Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc Island

Lined with coconut trees and she-oaks and banyan trees and shielded by thick forest, this is one beach to get away from the stresses of modern life. Its easy access from Phu Quoc’s airport makes it ideal for weekend trips from Ho Chi Minh City (and one day, other Asian cities like Singapore and Bangkok.) Swim, take a stroll on the sand, or simply read a book from the comfort of your deck chair or hammock. Watch the sun go down into the water over a cold beer or two, or even three.

More vigorous activities here include snorkelling and boating to the offshore islands. Yes, it is true there more hotels and resorts here than other parts of the island, but this beach retains a pristine feel. Many of the resorts here strive to protect the environment. The esteemed Mango Bay Resort, for example, is located in a real mango orchard. As well as real nature, Ong Lang is a place where real humanity abounds. As in the rest of Vietnam, this beach is a place where people WORK. Women wearing conical hats and towels wrapped around their heads march in the hot sunshine, selling spicy seafood. Other women may attempt to sell you fruit or massages. Fishing boats float off the shore, red flags flying the breeze. Workmen toil in the distance, busy building a new resort. If you walk far enough along the beach you might encounter the peculiar native Phu Quoc dog, or be dive-bombed by migratory terns. These are all encounters with nature, Ong Lang style.

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