If you’re looking for a beach paradise in Vietnam, the island of Phu Quoc is the place to be. Whether you are a real budget backpacker or a luxury seeker! Phu Quoc is a true tropical island with lots of palm trees, beaches and beautiful clear blue water. There are lots of activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing and exploring the island on a motorbike. There is a lot of history to find on this island as well. We spent one week on this little piece of heaven and have gathered our tips for Phu Quoc in this article for you!
Some Phu Quoc Facts
Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s largest island. Phu Quoc is one of twelve districts in Kien Giang Province in Vietnam, located in the Mekong Delta in the south western tip of the country. The Phu Quoc district consists out of 28 islands; the Phu Quoc Islands (six islands), the An Thoi Archipelago (fifteen islands) and Tho Chua (seven islands). The location of Phu Quoc is actually closer to Cambodia than to Vietnam, and is only 18 kilometers away from the Cambodian Province of Kampot.
Best time to go to Phu Quoc
The best time to visit Phu Quoc is during the dry season: from November to May. Only downside is that it’s also busier as most tourists show up around that time. But because Phu Quoc is a pretty big island, you can definitely avoid the crowds.
The wet season is from June to October. Generally it’s a lot cheaper to go during the wet season. There is the occasional rain sessions, but overall the weather still is pleasant. To be honest we had a rainy day too. You can never predict the weather anyway.
Activities in Phu Quoc
Island hopping: the An Thoi Islands
We were looking for the perfect white beaches and clear turquoise waters in Phu Quoc. We found it a little bit off the island as we went island hopping nearby. The An Thoi Islands, 15 islands and islets, are located just off the southern coast of Phu Quoc, and are the perfect pieces of tropical heaven on earth.
It’s possible to go there on a tour, which is about 17 USD per person. However, we didn’t feel like being with lots of other people and decided to rent a boat ourselves. We found this useful article by Travelfish and called Mr Phu (0123 7799 141) to rent a boat. It all went fairly easy. The day after we called we could already go on the boat tour. We were with four people in total and including seafood barbecue the whole day cost approximately 20 USD per person. The bigger the group, the cheaper it is per person, as you pay for the boat (and driver).
Although it’s a bit more expensive than a tour, you have a lot more freedom and you get to decide how long you stay on each island. During our time there, it was pretty busy. This was due to the Tet holiday in Vietnam, and many Vietnamese tourist had the same brilliant idea as us to explore the An Thoi islands. But as we had our own boat, we could tell the driver to go to one of the quieter islands.
During the island hopping you also have the chance to snorkel, swim and relax on the beach. It really was the best day we had during our visit in Phu Quoc!
Unfortunately, we see a lot of pollution in a lot of beautiful places during our travels. Especially in a lot of Asian countries.
We also saw it on the islands of An Thoi on some of the beaches. It really saddens us how people, local and tourists, treat places so careless. They just drop their trash as if it doesn’t matter.
Please, take your trash with you.
Explore the many beaches of Phu Quoc
When searching for a good beach in Vietnam, you’ll quickly find that the best place is Phu Quoc. Although personally we think the islands of An Thoi are hard to beat, Phu Quoc itself apparently has some pretty awesome beaches too. A lot of different kind of beaches, such as yellow sandy beaches, perfect white beaches and rocky beaches. With 150 kilometers of coastline, we, unfortunately, didn’t have the time to visit them all.
Bai Truong or Long Beach
Long Beach is a yellow sandy beach that runs in the central west coast of the island. It’s the most popular beach on the island and there are lots of accommodation, restaurants, cafes and massage places to serve you.
This isn’t necessarily the best beach on Phu Quoc, as it’s a bit crowded and touristy. It’s a very long stretched beach, so you can definitely find some quiet spots if you need some alone time. And, it’s a good place to have a few drinks, enjoy some food or have a nice relaxing massage. On average you can get a massage for approximately 200.000 VND (about 8 USD) on the beach.
Ganh Dau Beach
This beach is located at the top of Phu Quoc on the north west coast. This beach is a lot more quiet than Long Beach. There is only one local restaurant that serves seafood. It’s a good place for snorkeling as well, or the usual relaxing, swimming and perhaps working a bit on a tan.
Unfortunately we have missed this beach, but our hotel owners and other people we met told us that this is the most beautiful beach on Phu Quoc. It has perfect white sand, clear water and lots of palm trees. It’s located on the east side of the island. It’s a bit harder to get there, as there is a dirt road that leads to the beach. However, it’s getting more developed in recent years, thus easier and easier to access. Here you can also find restaurants and bars.
There are so many beaches to explore on this island. Check out this article for more information on beaches in Phu Quoc!
Exploring Phu Quoc on a motorbike
If you’re in Vietnam, big chance that you’ll use a motorbike at least once. Luckily, it’s not so busy in Phu Quoc compared to big cities such as Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. So, it’s a great place to drive around and explore on a motorbike. It’s very cheap, and we could rent one at our home stay for 100.000 VND (about 4 USD) for a whole day.
It’s a great way to explore the island. By renting your own motorbike, you are not reliant on taxis or tours. You can visit different parts of the island and just enjoy the freedom.
Do you need a motorbike license?
We didn’t have a license and to be honest, we weren’t sure what the rules were. But, we were aware that it was most likely illegal to drive it without a license. We looked it up and found that in order to drive a motorbike, you need a International Drivers Permit. This is something you can retrieve back in your homecountry for a small fee.
