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PHU QUOC ISLAND, VIETNAM

WHERE IS PHU QUOC ISLAND

Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam, located in the Gulf of Thailand, 45km West of Ha Tien and 15km South of the coast of Cambodia and is a part of Kien Giang Province as Phu Quoc District. Phu Quoc Island has a total area of 574 square kilometres (222 sq miles) and a permanent population of approximately 85,000. Phu Quoc island is no lightweight: at 48km long and has about the same size as Singapore.

b05700debbe53a0b258877fa34daa405The district of Phu Quoc includes the island proper and 21 smaller islets. The district seat, Duong Dong, located on the west coast, is also the largest town on the island. The economy is centered on fishing, agriculture and a fast-growing tourism sector.

Phu Quoc is not really part of the Mekong Delta and doesn’t share the delta’s extraordinary ability to produce rice. The most valuable crop is black pepper, but the islanders here have traditionally earned their living from the sea. Phu Quoc is also famed across Vietnam for its production of high-quality fish sauce (nuoc mam).

The island is also well-known for its hunting dogs, which have ridgebacks, curly tails and blue tongues. Muscular and energetic, they are said to be able to pick up their master’s scent from over 1km away (the nuoc mam their masters eat probably helps). Unfortunately, the dogs have decimated much of the island’s wildlife.

Despite development (a new international airport, a golf course, new roads and a planned ‘casino eco-tourism resort project’), much of this island is still protected since becoming a national park in 2001. Phu Quoc National Park covers close to 70% of the island, an area of 31,422 hectares.

Phu Quoc island and its beaches was voted to be “The most cleanest and beautiful beach of the world” by ABC News and “World’s 100 best beaches” by CNN. In 2014, according to National Geographic, this pearl island is 3rd of top 15 favoured destinations for Winter 2014.

HOW TO GO TO PHU QUOC ISLAND

BY AIR

Flying To Phu Quoc From Vietnam

Traveling by air is the most convenient way to get to the island with at least 10 daily flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi and it takes approximately 40 minutes to fly from Tan Son Nhat Airport of Ho Chi Minh City and 2 hours from Hanoi.

Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar and VietJet Air are three main commercial airlines, which flies directly to Phu Quoc Island. Usually, during the months of January and February or during public holidays, particularly Tet Holidays, more flights have been scheduled per day (up to 15 flights).

Flying To Phu Quoc From Other Countries

Traveling by air is the most convenient way to get to the island with at least 19 daily flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi and it takes approximately 40 minutes to fly from Tan Son Nhat Airport of Ho Chi Minh City and 2 hours from Noi Bai Airport of Hanoi.

For international travelers, the best way to reach Phu Quoc is to fly via these two cities with international flight details indicated in the information below:

Flights to Phu Quoc 

From  Flight hours From Flight hours
Adelaide 11h + 40m Nuremberg 15h30m + 40m
Berlin 14h + 40m Paris 11h30m + 40m
Brisbane 12h + 40m Perth 10h + 40m
Houston 22h + 40m San Francisco 19h30m + 40m
London 12h + 40m Seattle 18h + 40m
Los Angeles 20h + 40m Singapore 2h + 40m
Melbourne 8h20m + 40m Stockholm 15h + 40m
Milan 14h30m + 40m Sydney 9h + 40m
Munich 14h + 40m Zurich 15h + 40m
New York 22h + 40m San Diego 21h + 40m

Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar and VietJet Air are three main commercial airlines, which flies directly to Phu Quoc Island.

At Phu Quoc International Airport

Our Guest Relations Team at Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island will help to save your time and get yourself comfortably to the resort with our transfer from Phu Quoc International Airport. There are also taxis always available at the exit of the arrival hall of the airport.

BY SEA

Traveling by sea will give the traveler time to continue their journey by sea and explore Vietnam from another angle.

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL

The most convenient and comfortable time to travel by sea is during the dry season from late October to May. Check the weather conditions before choosing this mode of transportation.

OPERATORS AND DURATION

The duration of the trip varies from one and half hours from Ha Tien port and two and half hours from Rach Gia (it will take about four to five hours to reach Rach Gia Port from Ho Chi Minh City by bus).

With continuous development, traveling by ferry and boat is becoming a popular option between the mainland of Vietnam and Phu Quoc Island, and a variety of services will be available in the years to come. There are currently six main operators to travel by sea:

  • Duong Dong Express
  • Super Dong Hydrofoil
  • Trameco
  • Hai Au (Seagull)
  • Vietrosko Hydrofoil
  • Bien Xanh Express

WEATHER IN PHU QUOC ISLAND

Don’t worry, you will find no more Winter on this pearl island!

Phu Quoc island has a tropical climate that varies throughout the year so its worthwhile knowing what weather conditions to expect before you arrive. Tropical climate with an average temperature 27 C is very comfortable. The following Phu Quoc climate and weather information is based on six years of the most recent climate and weather statistics and first hand accounts of weather conditions, to provide you with a reasonably accurate picture of the weather to expect on Phu Quoc island for an enjoyable and relaxing holiday.

PHU QUOC TEMPERATURE

The island’s monsoonal sub-equatorial climate is characterized by distinct rainy (June to October) and dry (late October to May)seasons. Average temperature is around 28°C, while April and May are the hottest months, with temperature reaching 35°C (95 °F).

RAINY SEASON IN PHU QUOC

Average annual rainfall in Phu Quoc is around 190mm/month, which is nearly twice that of New York or Sydney and four times the average for London, however if you pick the right months and some luck then you’ll enjoy plenty of sunshine for those lazy beach days.

Phu Quoc’s rainy season darkens skies from late May to October, when the sea gets rough and a lot of diving stops, but the wettest months occur during the monsoon, from July to October, with an average rainfall of 361mm per month.The peak season for tourism is midwinter, when the sky is blue and the sea is calm, but it can get pretty damn hot around April and May.

Phu Quoc has its driest months from November through to March when average rainfall is a mere 43mm/mth. January and February are the driest months of the year and also the most popular times for visiting the island.

PHU QUOC HUMIDITY

Phu Quoc has a fairly consistent year around humidity, averaging nearly 80%, however you will find that the more humid months of the year also co-inside with the wettest months during the monsoon. Humidity starts to increase from March each as the monsoon approaches, and decrease after the last of the heavy rains in October, with the most pleasant months being December through to February.

