Lying off the west coast of Vietnam's Mekong Delta, the mountainous and forested Phu Quoc is a splendid tropical getaway set with beautiful white-sand beaches and quaint fishing villages.
A visit to Phu Quoc is a good, affordable opportunity to relax, spend time on the beach, kayak its quiet inlets, scuba dive or snorkel the coral reefs, or simply have a great seafood meal followed by a cocktail on the beach. With its five-star resorts and elegant family-run bungalows, Phu Quoc is one of Vietnam’s star attractions in its own right.
Phu Quoc is called the island of pearls from the wealth bestowed to it by nature and its rich tourism potential. The island has many beautiful beaches. Visitors to Phu Quoc can swim, hike, visit the caves, go jungle trekking, and more.
Like Vietnam itself, Phu Quoc Island has a varied history with numerous nations occupying the island over the past couple of centuries, including Vietnam, Cambodia, France and America. Phu Quoc Island forms part of Vietnam, and even though the island was an area of dispute between Vietnam and Cambodia as recently as the late 1980’s, Vietnam today is nurturing the island as the next big eco tourist destination.
Up to the mid 1750’s Phu Quoc island was sparsely populated with the local population making a living off fishing the rich waters surrounding the island and harvesting and trading of sea cucumbers. Phu Quoc was famous for its sea cucumbers, shipped by Chinese merchant junks from Phu Quoc to the even the Emperor of China for many years.
From the 1760s through to the 1780s, the French missionary Pigneau de Behaine was based on Phu Quoc and it was during this time that he sheltered Prince Nguyen Anh when he was hunted by Tay Son rebels. From 1782 to 1786, Phu Quoc became a stronghold of Lord Nguyen Anh, who later recaptured the mainland from the Tay Son rebels and become Emperor Gia Long in 1802.
During the mid 1800’s, records show a total of 12 villages on the island of Phu Quoc some of which still exist today, including Duong Dong, Ganh Dau and Cua Can.
In 1869, Phu Quoc was occupied by the French and came under the administration of the Governor of Cochinchine. During this time the French set up rubber and coconut plantations on the island, though population records advise that less than 1000 people resided on Phu Quoc approaching the late 19th and early 20th century, of which most of these people inhabited remote fishing villages.
The temple on Diau Cau rock was built in 1937, and by the end of the Second World War in the 1940’s the population of Phu Quoc was still less than 5,000. There is evidence even today that the population during this time was centered around Duong Dong Town where the French commenced trading activities during their occupation of the island. In 1949, the French enacted a law passing the island of Phu Quoc from the administration of the French to the Vietnamese.