Local Custom & Slang
Discover by Interest
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.
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.
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.
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.
Other Operators: Dinchung Taxi
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.
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.
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.