BEST TIME TO VISIT PHU QUOC

The best time to visit Phu Quoc is during the period between the end of October to the end of February, when the daily temperature is about 27 – 31 C and 24 – 26 C at night, water temperature is 28 – 30 C and the humidity is at its lowest throughout the year, the sky is blue and the sea is calm. In March and April the temperature and humidity are a bit higher and the monsoon season starts in May with heavy rains in June, July and August. If your looking at scuba diving during your visit to Phu Quoc, the best months are during the high to off peak tourist season from November through to April when rainfall and cloud cover are lower than the rain swept monsoon season.

THINGS TO SEE IN PHU QUOC ISLAND

Ringed by over a dozen bays and beaches, beautiful gold sand, others brilliant strips of white, with an archipelago of islets off its south coast, a jungle-covered interior and a handful of fishing villages, Phu Quoc has more for you to do for a longer stay than you may be planning.

IN THE NORTH

Phu Quoc Dog Sanctuary

The Phu Quoc Dog is actually one of the world’s three rarest ridgeback type dogs that have whorls running down their backs. They are excellent hunters, unafraid of heights, intelligent and fiercely loyal yet are very trusting of strangers, so they make poor guard dogs. On the Island there is a sanctuary which is great fun for dog lovers to visit on their tour.

Phu Quoc Pepper Farm

Phu Quoc produces over an incredible 400 tons of the best quality black pepper each year. You’ll find pepper plantations mostly around the central and northern parts of the island and most farmers won’t mind you stopping to take photos or viewing these amazing storks of pepper trees or the drying pepper. Vietnam is the leading global exporter of Black peppercorns.

National Park and Forest Walk

There is a good walking trail 5km before Ganh Dau, where the going is relatively easy and trail wide enough to take in the surrounding environment.  The walk is a particularly pleasant way to escape the heat, as the vegetation provides cover from the sun. During the rainy season we recommend against visiting the Forest Walk.

Ganh Dau

Located at the top of the island on the North West coast approximately 28km from Duong Dong lies the quiet and peaceful collection of beaches of Ganh Dau. Just adventure through the village and you’ll find this little piece of paradise.

Snorkeling off Ganh Dau

Just before you reach Ganh Dau you will see a large floating Harbor. Here it is easy to rent a boat for an hour or two to go Snorkeling. The usual rate is approximately 200,000VND for a couple of people and they will provide the equipment. This adventurous options is with local  fisherman.

Nguyen Trung Truc Temple

This temple is dedicated to Nguyen Trung Truc, a leader of the resistance campaign of the 1860s against the newly arrived French. The first temple structure was a simple building with a thatched roof; over the years it has been enlarged and rebuilt several times. In the center of the main hall is a portrait of Nguyen Trung Truc on an altar.

Phu Quoc Fish Sauce Factory

For a completely unique experience visit one of the many fish sauce distilleries in Duong Dong. Phu Quoc is famous for its production of very high quality fish sauce which is exported worldwide and is a major contributor to the islands economy. It is made from combining anchovies, salt, and water and sometimes the Island’s pepper.

IN THE SOUTH

Safari in Phu Quoc island

Vietnam’s first Safari half-wild zoo park called Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc officially opened to public on December 24.

Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc, covering an area of 500 ha, was designed as half- wild and natural habitat model where will preserve approximately 3, 000 animals representing 150 endangered species around the world.

Most of animal species in the park are the kinds of valuable and endangered species of Vietnam and countries from South Africa, Europe, Australia, and America such as Bengal tigers, Arabian antelopes, white – black lemurs and others.

In the first phase, the project completed its target of a total 380 hectares including open zoo and safari park.

Visitors can enjoy animal shows or eye the animal species at Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc natural habitat. Visitors can take trams to tour throughout the park.

Hours of operation: 9:00 to 16:30 hrs

Distance from Salinda Resort: 30 minute drive

Transportation: by Vinpearl Safari Shuttle Bus (free)

Address: Vinpearl Safari and Conservation Park

Long Beach, Ganh Dau commune, Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province

For more information, please contact our Guest Relations Team at (84-77) 399 00 11 or contact@salindaresort.com

Sim Wine Factory

Another specialty of the island is the Rose Myrtle Fruit Wine. The Myrtle wine is a slightly sweet tasting wine similar to alcoholic blackcurrant juice that has a violet colour and smells of the sim fruit.

Phu Quoc Pearl Farm

There are many Pearl Shops on the Island, and here you will find some remarkable pearls and interesting information about the history of pearl farming on the island through a presentation they show you on your arrival.

An Thoi Harbor

An Thoi is where you will find the main ferry port for services from the mainland town of Rach Gia, and is also a jumping off point for visiting the group of An Thoi islands to the south. It is great fun to take a stroll along the Harbor and see the vast array of Sea Food being brought in.

Sao Beach

On the east side of Phu Quoc lie some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Getting to Sao beach is a bit tricky. You will need some local help to get here. We recommend you follow the signs for ‘Khong Sao’ Restaurant on the Northern Tip of Sao Beach where it’s much quieter than the South of the Beach.

Coconut Prison

Coconut Tree Prison located about 5km north of An Thoi Town. The prison was built by the French colonial administration before World War II and was later used by the Americans during the Vietnam War to house tens of thousands of prisoners, in its heyday covered an area of over 40 hectares housing an estimated peak of 40,000 prisons during the Vietnam War.

Ham Ninh Fishing Village

Located around 14km from Duong Dong Town on the east coast of  Phu Quoc is Ham Ninh where you will find a jetty that extends a couple hundred meters out to sea to allow for the shallow waters along the coast here. The waters off Ham Ninh contain the majority of the islands seaweed beds which provide a necessary source of food to the   Dugong, of which there are very few remaining.

Suoi Tranh Waterfalls

Located about 7km southeast of Duong Dong Town, after a short 15 minute stroll along the shaded forest path you reach what is the islands largest string of waterfalls and rock pools, also a good place for a swim when the falls are flowing, because the stream tends to dry up before the rainy season arrives each year. Great to visit during the rainy season!

