Phu Quoc: A guide to the Paradise of South Vietnam

Posted on Posted in Accommodation, Food, Vietnam

Phu Quoc was the first place where we headed right after arriving in Vietnam. The atmosphere on Phu Quoc is totally different than for example on Koh Rong in Cambodia as the island is as long as 50 kilometers and has more than 100.000 inhabitants. When we came to the island, it didn’t actually feel like being on an island at all. Phu Quoc is highly developed and you can find all the services from ATMs to a hospital there. With its beauty, the island does battle with the paradise beaches of Koh Rong though!

The center of the island is the vivid Duong Dong town that has many food places and a marketplace. We spent our five days on Phu Quoc lazing on the beaches, exploring the island by motorbike and wandering at Duong Dong market. Phu Quoc is one of the most beautiful beach holiday destinations in Vietnam so if you are looking for a perfect beach getaway while in Vietnam, you should head to Phu Quoc.

In this post we collected our own tips to Phu Quoc with loads of pictures. You can find all the mentioned places on the map below. We really liked the island not only because of the perfect beaches but also because the big island has a wide selection of everything. The island is not just a tourist resort but you also get to see local lifestyle there.

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How to get to Phu Quoc

We traveled to Phu Quoc directly from the Cambodian border. We took motorbike taxis directly to Ha Tien harbor for $2,50 each and got very good service for that price. The bargaining took a good while though. The drivers brought us to the ticket office to buy ferry tickets. Eventually they dropped us off at a cheap restaurant close to the harbor when we told that we want to eat before the ferry ride.

The fast ferry tickets from Ha Tien to Phu Quoc with Super Dong ferry cost 230.000 dong each. The ferry ride was very comfortable and took only 1,5 hours. The ferries go to the east side of the island so you have to take a taxi or bus to get to Duong Dong.

One very good tip that we read before was to buy the bus tickets already during the ferry ride. Right after the ferry left the harbor, a ticket guy starts to sell tickets to Super Dong’s own bus for 30.000 dong. You should be aware of this because the seller doesn’t probably speak English and doesn’t offer the tickets to foreigners if you don’t ask yourself. We almost missed the ticket sales as well but went to chase the seller later and managed to get the tickets. When we stepped out from the ferry, we got to walk directly to the air-conditioned bus. It was perfect because we avoided all the hassle with finding a bus or debating with taxi drivers.

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Cheap accommodation on Phu Quoc

The widest selection of accommodations is along the Long beach, south from Duong Dong. In the area you can find everything from cheap hostels to luxury villas. When we were on the island at the end of April, the prices of hostel dorms started from $4 and private rooms from $10. You can check the cheapest Phu Quoc accommodation deals on Agoda*.

As usually, we started to wander with our backpacks and compare the prices. We headed towards south along the main road. It seemed to be quite difficult to find a cheap place to stay. When walking with backpacks became too sweaty, we sat down for ice coffees and searched cheap accommodation online.

Eventually we found our way to Antinho hostel where we got hostel dorms for $4 each. The hostel was very neat, had a nice outside restaurant area as well as a beach less than 200 meters away. A nice plus was also the cheap bottled beer for 12.000 dong! On our last day we changed to a private room in Than Hai guesthouse almost opposite to Antinho. The $10 room had a private bathroom with a hot shower (it was our first hot shower in like two months btw) so there was nothing to complain about this place either.

The most beautiful beaches on Phu Quoc

Long Beach very close to our hostel wasn’t the most beautiful beach we have seen, to be honest. It might be though that our standards are quite high after Koh Rong… The water on Long Beach wasn’t very clear but it’s a good place for sunbathing at least. The beach is scattered with restaurants, resorts and bars so you won’t lack services there. Long Beach offers gorgeous sunsets as it’s located on the west side of the island.

