Phu Quoc is an island in southern Vietnam (well, technically it’s off the coast of Cambodia) in the Gulf of Thailand. Both tourists and locals alike go to relax. Not only will you find luxurious resorts, white sand beaches, and friendly locals on Phu Quoc, but there are actually plenty of adventurous excursions to keep you busy during your tropical island vacation.
Check out our list of the 18 top things to do on Phu Quoc Island and enjoy your trip!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).
Getting to Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc Island is just a short, 45-minute plane ride from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and there are regular direct flights. You can get a flight for under $50 each way on VietJet or Jetstar, Vietnam’s low-cost carriers. But, keep in mind that they have strict baggage rules and rarely depart on time.
Fast ferries also depart from the mainland to Phu Quoc from Ha Tien or Rach Gia towns. You can check ferry schedules and prices on Bookaway.com.
We always prefer to book our Vietnam bus and ferry tickets on Bookaway rather than dealing with a local travel agent. You’ll get the same price (or cheaper), and it’s considerably less hassle. If something happens before your trip, it’s easy to modify your ticket or get a refund.
Visa for Phu Quoc
You may already know that you’ll need to apply in advance for a visa to visit Vietnam. The process is a bit confusing but we go into detail about it in our Things to Know Before Visiting Vietnam post. But the district of Phu Quoc is a “Special Economic Zone.” It means that visitors are eligible for a 30-day exemption if they are only planning on visiting Phu Quoc and no other areas of Vietnam.
So if you’re looking for a tropical beach vacation without the hassle of arranging a visa, Phu Quoc is a perfect choice!
Getting Around Phu Quoc
The best way to get around the island of Phu Quoc is via motorbike. You can rent one from most hotels on the island or from the many small rental shops around town. Prices range from 100,000 – 150,000 per day and the price of gas is nominal. Be sure to wear a helmet as the laws in Vietnam are strict. Also, stay under the speed limit to avoid paying a cash fine to the police.
Also, if you don’t already have a Vietnamese SIM card you should consider purchasing one before you leave the airport. Having Google Maps on your phone is definitely helpful in navigating around Phu Quoc.
From the airport, you can take a taxi to your hotel or arrange a transfer in advance either through your hotel or private car service.
Where to Stay on Phu Quoc
One of the great things about vacationing in Vietnam is that it is incredibly cheap! So if you’re visiting from the US, Europe, or Australia where you pay exorbitant prices to stay in lavish hotels, you’ll love how much more you get for your money here.
And Phu Quoc Island has no shortage of fancy beachfront resorts with pristine swimming pools, state-of-the-art spa facilities, and gourmet restaurants. It’s worth splurging a bit so you’ll be pampered during your vacation and leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
If you’re looking for high-end luxury, then you’ll love the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa! Our favorite option for a mid-range hotel is the Green Bay Phu Quoc Resort & Spa. And if you’re traveling on a budget, be sure to check out Cottage Village. You will get a lot for a very reasonable price! Be sure to check out our post about our top 10 favorite resorts on Phu Quoc Island!
The 18 Best Things to Do in Phu Quoc, Vietnam
1. Check out Phu Quoc’s Beaches
The best thing to do in Phu Quoc is, of course, to lounge on the beach. You’ll likely hear many different responses when you inquire about the most beautiful beach in Phu Quoc. And that’s because there are so many to choose from, you really can’t go wrong!
Sao Beach is arguably the most picturesque on the island with powdery white sand and crystal clear water. There are plenty of umbrellas and lounge chairs that you can rent to spend the afternoon enjoying the beautiful calm water. Sao Beach is eastern facing so unfortunately, you won’t get the best sunset here. But you can always head to the west side of the Phu Quoc in the afternoon to catch the sunset.
Long Beach (also called Truong Beach or Bãi Trướng) is the most popular beach on the west side of Phu Quoc island. True to its name, the beach is incredibly long with over 12 miles of golden sand. There are two sections at Long beach – North Long Beach and South Long Beach.
North Long Beach stretches for ~3 miles from the Trang An Phu Quoc Beach Resort on its northern end to the Song Tranh Canal at its southern end. This part of the long beach sits closer to the town of Duong Dong (Dương Đông). It is the main town on the island of Phu Quoc. It’s also more built up with a variety of bars, restaurants, and hotels lining North Long Beach.
South Long Beach is about nine miles in length and is home to newly developed upscale resorts. It is separated from the north end by the Sông Tranh estuary. Luxury resorts owned most of the beaches here but you can still find pockets of public beach access.
We loved watching the sunset a bit further north on the island, at Bai Ong Lang Beach. There are plenty of trees to provide shade and the beach has easily accessible public access. Plus the bar at the Coco Palm Beach Resort often has live music in the evenings!
Just around the corner from Bai Ong Lang Beach is Mango Bay. It is technically a private beach and only accessible through Mango Bay Resort. We walked along the beach with no trouble and it appeared that many of the beachgoers were not actual hotel guests.
