Known as the jewel in Vietnam’s crown, Phú Quốc (pronounced as “foo kwok”) 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 paradisaical beaches, romantic sunsets, evergreen forests, and a serene atmosphere, making it a whole different world from other parts of Vietnam.
Getting to Phú Quốc
Flight from Saigon: The fastest and easiest way to get to the island is fly from Saigon. We paid about US$60 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 US$19, but the journey will take you about 11-hours.
Bus-ferry from Cambodia (via Kampot): A popular way of travelling among the backpackers coming from Phnom Penh.
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 also provides scooter and bicycle rental, 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.
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 spent our last night in one of their tree houses.
What we love: super helpful staff, laid-back environment, peaceful, clean and tidy everywhere.
Best time to visit
Like most countries in Southeast Asia, Phu Quoc has only 2 seasons: wet and dry. Late October till March is probably the best time to visit Phu Quoc, with cooler temperatures from 25–28°C. This is also the peak seoson on the island so try to plan ahead.
From April to June, the weather conditions are good but temperatures can reach 35°C and humidity is high. If you like to enjoy low season and wet weather, then visit during monsoon season – July to September.
What to do in Phú Quốc
Cruising on Scooter
The cheapest and easiest way to explore the island is riding scooter. 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 150,000 VND (~US$6.50) which is much cheaper than renting from other motorbikes rental shop. Petrol costs 45,000 VND (~US$2) for full tank and usually last us for more than one 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 as many as 20 beaches on this island across 150-kilometers of coast! We wanted to explore as many beaches in one day but we got distracted and explored only 4 beaches instead.
- Sao Beach – Supposedly to be the best beach on the island due to it’s powdery white sand. However, due to it’s popularity with tourists, the beach has been accumulated rubbish and wasn’t as pretty.
- Thom Beach – 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.
- Long Beach – 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.
- 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. We were just in time to catch the beautiful sunset from here!
Shop at Night Markets
Eating and shopping at night markets are one of the best things to do in Southeast Asia. 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. The market is open daily between 4:30 p.m to midnight
We had “accidentally” came by a local night market on the other side of the island. This night market is more of selling common necessities and entertainment for locals like carnival games, gambling and stage performances. We were later told by a local that this market only happens occasionally to allow locals to buy more stuff at one time and the price is much lower then in stores.
Eat like a local
Food expenses in Phu Quoc is higher compared to other parts of Vietnam. The trick is, eat at places where you spot more locals than foreigners. You must definitely try grilled pork chop with broken rice (Cơm Sườn), only in South Vietnam!
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: 3,000 VND (we got in for free during the lunch break)
Visit the traditional Ham Ninh Fishing village
Nestled on the east side of Phú Quốc,Ham Ninh Fishing Village is an ideal locale for foreign visitors looking to experience peaceful, slow-paced flow of the local daily life. It is an old fishing village that still reserves houses mostly on stilts, humbly made of wood. Don’t forget to try on the dish of boiled crab which is a specialty here.
Overlooking Dương Đông Town from Cau Temple
Mounted on top of Dinh Cau Rock, Cau temple is frequently visited by local fishermen to pray for peace and success prior to their trips. From the temple, tourists can close their eyes listening to the waves or admiring a beautiful sky sparkling on the sea surface. The left is a boundless smooth white sand beach with rows of oblique coconuts and the right side is the harbor of densely tied-up boats.
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 5,000 VND 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, outdoor rides and water fountain show! It’s an incredible resort that is absolutely the best family friendly entertainment centre on Phú Quốc Island.
Price: 750,000 VND from Sen Lodge (US$33/pax for combo tickets)
Is Phú Quốc worth visiting?
Absolutely 100% YES! There are no doubt great beaches, but that’s not all the island is about. We think that one should spend at least 4-5 days to explore this beautiful island, any lesser will do injustice to yourself.
Lastly, if you want to keep a track of all my photos and travels, remember to follow @wanderrsaurus on Instagram!