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We also went to explore the southern end of Long Beach by motorbike. The beach was deserted and surrounded only by some construction sites. The sandy road leading to the beach was in a quite good shape. If you like lonely beaches, the southern part of Long Beach is worth exploring though.

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The Southern part of Long beach.

The most famous and beautiful beach is located in the southeast. Sao Beach is known for its perfectly white sand and swimming pool like water. This beach is a paradise on earth and undeniably the best place on Phu Quoc! It is the most beautiful beach we have ever seen. Sao Beach is 20 kilometers away from Duong Dong so the best way to go there is by motorbike or by taxi. There are several restaurants and vendors walking around and selling fruit and ice cream on the beach. We couldn’t complain while laying on the white sand and eating fresh pineapple and mango!

To the south from Sao Beach you can also find another beautiful beach Bai Khem. We recommend checking out the both places while you are there. We had to skip this beach though because dark clouds started gathering on the horizon and we thought it’s better to escape them. It was a good decision because as soon as we got to Duong Dong town, it started pouring rain like crazy.

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Sao beach Phu Quoc
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Motorbike rental on Phu Quoc

We rented our motorbike at our hostel and paid 170.000 dong for one day. As usually while renting a motorbike in Asia, remember to check the bike through carefully, take pictures and test the brakes. Remember the helmet and drive slowly to avoid getting pulled over by the police. Of course the police might stop you and give a fine for any reason just because you are a tourist it’s better to have some cash within an easy reach. If you rent a bike at a rental shop, you probably have to leave your passport as a deposit. That’s why it’s easier to rent at your hotel if possible.

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Nice restaurants

In the area where we stayed there were lots of restaurants both on the main road and on the smaller streets. Most of them are basic tourist restaurants and also the prices were accordingly higher than in local Vietnamese food places. If you prefer cheap street food, Duong Dong offers the widest selection. We found a small restaurant near the night market that served delicious grilled pork with rice and side dishes for 25.000 dong (about $1). It was so tasty that we had to order an extra portion.

You can find street food stalls at the roadsides also in other parts of the island if you just keep your eyes open. Normally the stalls open in the evening. Close to our hostel, there was a noodle soup stall in front of a gas station that served very nice soup for 20.000 dong. We came to this place almost every night. The soup included rice noodles, meat and some kind of dumplings. Such a good meal!

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We fell in love with Kim’s restaurant. The owner family was extremely friendly and said hi to us every time we passed the place. They offer Vietnamese and Korean food. The chicken noodle soup was very tasty and we had it for breakfast several times. We also tried the grilled pork with rice and fried vegetables with chicken.

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If you are into seafood, we recommend Duong Dong night market. The riverside is full of seafood restaurants. We didn’t try these places this time though.

The nightlife on Phu Quoc

According to our experience, Phu Quoc is a very calm place. The same considers the nightlife. It felt like all the places got empty after the dinner time and even the bars were deserted except Rory’s beach bar. It was a nice place but a bit pricey for our taste.

We were recommended Cinderella brewery restaurant on the main road. They sell their own beer brewed on Phu Quoc. A glass of lager cost only 15.000 dong. Unfortunately they didn’t have their dark beer when we went there but it also cost less than 20.000 dong. One of the owners was a very funny guy and came to entertain us from time to time. We didn’t try the food in Cinderella but we heard that they serve very good ribs. The food seemed to be reasonably priced so we recommend to try it if you happen to go there. The restaurant is easy to recognize because of the big beer sign outside.

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On the way home we also stopped by in Rock House Bar (only because it started raining so heavily that we didn’t make it home…). They have a pool table and the owners of the bar were very laid-back too. They were sitting at the table with customers and drinking beer. We were sitting together and chatting in the light of an oil lamp when it was storming and the electricity was off.

When we look at this pictures we have to admit that we miss the beach life. But we will have an opportunity to explore more of the beaches in Vietnam later on for sure.

 

Have you been to Phu Quoc or other beach destinations in Vietnam?

J&J

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