Phu Quoc at a glance
Phu Quoc is also known as a gem island, the largest island in Vietnam, also the largest of the 22 islands here, located in the Gulf of Thailand. Phu Quoc Island together with other islands form the Phu Quoc island district of Kien Giang province.
Phu Quoc has an area of 589.23 km², is located in the southwest of Vietnam, is 120 km from Rach Gia city and 45 km from Ha Tien city. In 2006, Kien Giang coastal and island biosphere reserve, including Phu Quoc, was recognized by UNESCO as a world biosphere reserve.
Thanks to the natural and favorable natural conditions and mild climate, Phu Quoc is gradually becoming a new resort paradise of the world, attracting a large number of domestic and international investors. CNN of America recently voted Phu Quoc as one of the best destinations in Asia in 2019 and Top 5 Autumn Destinations in Asia – Pacific. In the eyes of experienced hoteliers such as Mr. Patrick Basset, Vice President in charge of Vietnam and some Asian countries of the famous hotel management group Accor, Phu Quoc along with Phuket of Thailand and Bali of Indonesia are the islands having the largest tourism development potential in Southeast Asia.
In addition to the strong development of resorts, Phu Quoc is also an ideal destination for interesting natural discovery activities that can attract visitors when coming to this beautiful island.
Phu Quoc has many beautiful beaches stretching from the north to the south, with 99 hills and mountains and primeval forests with rich flora and fauna. In the north of the island, there are Rach Vem, Bai Thom, Hon Mot fishing villages, etc. with outstanding wild beauty or in the South Island, there are 12 large and small islands belonging to An Thoi archipelago, such as Hon Thom, Hon Mong Tay, and Gam Gam. These are ideal places for nature exploration and water activities such as yachts, fishing, diving to see corals, and exploring wild islands.
When you should travel to Phu Quoc?
Summer is usually the peak time in Phu Quoc due to the increasing demand for sea and swimming. However, the best time to visit Phu Quoc is from November to April next year. This is the dry season in the South with less rain, calm sea, smooth waves, and warm sunshine which are great for outdoor tourism activities. This season is suitable for resort tours, but not for backpackers.
From April to October, here comes the rainy season. Sometimes, there are storms but Phu Quoc is still crowded because of the summer vacation period.
The most ideal time to visit Phu Quoc is around the end of April to July, at this time the number of visitors is not much and the weather is still beautiful, price is not too high as it is in the peak season.
How to go to Phu Quoc?
If you come from Hanoi, plane is still the most convenient means of transportation. Currently, Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet have direct flights from Hanoi to Phu Quoc. Airfares are reasonable and if you are lucky, you can hunt cheap tickets of around one million for a round ticket. However, there are only a few fixed flights per day, travelers should check the flight schedule to actively prepare.
Phu Quoc airport is only 15 to 20 minutes from the center of the island. Some high-end hotels and resorts often offer free airport transfers. You should ask about this service when booking in Phu Quoc.
From Ho Chi Minh City, visitors have more options. Besides direct flights, you can reach Phu Quoc by motorbike, bus, speedboat or ferry.
If traveling by bus, you should go at night, the route lasts about 8 hours to Rach Gia, Ha Tien. From the center of Ho Chi Minh City, there are many high-quality buses to Ha Tien, the fare is about 150.000 VND to 230.000 VND/ person, depending on the bus company. Some of the high-quality bus companies you can refer to are Phuong Trang, Mai Linh, and Kumho.
From Rach Gia, visitors can take a high-speed boat to Phu Quoc. In the morning, the Superdong boat usually departs at 8 o’clock, returns to the mainland to depart at 1 pm, travel time is more than an hour, the price of the boat ranges from 230.000 to 250.000 VND/ person. High-speed boats are also available for motorbikes, but you should book in advance because each train can only carry about 8 motorbikes.
Visitors coming to Phu Quoc for the first time should take a high-speed boat to avoid seasickness. If you want to try something different, you can take a ferry from Thanh Thoi wharf (Ha Tien), it will stop at Da Chong port (Bai Thom, Phu Quoc). It takes about 2 hours and 50 minutes by ferry to travel, the fare is 185.000 VND/ person. If taking a ferry in the afternoon, visitors can enjoy the sunset on the sea. Beside moving slowly, Da Chong harbor is quite far from the center of the island, tourists must go about 40 km to reach the center.
Once reaching the island, you can catch a taxi, rent a motorbike to move. If you go fishing, diving, watching the sunset, you can rent a boat. Some high-end resorts often have their own boat to serve guests.