Phu Quoc Pepper Plantations and Fish Sauce Factory

These two products heavily support the Island’s non-tourist economy and are both interesting for a quick visit during your tour. Purchase some of the Best Black pepper in the world as it’s a great gift for friends and family back home.

THINGS TO DO IN PHU QUOC ISLAND

SHOPPING

Phu Quoc Island offers some interesting shopping options for people fond to spend some money or buy some souvenirs while on holiday. The best shopping experiences can be found around the local markets in Duong Dong and An Thoi towns, however we have listed other possibilities below for you to consider along with some recommended items that are fairly unique to Phu Quoc Island.

Local markets

For the best down to earth shopping and life style experience, visiting the local markets on the island is highly recommended. While western style goods are very limited, the local markets offer a colourful range of fruit, vegetables, seafood’s and much much more.

Duong Dong market located in the centre of town along the river is the islands largest and most exciting local market. At most times of the day this can be a busy place with the local traffic running along the road and boats coming and going, loading and unloading their goods, and it is here you will find lovely ladies in conical hats selling everything from tropical fruits to unusual fishing equipment.

Unless you enjoy a decent crowd, we recommend avoiding Duong Dong market when cruise ships arrive (usually once a week) at the pier, bringing thousands of travellers, who fill the town and market place.

Duong Dong shops

The local shops do offer some limited items, depending on what you are after, for instance there a number of supply shops that sell everything from biscuits, soap and shampoo and interesting toothpaste to soft drinks, water and cases of beer. There are also a number of pharmacies, sun-glass shops and a number of local laundries that are far cheaper than the resort prices. If you’re in need of building supplies, there are some places that sell tiles, paints, marble, timber and plumbing goods, though the range and quality will not be the same as the mainland.

Clothing stores are limited, however if you’re in need of some long shirts or pants to keep off the dust while riding around the island or any mosquitoes at night, there are some local market style places opposite Duong Dong market on the other side of the bridge opposite that sell plenty of cheap and non fashionable clothing and hats. For something a little more modern, there’s also a mini mart in town about 1km past the airport at Nguyen Trung Truc after Hung Vuong Street, Duong Dong, which sells a range of clothes, cosmetics, and a variety of other items.

Craft shops

There are a couple of shops in Duong Dong that now specialise in selling arts and crafts, and while most of the products are from the mainland, these shops are still fairly new and offer discounted prices from time to time. A couple of shops are located opposite Phu Quoc Airport road entrance in Duong Dong, including Phu Quoc Crafts & Cafe (109 Nguyen Trung Truc), Phu Quoc Fine Arts (Khu Pho 4, Duong Dong) with another shop on the way to Long Beach called Phu Quoc Creation (30 Tran Hung Dao Street). Another large souvenir shop can be found on the road heading south from Duong Dong Town on Long Beach called Coinguon at 149 Tran Hung Dao. They sell a wide range of souvenirs, pearls, jewellery and art and also have a fairly extensive museum towards the rear of the left hand side shop which contains an interesting array of items includes Vietnamese pottery, animal skeletons, old money and more. There is a wide range of souvenirs available so you might like to think twice before purchasing any items made from the many sea shells in the store.

Pearl shops

If you’re after the real deal, the pearl farm shop run by an New Zealand based company in Duong To Village about 9kms south of Duong Dong along the dirt road that follows Long Beach. Here you will find some remarkable pearls and some information about the history of pearl farming on the island. You might find the prices are also quiet remarkable too, judge for yourself.

For alternatives to the best that money can buy, there are numerous pearl shops around the island and many places that sell pearls, most of these are located in Duong Dong town. At these places you can pick up a wide variety of pearl gifts from bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings and much more, all at very reasonable prices.

ADVENTUROUS

Hiring your own boat

This is an island, and where there’s an island there’s fishing, and where’s there’s fishing there’s boats. So find yourself a keen fisherman and hire him and his boat for the day or a couple of hours wherever you are. Half the adventure is bargaining a price, the other half is exploring what’s out there, though no doubt the fisherman know some interesting places, otherwise, just go fishing! Here’s a few places that might do the trick:

An Thoi Town: you can’t really go wrong here, boats leave all the time to the islands down south, however why not hire you’re own, they come in all sizes so find one that suits you. Plenty of fisherman here that would be keen to take you for a spin.

Duong Dong: Another good place to try just because of the large number of fishing boats, its not as close to some of the small islands around Phu Quoc, so you might end up fishing, though viewing the Duong Dong river is another interesting alternative.

Cua Can: Plenty of fishing boats, however it might be possible to find someone to take you around the scenic river around town, and there’s a couple of small islands a little further north.

Vung Bau Beach is close to Turtle Island (Doi Moi) and you might be able to get across for a snorkel or a swim. The guy running the dive shop might be able to take you for a spin for a fee as well.

Squid fishing

May not sound too adventurous, though have you ever go squid fishing? There’s plenty of tours on offer, so head out for an evening of squid fishing and if you’re lucky you’ll have your own self caught dinner grilled on the spot.

It may cost you 200,000VND to 300,000VND per person for a squid fishing tour from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.

There are 2 things you should keep in mind: Squid have a defense mechanism – dark ink. They shoot the ink at intruders who come too close. In the water it is an effective defense that creates a cloud behind which the squid makes a quick getaway.Don’t be overly distressed about getting squid ink on your hands and clothes, however. Not surprisingly, the ink is water soluble and washes out if you act quickly before it dries. A second note of caution is the possibility of bites. It’s good to remember that these creatures do have a parrot-like beak. Although squid are not likely to bite at a lure, they can and do bite things like food and perceived enemies who are not alert.

Phu Quoc National Park

The national park, created in 2001 by the Vietnamese government, covers more than half the island. Thick foliage covers the mountainous slopes that are home to langurs, macaques, loris’, otters, hornbills and fruit bats.

In 2010 the park was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

There are a couple of basic walking tracks in the national park. the best way to visit the park is to book a tour with your hotel; however, if you’re thinking of attempting any walk on your own through the thick jungle, please make sure you’re very prepared (tell someone where you’re going, take water, food etc).

There are plans in the future for a walk to the highest point on the island at Mount Chua 603m with a viewpoint, though this is still someway off.

Tips: It’s not a good idea to visit the park when it’s been raining heavily as you will get very muddy.

