Known as the jewel in Vietnam’s crown, Phú Quốc is a gorgeous tropical island off of Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand, situated near Cambodia. Being the largest island of Vietnam, Phú Quốc boasts idyllic beaches, romantic sunsets, evergreen forests, and a serene atmosphere, making it a whole different world from other parts of Vietnam.
Flight from Saigon: The fastest and easiest way to get to the island is fly from Saigon. We paid USD60 per person for round tickets via Vietjet.
Bus-ferry from Saigon (via Ha Tien or Rach Gia): A much cheaper way of travelling starting from USD19, but the journey will take you about 11-hours.
Bus-ferry from Cambodia (via Kampot): A popular way of travelling among the backpackers.
Take note: Ferry tickets sell out fast during high or holiday seasons.
Where we stayed?
You will be pampered with so many choices on different types of accommodation this island can offer! Accommodation ranges from cheap dorm-bed hostels to luxurious beach-villas. Over our 4 nights on the island, we stayed in two different places for different experiences.
9 Station Hostel
Located along the Long Beach district in Duong Dong Downtown, 9 Station Hostel features a bar-restaurant (with free flow beer every evening), outdoor pool, pool table, free laundry and daily night activities such as beer pong and pub quiz. The hostel not only provides scooter and bicycle rental but also offers affordable boat tours to small islands where you can experience snorkeling, swimming, fishing and corals sightseeing.
What we love: friendly staffs equip with good knowledge on the island, open space bar, daily free beer, walking distance to beach and night market, dorm-beds with privacy, large locker for backpacks.
Average price per night/bed: USD9
Sen Lodge Bungalow Village
Located away from the main street, Sen Lodge is a little oasis if you prefer a quieter environment. The bungalows are super cool built with charming wooden structures that are nestled around a beautiful garden and pool area. We can only afford to stay for a night just for the treehouse!
What we love: super helpful staff, laid-back environment, peaceful, clean and tidy everywhere.
Price for Treehouse/night: USD37
When to go?
What we ate?
Apart from Phở, we fell in love with the Vietnamese grilled pork chop rice which is a popular dish in Southern Vietnam, along with other street food!
Note: Food on Phú Quốc’ Island are slightly more expensive than in mainland.
What we did?
Cruising on Motobike
The cheapest and easiest way to explore the island is by riding motorbikes. Luckily, Phú Quốc’s traffic is nothing like Saigon or Hanoi. The island is pretty quiet traffic-wise, so even first-time motorbike riders can get around without too much hassle. We rented a motorbike from 9 Station Hostel for 150,000VND (~USD6.50) which is much cheaper than renting from other motorbikes rental shop. Petrol costs 45,000VND (~USD2) for full tank and can actually last us for one whole day’s journey.
Take note: By law, in order to drive a motorbike, foreigners must have an International Driving Permit. This is enforced through regular traffic stops and if you’re caught, expect to pay a fine.
There are so many beaches on the island and it was quite impossible to visit all during our short stay (okay, we tried to do it on one day but we got bored after seeing more or less the same stuff).
The first beach we explored was Sao Beach, which is supposed to be the best beach on the island due to it’s powdery white sand. However, maybe due to it’s popularity with tourists, the beach is no longer as pretty as it should be. There are a lot of accumulated rubbish and the sand isn’t that white.
We visited Thom beach by chance while riding around the Northern area. Located on north-eastern part of the island, Thom beach is a wild and not well-maintained rugged beach. We weren’t sure if there is an entrance to the beach, so we just rode into one of the home-stays along the coast which offers reasonable-priced meals.
Stretching over 20-kilometers, Long Beach is the most popular beach clustered with hostels and villas. It is considered the main beach of Phú Quốc where you get to enjoy roof top bars and international music festival being held here.
And here’s to our favorite beach: Ong Lang Beach. Not the most idyllic of spots, but this is one of the peaceful beach away from hustle and bustle of Long Beach. This is also one of the best places to catch sunsets!
Visiting Night Markets
Eating and shopping at night markets are probably one of the few things you can do at night on the island. The most popular and well-known night market is Phú Quốc Night Market (used to be known as Dinh Cau Night Market) where you get to eat the freshest seafood right out from the tanks. However, this market is “made-for-tourists”, thus prices are much higher compared to the mainlands of Vietnam.
Again, we had “accidentally” came by a local night market on the other side of the island. However, this night market is more of selling common necessities and has a carnival with games and stage performances (guess that what the admission fee is for). We were later being told by a local that this market only happens a few times to encourage locals to buy more stuff as everything sold here are much cheaper than he norm.
Discover the dark side in Coconut Tree Prison
Also known as Phú Quốc Prison, this war museum serves as a bleak reminder of Vietnam’s turbulent past, where thousands people were imprisoned and tortured during the Vietnam War. Since 1995, it houses authentic torture instruments, photographs of former detainees and exhibits of brutal punishments.
Price: 3,000VND (we got in for free during the lunch break)
Trek the Off-Beaten Stream
Instead of visiting the popular Tranh Stream, we chose to ride further and rugged path for a hidden gem.
Suối Tiên (a.k.a. Fairy Stream) is a small stream and forested area near a fishing village which is not easy to find. The place is renowned locally for its scenery, giant flat rocks, and ambiance. At certain places the small stream splits into several arms or flows into a pond, surrounded by interesting plants.
Price: Free! However, you will need to pay 5,000VND to the local family who will help you look after your motorbike.
Be a kid at Vinpearl Land
Vinpearl Land Amusement Park Phú Quốc is a massive entertainment hub that contains several sections, including an outdoor water park, a safari, indoor arcade centre, an aquarium, and shopping street. It’s an incredible resort that is absolutely the best family friendly entertainment centre on Phú Quốc Island.
Price: 750,000vnd from Sen Lodge (USD33/pax for combo tickets)
We think that one should spend at least 4-5 days to explore this beautiful island, any lesser will do injustice to yourself.