When traveling in Phu Quoc, it is very easy and quick to call a taxi, but if you want to save money, you should rent a motorbike at Tran Hung Dao Street, Duong Dong Town, or at hotels to visit and explore the island conveniently.
1. Long Beach
Long beach is one of the best beaches in Vietnam and is a must-visit when coming to Phu Quoc.
The name Bai Dai (Long Beach) originates from the length of this beach, 15km of the coastline extending from Mui Ganh Dau to Cua Can. Thanks to the geographical location in the northwest of the island, near the primeval forest area, the climate here always maintains a relatively cool temperature, not too hot, combined with wind from the sea blowing in makes this place an ideal destination for everyone every tourist season.
Long Beach is also honored to be number one on the list of the most pristine beaches in the world compiled by ABC News in 2008.
Although the rapid development of tourism is accompanied by the increase of hotels and resorts, most of the areas of Long Beach in particular, Phu Quoc in general still keeps its wild and natural condition.
2. Star Beach
Along with Long Beach, Star Beach is always at the top list of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam, Bai Sao (Star Beach) attracts many tourists when coming Phu Quoc. The pristine, clean beach, and clear blue sea, smooth sandy beaches stretch at the foot of visitors. This is one of the beaches rated as beautiful which is no less gorgeous than other famous beaches in the world, so when you come to Phu Quoc, you definitely have to set foot here, walk on sand dunes or immerse yourself in this clear blue water.
3. Hon Thom
Hon Thom is called with a charming name as the “deadly seductive pearl” of Phu Quoc. The reason for such a name because here you will be really fascinated by the stretching white sand beaches, coral beaches, rows of coconut trees, and clear water to see the whole fish swimming underwater. In addition to the beautiful beaches, there are many activities for you to participate such as fishing, squid fishing, snorkeling, fishing, trekking, or buying pearls.
4. Vinpearl Land and Vinpearl Safari
Vinpearl Land Phu Quoc (Vinwonders) is called a paradise of entertainment for all ages with outstanding activities such as water music performances, aquarium visits and it is also an extremely large and diverse entertainment area that guarantees to satisfy all visitors. Besides, Vinpearl Safari is the largest plant and animal care and conservation park in Vietnam. Coming here, you will get the chance to admire many animals such as flamingos, giraffes, rhinos… And even though you have come to similar safari areas in Singapore, Thailand, you will still be amazed by the animals here.
5. Ham Ninh fishing village
Ham Ninh fishing village in Phu Quoc is located at the foot of Ham Ninh mountain, Ham Ninh commune, Phu Quoc District, Kien Giang province. This is one of the very new places for tourists coming to Phu Quoc. The beauty of this fishing village is the simple and pristine beauty of the countryside that has not been much affected by tourism activities.
Coming here, visitors will be able to join and watch corals under the transparent water, catch pearls, sea cucumbers, or fishnets. Tourists can also visit Bai Vong wharf or enjoy swimming at Ham Ninh beach.
It would be an incomplete trip if you come here but have not enjoyed boiled crabs. Crab is a specialty of this region, almost every season. The crabs are just caught and boiled, bright red, firm meat dipped in salt and pepper lemon sauce. Having boiled crabs while enjoying the sea will be a very pleasant experience.
6. Phu Quoc Prison
Phu Quoc Prison is one of the historical sites that attract more and more domestic and international tourists coming here to explore and visit. Unlike the museums you’ve been to, Phu Quoc Prison is clear evidence of the crimes of aggression colonialism and imperialism. With an area of about 500km2, Phu Quoc prison relic is the place to reappear hundreds of barbaric tortures that the French colonialists and American imperialists torture our revolutionary soldiers. This is the place to keep the communist soldiers with about 40,000 prisoners.
7. Phu Quoc Night Market
If you are looking for a place to both enjoy the sea atmosphere and buy souvenirs while trying local specialties, Phu Quoc night market is a perfect choice. Do not miss the opportunity to sample seafood in the market and feel the freshness of fish and freshly caught squid.
8. Mui Ganh Dau
Unlike the famous beaches as Long Beach and Star Beach, Mui Ganh Dau is quite wild and few tourists. The air here is fresh, the sand is smooth, the peaceful nature will quickly replace the feeling of tiredness in the heart of travelers when standing in the wilderness of Ganh Dau. Looking down from above, visitors can see Mui Danh Dau bent softly like a crescent moon half a kilometer long, it is surrounded by 2 mountain maul protruding like seagull wings.
The most impressive thing in Ganh Dau is that visitors can come across a stretch of rocky reefs, this reef makes you have impressive fantasies, erosion, convex, horizontal and vertical rocks, hollowed out, deeply ingrained, virtual multi-dimensional changes at the end of Mui Ganh Dau.
