Available in : Vietnamese
September 8, 2020
We know you’ve read the story before but we can’t help but remind you of all the great sites in Vietnam to discover and now is the time to visit Phu Quy. This Island may not be regularly seen on Vietnamese travel ads or brochures but will become a must-see from this September as foreigners will no longer need to submit for a travel permit to visit it. Previously, all foreigners were required to apply for a permit to travel to the island at the Binh Thuan Police’s Immigration Department and had to get also a travel sponsor to be able to get there. The permit procedures used to take between three to four days. But from this September the abolition of the travel paper will draw visitors to this island and by 2030, Binh Thuan is expected to welcome 74,000 tourists a year, including about 6,000 international visitors. So now is the time to visit!
Phu Quy, the only island district of Binh Thuan Province, is an archipelago of 10 islands, large and small, (Phú Quý Island being the largest, with 16.5 km2 in area) the furthest in the southernmost island system of Central Vietnam. At about 56 nautical miles (about 104 kilometers) from the mainland, and 120km east of Phan Thiet, Phu Quy, previously known in history as Co Long, Thuan Tinh, Cu Lao Khoai Xu, Cu Lao Thu, or known at the French Indochina time as Poulo-Cécir-de-Mer, hosted in the past several military bases and so stayed closed to foreigners tourist until very recently.
What Makes Phu Quy Island so Special?
Stunning, Untouched places
Though it has been inhabited for a very long time, the island retains most of its natural beauty. With almost no tourism and residents maintaining a rustic lifestyle through generations, civilizing the area with minimum damage towards the environment, the island is today a great place to keep close touch with nature and enjoy a calm and serene atmosphere ideal for summer getaways or romantic settings.
It’s a perfect vacation for both land and sea lovers
Because of its geographical location, the northern region is rocky while the south has plain land. Walking inland, the area is widely forested and agricultural. Most of the land is divided into rectangular lots where fruit trees are grown. Unlike popular destinations, Phu Quy Island is not spoilt by the exploitation of commercial tourism so some of the beaches here have the best water quality in Vietnam. The Northwest corner of Phu Quy Island has its coastline running around a rocky cape where calm and pellucid water makes it ideal for diving experiences.
Moving to the southwest area, Bai Nho Beach’ waters are bright blue and if you continue your journey you can reach the most beautiful beaches of the island, Vinh Trieu Duong Beach, or Ngu Phung Beach & Marina, Dong Hai Beach…
Since a few years ago, Phu Quy Island is facing like other beaches in Asia an environmental issue, with plastic pollution. Please contribute to the environment-saving efforts of local authorities by putting your trash in the right place and bringing reusable items for usage.
You can explore virginal islets
If you are looking for an offshore adventurous time, you can take a boat trip among Phu Quy islets to explore the flora and fauna, the hidden coves and plan an exclusive swim, snorkels, and picnics in a serene environment. Several islets are waiting to be explored such as Den islet (Hòn Đen), Tranh islet (Hòn Tranh), Trung islet (Hòn Trứng)… but Hon Tranh Islet stays the favorite. With rocky cliffs pointing out on both sides, an extensive stretch of white sand and turquoise water, Hon Tranh Islet undoubtedly deserves an excursion.
Diverse Religious Temples and Shrines to visit
Van An Thanh Whale Temple: Located right behind Phu Quy Port, the temple, welcomes a gigantic whale skeleton. Whale worship has been a long-running tradition in Vietnam’s fishing villages for many centuries and Fishermen consider the colossal mammal as a sacred creature and believe it will protect them from a natural catastrophe. That’s why the temple is also known as ‘Nam Hai Lang’, meaning The Mausoleum of The Grandfather of the sea.
Linh Quang Pagoda: One of the most striking structures on Phu Quy Island, Linh Quang Pagoda comes in the shape of a multi-level tower. It is visible from almost anywhere on the island, with flashy pillars, tiles, and statutes. Lying right in the middle of Tam Thanh Commune, it can be easily accessed and is definitely worth paying a visit.
Linh Son Pagoda: Moving to the eastern side of the island, you will find Linh Son Pagoda, the temple with one of the most stunning views. The temple is just below the peak of Cao Cat Mountain, so you need to reach the place via a steep staircase. You’ll find at the top an enormous statue of Buddha.
Cao Dai temple: Ngu Phung Commune, welcome a Cao Dai Temple a religion established in southern Vietnam since the 1920s. Inside the Cao Dai Temple: Divine Covenant of the Third Alliance delivered by the honorable saints: Victor Hugo, Sun Yat-Sen, and Nguyen Binh Khiem.
Iconic sites and Beautiful Sunset Views
Phu Quy Lighthouse
The island is relatively flat, with no high mountains, and Phu Quy lighthouse located on topf the Nui Cam (Núi Cấm) mountain is one of the highest point of the island. To conquer the lighthouse, tourists have to walk and climb more than 120 stone steps along the ridge, about 200 meters in length with many slippery passages to admire the exquisite view of the island. The best time for a visit is 4 to 5 pm when the sun slowly descends on the horizon.
Cao Cat Mountain is the highest point of Phu Quy Island. The place welcomes a Buddhist monastery, a military installation, and extraordinary layered rocks. Once you get to the top of Linh Son Pagoda, follow the stairs leading to the top of the mountain. The view from the peak is just incredible, especially around 5 pm, when the sunset color the whole scenery in soft, orange-tinted light.
Phu Quy Flagpole sits on dramatic volcanic cliffs instead of mountains. You can easily access the site via the coastal road. From Bai Nho Beach, take a short walk to the south.
Mo Thay Temple
Your viewing trip would not be complete without visiting Mo Thay Temple and the cliffs surrounding it. You can find there a scenic view that can’t be found anywhere else on the island. The rock formations are astonishing, and there are little overhangs, carved by sea waves, where you can gather for a picnic. Try to reach the tip of the peninsula to get a marvelous view of a double bay.
Ngu Phung (Ngũ Phụng) embankment side
The place looks good in any light, but there’s an extra sparkle in its eye at sunset, during which you’ll want to be near the water, trust us.
Finest Seafood at the best price
When it comes to Phu Quy Island’s seafood, there is no other one surpassing this one. Despite being far away from the mainland, Phu Quy Island propose a variety of dining options that would satisfy most tourists’ cravings, but the most famous food choice to do here is of course the seafood you’ll find at very inexpensive prices. The island is well known for its King crabs, Lunar crabs (The most precious and rare seafood of the island), Holothurian or sea cucumbers, Lobster, sea snail, Dug-legged seaweed but also fish as red Grouper, tuna…
How to get to Phu Quy Island
From Phan Thiet, the only way to get to Phu Quy Island is by boat. There are three companies operating ferries to Phu Quy Island, namely Superdong, Hung Phat, and Phu Quy Express. Depending on the boat and the weather, the sailing time is around 2,5 – 3,5 hours. Motorbikes and bikes can be taken on the ferries but the number is limited to a dozen or below so have a check with the shipping company beforehand.
Available in : Vietnamese