Stunning colors in Phu Quoc beach, with grass and palm trees on foreground

Phu Quoc

It may no longer be Vietnam’s best-kept secret, but we love this desert-island gem in the sparkling turquoise waters of the Gulf of Thailand.

Just a 40-minute flight from the urban sprawl of Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc is a mountainous and densely forested island renowned for its secluded bays, amazing seafood, and magnificently clear waters rich with opportunities to dove and snorkel. Once little more than a quiet backwater, known for its black pepper farms and fish sauce, today the island’s dirt roads have been replaced with tarmac - and it’s even possible to fly here direct from London.

There may be a few more luxury resorts now than there were, but we think Phu Quoc remains as beguiling as it was two decades ago. On the mainland, the north and east coast is largely untouched by tourism, while the ever-busy Long Beach makes for a fun evening of bar-hopping and fresh seafood with a spectacular sunset backdrop. Meanwhile, there are some real gems to be found among the tiny islands of the nearby An Thoi Archipelago: think palm-lined coves, empty beaches, and warm, shallow waters teeming with blue spotted rays, bamboo sharks and neon-bright nudibranchs.

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