Phu Quoc

15 Things To Do in Phu Quoc — An Island Blessed by the Sea

Phu Quoc Island (Vietnamese spelling: đảo Phú Quốc) is the largest island in Vietnam at 574 km2. Things to do in Phu Quoc center around fishing, diving, water sports, and local agriculture. The rapid tourist boom has led to investment in infrastructure like five-star hotels, resorts, and an international airport.

The island is in Phu Quoc District, Kien Giang Province (tỉnh Kiên Giang). It’s in the Gulf of Thailand, in the Mekong Delta ecological zone, with a sub-equatorial monsoon climate. The population is around 103 000.

The rainy season is from April to November. The dry season is from December to March with little rain. The hottest months are April and May reaching 35 oC.

Phu Quoc International Airport is its main link to the mainland, especially from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. If Phu Quoc is your first destination in Vietnam, you don’t need a visa if you stay less than 30 days.

Top Things To Do in Phu Quoc

The best of Phu Quoc is gifted from the sea itself. There are idyllic beaches across the island. Visitors can boat out to islands in An Thoi Archipelago for a day of reef diving, sea fishing, and lunching on the tastiest fresh catch. 

Pineapple Island has more for restless and active souls. There’s the thrill of the world’s longest sea cable, adrenaline-pumping watersports, or illuminating tours of pearl and seafood farms.

If you venture aroundyou can explore Phu Quoc National Park, visit religious sites, Phu Quoc Prison, and some pooch time at Ridgeback Dogs Preservation Center.

Signature products of Phu Quoc include fish sauce, peppercorns, and myrtle wine. These make a fine addition to your pantry as well as interesting gifts for friends and family.

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1. Best Thing To Do in Phu Quoc – An Thoi Archipelago

An Thoi Archipelago
[ by Anton Shuvalov from Unsplash]

Phu Quoc is famous for its beaches. If you come to Phu Quoc by boat, you will arrive at An Thoi Terminal. From there, you can buy a boat ticket to your island of choice within An Thoi Archipelago (Quần đảo An Thới).

Popular islands include Hon Thom Island, May Rut Island, Fingernail Island, Gam Ghi or Dam Ngang Island, Coconut Island, Roi Island, and Xuong Island. Visitors can book multiple island tour packages at the terminal.

There are intriguing pearl farms to tour and you can purchase these plum treasures for yourself or as a gift. The beauty of the ocean is a short dive out to the coral reefs, or just off the beach with starfish glinting through the crystal waters. 

Another fun thing to try is fishing — daytime or nighttime. Tours usually combine reef diving with fishing.

2. Best Coral Reefs for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Phu Quoc

Coral Reefs in Phu Quoc
[ by Flipper Diving Club from Facebook ]

Phu Quoc, alongside Nha Trang, is home to some of the best coral reefs in Vietnam. It covers 480 hectares with hundreds of species of soft and hard coral. It’s also home to over a hundred species of fish, seaweed, and other aquatic creatures. 

Phu Quoc is a great place to learn scuba diving, get your PADI certification, or just enjoy some amateur diving. The general depth and onboard visibility are 10 meters. Apart from multiple scuba-diving and snorkeling spots, on Pineapple Island there’s also underwater sea-walking.

The diving is macro-diving which means no big sharks, turtles, or large stingrays. Common sightings are small bamboo sharks, blue spotted rays, scorpionfish, nudibranch, crustaceans, cuttlefish, and octopus. 

Diving spots in the south are around An Thoi Archipelago including Pineapple Island, May Rut Island (Hòn Mây Rút), Roi Island (Hòn Rỏi), and Coconut Island (Hòn Dừa). In the North, there are Turtle Island (Hòn Đồi Mồi) and another Fingernail Island (Hòn Móng Tay).

More about scuba diving in Phu Quoc and Vietnam

3. Trekking at Phu Quoc National Park

Phu Quoc National Park
[ by Sdiscotrip – Phu Quoc from Facebook ]

Phu Quoc National Park (Vườn quốc gia Phú Quốc) has an abundance of nature ideal for trekking. The park covers around 70% of the island with no entrance fee. You can access the area via the roads on our map.

Locals and visitors come here for a refreshing getaway from the blazing sun. One of the better ways to freely explore this national park is by motorbike, because good tours aren’t readily available.

You can go follow the perimeter of the park on the concrete roads, or head along the trails to the center of the forest. There are parts that motorbikes can’t cross, so you’ll have to leave the bike and walk.

