Saturday, May 14, 2011

Phu Quoc: Vietnam's attempt to become king of Asia's beaches

If you ever wondered what Thailand was like in the late 1980s, check out Phu Quoc Island off the southwest coast of Vietnam, the new hop on the Gulf of Siam?s circuit that embraces Koh Samui, Koh Chang and Koh Kong.

Phu Quoc is fast becoming Vietnam?s hottest new island destination. But it also maintains -- at least for now -- a character unlike anything in Thailand. 

Market traders in conical hats hawk baguettes, ducks, flying lizards and other items rarely seen on the Thai side of the Gulf, while motorcycles ply red dirt roads to pearl farms and old-style fishing ports.

Villagers, who water the roads and erect thatch fences to protect their homes from dust, gather up seaweed and haul in squid nets by pedaling homemade winches.

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