More than just awesome beaches and luxurious hotels, Phu Quoc offers the best experience for travellers. Check out these 9 exciting things to do on the islands.
Phu Quoc, a chain of islands located in the emerald ocean of Southeast Asia, is currently preparing itself as one of the must-visit destinations in Vietnam. It has become a new highlight to the country’s other attractions such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Nha Trang.
You can already find nice Phu Quoc hotels, attractions, restaurants, and bars—especially after the opening of Phu Quoc International Airport in 2012. With its untouched beauty of nature, the island is the perfect place to go for a relaxing holiday.
If you are planning to add Phu Quoc on your next destination, here is the list of things that you should do on the remote island.
One of the best things about Phu Quoc is that it has a beautiful coastline. The water tends to be calm with emerald colour. The Phu Quoc district consists of 1 big island and 21 small islets. Most of the islands are remote and uninhabited, making it a nice destination for a day trip.
From the main island of Phu Quoc, you can cross to the smaller islands by using a cable car or a ferry boat. There are tour operators that would offer you a day trip to Hon Thom, Hon Kho, Buom, and May Rut Island. Islands, such as Hon Kho, Buom, and May Rut, offer a wonderful marine life especially if you decide to go for snorkelling or diving.
The package usually features a cable car trip to Hon Thom Island. You can see the panoramic view of the ocean from a height of 174 meters above the sea. A typical tour would cost around S$85 per person.
Are you interested in something challenging? Kayaking might be the right activity for you. There are Phu Quoc hotels that offer a kayaking tour around the island. Some tour operators even have a package of 3-days kayaking, exploring the water and see the Phu Quoc nature life from a close distance.
The kayaking trip usually takes to along the Cua Can River to the feet of Mui Ong Quoi Mountain. However, it is important to take a short kayaking class before you decide to go on a longer trip. Safety knowledge is basic, and you need to follow the instruction carefully to enjoy the trip. A 3-day package price may start around S$ 350 per person depending on the provider.
Squid-fishing is a unique thing that you wouldn’t get anywhere besides in Phu Quoc. The tour mainly starts from Duong Dong, just before the sunsets. You would be taken in a 3-hour sail with a small fishing boat to the location.
The fishermen would teach you the traditional method of squid-fishing. If you are lucky enough to catch some, the fishermen would be glad to cook it in Vietnamese style. The menu includes vegetable noodle soup, squid porridge, grilled squid and shrimp, and fresh fruits as dessert. The trip would cost around S$70 per adult as children cannot go on board and fish.
4. Visit Vinpearl Safari
Managed by the popular Vingroup, the Vinpearl Safari is a great place to take the children in Northwest of Phu Quoc. It is situated 35 kilometres away from Phu Quoc International Airport, and can be reached in just 1 hour.
The safari park is home to around 150 species that are carefully taken care of. Each of the species is placed in an open zoo, which is designed as close as possible to their natural habitat. You can enjoy seeing the animals from a caged vehicle that strolls around the park. In fact, it is praised as the biggest open zoo in Vietnam and known for the decently maintained park and healthy animals.
If you are interested, you can buy the ticket online for S$100 per person. To get a satisfying experience, it is best that you start the trip in the morning. The weather is not too hot, especially when you are taking little children with you.
5. The Duong Dong Market
Nothing beats the wisdom of a local market when visiting a new place. Not just like any market, the Duong Dong night market offers a wide range of local food, clothing, fresh produce, and souvenirs. The market is set on the Tran Phu Street and extends near the Duong Dong port.
Near the port, you can find the wet area, where local fishermen sell their catch. There are many exotic fishes to try—from eel, shrimp, squid, to barracuda. The dry area of the market is divided into several zones where you can find food stalls, souvenir shops, and produce shops.
Some of the famous product that you can buy are Phu Quoc's fish sauce and black pepper. It is a perfect combination, especially if you are planning to have a barbeque night back at the villa. The food stalls offer Vietnamese delicacies, such as raw herring salad and sticky rice cake called banh tet, which is a die die must try if you visit the country.
6. The Phu Quoc Prison
Behind the rapid development of hotels, parks, and sparkling resorts, Phu Quoc has a rather dark history of being a place for the prisoners of war. The prison is located near the Sao beach, in the South of the island. It was built and used by the French during the Vietnam war.
Now, the prison has transformed into a monument, which presents a gallery and a small museum inside. As the monument keeps some of the most notorious records of prison torture, it is not recommended to bring your children along.
You will find wax figures, ruins, and photographs of the scene. Be prepared for a gruesome depiction of what was happening in prison: tortures, starving prisoners, and death. The tour would only cost S$17 per person, and you will be guided by a local that narrates the story in English, Vietnamese, or French language.
7. Eco-Tours on the National Park
Nearly half of the Phu Quoc area is a UNESCO site, meaning it is reserved as the world’s heritage. You can stroll around its nature park and enjoy the fresh air brought by the trees and the sea. Still, you would need a guide since there are areas that are forbidden to enter.
Some Phu Quoc hotels may offer you an option of the eco-tours. The tour will take you to natural forests, streams, marine life, waterfalls, canyons, and caves. Depending on the package you pick, you can stroll around the island by walking, hiking, or using a bicycle.
For example, you can take a hike to the nearest waterfall and feel the refreshing water by swimming down the stream. Another activity to experience is watching the whale and dolphin leaping by on a canoe. At night, you may want to look for the bioluminescent plankton that drives on the shore, creating a luminous blue light on the soft ocean waves.
8. Snorkelling in An Thoi Islands
Just across the southern part of Phu Quoc island, lies the An Thoi Islands that consists of 15 uninhabited islets. In summer, you would get the best experience of life underwater there. The colourful coral reefs and exotic fishes are the ones to die for. Some of the most popular species you can find are the spiked starfish, cuttlefish, green turtles, and lionfish.
Tour packages may include fishing, snorkelling, and boat riding along the islands. Still, you can rent a private boat if you want to have a more relaxing time exploring the area. More exclusive, lah.
The price of the package would be varies, but it starts around S$170 per person. Make sure you get a trusted provider to ensure the best experience of the islands.
9. See the Beauty of the Temples
Take a cultural trip by visiting the beautiful temples of Phu Quoc. When you see for yourself, you can get the idea that a colourful and sacred temple harmonizes beautifully with the hue of the sunset and the ocean.
The first temple you can visit is the Ho Quoc Pagoda. Though it is relatively new, it is one of the few temples that function as a monastery and eco-tourism spot. Behind the temple, you can meet monkeys and hornbills if you are lucky.
Another temple to visit is the Dinh Cau temple. It is basically a rock near the Duong Dong port where the fishermen used to pray before they go fishing. Or, you can also visit the Sung Hung Pagoda, which is an old temple that has been there for almost two centuries. It is surrounded by old banyan trees, giving the whole classic look to the temple.
Since the temples are still in use, it is suggested that you dress nicely, speak softly, and keep the cleanliness of the place. Some temples have its resident monks, and you can interact with them to know the history of the temple deeper.
Unlike other destinations in Asia, there is less scam in Phu Quoc. Most locals are friendly and would be honest about the price. Sure, you’re still going to research some more about trusted tour providers so that you will get the best for what you have paid for.