Phu Quoc Island


Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam, is situated in the Gulf of Thailand. Located off the southern coast of Vietnam and Cambodia, it is the largest island in Vietnam. The 48 kilometers long and 28 kilometers wide island is closer to the Cambodian mainland than Vietnam. Phu Quoc Island forms a triangular shape and to the west of it is the Long Beach, the longest beach of the island. Most of the accommodations in the island are along this beach. There are other varied accommodations available throughout the island ranging from cheap bungalows to beach resorts. Duong Dong is the largest town in Phu Quoc Island situated to the north of the Long Beach. Even a few years back Phu Quoc was known for its fish sauce. Today it is known as one of the major Vietnam popular destinations.

Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc Island

During the colonial rule of the French and the war with America Phu Quoc Island was used as a prison. Ruins of the prison are visible even today. After Vietnam gained independence in 1975 this island was used as a re-education camp.

Nearly half the island lets you view the unspoilt beauty of nature. Phu Quoc Island is covered with forests and the beaches are deserted creating an enchanting environment in the island. It provides a spectacular view with the perfect fusion of its blue waters, sandy beaches, and beautiful landscapes. In a visit to the island do not forget to view the magical sunset from the beach. The famous beaches in the island, other than the Long Beach, are Bai Dan and Bai Sao. Away from the beaches are the pepper fields, the rain forest, and the Suoi Da Ban river with its waterfalls.

Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam: Getting there

Phu Quoc Island one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam, can be reached by both air and boat. It is less than an hour’s journey by plane from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Duong Dong. Vietnam Airlines make nearly four trips to the island everyday. Flights are available from Mekong Delta, Vietnam as well.

Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc Island

A ferry ride can be taken from the Rach Gia to the island. It takes around two and a half hours though it is better to avoid the ferry in rainy seasons.

Climate

Phu Quoc Island has a tropical climate which has three seasons: High, Shoulder and Low Season.

High Season: During the period between November to March, where the daily maximum temperature is typically and on average about 31 C, and the daily minimum temperatures (before sunrise) about 23 C. The skies are generally sunny, with possibly some light high cloud in early morning that clears by mid-morning, and the humidity is at it lowest throughout the year.

Shoulder Season: During the period between April to June and late October, where the temperatures are a bit higher than during the high season, and the humidity around 80-85%. Crowds are less during this time and good chances of reasonable weather.

Low Season: During the period between July to September, which is dominated by the monsoons.

By plane

You can fly to the Duong Dông airport (PQC) from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) on about five daily Vietnam Airlines turboprop flights with ATR-72 (55 minutes). Since 2010 Air Mekong[1] flies with Bombardier CRJ-900 jets from Ho Chi Minh City for about the same prices in 35 minutes. From Rach Gia there are two Vietnam Airlines flights per day.

Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc Airport

By boat

There are ferries and hydrofoils between Phú Quôc to Rach Gia (pronounce: Rad-Ya), Ha Tien and Hon Chong. You may be told by tour agents that the fast boats are full, but if you go to the dock where the boats depart you may have the opportunity to buy tickets from street sellers.

See

The island is quite large (over 40 kilometers from north to south), and to get around it is much better to rent a moto (motor scooter) for about $10 per day. Otherwise you can rent a taxi for about $35 or $40 half-day or full day. In case of a tour on motobike, go at “D.S” Bar. Stephane, the owner, can advise you great itineraries. He used to be a tour-guide on the island. He speaks english, french and spanish. And by the way, have a drink. Good music, “flat” pool table and cheap cocktails. On top of it, Stephane and Diem (his vietnamese wife) are very nice and friendly people. “D.S” Bar is opened until late by night.

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. 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

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.

Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc Island

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.

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