Beaches, beaches, beaches!
Let’s face it, Phu Quoc is in your itinerary because you want a beach getaway. This gorgeous island is surrounded on all sides with stunning beaches, most of which are completely deserted and are yet to be explored. You would probably want to spend most of your time digging the sand with your toes or lying under a sun umbrella with a good book.
The western side of the island has Long Beach. This is where most of the fancy resorts are located as this is the biggest beach on the island. If you prefer a deserted one to yourself though, you should grab a motorbike and explore elsewhere. Try Sao Beach on the east coast, which is gaining popularity among travelers. The turquoise water is crystal clear, the beach is not crowded, and it will allow you to snap a few postcard pictures. Other beaches to look for including Ong Lang, Bai Thom, and Bai Dai. Many of the beaches are not even marked on maps properly which is why getting around on a motorcycle and going wherever it looks good is a great idea!
Diving and snorkeling!
Phuc Quoc island actually has the best marine life in all of Vietnam, making it a great place to explore underwater. There are plenty of diving and snorkeling opportunities around the island and you can even get your PADI certification here. You’ll be able to spot a variety of marine animals such as nudibranchs, cuttlefish, octopus, scorpionfish, various crustaceans, anemones, and moray eels. The water is calm and clear, so it’s a great place for beginners. Top dive sites include Dry Island, Nudibranch Island, and An Thoi Islands, the latter being a set of 15 islets, with a little more challenging underwater environment.
Dinh Cau Night Markets
Unlike most Southeast Asian markets, this is not really where you come to buy a bunch of dodgy souvenirs – this is mainly a place for fresh seafood and local Vietnamese food. If you’re keen to try the local delicacies, I urge you to pay a visit to this particular night market.
You can even choose between a live frog or snake which will be cooked fresh for you (yeah no, I’m good!). One of my favorite things to eat at the night markets is yummy rolled ice cream – I love this stuff!!
They have a variety of flavors that they mash into the fresh ice cream and roll it into little cups – delicious!! You can visit the Dinh Cau night markets any night of the week between 5 to 10 pm.
Visit Suoi Tranh Waterfall
If you’ve had enough of the sea and the sun, you can visit Suoi Tranh Waterfall. Although it is not very high, this 4-meter waterfall is located in a lovely spot surrounded by lush rainforest, caves, and rock pools. It’s an easy 10 to 15-minute walk to reach the waterfalls from the main entrance.
For those who love hikes, you can walk a bit further past the waterfall, around 15 kilometers and you will reach Hang Doi (Grotto of Bats) which is a cave formation only 200 meters in height with stalactites. The entry to the waterfall is 5000 Vietnamese Dong.
The birth of the Cao Dai religion was right here in Phu Quoc in 1919. The beautiful Cao Dai temple was built much later however, in 2008, using donations made by followers. It is a must-visit — the architecture is not only stunning, but it is super interesting to see the rituals of the locals. There are worshipping ceremonies held daily between 06:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Make sure to dress appropriately.
Dinh Cau Rock (Cau Temple) is another pagoda worth visiting. This structure was built in 1937 to commemorate the goddess of the sea, Thien Hau, believed to provide protection to the fishermen heading out to sea. Once you climb to the top, you will be rewarded with spectacular sunset views over the Dinh Cau Beach – all the colorful traditional fishing boats moored nearby, and the neighboring islets create a wonderfully photogenic scene. Afterward, a walk at the Dinh Cau Night Market is refreshing,
The Phu Quoc Prison has played a large part in the history of the island. It is where during the Vietnam War, northern Vietnamese dissenters and revolutionaries were captured and held, tortured, and killed. The prison is now an educational museum where torture instruments are displayed along with photographs and exhibits with life-sized mannequins depicting graphic scenes of the horror that went on within the walls. It costs around VND$3000 (less than 15 cents) per person to enter and guided tours are available in a variety of languages — totally worth it.
Getting around by motorbike
The best way of getting around the island is by motorbike. The traffic of Phu Quoc is not as hectic as that of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, so it is a safer environment for you to drive. Make sure you take the proper safety gear and that you have your license.
With your own bike, you can leisurely explore the island, and find hidden beaches. You can visit tiny local villages that are off the tourist circuit such as Ganh Dau. Other places you can visit are pepper plantations and fish sauce factories.
Hopefully, this article has given you ideas on what to do and how to spend your time in Phu Quoc Island. While Vietnam doesn’t always equate to sunny beaches, if you’re looking for a few days of sun and sand, Phu Quoc Island is definitely a great choice.
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