Yoon Kim and her partner Rory visited Vietnam (which they'd never been to before) and the island (which they'd never heard of) on a "middle-aged gap year". They have lived there now for eight years, where they run Rory's Bar at Cây Sao, facebook.com/RorysBarPhuQuoc
For a totally unique perspective, take the new cable car, which extends nearly eight kilometres to Hon Thom (Pineapple) Island. It definitely gives you a bird's-eye view. There is a lot to see at the very popular night markets; soak up the vibrant atmosphere while sampling a few local snacks.
Like most of Vietnam, Phu Quoc is changing very quickly. When we first arrived, there were very few roads and virtually no electricity. Most "roads" were dirt tracks, which made for very adventurous exploring. Most of the island is now connected by sealed roads so get a bike/taxi/car and go exploring. There are several smaller islands surrounding Phu Quoc, take a snorkelling or boat trip and enjoy.
Seafood! One of Phu Quoc's main economic activities is fishing, and a must is gỏi cá trích or herring salad, which is a Phu Quoc speciality. It's a fresh salad of ceviche'd herring with lots of Vietnamese herbs and fresh grated coconut. Wrap it up in a rice paper roll and dip it in Phu Quoc's famous fish sauce. It sounds really too simple, but one of our favourites is a dipping sauce made of salt, phu quoc pepper and a squeeze of lime, a perfect accompaniment to any barbecued seafood. When I want a break from local food, I go to fellow Sydneysiders JP & Reko's restaurant The Famous Italian for a hearty plate of pasta. Facebook.com/famousitalian
There has been a craft beer explosion in Vietnam and people really enjoy trying local different flavours such as Winking Seal's Dragonfruit pale ale, brewed in HCMC. We recently relocated to Cây Sao, on the more natural east coast of Phu Quoc, so on the rare occasion we are not at the bar, we like to relax on a sunbed at the Sailing Club, or the Blue Bar or mingle with expats at Teasers, all on the west coast. Sailingclubphuquoc.com, facebook.com/bluebarbeachclubpq, facebook.com/teaserswinebar
The banks shut for siesta between 11am and 1pm. Actually, most official offices are shut as this time including embassies. Also, if you are travelling around Tet (Vietnamese New Year) book your tickets for buses, trains ferries, airlines in advance as they get booked up. Much like Christmas, everyone goes back to their hometowns to celebrate with their families.