Is Phu Quoc the next Bali?

Phu Quoc

She smiles, all gums and crinkled crows feet, looking up from the river; her whole body immersed in water the colour of milky coffee. Floating on the end of a rope is the bucket of clams she collected this morning. On another, oysters she bought from another fisherman to re-sell.

“She’s 85 years old,” our guide David translates for us. “She collects the clams every morning and sells them here. It’s easier for her to stay floating; she can’t walk the distance to the markets.”

This morning scene in Ham Ninh fishing village feels a world away from the pace pulsating its way across the rest of Phu Quoc. If it’s only recently entered your consciousness, you’re not alone. Somehow Vietnam’s largest island, and its UNESCO-listed national park, have flown under the radar for Australian travellers. But with Aussies flocking to Vietnam in the past few years – visitation up 15.5% in 2017 – word of its beaches, big-name resorts, and up-and-coming vibe is spreading fast.

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