In Phu Quoc the International Drivers Permit is sufficient. In other parts of Vietnam it is a bit stricter, and the license needs to be translated into Vietnamese and stamped by authorities.
However, it is still possible to get a motorbike on Phu Quoc, whether you have the international license or not. Most motorbike shops or hotels don’t ask to see it. But this does mean that it is your responsibility. If something goes wrong, it is not covered by your insurance. In addition, if the police stops you, they will give you a fine or can even seize your motorbike.
Fortunately, we didn’t have any troubles at all. It didn’t seem too strict there and the traffic is not crazy at all. We also drove very slow and careful.
Phu Quoc Prison
We missed the Phu Quoc Prison. After Phu Quoc we went to Ho Chi Minh and when we visited the War Remnants museum we were so intrigued by it all. Parts of the exhibition in Ho Chi Minh was also about the tortures that happened in Phu Quoc. There is really so much history in Vietnam, from which we can really learn a lot – basically that we should not let it repeat itself.
If we go back to Phu Quoc we will certainly visit the prison.
It’s original name is the coconut tree prison and it’s located in the An Thoi Village. It’s a living evidence for the war crime that happened. There are a lot of exhibitions that are very educational about the Vietnam War. Some torture tools are still present in the prison.
Phu Quoc National Park
This National Park covers half of the island and is located mostly in the North of the island. Currently, there are not a lot of walking trails. Mount Chua is the highest point of the park at 603 meters and they are planning to create a walking trail for a look out in the future.
It’s possible to explore the national park with a motorbike. The most forested parts can be found on the road towards Ganh Dau.
For more information about the National Park, click here.
Where to eat in Phu Quoc
The interior of this restaurant is not that special, but the food is delicious! It’s located in Duong To. Our hotel Blue Paradise Resort actually recommended us this place, and it was also walking distance from it. We went there during our final afternoon in Phu Quoc for lunch and we had the spicy shrimp and fish and chips. It was really tasty and the service was excellent. Best of all, it’s not that expensive (like most local Vietnamese restaurants).
Address: 1 Trần Hưng Đạo, Dương Tơ, Tp. Phú Quốc, tỉnh Kiên Giang
The name says it all. If you’re a real sushi fan like us, you’ll love this place. Their menu has a wide variety of different sushi. They really have some great creations and it was all so fresh! It’s also not that expensive. With three people we payed around 50 dollars and didn’t hold back with ordering. For sushi we think that is pretty fair priced!
Address: 92000, 98 Trần Hưng Đạo, Dương Tơ, Phú Quốc, tỉnh Kiên Giang
Buddy Ice Cream & Info Cafe
One day we went to the market in Duong Dong Market, which was really tiring actually, and stumbled unto this little place after. It’s an Australian café and they serve Western food. This is something we really crave once in a while. They have some excellent ice cream servings, refreshing drinks –although I personally didn’t like the chemical green mint soda I ordered, and Western meals such as burgers, sandwhiches and fries.
Address: 6 bach dang street opposite the marina, Duong Dong – Phu Quoc Island, tỉnh Kiên Giang 119416
Near to our home stay in the Ham Ninh village, a fishing village located on the east coast of Phu Quoc, there was a pier with a lot of floating restaurants that serve seafood.
We weren’t overly hungry and were walking around the area. We wanted to try out some of the food in one of the restaurants, but only a small portion. Unfortunately, the guy that served us didn’t speak English. Thus, it was a bit hard to explain what we wanted to eat, and that we didn’t want to eat one kilo of squid. Eventually, we ended up just having some drinks at one of the restaurants.
If you like seafood it’s certainly a fun experience. That day we ended up buying seafood on the market and the owners of our home stay made us dinner with it. This is something most hotels and home stays agree to do for you!
Eat and have drinks on the beach
On Long Beach we had breakfast a few times, which was cheap and well, good enough. There are also restaurants to be found on the beach, either Long Beach or on some of the other bit more touristy beaches, where you can have dinner while enjoying a nice sunset. And, of course you can also decide to get some drinks after/during dinner!
Where to sleep in Phu Quoc
We stayed in two different accommodations during our stay in Phu Quoc. The first was Ham Ninh, a cute home stay, located 9 kilometers from Duong Dong. The second place was a resort near Long Beach, called Blue Paradise Resort.
At first sight, it doesn’t look like much. But once you set foot on the property, it’s really nice. The rooms were spacious, not extravagant, but you have everything you need. They have a big garden with hammocks where you can relax. The WiFi was the best connection we had so far anywhere in Asia. But most of all, the family that owns it is so sweet. They helped us with everything we needed, they cooked us dinner and barely charged us anything. The daughter of the owner is called Lily, and her English is excellent, making the communication really easy.
The location of the home stay isn’t ideal as it’s quite far from Duong Dong and most beaches. However, because they have motorbikes, it’s fairly easy to move around.
We actually felt bad leaving, and they really made us feel at home. It was like being a part of a family!
Book it here.
Blue Paradise Resort
We are enthusiastic about this place too, although it didn’t have the personal touch like the home stay. Still, it was really nice to have a swimming pool and to be so close to the beach. Usually the pool was empty too and it felt as we were one of the few guests.
If you’re looking for a place to relax and have a bit of pool and beach time, we definitely recommend this place!
Book it here.
Have a wonderful time on Phu Quoc! Let us know if you have any questions or comments below or you can always sent us an e-mail, using the contact form on our website or to email@example.com.
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