If you’re not the type for aimless wandering or need to cool off, then head to Da Ban Stream (suối Đá Bàn) and Suoi Tranh Waterfall (suối Tranh) for a freshwater splash and some rock bathing.

For a physical challenge, there’s Chua Mountain (núi Chúa). It’s 600m to the top with a magnificent view of the national park.

Protip: Prepare adequate water and food. Bring a good pair of hiking shoes and a basic first-aid kit including insect repellent just in case.

4. Horrors of War at Phu Quoc Prison

Phu Quoc Prison
[ by Wietnam Blog & Vlog from Facebook ]

Phu Quoc Prison (Nhà tù Phú Quốc) is one of Vietnam’s most infamous prison museums alongside Con Dao and Hoa Lo. Visitors coming to this prison are typically American and Vietnamese veterans and their relatives.

Commonly known as Coconut Prison (Nhà lao Cây Dừa), this place has exhibits showcasing torture methods used during the Indochina and American Vietnam wars. The key exhibit is the Tiger Cage made of barb wire where prisoners were laid bare to the elements.

Phu Quoc Prison lasted from 1967 to 1973 and held over 36 000 captives. There were over 4 000 deaths and tens of thousands of permanently disabled victims, which were later recorded as a war crime.

Discover more about Phu Quoc Prison

5. Sao Beach and Other Beaches You Don’t Want to Miss

Phu Quoc Beaches
[ by Ryan Christodoulou from Unsplash ]

One of the best things to do in Phu Quoc is hanging loose on its beaches. Here’s a list of them for you to check out.

Sao Beach (bãi Sao) is the most popular and lively beach of Phu Quoc. It’s a great place for memorable pics on the leaning coconut tree beach swing – or to ride a jet ski.

Cua Can Beach (bãi Cửa Cạn), Long Beach (bãi Dài), Ong Lang Beach (bãi Ông Lang), and Ganh Dau Beach (mũi Gành Dầu) are popular beaches all with the beautiful scenery.

Khem Beach (bãi Khem) is a go-to for rustled up seafood snacks, especially after bamboo boat rowing or just splashing around.

Truong Beach (bãi Trường) is a modern beach. It has the Sunset Sanato Beach Club where the annual Epizode Music Festival is held.

6. Fishing Ventures on The Sea

Fishing Ventures on The Sea
[ by Nat Friedman from Flickr ]

Phu Quoc is an excellent place for all kinds of fishing excursions. Visitors can easily find fishing services at Duong Dong Port (cảng Dương Đông). 

Tour operators will take care of the rods, bait, and assist with useful instruction. Trips take you to the offshore fishing spots, and your catch of the day can be cooked up on the spot.

Shore-fishing for small fish can be done at Duong Dong Port, An Thoi Port (cảng An Thới), and Ham Ninh Pier (Mũi Hàm Ninh). 

Deep-sea fishing can be found at Duong Dong Port and An Thoi Port where boats will take you to locations around Pineapple Island and Turtle Island. 

Night squid fishing can also be found at Duong Dong Port to Pineapple Island.

7. Experience The Hardy Life of Village Fishermen

Village Fishermen
[ by Quangpraha from Pixabay ]

Phu Quoc has two main fishing villages: Hàm Ninh in the south and Rạch Vẹm in the north, and both have fun and interesting things to do. 

The crystal clear sea is filled with starfish which you can see as you walk along the shore. Even better is to join the fishermen and be their apprentice for the day. Afterward, you can feast on the earnings of a hard day’s work. 

Diners near the docks have fresh out the sea menus and eating in the seaside huts is well worth trying. Make sure you don’t miss out on the local crabs— Portunus pelagicus (ghẹ).

If you want to handpick your grub and save some money, you can buy live seafood from the boats at the docks, and they’ll cook it up dirt cheap. Remember to keep an eye on your batch in case you get baited and switched.

8. Family Fun Time at Vinpearl Phu Quoc

Vinpearl Phu Quoc
[ by Vinpearl Safari Phú Quốc from Facebook ]

Vinpearl Phu Quoc is an all-in-one resort with a variety of things to do including a theme park, a safari, a golf course, spas, hotels, and restaurants. A combo pass for VinWonders Theme Park and Vinpearl Safari is cheaper than buying individual tickets. You can also find deals from online websites like Klook.

VinWonders offers many recreational activities from the aquarium to roller coasters, as well as themed attractions and performances. VinOasis is technically a hotel that offers unlimited access to its waterpark. Grand World residential area has an extensive walking street with shopping, food and beverage establishments.

