Dai Beach, Phu Quoc Island

A snorkeler’s delight

Bai Dai, set on the north-west coast of Phu Quoc, is 26km by road (motorbike only) from Duong Dong, and it takes about 30 minutes to get here by boat. To the south of Bai Dai Beach, on the headland, is the Mai Phuong Beach Resort. Fronting the tranquil Gulf of Thailand, the sea here is generally calm (outside of monsoon season) and there are none of the wild and choppy swells of the South China Sea. The water here is crystal clear, the sand virgin yellow/white, and there are coral islands only 10 minutes by canoe from the shore. Heading up the coast here from Duong Dong, look out for the anchovies and squid drying on racks on the side of the road. The anchovies are used to make nuoc mam, Phu Quoc's most famous (and pungent) product. Just offshore rises Turtle Island (Doi Moi), a snorkeler's delight with coral reefs and tropical fish galore. Look at it from the shore and decide if it really looks like a turtle.

It is poor and sleepy now, but Bai Dai Beach could end up looking like a wealthy piece of Florida or California. The Dai Beach development plan by the Starbay Millennium Group envisages beach-front hotels, an artificial lagoon, luxury villas, condominiums, two golf courses, amusement parks, up to 50 restaurants and sports facilities. There are villas already on sale which when built will have their own swimming pools, carp-filled ponds and double garages opening on to American style suburban streets. Who knows, there could even be a McDonald’s drive-through on one of these streets one day!

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