Phu Quoc dubbed "Maldives of Vietnam"

Kim Ji-won, a correspondent from the Republic of Korea (RoK)'s largest mainstream newspaper, the Chosun Ilbo, recently praised Phu Quoc island off the coast of the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang as a destination that satisfies all five senses.
Phu Quoc dubbed "Maldives of Vietnam" ảnh 1A corner of the paradise-like Kem Beach in Phu Quoc.
Hanoi (VNA) - Kim Ji-won, a correspondent from the Republic of Korea (RoK)'s largest mainstream newspaper, the Chosun Ilbo, recently praised Phu Quoc island off the coast of the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang as a destination that satisfies all five senses.

Embarking on a 3-day, 2-night excursion to the island in February, Kim shared her impressions of the getaway in an article published in the daily on April 9.

The author said it has been a while since she took a red-eye flight. After six hours in the air, she arrived in Phu Quoc when it was still pitch dark. There was no time to feel the excitement of setting foot on a new land, she went straight to the hotel and climbed into bed. She could not imagine that a few hours later, she would wake up to the beautiful sunrise. The sparkling sunlight reflected on the emerald blue sea made she feel like she was still dreaming.

According to her, there is no doubt that Phu Quoc is the most attractive destination in Southeast Asia for Korean tourists since the COVID-19 pandemic. It took over 10 years for the place – an island known simply for pepper cultivation and fish sauce production – to become the "Maldives of Vietnam".

The island still boasts pristine and refreshing natural landscapes, with over half of its area designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Kim said she is impressed by its southern area, which is being heavily invested in and developed by the Sun Group and where visitors can enjoy their vacation on beautiful beaches or embark on adventurous activities at a giant amusement park.

Kem Beach - The first impression of Phu Quoc

Despite not having slept for long and feeling disoriented from the long flight, Kim said she still manages to get out of bed to head to the balcony, captivated by the sun rising over the horizon. She quickly put on a thin jacket and headed to Kem Beach in front of the hotel, which is considered the only beach in the island with white, soft sand, resembling cream, hence its name – Kem Beach.

The story went on describing the moment she took off her sandals and slowly walked on the soft, smooth "cream sand". According to her, it was refreshing to feel the fine sand between her toes, with the waves crashing like frothy cappuccino. After about a 10-minute walk, the pink sky and sea gradually regained their original blue colour. Tourists flocked to the beach to enjoy the warm morning sun. The tranquil beach quickly became lively.

Most flights from the RoK to Phu Quoc arrive at around 5 or 6 in the morning. Therefore, there is usually more than half a day before check-in time at the hotel. Kim suggested visitors staying in a hotel in the southern part start their journey at Kem Beach.

In her view, just 20 minutes from the airport to the hotel, a tourist can immerse himself in the clear seawater, the soft sand between his toes and the refreshing sea breeze. Phu Quoc will leave him with the first impression of an experience that satisfies all five senses.

Phu Quoc dubbed "Maldives of Vietnam" ảnh 2The Sunset Town, which reminds the reporter of the colourful Cinque Terre in Italy.
European-style "town" by the seaside with million-dollar views

According to Kim, visiting Sunset town, located in the heart of southern Phu Quoc, tourists will surely be amazed because they may feel lost in a Mediterranean seaside town rather than Vietnam. The perfect design of ancient European buildings is recreated, from faded yellow walls and orange tiled roofs to arched windows. At first glance, the colourful buildings lining the coastline might remind them of the famous Italian coastal town of Cinque Terre.

She recommended not to stop too long to snap photos in the colourful alleys of Sunset Town because the highlight of the Phu Quoc trip is still ahead. Passing through a building resembling the Roman Colosseum, visitors will reach the cable car station leading to Hon Thom.

With a length of about 8 kilometres, it is recognised by Guinness as the longest 3-rope cable car in the world. Visitors will be amazed on the cable car by incredible views of the blue sea and the entire Sunset Town.

Twenty minutes on the cable car to Hon Thom goes by in the blink of an eye as they admire the ever-changing scenery below their feet. Especially, only from the cable car can they see the panoramic view of the fishing village where fishermen live and countless boats floating on the sea.

Phu Quoc dubbed "Maldives of Vietnam" ảnh 3The sea-view cable car to Hon Thom.
Entertainment paradise to beat the summer heat

Hon Thom is a completely different world, she said. The entire island is a super-real amusement park. The round-trip cable car ticket is 650,000 VND (25.55 USD) per adult, including the entrance fee to the theme park and the water park on the island.