Vinpearl Safari will take visitors on a family-friendly bus to view animals such as lemurs, flamingoes, tigers, giraffes, elephants, bears, zebras, and rhinos. Under supervision, you can interact with different species of primates, birds, and reptiles, while kids can pet and help take care of baby animals.

9. A Plethora of Entertainment at Hon Thom Island

Hon Thom Island
[ by pduyma from Pixabay ]

Hon Thom Island (Hòn Thơm) or Pineapple Island is one of the more developed islands. The investment comes from Sun Group, who also manages Bana Hills in Danang and the Fansipan Legend in Sapa.

One of the top things to do in Phu Quoc is to ride the Hon Thom Cable Car from An Thoi to Hon Thom Island. It’s the world’s longest sea cable at 7 900 m with stunning aerial views of the islands. 

The all-inclusive fee covers an electric car ride to Sun World Beach, the floating inflatable bounce house, lockers, beach chairs, and life vests. The more exciting water sports like paragliding and jet-skiing cost extra.

There are untouched islets surrounding Pineapple Island that you can reach by boat. From there, there are many options from visiting pearl or seafood farms to coral diving and fishing.

10. Dinh Cau Temple the Spiritual Symbol of Phu Quoc

Dinh Cau Temple
[ by huynhloc from Flickr ]

Dinh Cau Pier (Mũi Dinh Cậu) in Duong Dong Town (thị trấn Dương Đông) is home to Dinh Cau Temple (Dinh Cậu)— the spiritual symbol of Phu Quoc. The tale behind the temple dates back to the 17th century where fishermen caught in a storm survived by making it to the island pier. 

Afterward, people built a temple on the island to pray for safe passage. The present-day temple dates from 1937 and is the place of worship for Cham Goddess Po Nagar (Chúa Ngọc Nương Nương/ Thiên Y A Na) and her two sons Cậu Quý and Cậu Tài.

Protip: Dinh Cau Pier is a great place to watch the sunset and Phu Quoc Night Market has great seafood street diners with vegan options.

11. Ho Quoc Pagoda Where the Mountain Meets the Sea

Ho Quoc Pagoda
[ by Quangpraha from Pixabay ]

Ho Quoc Pagoda (chùa Hộ Quốc) is a Truc Lam Zen (thiền phái Trúc Lâm) monastery with a mesmerizing view. Located on a forested mountain, the pagoda also has a front view of the sea.

Take a spiritual hike through magnificent scenery, breathe in the fresh air, and find your inner peace. The 70-step dragon and phoenix staircase leads to an iconic jade Buddha. There’s also a bounty of great photo opportunities all around the complex.

Based on feng shui, this pagoda has one of the best locations in Vietnam. The architecture is a combination of Ly and Tran Dynasties in the tradition of Northern Vietnam. The location, combined with the architecture, is what distinguishes it from Yen Tu Zen Monastery as well as the one in Dalat.

12. Learn How Fish Sauce is Made

Phu Quoc Fish Sauce
[ by Stefan from Flickr ]

Fish sauce is the most famous condiment of Vietnam noted for its pungence and characteristic saltiness. Phu Quoc’s traditional fish sauce products bear an illustrious European Union Protected Designation of Origin (POD).

Learning about this iconic Veitnamese product is one of the most interesting things to do in Phu Quoc. Vietnamese fish sauce is typically made from fermented anchovies. The first yield of fish sauce in a batch is the highest quality with a protein concentration of around 42%.

There are three popular fish sauce factories open to visitors on the island namely,  Phụng Hưng, Phú Quốc Khải Hoàn, and Thịnh Phát. The factories have fish sauce instructors and basic visuals for foreign visitors.

Protip: Phụng Hưng Fish Sauce Factory is right opposite to Phu Quoc Prison. If you plan on taking fish sauce home on the plane, shops can package it as ‘safe checked baggage’.

13. Photogenic Pepper Farms

Phu Quoc Pepper Farms
[ by Nguyen Hung Vu from Flickr ]

Another high quality signature product of Phu Quoc is peppercorns. Phu Quoc’s peppercorns come in three grades. The highest grade are the white peppercorns, followed by red, and then the common black peppercorns.

One of the most well-known pepper farms in Phu Quoc is Khu Tượng. Coming here, visitors can observe the  daily care of the trees. The trees are over two meters tall and a favorite for avid photographers.

You can taste-test Phu Quoc’s pepper for its defined fragrance and heat before you buy. Caramelized peppers are quite a surprise if you’ve never tried them before.

