Phu Quoc sits in the azure waters of the Gulf of Thailand, closer to Cambodia’s shoreline than Vietnam’s. The island’s blonde beaches surround tropical rainforest, interrupted by clusters of brightly painted fishing boats and peppercorn plantations.
As awareness of the island grows, it’s beginning to see more visitors, but there are still secluded coves and boutique hotels that our Vietnam specialists can recommend. We visit Phu Quoc regularly, topping up our knowledge of the best things to do and places to stay, so we can advise you on how to experience it, depending on your interests.
Originally Cambodian territory, the island was claimed by Vietnam after it liberated the Cambodian people from Pol Pot’s regime in 1979. Although politically contentious ever since, Phu Quoc is now populated by Vietnamese fishermen and farmers, and visitors are warmly welcomed into the relaxed pace of island life.
If you’d like to learn more about the history of the island, Coi Nguon Museum in the main town Duong Dong has a large collection of local exhibits such as ceramics, many of which have been retrieved from shipwrecks around the island.
On the south side, you can visit the 20th-century Phu Quoc Prison, which is now a museum. The jail was used by the French to house detainees during the First Indochina War and then by US forces to detain Viet Cong prisoners of war.
Most visitors come to the island to relax on the flaxen swathes of sand. The aptly named Long Beach is draped along the west coast from Duong Dong, almost reaching Phu Quoc’s southern tip. Lined with open-air restaurants and beach bars, it’s the island’s most developed beach, but it retains a laid-back ambiance.
For more seclusion, you can take a taxi to one of the untouched coves along the north or western coast, or sail over to the An Thoi Islands, a group of islets off Phu Quoc’s southern coast. Hotels run boat tours or private charters, stopping at isolated beaches, snorkeling spots and fishing villages. Diving can also be arranged.
One of the island’s largest industries is the production of nuoc mam, a pungent fish sauce that appears in every restaurant. Visit a distillery — Duong Dong has the largest — and you can learn how the sauce has become a staple in Asian cooking. Nuoc mam is fermented in aged wooden vats, and distilleries look more like wineries. We don’t advise buying any of the sauce, as many airlines have banned it due to its strong odor.
The majority of Phu Quoc is blanketed in forest, with Phu Quoc National Park covering more than half the island. It’s a conglomeration of thick primary dipterocarp forest, stark-white melaleuca woodlands and coastal dry forest. Tangled mangroves creep out into the sea, creating waterways in the park’s marine reserve where dugongs swim.
Suggested itinerary featuring Phu Quoc
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Phu Quoc, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Phu Quoc
Places & hotels on the map
Photos of Phu Quoc
Accommodation choices for Phu Quoc
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Phu Quoc. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Set on a pretty stretch of coast, La Veranda Resort and Spa is a boutique property that has been designed to reflect the style and ambience of an old colonial mansion.
Chen Sea Resort & Spa is a boutique option in Phu Quoc, away from the crowds, yet still a close enough taxi ride away from restaurants and bars.
Mango Bay is a low density resort, driven by a passion for the environment, intelligent use of materials, and strong support for island culture. All rooms and bungalows have open sea views and offer mosquito nets.
The Cassia Cottage is a small, friendly hotel with a great central location on Long Beach. Room facilities are simple, it has a small pool, an outdoor massage area and the staff are exceptionally welcoming.
Ideas for experiencing Phu Quoc
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Phu Quoc, and which use the best local guides.
Cua Can River Adventure
Cua Can River Adventure
Cua Can River Adventure
Cua Can River is well known as a historical river where the Ngo boat of Nguyen Trung Truc and his army was sunk in a battle with the French army. After many years of lying on the riverbed, the boat has been recovered and restored, and is now exposed at Duong Dong Traditional House.View details