Find your own beach

Phu Quoc island is still undeveloped for the time being and even during the high session there are still plenty of remote and empty beaches. Of course it may take a little work trying to find these beaches, pack a lunch and towel, hit the road and venture out and see what you find. We’re not giving away any secret locations, though you’re best opportunities for empty sun drenched beaches under those coconut trees will be found around the northern part of the island.

DIVING

This island paradise lies only 10o north of the equator, enjoying a tropical climate with average water temperature of 24oC (75o F) with an extensive variety of aquatic life. The best time for a dive is between October and May in the dry season, however scuba diving is still available all year.

Dive operators

The dive shops on the island offer a wide range of professional services including equipment sales, rental, diver training classes and specialty dive courses, one-day dives, multi-day packages, Discover Scuba Diving and Try Dive packages (supervised beginners diving).

For those divers travelling with families, or on a tight time schedule, the local dive-shops offer an excellent selection of dive trips. See the section on following dive operators in Phu Quoc, or visit their websites or contact them directly for more information.

It is important to make your own inquires with dive shops if you prefer to dive with PADI certified operators, as not all dive shops on the island are actually PADI certified, and some dive operators are more eco friendly when it comes to protecting the marine habit, so choose carefully.

Coco Dive Center

Address: 58 Tran Hung Dao Street, Duong Dong, Phu Quoc

Tel: (84) 77 982 100

24 Hour Hotline: (84) 913 462 300 / (84) 914 468 200

Web: www.cocodivecenter.com

Email: cocodive@dng.vnn.vn

Notes: set up originally in Nha Trang by an ex French Navy Diver, Coco Dive has only been operating for a couple of years though offer a good range of services.

Rainbow Divers

Address: Office is located on Tran Hung Dao Street, Duong Dong or book through your hotel reception or visit the Rainbow Bar on Long beach or the Rainbow Restaurant.

Tel: (84) 913 400 964

Web: www.divevietnam.com

Web: www.prodive-vietnam.com

Email: info@divevietnam.com

Notes: the longest established, most experienced and probably the most professional operator on Phu Quoc, that is PADI compliant, supports Project AWARE and demonstrates an Eco friendly approach to all diving in Vietnam. They only operate in the dry season when diving is at it’s best.

Searama

Address: 91 Tran Hung Dao Street, Duong Dong or 14 Tran Hung Dao St, Duong Dong

Tel: (84) 77 399 4577 / (84) 77 329 1679

Fax: (84) 77 399 4578

Email: searama@hotmail.fr

Notes: recently established dive operators that offer many services.

Vietnam Explorer

Address: 36 Tran Hung Dao Street, Duong Dong, Phu Quoc

Tel: (84) 77 846 372 /(84) 914 095 293 / (84) 914 116 006

Web: www.dive-phuquoc.com

Email: contact@dive-phuquoc.com

Notes: Local operator that tends to venture a little further a field than other operators. They are open all year round.

Dive sites

An Thoi Archipelago: Located south of Phu Quoc approximately a 45 minute boat ride from Duong Dong.  The Archipelago is made up of a collection of some 15 islands/islets including the largest being Hon Thon (Pineapple island), followed by Hon Roi (Lamp Island), Hon Dam (Shadow Island), Hon Dua (Coconut Island), Hon Vang (Echo Island), Hon May Rut (Cold Cloud Island), Hon Dam (Shadow Island), Chan Qui (Yellow Tortoise Island) and Hong Mong Tay (Short Gun Island).

The topography in this group of island varies considerably from the 60m deep strait between southern Phu Quoc island and Hon Dua Island and gentle sloping coral gardens off other islands. These islands also support some seagrass gardens which are more common off the eastern side of Phu Quoc, and home to the rarely seen Dugong. The archipelago is home to an abundance of smaller tropical fish, with the occasional grouper, tuna and mackerel also sighted.

Turtle Island (Doi Moi): Located in the North West off the southern end of Bao Dai beach, about a 30 minute boat ride from Duong Dong, Turtle island is only 50m in length with a few palm trees and bushes with a sandy beach, and is also ideal for snorkeling. The waters surrounding the island are relatively shallow reaching no more than 10m, with an interesting range of hard corals and elephant ear and barrel sponges covered in sea worms and surrounded by small yellow damselfish, stonefish, some blue ringed angelfish and the occasional coral grouper and parrotfish.

Snorkeling

Phu Quoc’s crystal clear waters offer some of Vietnam’s best snorkeling. Reefs fringe many of the islands and islets that make up the archipelago and snorkeling tours run daily during high season and will show you underwater habitats full of life and colour. If you prefer to take in advantage the perfect snorkeling conditions around Phu Quoc island and just to go along for a ride, most of the dive operators also cater to the snorkeling folk. The warm shallow waters and tropical fish and colourful reef provide ideal conditions for snorkeling and a great day out on the water.

Anh Tu Travel

Tel: (84) 913 820 714

Email: anhtupq@yahoo.com

Notes: Local operator that offers snorkelling day trips including transport, equipment and lunch for small or larger groups to places such as Bao Sao. Prices range from US$15 to US$40/person.

Famous Tony Snorkelling Tours

Tel: (84) 913 197 334

Email: info@tonyanh.com

Notes: Local operator that offers snorkelling day trips starting from US$17/person including transport, lunch and snorkelling equipment. Tony can also arrange private/group island tours.

John’s Island Tours

Tel: (84) 919 107 086 / (84) 982 107 086

Email: info@johnsislandtours.com

Web: www.johnsislandtours.com

Notes: Local operator that offers snorkeling day trips including transport, equipment and lunch for US$20 to US$25/person for full day trips. John can also organise fishing and custom tours.

LANDMARKS

Phu Quoc Island has an many man made cultural and historical landmarks and memorials that you can easily visit when you tour around the island.

Dinh Cua Rock (Cua Temple)

One of the many attractions in Phu Quoc is Dinh Cau Rock, which is located at the mouth of the Duong Dong River. It is a combination of Buddhist temple and lighthouse that was built in 1937 as a dedication to Thien Hau (the Goddess of the sea) who provides protection for the fisherman and vessels that head out to the open waters. Climbing the steps allows a better view of many fishing boats navigating the narrow river opening, as well as views along the coast. The beachfront here also is a good place to view the sunset and local life in the evenings.

