Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
For a New Definition of Pristine
Tourism is developing in Vietnam so quickly that last year’s great island “find” swiftly becomes this year’s overcrowded destination. Pretty Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s largest island, currently remains pristine and affordable. There’s a betting chance that that may last, since 70-80 percent of the mountainous island is protected as the Phu Quoc National Forest. The island‘s close proximity to Cambodia also means that there is an almost-invisible military presence on the north coast.
This still-affordable destination is home to plantations and fish-sauce factories and miles of deserted beaches, including the aptly named Long Beach. Nights are so dark that constellation spotting becomes a competitive sport. Rent motorcycles (and drivers too if you want) to visit camera-worthy fishing villages. Take out a sea kayak or dive the reef. The Sea Star Resort, one of many fine beach hotels, is close to good restaurants. Don’t expect a wild bar scene. Do expect to cherish the extraordinary quiet—at least for now. If Vietnam is smart, it will help keep this beach-rich island green and pristine.