There are fewer nice beaches in the Northern half of Phu Quoc. The coastline is rockier with small sandy bay’s tucked here and there. These small beaches are more remote and you’ll likely have them to yourself. However, they are not as nice or well maintained as the beaches in the south. The exception is Bai Dai Beach in front of the Vinpearl Resort. Unfortunately, is next to impossible to visit unless you are staying at the resort.
2. Cruise Around Phu Quoc on a Motorbike
Most of the roads around Phu Quoc are well maintained. In fact, there is a brand new road on the northeastern side of the island that is rarely trafficked. The only rough road that we encountered was on the far northern end of the island. We took it to visit the Ganh Dau Trail (“Forest Walk” on Google Maps) and Starfish Beach.
You can rent a motorbike on Phu Quoc for around 150,000 VND/day (~$6.50 USD). It’s just about $2 USD to fill up the tank with gas. Vietnam has some pretty strict helmet laws that you’ll need to abide by. Plus, there is one police speed trap right outside of the town of Phu Quoc. If you get caught going more than 40 kilometers per hour, you’ll have to pay a small fine to the police on the spot.
Renting a motorbike will allow you to explore the island and visit various beautiful beaches without having to worry about hiring a driver. Most hotels in Phu Quoc have bikes available to rent. There are also plenty of small rental shops on every corner.
3. Visit Phu Quoc Prison
Phu Quoc Prison (also known as Coconut Tree Prison) was built in 1949 by French colonists. There were as many as 40,000 Vietnamese soldiers and political figures imprisoned and tortured here during the American War (often called the “Vietnam War” when we refer to it in the USA).
The prison was declared a national historical site in 1995 and opened to the public to visit. For a small entrance fee, you can see exhibitions that depict the various types of torture individuals endured here. Some included electrocution, crucifixion, and food deprivation.
If you want to learn about Vietnam War history and are intrigued by torture methods, this museum is one of the most interesting things to do on Phu Quoc island!
4. Eat Dinner at the Phu Quoc Night Market
The Phu Quoc Night Market is a bustling open-air street market in Duong Dong. It runs in the evenings from 5 pm until midnight. Here you’ll find more than 100 different stalls selling seafood, ice cream, banana pancakes, drinks, and traditional souvenirs. After a long day of lounging at the beach, the best thing to do in Phu Quoc in the evenings is to explore the night market.
You can stop at one of the many seafood restaurants lining the streets of the night market for dinner. Or, you can simply graze your way through all of the food stalls while eating a little bit of whatever catches your eye!
Address: Vo Thi Sau Street, Duong Dong, Phu Quoc Island
5. Take the Phu Quoc Cable Car
The Phu Quoc Cable Car is an oversea cable car. It is the longest and most continuous three-cable aerial car system in the world. It’s located on the southwestern tip of the island. Your journey will begin on Phu Quoc island at An Thoi. Your ride will last for about 15 minutes, ending at Hon Thom Island (also known as “Pineapple Island”).
During your cable car ride, you’ll enjoy 360° views of the An Thoi Archipelago filled with tiny islands and vibrant turquoise water. Just make sure you go on a day when the weather is clear. That way you get the best views from your seat!
6. See Starfish at Starfish Beach
Starfish Beach is on the northern end of Phu Quoc Island. It’s known for the starfish that gather on the sandbar just offshore. If you wade out in the water a bit, it’s easy to spot them laying on the ocean floor. It’s not a good idea to disturb the starfish. Unfortunately, you’ll see countless people around you picking them up and posing for selfies.
Regardless of whether or not you spot any starfish, this is still an ideal beach for lounging. You can rent chairs and the water is ideal for swimming. There are also several restaurants perched on pillars out over the ocean. Here, you can get super fresh seafood and other classic Vietnamese dishes.
7. Go Scuba Diving or Snorkeling
Snorkeling is a very popular activity on Phu Quoc Island because the sea is calm and quite warm. You can book a full-day snorkeling tour that will take you to Finger Island, Dam Ngang Island, and May Rut Island. You’ll spot colorful coral and some diverse marine life.
Scuba diving trips are available but less popular as the areas around Phu Quoc are overfished. There are also no marine protected zones. That being said, it’s a fairly relaxed diving experience. If you’ve never tried it before and have always wanted to, this is a good place to dip your toes in the water!
8. Eat Seafood at the Ham Ninh Fishing Village
The Ham Ninh Fishing Village is a bustling little pier on the east side of the island. There, you’ll find several local restaurants perched right above the sea. They are serving the freshest fish out of large bins that were obviously caught earlier that morning. It’s a great place to sample the seafood while getting to witness daily life in a small island fishing village.
9. Or Better Yet, Catch Your Own Fish!
Fishing is an important part of daily life on Phu Quoc Island. You’ll see small, colorful fishing boats all along the coastline. You’ll see the fresh catches from earlier that day at the restaurants on Starfish Beach and Ham Ninh Fishing Village and at the night market.
If you’d rather try your hand at catching your own delicious seafood dinner during your trip, there are a few ways to go about it. You can find a local fisherman and negotiate a price to take you out to sea. Preferably, you can go early the next morning as many of the fishing boats offer very little shade. It’s pretty unlikely that you’ll find someone who speaks English fluently but you’re bound to have a hilarious adventure!
