With its soft sand coastline that stretches for 7 km bathed by clear blue sea waters, setting foot on Bai Tam Sao (bai tam = beach in Vietnamese) transports you to the unspoiled, wild and natural beauty of a less well-known part of the Gulf of Thailand.
If Bai Tam means beach in Vietnamese, Sao means star, very fitting for a beach praised as the best in Vietnam, an ideal place to lay back a bit after visiting this bustling country. As the locals say, when twilight falls and the stars arrive, Bai Sao promises that the most memorable things will happen.
Where is Sao Beach Located?
Sao Beach lays on the southeast coast of Phu Quoc, 40 km/25 mi west of the Cambodia – Vietnam border in the Gulf of Thailand. Phu Quoc is 574 km²/22 mi² and populated by just under 200.000 people.
How to get to Sao Beach?
From Ho Chi Minh, domestic flights to Phu Quoc take an hour and start at 20 usd one way. There are ferries from Ha Tien on the mainland every 4 hours, the crossing lasts 1h15 and costs 10 usd. Once in the island, the most convenient is to rent a scooter (around 5 usd/day); otherwise taxis and Xe Oms (motorcycle taxis) are inexpensive although they charge more than their counterparts in Ho Chi Minh.
Where to stay in Sao Beach?
An Thoi district offers many accommodations near Bai Sao, starting at around 12 usd/night. Check with your favorite booking platform.
Things to do around Bai Sao
Take the cable car from An Thoi to Hon Thom Island
The 8 km/5 mi 15mn ride is superb, allowing you to have a good glimpse of the An Thoi islands right off the south coast of Phu Quoc. Return tickets are 7 usd.
Boat trip to An Thoi Archipelago
There are 15 islands, part of Phu Quoc Marine Park, and the tours include swimming and snorkeling, with lunch on the beach. Team up with other travelers and go on a private boat, as regular excursion boats tend to skip the southernmost islands to cut fuel costs down. If you’re on a budget, ask local fishermen, their knowledge of the area really make a difference and it’s just so more satisfying than just hop on a tourist boat; staff at your guest house might be able to help as well.
Dinh Cau Temple
Dedicated to sea goddess Thien Tau, part shrine and part lighthouse, the temple is located in Duong Dong, at the mouth of the river’s south bank and is a good point to watch the sunset’s coppery light glistening over the harbor.