poor quality accessories, so it’s a case of you get what you pay for. Day spas in Duong Dong include: Galina Spa (Tran Hung Dao Street, tel: 0915571007) offers a unique mud bath experience although the accompanying massage gets mixed reviews. Tranquility Spa (118/2 Tran Hung Dao Street) gets good customer feedback for their massages performed in a very basic home-like atmosphere. Phu Quoc Day Spa (100/3 Tran Hung Dao Street) is viewed as a good alternative to the beachside massages. The quality of the massages can be hit-or-miss depending on the staff. For a premium spa experience, another option is the recently opened Chanterelle Spa at JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay has wow factor for its whimsical décor by acclaimed designer Bill Bensley. The spa offers Ayurvedic treatments, wraps and facials among its services, but expect to pay premium prices. The resort is located on the southeast part of the island, a prohibitive USD25 round-trip taxi ride from Duong Dong.Read more
Cities to visit in Vietnam
Adventurous and developing, this narrow country between the Cambodia and Laos borders, definitely impresses myriad different ways. With profound natural beauty, characterized by forested mountains, pristine beaches, scenic valleys, lush rice terraces, charming karst formations on the north, and a fertile delta on the south, Vietnam has the power to inspire awe. Despite its struggles, being ruled for nearly a millennia by many different Chinese dynasties before it became a French Protectorate in the 1800s and prior to experiencing a brutal and fierce war, it now stands proudly and switches gears into becoming a rapidly developing nation. The places to visit in advancing Vietnam are, literally, endless. But, if one had to pick just a handful of them, these would be: Duong Dong Duong Dong is one of the most developed cities in Vietnam and the main town on Phu Quoc Island, also known as Pearl Island, ready to offer holidaymakers a VIP experience if only they ask for it. Often called “the heaven on earth” Phu Quoc is home to unimaginable beauty, characterised by sugary beaches, pristine shores, incredible views of the ocean, a rich marine life, crystalline waters, cloudless skies, and jungle-like forests; and Duong Dong is the embodiment of all this allure. Staying here comes with several benefits, as you have the opportunity to live life like a local and, at the same time, enjoy modern comforts. For that reason, you will find luxury resorts like La Veranda, whose high-end facilities, conveniences, spellbinding panoramas, and proximity to the main attractions, such as the Cau Temple, the Duong Dong night market, and award-winning restaurants, make it one of the most favourite beachside hotels among individuals, couples, and families that satisfy with nothing but absolute splendour. Dalat Dalat is a city that many French colonials and Vietnamese emperors used as a summer retreat. Can you blame them? Colourful flowers everywhere, verdant land, beautiful French colonial architecture, the scent of pine trees swirling in the air, and misty valleys treating the eyes of every weary traveler can make anybody fall in love with the place. Conveniently situated in the South Central Highlands of the country, it is a great escape for those in search of a refreshing area to chill out and cool off while pampering themselves with mind-blowing vistas. My Son If you love visiting sites of archaeological interest, then My Son will tick all of your boxes. Nicely tucked near Duy Phu village on the central coast of Vietnam, it is one of the most significant ancient sites that speaks of a glorious past. My Son was once a religious centre for Hindu ceremonies and attracted the attention of the king of the Champa Kingdom, who built temples here to honour Shiva, one of the three chief divinities of the Hindu Triad, between the 4th century and the 1300s. Ho Chi Minh City Nestled near the Mekong Delta along the Saigon River, Ho Chi Minh City occupies a special place in southern Vietnam. Previously referred to as Saigon, it used to be the centre of administration during the Vietnam War. Over the years, it took its place as the largest city of the country, giving tourists and Vietnamese alike many reasons to step foot on its land as it combines the modern and the traditional lifestyle so harmoniously, offering from a vibrant night scene to historical attractions. Kon Tum The north of Vietnam is not as developed as the southern regions, but places like Kon Tum make it worth exploring. Situated along the Dakbla River up in the central highlands of the country, Kon Tum is a spirited town following a more laid-back way of living. This quiet and peaceful green dot on the map is not widely known among tourists, which enables those that wish to soak in the local culture to experience exactly that. Mekong Delta Nicknamed Vietnam’s Rice Basket, The Mekong Delta is a pole of attraction for its fertile land and the labyrinth-like streams and canals that feed it. This sheer agricultural region extends from Ho Chi Minh City and goes all the way to the Gulf of Thailand, providing food via its rich rice paddies, plantations, and fish farms to more than 30% of the country. Besides rice paddies and floating markets, the Mekong Delta is also home to bird sanctuaries, sugar cane groves, fruit orchards, and Instagram-perfect fishing villages. Nha Trang The main draw of this lovely seaside resort town is its beach which is surrounded by a