Phu Quoc Island (Part 3)

tour-cau-ca-phu-quoc

Famiana Resort & Spa RESORT HOTEL $$$
(077-399 3026; www.famiana-resort.com; Ð Tran Hung Dao; r US$215-995) This sedate 60-room resort has lovely accommodation, consisting of stunning seafront villas with mezzanine floors, an inviting pool and a spotless stretch of beach.

Cassia Cottage RESORT HOTEL $$$
(077-384 8395; www.cassiacottage.com; 100C Ð Tran Hung Dao; r US$120-190) Set in a beautiful garden, this seductive boutique-style resort on Long Beach has a sleepy beachside repose, rooms with great furnishings, two pools and a lovely garden restaurant with tables overlooking the sea.

Eden Resort RESORT $$$
(077-398 5598; www.edenresort.com.vn; Cua Lap, Duong To; r US$195-425) From the remarkable rattan furniture and well-tended greenery and landscaped setting, to the spotless bungalows and idyllic, deluxe sea-view rooms, this place is a good choice. Delightful pool and excellent service.

Saigon-Phu Quoc Resort RESORT HOTEL $$$
(077-384 6999; www.sgphuquocresort.com; 1 Ð Tran Hung Dao; r US$159-480) This smart resort features 98 rooms in villas or bungalows, most with views over the beach. The sprawling structure consists of a disco, karaoke rooms, a spa, minigolf, tennis courts and pétanque courts. Visitors can check the website for seasonal deals.

Thien Hai Son Resort RESORT HOTEL $$$
(077-398 3044; www.phuquocthienhaison.com; 68 Ð Tran Hung Dao; r US$90-99, bungalows US$132-161) There’s a mixture of hotel blocks and bungalows in this sprawling lemon-and-lime beachfront complex.

Sao Beach
Lang Toi GUEST HOUSE $$
(077-397 2123; Sao Beach; r US$35-45) Also called Gecko Jack’s, this simple place on Sao Beach has four fan rooms, each with spacious bathrooms. Two rooms come with sea view and verandah, two with a garden setting. Book ahead.

Mango Garden B&B $$
(077-629 1339; mangogarden.inn@gmail.com; r US$35-50; Oct-Mar) The most suitable to travellers those with their own (two) wheels, this isolated and hard-to-find B&B is reached by a bumpy dirt road (turn left just before Sao Beach and try to find the signs) away from the beach. Run by a Vietnamese-Canadian, the Western-style, generator-powered B&B is surrounded by gorgeous flower and mango gardens, enclosed by a high fence.
There’s motorbike rental, 24-hour solar-powered hot water, fishing and snorkelling trips. Book well ahead.

Ong Lang Beach
Though it’s rockier than Long Beach, Ong Lang, 7km north of Duong Dong, has the advantage of being substantially less crowded and, therefore, feels much more like a tropical-island escape. Due to its relative isolation, expect to spend most of your time in and around your resort – even though most places can arrange bike or motorbike hire to get you out and about. Of course, book in advance if planning to stay around here.

Mango Bay RESORT HOTEL $$
(077-398 1693; www.mangobayphuquoc.com; r US$60-100, bungalows US$80-185, house US$235-395;) Set around a small cove accessed from a dusty road through a mango orchard, this ecofriendly resort uses solar panels and organic and recycled building materials, and there is a butterfly garden. Strung out along the beach, accommodation ranges from rooms through bungalows with delightful open-air bathrooms, to a private house. All in all it’s a romantic, if simple, getaway for visitors those who need some privacy. Two buses head into town daily.

Freedomland HOMESTAY $$
(077-399 4891; www.freedomlandphuquoc.com; 2 Ap Ong Lang, Xa Cua Duong; bungalows US$30-60; Oct-Jun) With an emphasis on community and socialising – fun communal dinners are a mainstay – Freedomland has 11 basic bungalows (mosquito nets, fans, no hot water) scattered around a shady plot. Travellers who can’t be bothered with the five-minute walk to the beach slump into the hammocks strung between the trees. It’s a common choice, particularly with solo budget travellers; it’s best to book in advance. Shut in the rainy season.

Bo Resort RESORT HOTEL $$
(077-398 6142; www.boresort.com; bungalows US$38-117) With variously sized bungalows scattered higgledy-piggledy over a jungle-clad hill stretching down to a rocky beach, this French-run resort offers intimacy and seclusion, plus excellent food.

Chen Sea Resort & Spa RESORT HOTEL $$$
(077-399 5895; www.centarahotelsresorts.com; bungalow US$234-473) Competing for the title of the best resort on the island, tranquil and chilled-out 36-room Chen Sea has nice villas with sunken baths and deep verandahs, designed to resemble terracotta-roofed houses. Nearly indistinguishable from the sea, the big azure rectangle of the infinity pool faces the resort’s beautiful sandy beach. The isolation is mitigated by many activities on hand for instance borrow a bike, kayak or catamaran – or settle into the spa or the open-sided restaurant.

