Ham Ninh Beach, Phu Quoc Island

On the east coast of Phu Quoc opposite Duong Dong is this tropical beauty, a beach with a dramatic mountain backdrop. Phu Quoc has been called the Land of the 99 Mountains on account of the highlands which cascade down the interior of the island like a knobbly spine; this is the mountain chain you can see from Ham Ninh Beach. Yes, this is one of the many places on Phu Quoc where the mountains meet the sea. Fishing is the big industry on and around this east coast beach, which lies almost dead east from Duong Dong and south of Bai Bo. Crabs are a speciality here and if stay long enough you will see them scampering around. You can buy seafood from ladies on the beach and then take it to a restaurant to fry it up! There is a big jetty sticking out into the sea which you can fish from.

On top of that, there is a market at Ham Ninh where you can see island specialities such as dried squid, live crabs and of course nouc mam. Nuoc mam is to Vietnamese food what soy sauce is to Japanese food, or olive oil is to Italian cuisine. It is made from fermented anchovies, and the nuoc mam from Phu Quoc is hailed as the best in the nation. Consequently, many Vietnamese will seem more interested in snatching up bottles of the local produce in the dusty markets than in checking out the nearby beaches. On the other hand, foreigners will probably go ape for the pearls on sale here. Just check to make sure they are real!

To get here from Duong Dong take route 47 across the middle of the island, then turn left once you get close to the coast. Motor scooters can be hired for US$5 to US$12 from your hotel/resort.




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