heart-stopping promenade, palm trees, hot springs, and beautiful resorts. Found off the coast of South-Central Vietnam, it features one of the most mind-blowing bays in the country and diverse marine life, along with pictorial mountain ranges, sandy beaches, a mesmerising sea bed, water parks, healthy reefs, and gorgeous seascapes. The coastal town is full of Catholic churches, Champa Kingdom temples and architecture, and Vietnamese eateries. No wonder it is so favoured by tourists and scuba divers that flock from all over the country (if not the world) to explore its beauties. Sapa Between rice terraces and rolling hills lies Sapa, a picturesque town in the remote northwest of the country. This isolated, quiet place is surrounded by a wide range of mountain tribes that makes a perfect starting point for trekking enthusiasts, who hike up the imposing Hoang Lien Son Mountains or tour traditional villages and rice paddies that come in abundance around here. On their way, they go past majestic waterfalls while also being provided with the chance to learn the local way of life, taste traditional Vietnamese food, and familiarise themselves with local customs. Hue Central Vietnam hides a gem called Hue whose citadel is an attraction on its own as it comprises of magnificent gates, palaces of incredible grandeur, and temples so elaborate that they create an unpretentious feeling of astonishment. The town that once served as the imperial capital of the Nguyen Dynasty and seat of Nguyen emperors sits on the banks of Perfume River, narrating its glorious past through every aspect of its being, from the cuisine and culture to architecture. Its official symbol is the Thien Mu Pagoda; another sight for sore eyes. Hoi An A few kilometres off the coast of the South China Sea, the old city of Hoi An is already living through its second millennia. Tracking it back to the Champa Kingdom, some 2,000 years ago, the south-central town is a popular destination among people looking for relaxed, unique experiences infused with a local flair. Tourists love strolling the atmospheric Old Town in the heart of the city with the maze-like streets. Adorned with beautiful architecture and offering the opportunity to taste traditional flavours and go shopping, Hoi An knows how to please the discerning tourist. Ha Noi One of its most prominent landmarks is the open-air museum of historic French colonial and Asian architecture, namely Old Quarter, which stood the test of time almost in its entirety despite the Vietnam Wars and the bombings that threatened its existence. Those that have been here admitted feeling enchanted by the overall paradisiac sensation, with the cosy cafes, charming markets, and striking tree-lined boulevards. Don’t leave without visiting the Saint Joseph Cathedral, Presidential Palace, and the Grand Opera House! Ha Long Bay With limestone rock formations emerging from the sea like mythical monsters, and waters so clear and cobalt that become one with the sky, Ha Long Bay seems like a place that has popped out of a fairy tale. As you look around, you will be able to see the overwhelming natural beauty of a landscape dotted with lakes, hundreds of lush forest-covered islands carved by the hand of Mother Nature, and fascinating caves. A fantastic speck of land indeed, some 130 kilometres east of Hanoi! Vung Tau If you are like the majority of people flocking this town, you will catch a hydrofoil boat from Ho Chi Minh City and head to Vung Tau for a short, relaxing break. You can spend carefree holidays while exploring the peninsula stretching around Vung Tau, enjoying your cocktail at a local bar, and pampering yourself with some Vietnamese delicacies while the little ones run around the shore having fun. This lovely town that once was colonised by the French is now a favourite weekend destination worth stopping by. Haiphong Unlike its neighbouring cities, Haiphong is an industrial town experiencing profound growth in the last few years. Nevertheless, it still amazes with its colonial architecture and unique features that make it stand out against other industrial cities of the north. Strolling its streets will enable you to view the fantastic flame flower trees along every road. Walk a bit more up the Halong Bay, and you will be rewarded with cinematic views, a sandy beach ready to offer you unique moments of composure, and streets lined with spectacular shrines, temples, and pagodas. Ha Giang Most people visiting Ha Giang feel as if they have made a trip back in time. Being one of the lesser touristy cities of the North, sitting comfortably in the banks of Lo River, Ha Giang has a mystical vibe. Be it the mysterious mountains encircling it, the sweeping valleys that many ethnic minorities call home, the winding hills all around, or the lively markets that are packed with sellers offering handmade goods, fresh food, and animals every Sunday, one thing is for sure. Ha Giang’s cultural heritage and allure are unsurpassable. Cao Bang Verdant hills occupied by different ethnic tribes, jetting waterfalls whose waters meet with the swirling Bang Giang River, and blooming valleys consist the backdrop of this beautiful part of Vietnam. Here, you will see women coming from small nearby villages to sell their fresh produce in the local markets of this pastoral paradise. Dong Hoi Somewhere between south and north Vietnam is Dong Hoi, a city that has suffered a great deal during the war with the USA. It was nearly destroyed and