Exploring the beauty of Bai Thom beach in Phu Quoc

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Thom Beach is in the North of the island. A very beautiful beach but sadly kind of deserted. We came there in the afternoon and saw only a few locals. Since it is not touristic, trash is everywhere, which quite ruins the beauty of the nature. However, we still had a good time. A trade off for the very tough road we had to take to discover this beach.

>>Swimming in Nha Trang beach

Thom Beach has a stark beauty about it. Silent, still, hot, sparsely populated, and filled with the scent of cashew fruit and the sound of midday cicadas, there’s something beguiling about this remote northern tip of Phu Quoc Island. Most of the beaches are hidden from view, reached via dirt tracks, and the water’s very shallow and tidal here. Thom Beach hasn’t seen much development yet but for a few food shacks and a mid-range resort with simple, clean rooms and a seafood restaurant, called Coco Bay ($30). Once or twice a day the red dust on the dirt road is disturbed by vehicles coming off the car ferry from the mainland, at Đá Chồng Port, just a couple kilometres to the south. There are plans for a sprawling resort here, and, now that the highway to Duong Dong Town is finished, perhaps it won’t be long before slumbering Thom Beach is awoken.

Located on the far north east of Phu Quoc approximately 35kms from Duong Dong you will be find a long stretch of uninhabited beach. While not one of most attractive of beaches, it is quite remote and getting here will be quite challenging, best option is by motorbike.

Once upon a time the Vietnamese military restricted access to Bai Thom Beach, but those days are thankfully over. Even so, visitors to this most north-westerly beach are still very sparse on the ground and public facilities almost non-existent. One Vietnamese blogger who rode up the long dirt road to Bai Thom in 2008, Hai Le, called it “a neglected beach”. Hai Le went on to state that Bai Thom offered the closest views of the Cambodian mainland. Obviously it is this proximity to Cambodia which made Bai Thom such a sensitive place for the Vietnamese military, given Cambodia’s claim to ownership of Phu Quoc, and their invasion of the island in the 1970s.

On a small dirt road past the Bai Thom turn-off, on the rocky coast overlooking the Cambodian shore, you will find the restaurant that Alleged Traveller found in 2008. The Alleged Traveller wrote: “We ordered the fish cooked with salt and chili and found a seat in a shady spot right on the water.” The Alleged Traveller concluded it was one of the finest dining experiences he/she had ever had.

Bai Thom beach via Agoda

Thom Beach Shoreline

Thom Beach is located in Thom Village (Bai Thom Village) which is approximately 35kms from Duong Dong Town and in the vicinity of the most lush, dense, and diverse region of the Phu Quoc National Forest. The road from Duong Dong Town to the village is well paved and it is probably the most enjoyable motorbike road trip in all of Phu Quoc Island.  The beach is only 1.5kms in length and not as picturesque as the other beaches found here on Phu Quoc but Thom Beach does have its own charm.

The Ocean

The sea at Thom Beach is very shallow and tidal in nature. At low tide, the water recedes leaving behind it a boundless sandy beach with a lot of tidal animals (e.g. crabs, crustaceans, etc). At low tide it is possible to walk across to nearby Mot Island which is only meters away from the coast.  When the tides rise very little of the beach remains.  The slope into the ocean is low making it easy to enter and exit it however the ocean floor consists of rocks and coral debris so you need to be careful where you plant your feet. The water clarity varies depending on the season and the sea here can be quite quite rough at times, especially during the wet season.

Bai Thom beach via Mapio.net

Thom Village

Bai Thom village was once a restricted military zone due to its proximity to Cambodia as both of these countries were essentially at war with each other, but those days are long gone.  Thom Village is now a peaceful place and its inhabitants are mainly fishermen and their families.  The village is slowly preparing itself for mass tourism as the entire village will be redeveloped by 2020 into a eco-tourism hub.

Wildlife

While swimming at Thom Beach you have to be aware of sea urchins (year round) and jellyfish (seasonal).  There is also coral present at shallow depths.  If you venture off to the forest nearby you may see silver langurs, macaques, wild boars, flying squirrels and deer.

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