Phu Quoc attracts a large number of tourists every year because of not only the beautiful sea paradise but also the extreme dishes, especially the quality of seafood.
1. Goi Ca Trich
The first item on the culinary list you must try in Phu Quoc is Goi Ca Trich or herring salad. This dish is sold throughout restaurants from high-class to affordable. Herring is prepared, rolled with vegetables and rice paper, dipped with fish sauce which is complete without the fishy smell.
Where to eat:
- Vuon Tao restaurant – Cua Lap, Duong To Town
- Trung Dương Marina Restaurang – Road 30/4, Duong Dong Town
2. Ham Ninh Crab
The crab here is not big, but it is always rated as delicious, sweet, and fresh. Depending on seasons, crab prices will range from 200,000 VND to 500,000 VND per kilogram. You should choose type 6 to 7 crabs a kilo, if you want to eat crab eggs, you can choose females or choose male crabs for meat. The best way to cook it is to boil and eat with lemon pepper salt.
Where to eat:
- Bien Xanh Restaurant: Tinh Lo 47, Phu Quoc
- Ghe Ham Ninh shop: 112 Bach Dang, Phu Quoc
3. Coi Bien Mai Nuong
Gourmets often like Coi Bien Mai Nuong or grilled horn scallop dish. The salty taste of the salt, the spiciness of chili mixing with the sweetness of the horn scallop creates a very special flavor. Compared to the stir-fried and boiled dish, the grilled method keeps the crispness and chewiness best, so the locals love it the most.
Where to eat:
- Song Xanh restaurant: Road 30/4, Duong Dong Town
- Oc 343: 343 Road 30/4, Duong Dong Town
4. Nhum Bien
In the central region, fishermen often take meat and eggs of Nhum Bien (or sea urchin), season and lightly fry before adding them to the pot of porridge. And in Phu Quoc, the newly caught sea urchin will be cut thorns, split in half, washed and placed on a charcoal grill, adding fat onion to eat. In addition, visitors can also enjoy a number of other dishes such as porridge, rare and grilled sea urchin.
Where to eat:
- Oc 343 – 343 Road 30/4, KP 1, Duong Dong Town
- Hai San Nho – Dinh Cau Night Market – Duong Dong Town
- Bien Xanh shop – Ham Ninh Bridge, Ham Ninh Town
5. Bao Ngu
Bao Ngu or Abalone in Quoc Phu Quoc is famous for its nutritional value and is considered traditional medicine in oriental medicine. Fresh abalone can process many rustic dishes such as boiled, grilled, porridge…
Where to eat:
- Nghe So Oc Hen shop – Road 30/4, Duong Dong Town
- Ngheu So Phu Quoc shop – Road 30/4, Duong Dong Town
In addition, Phu Quoc also has many attractive specialties such as Mat Sim, Sim wine, fish sauce, king crab, grilled snails with salt and chili, scallop grilled with onion, grilled egg squid… These dishes are easily found in restaurants.
Activities in Phu Quoc
Activities to explore in Phu Quoc are mainly outdoor activities, such as fishing, diving, coral reefs, exploring the desert island, night squid fishing and mountain climbing.
Fishing: As an interesting pastime, the experienced crew in Phu Quoc will locate the reefs is where many fish are gathered so that you can catch grouper, melaleuca and other kinds of fish. The freshly caught fish will be served on board. This is also an opportunity to experience the hard life of fishermen on remote islands.
Coral scuba diving: The diverse ecosystem of the An Thoi archipelago in the South or the Mong Son and Doi Moi islands in the North Island is an ideal place for travelers to explore the world of the ocean. The coral reefs here are ranked among the most abundant in Vietnam with 17 types of hard, soft, and different corals.
Exploring wild islands: Experiencing untouched islands is a fascinating way to enjoy your holiday. An Thoi archipelago in the South Island or Mong Tay and Doi Moi islands on the North Island is always a great choice for this exciting activity during your trip to Phu Quoc.
Night squid fishing: When night falls, the whole island of Phu Quoc becomes silent but the fishermen’s life is still hustling with shimmering lights like a bustling city. It is time to just relax and have fun with squid fishing.
Stream bathing – Exploring primeval forest: Phu Quoc is not only famous for its beautiful beaches but also known for its beautiful streams such as Suoi Tranh, Suoi Da, and Suoi Ban. Coming to these streams, visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the cool water and at the same time explore the unique ecosystem of Phu Quoc primeval forest.
We hope this detailed Phu Quoc island travel guide provides you with useful information and new ideas for your next holiday!
Meet in Phu Quoc!