To help her deal with the scorching Southeast Asian sun, Kim said a guide leads her to the high-speed roller coaster area. While she hesitated due to the sound of the wooden rail creaking and the screams of the people on the previous ride, the safety bar was lowered.  She said she does not remember clearly what happened two minutes later, but her sweat flowing down her back gradually cooled down, her arms got goosebumps and she successfully cooled off.

Phu Quoc dubbed "Maldives of Vietnam" ảnh 4The high-speed roller coaster "Moc xa thinh no" (the anger of the wooden snake) at Sun World Hon Thom.
To beat the heat even more, she suggested jumping into the wave pool at the water park. The biggest advantage is that visitors can take many different water slides without waiting in line. If they are in the RoK during peak seasons, they may have to wait more than an hour.

Not only the water park, but the island also offers activities on the beach. Canoeing about 5 minutes from the beach, visitors will reach the "walking under the sea" experience centre at Eco Beach Club.

After putting on a helmet resembling that of astronauts, they can walk on the ocean floor as if walking on land and witness the colourful marine ecosystem and corals.

Phu Quoc dubbed "Maldives of Vietnam" ảnh 5Walking under the sea with an astronaut-like helmet is an experience not to be missed when visiting Hon Thom.
She shared her experience of ringing ears and interrupted breathing for a moment because of the water pressure. Then a school of hundreds of fish passed before her eyes. Suddenly, someone tapped her shoulder, and when she turned back, the guide put something on her hand. It was a live starfish covered in a pink shell.

Love under the sunset

Late in the afternoon, Kim said she took a cable car from Hon Thom back to the town. Gazing silently at the town in the twilight, she immediately understood why it was named "Sunset Town". She reached the "Kiss Bridge" before the sun completely set.

Designed by the Italian architect Marco Casamonti, the bridge has a unique concept. Its two branches, each 400 metres long, face each other but are separated by only about 30 centimetres. This might be considered a real-life version of the Ojakgyo Bridge in the "Gyunwoo and Jiknyeo" fairy tale (one of the most famous fairy tales in the RoK, similar to the story of “Ong Ngau - Ba Ngau” in Vietnam).

According to Kim, when the red sun began to set on the horizon, each couple held hands and walked around the bridge. They positioned themselves at the two ends of the bridge to create romantic moments in the backdrop of the twilight sky.

When they leaned over the railing and moved closer to the face of their loved one standing on the other side, the crowd cheered excitedly. The silhouettes of the two lovers finally touching each other were like a scene from a Woody Allen movie.

Phu Quoc dubbed "Maldives of Vietnam" ảnh 6Kiss Bridge exudes romantic charm like a scene from a movie.
While Kim was mesmerised by the romantic sunset scene, she started to hear music from somewhere. A parade of jet skis carrying the Vietnamese flag appeared, cutting through the waves. She was excited, watching them move freely across the sea at astonishing speeds. The "Love Hurricane" show takes place daily at sunset.

After the young men on the jet skis held torches and divided the water to form a heart shape, an athlete shot up from under the Kiss Bridge.

They hovered on a jet board at a height of 5 to 6 metres, then somersaulted many times for an amazing show, making visitors reminisce about Cirque du Soleil.

Phu Quoc dubbed "Maldives of Vietnam" ảnh 7The world's top athletes perform the show "Love Hurricane" at sunset at the Kiss Bridge.
The moment the sun completely set was when visitors gathered at a destination after dinner. That place is the Infinity Theatre, modelled after the architecture of the Roman Colosseum.

When all 5,000 spectators were seated, the "Kiss of the Sea" show began on the stage set upon the sea. Multimedia effects, lasers and water music narrated a futuristic story of "love forged through struggle". The grand fireworks display immediately after the main show was the highlight. Adults and children alike gasped in awe at the colourful fireworks adorning the night sky.

Phu Quoc dubbed "Maldives of Vietnam" ảnh 8The nightly fireworks art show at Sunset Town dazzles spectators with its explosive brilliance.
Even after the final fireworks lit up the sky, people were still reluctant to leave. Thousands of stars embroidered the dark canvas of the sky. Kim noted at that moment she knew, the journey to experience Phu Quoc had officially begun./.


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