Coconut Tree Prison (Nha Lao Cay Dua Prison)

One of Phu Quoc historical sites which is still partially in use today is Coconut Tree Prison located about 5kms north of An Thoi Town. The prison was built by the French colonial administration before World War II and was later used by the Americans during the Vietnam War to house tens of thousands of prisoners, in its heyday covered an area of over 40 hectares housing an estimated peak of 40,000 VC prisons during the Vietnam War. Across the road from the prison there is a large commemorative monument, with plans to build a decent museum, to replace the small shed that currently exists there (open Tues – Sun 7.30am to 11am & 1.30pm to 5pm).

War Memorial

The War Memorial is located opposite Coconut Tree Prison as a commemorative monument to this official heritage site. It is located in the southern part of the island 5kms north of An Thoi town. It’s found just beside the roadway on the hill and consists of three abstract wave forms, in which the middle wave has a human shape cut out.

TOURS IN PHU QUOC ISLAND

Phu Quoc has come alive with places offering a variety of tours, so we’ve summarized some of the main tour destinations on offer below along with some of the tours operators, travel agents and places that offer island tours. Remember, we’re completely independent and are not associated with any of the companies mentioned; they might however be good starting point for being guided around the island.

MAIN TOUR DESTINATIONS AND SIGHTS

If you’re not the adventurous type who wants to ride around on a motorbike, an organized tour is an ideal way to see the island, with transport and a guide on hand to show you the way to the main attractions. There is an incredible number of tours around, so here’s a quick overview of the main places visited on most of the full day and half day tours that are offered:

NORTH PHU QUOC all tours to do the northern loop visiting a pepper garden, driving through the National Park area, visiting the village of Ganh Dau with the nearby view of Cambodia, dropping in to see Cau Temple. Some tours may also visit the local winery.

The most famous sights of Phu Quoc’s Northern part is fully listed below:

Phu Quoc Dog Sanctuary—The Phu Quoc Dog is actually one of the world’s three rarest ridgeback type dogs that have whorls running down their backs. They are excellent hunters, unafraid of heights, intelligent and fiercely loyal yet are very trusting of strangers, so they make poor guard dogs. On the Island there is a sanctuary which is great fun for dog lovers to visit on their tour.

Phu Quoc Pepper Farm— Phu Quoc produces over an incredible 400 tons of the best quality black pepper each year. You’ll find pepper plantations mostly around the central and northern parts of the island and most farmers won’t mind you stopping to take photos or viewing these amazing storks or the drying pepper. Vietnam is the leading global exporter of Black peppercorns and the best produce comes from right here on Phu Quoc.

National Park & Forest Walk– There is a good walking trail 5kms before Ganh Dau, where the going is relatively easy and trail wide enough to take in the surrounding environment.  The walk is a particularly pleasant way to escape the heat, as the vegetation provides cover from the sun. During the rainy season we recommend against visiting the Forest Walk.

Ganh Dau– Located at the top of the island on the North West coast approximately 28kms from Duong Dong lies the quiet and peaceful collection of beaches of Ganh Dau. Just adventure through the village and you’ll find this little piece of paradise.

Snorkeling off Ganh Dau– Just before you reach Ganh Dau you will see a large floating Harbor. Here it is easy to rent a boat for an hour or two to go Snorkeling. The usual rate is approximately 200,000VND for a couple of people and they will provide the equipment. This adventurous option is with local fisherman.

Pepper Corn Beach or Mango Bay—We know how important Food is! So we highly recommend these two establishments. Mango Bay is just North of Duong Dong on the way to the North whilst Pepper Corn Beach Resort is located on the Northern Tip at Ganh Dau. Both serve Vietnamese-Western Fusion with consistently high standards.

Nguyen Trung Truc Temple– This temple is dedicated to Nguyen Trung Truc, a leader of the resistance campaign of the 1860s against the newly arrived French. The first temple structure was a simple building with a thatched roof; over the years it has been enlarged and rebuilt several times. In the center of the main hall is a portrait of Nguyen Trung Truc on an altar.

Phu Quoc Fish Sauce Factory— For a completely unique experience visit one of the many fish sauce distilleries in Duong Dong. Phu Quoc is famous for its production of very high quality fish sauce which is exported worldwide and is a major contributor to the islands economy. It is made from combining anchovies, salt, and water and sometimes the Island’s pepper.

SOUTH PHU QUOC

There’s a variety of southern island tours, though they tend to visit the Pearl Farm, Coconut Prison, An Thoi and the market, Sao Beach, Ham Ninh Village and then a mixture of the following including a pepper garden, a fish sauce factory, Cau Temple and the Phu Quoc Dog Breeding farm. Some full days tours also visit Sao Beach & Ham Ninh Village.

The most famous sights of Phu Quoc’s Southern part is fully listed below:

Sim Wine Factory — One specialty of the island is the Rose Myrtle Fruit Wine. The Myrtle wine is a slightly sweet tasting wine similar to alcoholic blackcurrant juice that has a violet colour and smells of the Sim fruit.

Phu Quoc Pearl Farm — Whilst there are many Pearl Shops on the Island, for the authentic Phu Quoc Pearl you must visit Phu Quoc Pearls located just south of the Hotel. Here you will find some remarkable pearls and some information about the history of pearl farming on the island through a presentation they show you on your arrival.

An Thoi Harbor — An Thoi is where you will find the main ferry port for services from the mainland town of Rach Gia, and is also a jumping off point for visiting the group of An Thoi islands to the south.  It’s great fun to take a stroll along the Harbor and see the vast array of Sea Food being brought in.

Sao Beach— On the east side of Phu Quoc lie some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Getting to Sao beach is a bit tricky. You will need some local help to get here. We recommend you follow the signs for ‘Paradiso Restaurant on the Northern Tip of Sao Beach where it’s much quieter than the South of the Beach.

Ho Quoc Pagoda – One of  the most spectacular Pagoda’s on the Island.

Coconut Prison— Coconut Tree Prison located about 5kms north of An Thoi Town. The prison was built by the French colonial administration before World War II and was later used by the Americans during the Vietnam War to house tens of thousands of prisoners. During this time the Prison covered 40 hectares housing an estimated peak of 40,000 VC prisoners during the Vietnam War.

