Phu Quoc Travel Guide
Phu Quoc Island spans a total area of 515 sq km and rich in sparkling waters, seductive sands and its rugged jungle. While it may not get the attention of islands elsewhere in South East Asia such as Thailand, it is still able a high quality destination for Vietnam travel and more than matches the local competition.
In recent years Phu Quoc has seen a lot of changes with the development of a cruise ship port and international airport. Plus, there is a very nice visa-exemption scheme that helps to attract the greater tourist traffic.
But, this doesn’t mean that the natural beauty of this island hasn’t been maintained to a large extend. The majority of the island is reserved as a protected marine environment and National Park. Beyond relaxing on the beach, there are also plenty of fun places to visit and activities to enjoy for keeping the entire family entertained.
Even though Phu Quoc Island is quite large and has plenty of qualities, it does not seem to attract the total number of visitors that are witnessed in other Southeast Asian countries. But, with the plans to add more development, this region is certain to see changes and an increase in traffic with the Vietnam private tours.
Phu Quoc is open year-round with its peaking season lasting from November to March when the weather is the most comfortable and pleasant. By travelling at the best time of the year it is possible to appreciate the relaxed atmosphere, untouched natural environment, and stunning beaches on the Vietnam holiday packages, while also getting to enjoy the fantastic snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities.
How to get there
Travel to Phu Quoc Island is best achieved by using the local ferry service that is operated by Superdong, which runs from Ha Tien and Rach Gia on mainland Vietnam. Other points of departure include Ha Tien which is relatively close to the Cambodian border and useful for tourists that have been in Kampot, Sihanoukville, or other southern Cambodia regions.
Plus, there is the option to fly to Phu Quoc with the local airport accepting domestic and international flights.
Air flight within Vietnam can be quite cost-effective with a flight from Ho Chi Minh City costing in the region of $35.
Where to stay
The places to stay in Phu Quoc range from the low-cost hostels to 5-star resorts. But, the cost of guesthouses or hotels on this island isn’t as cheap as many of the other tourist attractions in mainland Vietnam. For instance, a basic guesthouse stay in Nha Trang would be approx 50% lower compared to staying on Phu Quoc Island. For this reason it can benefit to book early in an attempt to get the access to travel deals.
Duong Dong is the major city of Phu Quoc, which is the location of the fishing port and working/administrative centre. The most popular area for the guesthouses and hotels is in the Long Beach region. But, there are still plenty of places to stay all across the island. However, Long Beach is certain to appeal to those that want complete convenience and aren’t too concerned with having somewhere secluded or access to transport such as a scooter.
Eat and drink
Phu Quoc is a tropical island which means that seafood is one of the major dishes served in the restaurants. Most of the hotels along the beach have a great seafood restaurant for guests that are set-up on the beach every evening.
A visit to Dinh Cau Night Market in Duong Dong town is a great choice for the local and cost-effective dishes. Duong Dong is a great destination for those tourists on the Vietnam travel packages wishing to experience the local authentic dishes with a classic Vietnamese soup like Pho Bo costing in the region of $1.85.
Most of the shopping options on Phu Quoc Island come in the shape of quaint boutiques and street markets. There are plenty of great items to buy including the standard pre-packaged condiments and fresh produce, but also unique handicrafts and locally-farmed pearls that can make great gifts or souvenirs for friends or family.
A trip to the local markets like Duong Dong Market and Dinh Cau Night Market make it possible for the traveller to really appreciate the local culture. Most of these markets are filled with shoppers in search of a bargain for a variety of items, with the most popular including household items and freshly caught seafood.
Plus, many of these markets have the food stalls set-up nearby which service the fresh seafood and other authentic Vietnamese dishes at the very affordable prices. Plus, pre-packed food is also available such as cashew nuts, pepper, fish sauce and mushrooms.
The largest and busiest market on Phu Quoc Island is the Duong Dong Market where it is possible to buy a varied selection of fresh produce while also learning more about the local lifestyle. The market is well located on Tran Phu Street that makes it possible to create a wet zone by the port and buy the freshly-caught seafood like shellfish, barracuda, mackerel, squid, and eel. Plus, there are several great local specialities like cashew nuts, peppers, mushrooms and fish sauce that are readily sold by vendors. The dry section of the market is great for those in search of souvenirs.
A visit to the Dinh Cau Night Market is also perfect for the tourist in search of gifts or souvenirs for family or friends. It has endless choices of crafts and a great collection of seafood and other fresh produce. Plus, this is a useful destination for picking up the pearls.
Things to see and do
Phu Quoc Island isn’t just appreciated for its striking beaches, it also has the authentic fishing villages, Buddhist shrines and historical sites that are well worth a visit. A large area of Phu Quoc Island is taken up by the UNESCO-listed national park, which is great for those that love nature with its bird watching, photography, wildlife, camping and hiking opportunities.
Plus, the pepper plantations, traditional fishing villages and vibrant markets are great to get a better appreciation of the local lifestyle and to sample the regional specialities on the Vietnam family vacation.
Dinh Cau Rock (Temple)
Dinh Cau Rock is a great place to visit to enjoy the sunset in the evening and a great attraction while in Phu Quoc. It is located in Duong Dong Town near the mouth of the Duong Dong River. Constructed in 1937, the temple is much like a combination of a lighthouse and a Buddhist temple and dedicated to the Goddess of the sea - Thien Hau to give protection to the fisherman at sea. By climbing to the top of the steps it is possible to get a great view of the coast and fishing boats navigating the local waters.
A visit to the island of Hon Thom makes it possible to experience a magnificent day diving to see the corals. Travelling to Hon Thom is quite easy with a choice to ride on the passenger boats (between Hon Thom and An Thoi) or packaged tours on board the cruise ships that include stopping for diving and fishing. A trip into the centre of the island makes it possible to shop at a small market. This island has a slow and leisurely pace which makes it possible to watch the local fisherman go about their everyday lives.
Da Ban Spring
Located 16 km from the centre of Phu Quoc, Da Ban Spring is a great place to visit for a relaxing time exploring the wonderful nature and swimming in the spring. The steam from the springs rises from high mountain range to give a very peaceful and relaxing place with birds singing and water babbling, and there are usually only a few people there.
Da Ngon stream
A great place to visit on the Vietnam tour packages for its scenery is Da Ngon stream with its striking series of seven waterfalls. It flows year-round and perfect for those that love adventures and exploring. The preferred time to visit the steam is November to April. Even though it can be visited during the rainy season, it is necessary to be more cautious because the rocks get quite slippy and difficult to walk across.
Phu Quoc National Park
Covering nearly 50% of the island, Phu Quoc National park is a must-see destination on a visit to this part of Vietnam. There are plenty of park trails to fully explore the area and gives a perfect break from the heat of the midday sun. Established in 2001, this island has a varied mix of coastal and terrestrial coastal climates that help to create the more diverse landscape, which consists of forest on Rocky Mountains, coastal vegetation, sparse forested areas, wetlands and mangroves. This park has plenty of plants (nearly 1,164) and wildlife. Wildlife in the park includes over 200 animal species, such as amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, with several that are globally endangered.