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Phu Quoc Travel Guide

About

The largest island situated off the coast of Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc started out as a simple fishing village, with one of their primary exports being fish sauce; achieved by fermenting natively-fished black anchovies with salt in large wooden vats for six months to a year. Don't be fooled by how the process sounds, though: Phu Quoc is well-known for the quality of its fish sauce being the highest in Vietnam, even the world. In 2012, Phu Quoc was granted a European Union Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), meaning only fish sauce produced on the island can be made and sold under that name, mainly at Duong Dong Market. Besides appealing to potential travelling foodies, Phu Quoc is also a host to many natural beauties untouched by industry; such as Bai Sao Beach, Suoi Tranh Waterfall and Duong Đong River. Indeed, many buildings in Phu Quoc barely reach the sky, giving you a rare and serene experience unlike bustling cities or urban landscapes anywhere else in the world.

Local Custom & Slang

Conversational Quirks

  • As opposed to other parts of Vietnam, and even Eastern culture as a whole, the culture of Phu Quoc may seem different or even controversial. While the former usually emphasises on being reserved and keeping to one's self, interacting with the locals of Phu Quoc may open you to a very different experience. For example, simply asking for directions on the street can end up with questions about who you are and what you do for a living. While this may seem intrusive, don't be put off! It is simply the local mentality here, where most natives are acquainted in one way or another, bringing complete strangers into their circles is natural in Phu Quoc.

Social Cues

  • Another social quirk of Phu Quoc locals is that they usually refrain from criticising another person; be it acquaintance or stranger, and don't answer "no" to an offer. Consider this the next time you are making arrangements with a native, knowing that if you insist upon your conditions, the other party can complete your request without any moral doubts.

Most Matriachal

  • A unique aspect of Phu Quoc communities is a good majority of families are comprised of matriachies, leading some to believe that Phu Quoc women can be quite tempered. Perhaps this is the reason why female tourists are very rarely harrassed, and females can travel around Phu Quoc quite safely alone.

Phrases for eating

  • May I have the menu please: Cho toi cai menu duoc khong (Cho toy khai menu duuc khom)
  • What is this?: Cai gi vay? (kai zi vai)
  • I am allergic to peanuts: To di ung voi dau phong (Doi yi ung voy dau fong)
  • I cannot eat pork: Toi khong an duoc thit heo (Toi khom an duo tit hehll)
  • I am vegetarian: Toi an chay (Toi an chayh)
  • I would like to have this: Cho toi cai nay (Chor toi kah nai)
  • May I have the bill please: Tinh tien (Din ting)

Phrases for shopping

  • How much (is this?): Bao nhieu? (baow nyew)

  • Could you reduce the price?: Giam gia duoc khong? (zam za duoc khom)

  • Is this for sale?: Co ban khong? (cor ban kohm?)

  • It's too expensive: Mac qua (mac wa)

  • You are very beautiful: Em dep qua (Em dep wah)

  • You are very handsome: Anh dep trai qua (Anh dep wah)

  • a cheeky but effective tip is to ask the price from a Vietnamese seller then compliment them. The Vietnamese love it when visitors do this, and you would almost every time score much more affordable prices after pulling this tactic.

Trip Essentials

  • Weather
  • Currency
  • Visa
  • Electricity
  • The dry season in Phu Quoc lasts from November to March. Temperatures during these periods range from 25°C and 28°C. This is a popular time for tourists to visit the beaches.

  • The rainy season is from July to September, with temperatures ranging from 22°C to 24°C. While weather conditions may appear pleasant, many parts of Phu Quoc would have extremely muddy roads. Avoid exploring the island on foot, bicycle or motorbike during these conditions.

Transportation

By Taxi

  • Taxis are easily available by the dozens right outside Phu Quoc International Airport once you disembark from your flight. It is generally accepted as the fastest way to get to town, and with the added benefit of most drivers being English speakers. This means a minimal in time wasted from miscommunication, and even your driver recommending you to attractions and restaurants on the island.

  • The usual taxi companies present in other parts of Vietnam are also available here: the green Mai Linh taxi, the white Vinasun Taxi, and the blue-striped white Taxi Thanh Cong, to name a few.

  • While the location of your hotel can vary the fare: expect to pay between 90,000 VND and 600,000 VND, excluding the mandatory 2,000 VND airport toll.

  • Local Operator: Mai Linh Taxi and Vinasun

  • Other Operators: Dinchung Taxi

By Motorcycle Taxi (Xe Om)

  • The quintessentially Vietnamese xe om, or motorcycle taxi, is another great way to wuickly navigate Phu Quoc. As the island is still mostly undeveloped with winding dirt paths for roads rather than the usual asphalt, the smaller and nippier xe oms, with an experienced local at the helm, can get you to many of Phu Quoc's sights and sounds quickly.

  • Fares vary; short trips between local beaches can cost no more than 10,000 VND while some offered full-day island tours can go up to 150,000 VND.

By Bicycle Rental

  • While not considered the fastest mode of transportation, these rental services are popular for those making short journeys between beaches, or even adventure-seekers looking to traverse more undualting terrain beyond the main town. If you are seeking to try out the latter, be sure to wear a face mask and a helmet, as the former would protect you from dust clouds thrown up by any passing vehicles.

  • Most hotels and resorts on Phu Quoc offer bicycle rentals for as little as 23,000 VND or US$1 per day.

By Motorbike Rental

  • Another mode of transport for the more adventurous traveller, renting a motorbike grants you total freedom to explore any part of Phu Quoc at your own pace. Traffic in the island's main city of Duong Dong is also much lighter compared to other Vietnamese cities, making it ideal for motorcyclists.

  • Most motorcycle rental shops can be found along Hai Ba Trung St. in Duong Dong area offering rates between 120,000 VND to 250,000 VND, while resorts offer rentals at higher rates.

  • Motorcycling in Phu Quoc is a common sight, and there are many communities formed around it. Refer to this local island guide for more details should you plan to rent one.

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