Vung Bau Beach
Bamboo Cottages & Restaurant RESORT HOTEL $$
(077-281 0345; www.bamboophuquoc.com; r US$50-95) Run by a friendly family with a coterie of cheeky dogs, Bamboo Cottages has Vung Bau Beach largely to itself. The focal point is a big, open-sided restaurant and bar, with the beach at its doorstep. Set around the lawns, the amazing , yellow villas have private, open-roofed bathrooms with solar-powered hot water. The family supports an education scholarship for local kids in need.

 Eating

Many of the recommended resorts have nice restaurants, often beachside or with a sunset view. Visitors staying at more remote resorts such as those at Ong Lang Beach tend to eat in, as it takes much time to go into town.
Some of the standouts consist of Bo Resort, Mai House and Pepper Tree Restaurant, each of which serves a mixture of Vietnamese and French fare. For something a bit more local, try the seafood restaurants in the fishing village of Ham Ninh; there are several along the pier at the end of the main road, including Kim Cuong I ( 077-384 9978; mains 30,000-300,000d).

Duong Dong
Dinh Cao Night Market VIETNAMESE $
(Ð Vo Thi Sau; 5pm-midnight) Hands down the most atmospheric, affordable and amazing place to enjoy your meals on the island, Duong Dong’s night market has approximately a dozen stores serving a delicious range of Vietnamese seafood, grills and vegetarian dishes. Look for a local crowd, as they are a discerning bunch, or try the excellent Thanh Xuan (mains 45,000-100,000d), which serves freshly barbecued fish and seafood.

Buddy Ice Cream ICE CREAM $
(www.visitphuquoc.info; 26 Ð Nguyen Trai; mains 25,000-130,000d; 8am-10pm) With the coolest music in town, this cafe is excellent for sides of free internet and tourist info with its New Zealand ice-cream combos, toasted sandwiches, fish ‘n’ chips, thirst-busting fruit juices, shakes, smoothies, all-day breakfasts, comfy sofas and book exchange. They all are remarkable and delicious.

Long Beach
The Spice House at Cassia Cottage VIETNAMESE $
(www.cassiacottage.com; 100C Ð Tran Hung Dao; mains from 74,000d; 7-10am & 11am-10pm) Nab a beachside high-table, order a papaya salad, grilled garlic, a cinnamon-infused okra or a delectable fish curry and time dinner to catch the sunset at this excellent restaurant.

Alanis Deli CAFE $
(98 Ð Tran Hung Dao; pancakes from 75,000d; 8am-10pm) This place serves coffee along with fab caramel pancakes plus ace breakfasts, and staff is quite friendly.

Oasis VIETNAMESE, WESTERN $
(118/5 Ð Tran Hung Dao; mains from 55,000d; 7am-10pm, bar till later) On the lane leading to La Veranda and Rory’s Beach Bar, Oasis serves ravenous travellers with a menu of many kinds of delicious foods such as shepherd’s pie, shrimp spring rolls, apple pie and winning all-day breakfasts.

Mondo TAPAS $
(82 Ð Tran Hung Dao; tapas 35,000-105,000d; 7am-10pm Tue-Sun) Offering traditional Spanish tapas and many other regional food (pumpernickel bread, blue cheese and ham pasta) along with all-day Western-style breakfasts, Mondo is a dependable Long Beach slot, serving imported beers (Chimay, Duvel).

Le Cap Breton FRENCH $
(143 Ɖ Tran Hung Dao; crêpes from 45,000d) This is an open, breezy place decorated with dark wooden furniture which has a tasty menu of Brittany crêpes and galettes (made with flour from France), backed up by Vietnamese/French and international dishes.

Pepper’s Pizza & Grill ITALIAN, GERMAN $
(077-384 8773; 89 Ð Tran Hung Dao; mains 65,000-190,000d; 10am-11pm) You can order pizzas to be delivered to your resort. The remain of the menu is a mixture of Italian, German and Asian dishes, including steaks, ribs and the like.

Restaurant Chez Carole VIETNAMESE, FRENCH $
(88 Ð Tran Hung Dao; mains 50,000-200,000d; 10am-midnight) This is a French-accent place, but the menu includes a whole lot of fresh Vietnamese seafood, such as the signature shrimps in cognac or pastis.

Itaca Resto Lounge FUSION $$
(www.itacalounge.com; 125 Ɖ Tran Hung Dao; mains 200,000-300,000d; 4pm-1am) Shut at the time of research for a low-season spruce up, we didn’t have the chance to enjoy at this well-known restaurant with a winning Mediterranean-Asian fusion menu (with tapas), much-enjoyed alfresco design and warmly-heart, welcoming hosts. You cannot go for sea views because it’s not on the beach, but the ambience is still amazing.

Pepper Tree Restaurant INTERNATIONAL $$
(www.laverandaresort.com; La Veranda, 118/9 Ð Tran Hung Dao; mains US$6-20; 6.30am-11pm) The Pepper Tree at La Veranda resort provides divine French cuisine, great Vietnamese dishes and delectable views of the surf and sunset.