Ham Ninh Fishing Village— Located around 14kms from Duong Dong Town on the east coast of Phu Quoc is Ham Ninh where you will find a jetty that extends a couple hundred meters out to sea to allow for the shallow waters along the coast here. The waters off Ham Ninh contain the majority of the islands seaweed beds which provide a necessary source of food to the   Dugong, of which there are very few remaining.

Suoi Tranh Waterfalls—Located about 7kms southeast of Duong Dong Town, after a short 15 minute stroll along the shaded forest path you reach what is the islands largest string of waterfalls and rock pools, also a good place for a swim when the falls are flowing, because the stream tends to dry up before the rainy season arrives each year. Great to visit during the rainy season!

Phu Quoc Pepper Plantations and Fish Sauce Factory—These two products heavily support the Island’s non-tourist economy and are both interesting for a quick visit during your tour. Purchase some of the Best Black pepper in the world as it’s a great gift for friends and family back home.

City Tour: mainly visits Duong Dong Local Market, a Fish Sauce Factory, Cau Temple, and the Pearl farm.

An Thoi Islands: There’s a number of tours on offer that visit the islands in the archipelago along with either fishing and snorkeling. Some tours may also include a visit to Sao beach.

National Park Trekking: all include a trip to the national park with different trekking options, some with easy walking tracks, other tours offer more challenging trekking.

Sunset tours and Night Squid Fishing: Many operators offer this popular tour that runs between 2 to 4 hours and might include a sunset meal and fishing for squid.

Snorkeling in the North: spend your time swimming, snorkeling and fishing around some islands in the north. Some tours also visit Ganh Dau Beach to see Cambodia, and along the way visit a pepper farm and the National park.

Scuba Diving: not really a tour, however a great day out.

TOUR OPERATORS & TRAVEL AGENTS

There’s a host of places offering Phu Quoc Island tours, so we’ve only listed some of the tour companies and travel agents we’ve come across. Many of the larger hotels also offer similar tour packages as well. It’s worthwhile shopping around if you’re on a budget, as prices do vary depending on the number of sights visited and the quality of the tour.

Dongnoi Phu Quoc Tourist

Address: 23 Tran Hung Dao, Duong Dong, Phu Quoc.

Tel: (077) 994 444 / 994 666

Hotline: 0903 029 902 (Mr Hoa)

Email: phuquoctravel@vnn.vn

Notes: Local tour operator that offers a good variety of tours around the island, along with some unique tours.

Famous Tony Snorkeling /Island Tours

Tel: (84) 913 197 334

Email: info@tonyanh.com

Notes: Local operator that can organise private or group island tours, or snorkeling day trips starting from US$17/person. Tony is known for his Al Pacino accent.

John’s Island Tours

Tel: (84) 919 107 086 / (84) 982 107 086

Email: info@johnsislandtours.com

Web: www.johnsislandtours.com

Notes: Local operator that offers snorkeling day trips, fishing trips and custom tours around the island.

Rex Travel

Address: 88/1 Tran Hung Dao, Duong Dong

Tel: (84) 77 384 8401

Mobile: (84) 919 274 791

Email: phuquoctourist@gmail.com

Notes: Local travel agent, that offers a variety of tours as well as other travel services.

Tan Vu Tourist

Tel: (84) 77 3994 129 / (84) 939 199 119

Email: tanvutourist@yahoo.com.vn

Web: www.tanvutourist.com

Notes: Local operator that offers snorkeling day trips starting from US$17/person including transport, lunch and snorkeling equipment. Tony can also arrange private/group island tours. Courtesy of www.discoverphuquoc.com

Online Operators: There are also a number of local tour operators with online information

phuquocexplorer.com

phuquoctaxi.com

WHAT THE TOURS OFFER

Here’s a brief summary of some of the added extras that the Tours on Phu Quoc Island have to offer:

Full Day tours

Offer good value and a chance to see many of the sights on the island. Multiple day tours are also possible with some tour operators.

Some tours include Lunch for free if your on a boat or small island where there are no restaurants. If visiting a restaurant you will usually pay and select your own lunch.

Some tours include extra side trips to craft shops, temples, waterfalls and streams.

Half Day tours

Tours usually run for 3 to 5 hours and focus on the main sights. They will include lunch if you’re not near a restaurant or town.

Languages: some tour operators offer their services in languages other than English or Vietnamese; however it is worthwhile booking these services in advance.

Snorkeling and Fishing Trips: include all equipment required like snorkel & mask, fishing tackle, etc.

Transportation and Guide: transfers from hotels are sometimes provided and it’s good to check what the transport will be like. Most tour operators use medium sized air conditioned buses, and boats variety from local open style local boats for longer trips to smaller boats for shorter trips. Guides all speak reasonable English and some will provide some good information about Phu Quoc.

Bottled Water: some tour operators provide bottled watered during the day, it’s worthwhile worth checking.

VALUE FOR MONEY

Prices on all tours vary depending on number of sights visited, quality of tour, added extras, and the largest discounts are available if you’re travelling in a herd. Discounts are available for 2 or more people joining a tour, or if you’re lucky enough to fill a late spot on the day of a tour, though we do recommend you book your tour at least the day before to ensure a place.

LAND TOURS

Whether you would want to explore Phu Quoc’s empty beaches, its untouched forest or visit the Island’s local villages we have put together a number of options for you. Each tour can be completely tailored to your requirements so you can choose exactly where you want to go! Here are some average price for your reference:

By Motorbike:

To The South 4/8 Hours:                                    300,000 VND /     500,000 VND

To The North 4/8 Hours:                                     400,000 VND /     600,000 VND

(Motorbike Taxi prices are including Tax and Service charge but must be paid directly to the driver)

By Salinda Private Car:

4 Hours: 1,000,000 VND

8 Hours: 2,000,000 VND

Extra Hour: 430,000 VND

By 7 Seat / 16 Seat:

South Tour (4 Hours):         1,075,000 VND  /        1,290,000 VND

South Tour (8 Hours):         1,290,000 VND  /         1,490,000 VND

North Tour (4 Hours):          1,290,000 VND  /         1,390,000 VND

North Tour (8 Hours):          1,390,000 VND  /         1,490,000 VND

Please note with hiring the private minibus that you can only visit designated places, please contact the Guest Relations on duty to help you identify a route.