then rebuilt to become a prestigious destination along the coast that attracts hundreds and thousands of tourists that love it for its fine-sand beach, crystal clear waters, and enchanting underwater ecosystem. Over the years, it has seen its seashores occupied with more and more small hotels and restaurants offering delicious seafood. Those that visit Dong Hoi also adore it for the long list of adventurous endeavours they can try in the surrounding areas, exploring the mystical Phong Nha Cave networks being one of them. Can Tho Can Tho is famous for its floating markets, where one can find a plethora of merchants (even coming from the connecting Mekong Delta) trading goods, including food, on the convergence of the Hau and Can Tho rivers, which basically feed this city one way or another. Some locals like to call this town the rice bowl of Vietnam. Can you blame them? The fish, rice, and fresh veggies that comprise the raw materials of the town’s restaurants are all traded through the city. This means that if something is guaranteed around here is that you will treat your palate with mouth-watering tastes. As for the evenings, the idyllic sunsets and star-lit sky turn this place into a dreamland that hosts friendly locals and guests that enjoy relaxed vibes. Hue Another town that was once Vietnam’s imperial capital and home to the governing class. Unfortunately, most parts of its radiant Imperial Palace was completely damaged during the war with America. The remaining ruins are reminders of a once glorious city (though some sections of the palace are still intact) and attract the interest of history fans who make a stop here and explore the area, which also encloses tombs the emperors had self-built and some excellent dining facilities alongside the Perfume River. Wherever you look, you will find cities crammed full of colonial architecture, creativity, and culture with great appeal and magnetism. Depending on what you wish to experience coming in Vietnam, there will always be a town to meet your unique requirements, from bustling, motorbike-filled hubs to towns with historical heritage, sparkling beaches, exclusive resorts, winding waterways, lush greenery, or floating markets. And, as they continue to push into the future, they will surely have lots more to impress the world with.Read more
Local Guide in Phu Quoc
Enjoy the green season! While the dry season of December to April offers the most ideal weather and sunny skies, many savvy travelers take advantage of the “green season”, dodging the brief showers and occasional storms with indoor activities like cooking classes and a soothing massage in exchange for steeply discounted accommodations. The rainy season also brings out the best in many of the island’s natural spots, including the Tranh Stream (“Suối Tranh”, pronounced “soo-ey tranh”) with rapids and several waterfalls where visitors can swim which makes for a great Phu Quoc day trip. Explore the island DIY If organized tours aren’t your thing, there are many places to visit on Phu Quoc which can be done on your own. Adventurous travelers can rent a scooter and explore the many beautiful beaches in Phu Quoc. Be aware that while scooter rentals are cheap at roughly USD 8 per day, technically you do need an International Driving Permit and if you get stopped by the police, expect to pay a hefty fine. On the plus side, most of the main roads around Phu Quoc are paved and without too much traffic, making driving quite easy for even the novice. Note that roads towards the north of the island and through the national park are mostly unpaved dirt roads which require some skill to navigate the sandy areas. Otherwise, taxis can be hired for half-day or full-day Phu Quoc island tours, usually either to the south or the north of the island. Negotiate with your driver exactly where you want to visit and the price beforehand. Otherwise, many of the organized Phu Quoc island tours are based on volume, which means if you don’t mind being on a boat with 30-40 other people, the costs are quite reasonable at around USD 20 for a full-day boat trip with lunch and snorkeling. Alternatively, many of the high-end resorts can put together an unforgettable Robinson Crusoe-like day with a picnic lunch on a deserted island beach all to yourself. Boats can also be hired out to visit the islands that make up the An Thoi archipelago in the south or the more sheltered islands in the northwest known for their shallow water and good macrodiving. Some islands that offer postcard-pretty beaches with few visitors include Fingernail Island, Coconut Island with its fish farms and the uninhabited Shadow Island in the south. Night market The night market in Duong Dong is mainly for tourists, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit. Cheap souvenir stands vie for space with pop-up restaurants where fresh seafood can be cooked any way you like. Shopping While all the usual beach souvenirs can be easily found around the island, why not take something home that’s truly representative of Phu Quoc? Cooks back home will enjoy a package of famous Phu Quoc black pepper or a bottle of sweet sim wine. Authentic Phu Quoc pearls in a dazzling array of colors and quality are sold directly from the pearl farms along Long Beach and make for a stylish gift. Skip the Phu Quoc fish sauce though, as many airlines don’t allow them on the planes, in case of breakage. If you’ve ever smelled fish sauce up close, you’ll know exactly why!Read more