If that sounds like too much trouble, you can simply book a fishing tour with an established tour company. That way you’ll be provided with the gear you’ll need and knowledgeable guides to help you along the way. A sunset squid fishing tour is a fun and informative way to learn about local life on the island. Plus, they’ll prepare your catch for dinner!
10. Hike to Suoi Tranh Waterfall
Suoi Tranh Waterfall is the perfect place to relax and breathe in fresh air while enjoying the surrounding nature. Just a short drive from Duong Dong, Suoi Tranh Waterfall is a popular place for locals and tourists alike. There are plenty of shady walking tours to explore and the waterfall is ideal for swimming.
The main attraction, Suoi Tranh Waterfall, is just a 20-minute walk from the entrance to the park. But you’ll find that the area also has several caves, rock pools, and streams to enjoy. There is a small entrance fee and keep in mind that the area gets crowded, especially on weekends.
11. Watch Sunset at Mango Bay
Mango Bay is an eco-lodge near Bai Ong Lang beach on the west side of Phu Quoc. It’s a lovely place to stay if you want a more rustic experience. But even if you don’t actually book a stay at Mango Bay, it’s worth visiting their restaurant or bar to soak in the sunset.
12. Wander Around the Coi Nguon Museum
If you want to learn more about the history and culture of Phu Quoc Island, you’ll definitely want to check out the Coi Nguon Museum. It is just south of Duong Dong. The museum was established in 2009 by Huynh Phuoc Hue. It features his private collection of artifacts that he collected over 15 years.
His collection includes over 2,500 antiques from the 15th – 20th centuries and around 100 traditional paintings. You’ll have an opportunity to learn more about daily life and the people who have inhabited the island for hundreds of years.
13. Try the Fish & Chips at Rory’s
Prior to visiting, we did a lot of research about the best things to do on Phu Quoc. One activity that kept popping up was to “watch the sunset at Rory’s”. We couldn’t for the life of us figure out why anyone would want to watch the sunset at a bar on the eastern side of the island!
As it turns out, Rory’s had a prominent western-facing location for seven years. That location was the most popular bar on Phu Quoc for sunset. But they moved about a year ago, to the east side of the island, due to a new road. Their new eastside location is much more spacious with a natural saltwater swimming pool, huge outdoor deck, and bungalows so guests can spend the night.
Run by two friendly Aussie ex-pats, Rory’s has a fun, relaxed atmosphere. At the time of our visit, they were just building a miniature golf course! It’s a great place to grab lunch if you’re exploring the eastern side of Phu Quoc. They have the best fish and chips on the island (just don’t count on catching the sunset here).
14. Swim in Da Ban Spring
Da Ban Spring (known as “Excoriation” on Google Maps) is a lovely place to enjoy an afternoon picnic and swim while surrounded by nature. It is a popular place for locals who unfortunately often bring their karaoke machines and leave behind their garbage. It’s worth checking out if you have some extra time on Phu Quoc, but don’t make it a priority.
15. Tour a Pepper Farm
As you cruise around Phu Quoc on your motorbike you’ll see lots of pepper plantations throughout the island. And it’s definitely worth a stop to purchase a bag or two of peppercorns to take home with you. Some people say that Phu Quoc pepper is the best variety in all of Asia! You can stop at virtually any of the pepper plantations on the island to check out the vines (they don’t do guided tours per se) and pick up a few souvenirs.
If you don’t have time to stop at a pepper plantation but want to sample the goods, don’t worry, you can pick up a bag at the airport on your way home.
16. Sample Wine at the Sim Wine Factory
Sim Wine (or Ruou Sim in Vietnamese) is made from local fruit from the Rose Myrtle tree which grows wild in the forests of Phu Quoc Island. This doesn’t taste like any traditional wine – it’s made from rice wine, sugar, and fruit and is quite sweet. The best place to sample this local delicacy is Sim Son Phu Quoc. It also has a nice gift shop so you can take your favorite Sim products home with you!
17. Visit the Ho Quoc Pagoda
Ho Quoc Pagoda is the largest Buddhist temple in Phu Quoc. It is located on the eastern side of the island, right on the coast. This beautiful complex that is part Buddhist temple and part monastery was only just built in 2012. It is constantly being upgraded and renovated.
It is quite a peaceful and serene area where you can enjoy stunning views of the ocean. But there is not much shade so bring an umbrella and sunscreen to shield you from the unrelenting sun. The entrance is free and it’s rarely crowded unless you visit on the weekend.
18. Tour a Fish Sauce Factory
It would be virtually impossible to visit Vietnam without trying their beloved national cuisine – fish sauce (“nước mắm” in Vietnamese). Most Vietnamese dishes include fish sauce in some way – whether it’s on the side for dipping, used in a sauce or marinade, or added at the end for a little extra salty flavor.
There are two regions in Vietnam that are famous for fish sauce – one of those is Phu Quoc. The fish sauce produced on the island is exported worldwide. You’ll be lucky enough to take a tour of one of the factories here to see exactly how it’s made, fermented, and bottled. Khai Hoan, Phung Hung, and Hung Thanh are three popular factories on the island to tour.