English Speaking 4/8 Hours:                                       258,000 VND / 430,000 VND

Russian Speaking Vietnamese:                                  645,000 VND

Native Russian:                                                             1,182,500 VND

Chinese Speaking:                                                       1,075,000 VND

French Speaking:                                                          1,075,000 VND

Please note that all tour costs exclude 10% tax and 5% service charge. All tour costs will be charged to your room account in VND ($1 = 21,500 VND)

BOAT TOURS

Phu Quoc is blessed with crystal clear waters and an abundance of marine life. Taking a tour at sea is a great way to spend the day and we have a large number of options available for all of our guests. “Flipper Dive Company” is one of our recommended companies to offer you the most professional and multi-lingual company on the Island. Please see the prices below for your reference:

Snorkeling

To the North:                                                                    645,000 VND

To the South:                                                                   752,500 VND

Scuba Diving

Discover Scuba Diving – No Certificate Necessary:  3,010,00 VND

Fun Dives North – PADI Certificate Necessary:         1,612,500 VND

Fun Dives South – PADI Certificate Necessary:        1,935,000 VND

As Flipper is a 5* PADI dive company they also offer a number of courses. Please ask for more details.

Private Boats

To the North, up to 4 People:                                                                            5,375,000 VND

To the North, 5-10 People:                                                                                6,450,000 VND

To the North 10 People +:                                                                                 7,525,000 VND

To the South, up to 4 People:                                                                            7,525,000 VND

To the South, 5-10 People:                                                                                9,675,000 VND

To the South 10 People +:                                                                                11,825,000 VND

All prices include water, lunch and transfers from the hotel. A special seafood lunch can be                       organized for 210,000 VND per person.

Please note that all tour costs exclude 10% tax and 5% service charge. All tour costs will be charged to your room account in VND ($1 = 21,500 VND).

SNORKELING TOURS

If you prefer to take in advantage the perfect snorkeling conditions around Phu Quoc Island or just to go along for a ride, most of the dive operators also cater to the snorkeling folk. The warm shallow waters and tropical fish and colourful reef provide ideal conditions for snorkeling and a great day out on the water. Visit the Dive operators on the island or the websites above for more information.

Anh Tu Travel

Address: located near La Veranda Resort, Duong Dong

Tel: (84) 913 820 714

Email: anhtupq@yahoo.com

Notes: Local operator that offers snorkeling day trips including transport, equipment and lunch for small or larger groups to places such as Bao Sao. Prices range from US$15 to US$40/person.

Famous Tony Snorkeling Tours

Tel: (84) 913 197 334

Email: info@tonyanh.com

Notes: Local operator that offers snorkeling day trips starting from US$17/person including transport, lunch and snorkeling equipment. Tony can also arrange private/group island tours. Courtesy of www.discoverphuquoc.com

John’s Island Tours

Tel: (84) 919 107 086 / (84) 982 107 086

Email: info@johnsislandtours.com

Web: www.johnsislandtours.com

Notes: Local operator that offers snorkeling day trips including transport, equipment and lunch for US$20 to US$25/person for full day trips. John can also organise fishing and custom tours.

PRIVATE TOURS

Some resorts and tour operators can also organise tailor made private tours of Phu Quoc Island. These will generally cost more than the prices quoted, though will allow you more flexibility to visit the places that interest you.

Please enquire directly with the above operators for more information and availability.

LOCAL TRANSPORT IN PHU QUOC

Tourists can travel around Phu Quoc Island by taxi, motorbike or bicycle. We recommend traveling by taxi for a more comfortable ride, and you may always ask our Guest Relations Team to call you a taxi, which is always available outside of Salinda Resort during the day. We also offer bicycles, which is a great way to explore the island on fresh air and enjoy the natural wonders of Phu Quoc.

Pick up a copy of the “Phu Quoc Yellow Map” for 10,000d (US$0.70) when you arrive on the island. The yellow map is available from most hotels and at the airport. The Yellow map is particularly useful if you plan to jump onto a motorbike to explore the island. Alternatively visit of Getting Around – Maps page for an overview of the island.

Here is a brief outline of the wide variety of transport options for getting around the island:

BOAT SERVICES

Most top end resorts and various private tour operators provide services to the islands that are about 30 minutes by boat south of An Thoi Town.

Also, taking a brief tour along Duong Dong River can be an interesting way of experience life along the water ways. Some hotels can arrange for boat tours, otherwise consider asking a local boat owner. Further away in Cua Can River, local fishermen may be able to take you around the waterways of town and a little further along a lovely white sandy peninsula

BUS

There is a basic bus service that runs every couple of hours between An Thoi and Duong Dong. When ferries arrive at An Thoi Port, there is usually a bus waiting to take visitors to Duong Dong, just look out for buses displaying “Huong Toan”.

Many of the top end resorts like Saigon Phu Quoc provide a shuttle service to and from the airport. Resort buses will be waiting at the airport for you if you have a booking in advance.

CAR RENTAL

Renting a self driven vehicle on Phu Quoc Island is not possible unless you have a Vietnamese driver’s licence and a permanent registered address on the island. The best option is to hire a car or 4WD with a driver/guide.

There are a number of private owners willing to offer their services which can be found at the airport on arrival. Alternatively www.sascophuquoc.vn has a range of vehicles with drivers for rent. Prices start from around US$25 per day, increasing depending on the size of vehicle, distances travelled and rental periods.

CYCLING

Most hotels offer bicycle rentals which start from US$1 per day, which can be a great way to adventure around the local area. However, you can find it for complimentary at Salinda Resort If you plan on cycling further away, poor road conditions and unsealed dusty roads can make this a difficult experience. We recommend purchasing a face mask before you head off on these longer journeys and take plenty of water. The coastal strip surrounding Phu Quoc makes cycling relatively easy however the island heats up when you get move from the coast.

MOTORBIKE RENTAL

***As per the information from the Police Department, Expats are allowed to drive cars or motorbikes in Vietnam if they have a valid international license or a Vietnamese driver’s license.