14. Get Tipsy on Myrtle Wine

Myrtle Wine
[ by Sim Sơn Phú Quốc from Facebook ]

Myrtle (sim) products from Phu Quoc are delicacies that have made international fame. Goods in local shops include myrtle wine, candies, nectar, and syrup.

Bay Gao Myrtle Garden (vườn sim Bảy Gáo) was founded by Mạc Văn Nghiêm— the originator of myrtle wine. This place continues to produce its wine in the traditional way.  Remember to pay attention to the varied alcohol content when choosing your wine.

Thanh Long Myrtle Garden (vườn sim Thành Long) and Sim Son Phu Quoc (Sim Sơn Phú Quốc) are best places for free-to-try product sampling.

15. Thanh Nga Ridgeback Dogs Preservation Center

Thanh Nga Ridgeback Dogs Preservation Center
[ by Vietnamese Phu Quoc Ridgeback from Facebook ]

Out of his love for ridgeback dogs, Lê Quốc Tuấn grew this dog farm into Thanh Nga Ridgeback Dogs Preservation Center (Trung tâm bảo tồn chó xoáy Phú Quốc Trang trại Thanh Nga). The dogs here are well-trained and given the utmost care in a healthy environment.

Ridgebacks are one of four dog breeds unique to Vietnam. They have strong hunting instincts and are intensely loyal. Their physical features make them supreme jumpers, swimmers, and diggers— not to mention their natural intelligence which makes them ideal for professional training.

Visitors can watch these dogs racing on  tracks designed with climbing, swimming, and other natural obstacles. The dogs are well-tamed so you can interact with the fully-grown adults and pups.

The center is divided into sections dedicated to housing, breeding, pup and veterinary  care. There’s also a special burial area for deceased canines.

Protip: The center is only 500 m away from Tranh Spring.

How to Get to Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc Island has an international airport. It’s quicker to get to the island from Ho Chi Minh City than Hanoi

Flights from Tan Son Nhat Airport (sân bay Tân Sơn Nhất) in Ho Chi Minh City take about one hour. Tickets are around 650 000 VND and may increase to over 1 000 000 VND during busy periods. That’s why it’s best to book at least one month prior.

Coaches (Travel Buses): There are two routes across the Mekong Delta depending on whether you want to spend more time on the coach or the boat. Checkmybus is a good booking agency. 

  • Ho Chi Minh City – Rach Gia city (Rạch Giá) – Phu Quoc Island: The total travel time is about 8 hours 30 minutes, at around 500 000 VND. The coach to Rach Gia (150 000 VND) takes 6 hrs 30 min and the boat to Phu Quoc An Thoi Terminal (350 000 VND) takes 2 hrs 45 min. A high speed ferry costs more. 
  • Ho Chi Minh City – Ha Tien city (Hà Tiên) – Phu Quoc Island: Total travel time is approximately 9 hours, at around 450 000 VND. The coach to Ha Tien (180 000 VND) takes about 8 hrs, and the boat to Phu Quoc An Thoi Terminal (250 000 VND) 1 hr 20 min. The high speed ferry costs extra.

Bikes/ Cars: The two routes are the same except that you have to take a ferry instead of a boat to bring your vehicle along. Check out our curated map for the directions.

Getting Around Phu Quoc

Tours are a stress-free option and you can find popular ratings and reviews ones on Tripadvisor.

You can book canoes to go fishing from Duong Dong Port (cảng Dương Đông).

There are boats from An Thoi Terminal (cảng An Thới) to islands in An Thoi Archipelago.

The easiest way to get around Phu Quoc Island on your own is to rent a motorbike. This can be done online and it’s better than trying to find a taxi or a Grab Ride.

Grab is the equivalent of Uber and it’s an affordable choice for short trips. It only requires a phone number to receive an SMS and an Internet connection. For more information, check out their English homepage.

Traveling Tips for Phu Quoc

Best Time to Visit: The ideal time is from November to April when the weather is nice, the current is calm, and the water temperature is around 28 – 31oC.

Accommodation: Hotels in Duong Dong Town (thị trấn Dương Đông) are close to the airport and convenient for reaching destinations. Homestays by the docks and on the islands are a nice choice and can also save some money.

Food: Local markets and boats by the docks are where you can get fresh seafood for cheap.

Environment: Wherever you go, please be mindful of the environment, not just at natural attractions. Culture: Clothes covering knees and shoulders are required at religious structures.

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