Renting a motorbike is one of the cheapest ways to discover Phu Quoc Island and motorbikes also provide the best access if you are adventuring out to the more remote beaches and dirt roads beyond the main towns.

Motorbikes can be rented at many of top end and mid range hotels, or you’ll find local owners outside the hotels and airport very keen to either rent their bikes or even adopt you and guide you around the island. Bikes rental rates will vary depending on the condition of the bike and your bargaining skills, here is guide to prices;

Per hour, from around 30,000d

Per day, from US$6-12 dollars a day (depending on the bike and your negotiation skills)

Per week, around US$45-60, again depending if you can negotiate any discounts.

One thing to consider is that busy dirt roads that are yet to be sealed can get quite dusty, due to the increasing number of cars and trucks on the island. This is particularly the case on the roads leading from Duong Dong, like the road along Long beach south of Duong Dong Town, and the road to Ong Lang Beach heading north, so we recommend buying a mask in town before heading off on your adventure.

Note: since the end of 2007, it is now illegal to ride on a motorbike without wearing a helmet, so please ensure you request a helmet when renting a motobike. All operators are aware of the laws and will provide you with a helmet.

MOTORBIKE TAXIS

Hiring a motorbike with driver is one of the easiest and quickest ways to travel short or one off distances around Phu Quoc between the main towns. If you arrive by plane, these motorbike drivers will likely find you before you find them, just find a friendly face, negotiate a little and off you go.

Guide to motorbike taxi rates;

Short distances around town cost around 10,000d

Longer distances cost around 20,000d to 40,000d per every 5kms traveled.

From the Airport to Long Beach Resorts expect to pay around 20,000d to 40,000d, and slightly more if heading to Ong Lang Beach. Discounts could be negotiated if you hire for the whole day.

All day rental starts at around 150,000d (US$10)

Remember if you’re travelling between towns like Duong Dong and An Thoi not all roads are sealed and can get quite dusty. These drivers can take you just about anywhere on Phu Quoc, so if you prefer a driver with local knowledge and experience of the road conditions, this is a good option.

Note: since the end of 2007, it is now illegal to ride on a motorbike without wearing a helmet, which is particularly recommended on Phu Quoc as road conditions in some parts of the island are still improving quite poor.

TAXI SERVICES

There are a limited number of metered taxis now operating on Phu Quoc, most of which operate from the airport. Rates are generally up to US$5 to US$10 from the airport to Long Beach resorts south of Duong Dong Town.

One taxi company that operates on the island providing air conditioned cars is www.sascophuquoc.com who can be contacted on Tel: 99 55 99.

Private taxis / drivers also operate from Phu Quoc Airport, and can provide a good service for a negotiable fee.

WALKING/ HIKING

The centre of Duong Dong is only a couple hundred meters from the airport, just turn right outside the airport gates and you’ll hit the central market in around 10 minutes. So if you don’t have much luggage, this is definitely the cheapest option. There are also some local hotels across the road from the airport terminal.

The coast surrounding Phu Quoc is relatively flat and allows visitors some very scenic walking. The mountains on the island range from around 300-600 meters and provide far more strenuous trekking. The National Park in the northern part of Phu Quoc is as yet relatively undeveloped in terms of walking trails and forests can be quiet dense. There are plans to build a walking trail in future to Mount Chua (603m) the highest mountain on Phu Quoc Island.

BEACHES AND VILLAGES IN PHU QUOC

With white creamy sand, deep blue water, untouched landscapes and fresh natural breezes of the ocean, beaches of Phu Quoc have been recognized as the most beautiful beaches in the world. There are so many wild idyllic beaches on Phu Quoc Island that you will find amongst them a good selection on which to enjoy your holiday. The most famous beaches in Phu Quoc are Bai Sao, Bai Dai… to name a few, together with small beautiful islets such as Hon Thom island, Ham Ninh fishing village… all will guarantee to give you the best experience of sea traveling and cultural exploring.

Phu Quoc’s spirit is also captured in the market meet up at night or early morning, demonstrated a normal peaceful lifestyle of local people and offer you exquisite sea food dishes in the friendliest way.

TRUONG BEACH (LONG BEACH)

On the west side of the island lies the main beach called Long Beach. It is here that most of the hotels and resorts are located.  The beach on this side of the island is more than 5 miles long, heading south from Doung Dong Town. You will find some sections here totally deserted, while other parts are packed with hotels.

GANH DAU BEACH

Located at the top of the island on the north west coast approximately 28kms from Duong Dong lies the quiet and peaceful collection of beaches of Ganh Dau. Just adventure through the village and you’ll find this little piece of paradise. There’s one local beach side restaurant that serves a good selection of seafood.

SAO BEACH

On the east side of Phu Quoc lie some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Getting to Sao beach is a bit tricky. You will need some local help to get here. If you take a taxi, it won’t be so difficult to find the place, however remember it is a little isolated. There are a couple of restaurants here and one place with basic accommodation.

CUA CAN

Located on the west coast approximately 8km north of Duong Dong town and just beyond the village of the same name lies a beautiful peninsula. Consider asking for a lift from a local fisherman to get here or adventure through the many wooden bridges in the nearby village.

BAI DAI BEACH

Located on the upper west coast just beyond Vung Bau Beach lies a long stretch of deserted pristine beach of Bai Dai running for more than 2 miles along this sunset drenched coast. Hurry up and check it out before the golf balls start flying past your head.

VUNG BAU BEACH

Located on the upper west coast just past the town of Cua Can and approximately 10 km from Duong Dong lies a beautiful half moon beach that is mostly uninhabited except for some local houses at the northern end and one restaurant catering to all visitors.  If you’re looking for some adventure, there’s a dive shop along the main road that will take you to nearby islands for a small fee.

BAI THOM BEACH

Located on the far north east of Phu Quoc approximately 35 km from Duong Dong you will be find a long stretch of uninhabited beach. While not one of most attractive of beaches, it is quite remote and getting here will be quite challenging, best option is by motorbike.

BAI VONG BEACH

Located on the east coast about 8kms from Doung Dong on the way to Bai Sao, you will find the palm lined beaches of Bai Vong, with a couple of local restaurants serving local tasty food. Follow the tracks by motorbike to find the more remote parts of these swallow beaches.

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