Phu Quoc Island used to be a remote, lesser known destination only 10 years ago. Now it is heading at full speed towards a touristic and economic boom. It’s time to see what it has to offer before it’s too late, or too expensive. Here you have the absolute must-see and must-do activities for the little paradise known as Phu Quoc Island.
Swim at all Phu Quoc beaches
Phu Quoc is quite a large island and beaches are scattered everywhere. From the most famous ones, often in front of luxurious resorts and hotels, to small coves reachable only by motorbike or by boat, there are plenty of places to explore. Tip: if you wish to have the beach for yourself, head to Ong Lang Beach, Bai Gan Dau, Bai Sao, Cay Sao
Experience local Life at Ham Ninh Village
Ham Ninh Village is the stereotype of the unspoiled Asian fishing village. With many houses built on stilts, a wooden rickety pier and dozens of colorful fishing boats, the place is an Instagram-lover wet dream, especially at sunset and/or at low tide, where the landscape changes dramatically. Even though nowadays fishermen are shifting to the more lucrative tourism sector, there is still plenty of fresh seafood at the village restaurants. Tip: try the local crabs and the sea cucumber soup.
Pray at local temples
Thanks to its unique history, Vietnam has a greater variety of places of worship than any other Asian country. Buddhist temples, Taoist pagodas, Catholic churches abound all over the country. And there is also a home-made religion known as Cao Dai. Phu Quoc temples covers them all. The Din Cau Taoist shrine is an oddly-shaped rock where fisherman pray to before going out at sea, devoted to Thien Hau, the Goddess of the Sea. The Ho Cuoc pagoda is an impressive complex by the sea, a great spot to watch spectacular sunrises. The Cao Dai temple is perhaps the most unique religious site on Phu Quoc Island. Founded in 1919, Cao Daism is a monotheistic religion which combines Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, and Islam. And Phu Quoc is where it was created. The temple is a multicolored affair you must not miss.
Shop like a local at the fresh markets
Markets in Asia are often nothing more than tourist traps, where locals don’t buy anything anymore but rather sell junky souvenirs to tourists. But Phu Quoc markets haven’t fallen into that category – yet. The Dinh Cau Night Market and Duong Dong Market still retain the flavor of a real local experience, with busy, wet, dirty and hopelessly messy alleys where buyers and sellers bargain hard and noisily. Seafood, household items, veggies, fruits, meat, semi-processed foods: perhaps there isn’t a lot to buy for a tourist, but these Phu Quoc markets are great for people watching.
Run away to An Thoi Islands
If you need a true Robinson Crusoe experience, or want to show off the ultimate tropical paradise, leave Phu Quoc and head to the An Thoi Islands. Located off the southern end of Phu Quoc, these 15 tiny islands are uninhabited, pristine, and simply gorgeous. Very similar to those Maldivian empty atolls, they are too stunning to be described. You can rent your own boat to be truly alone, or go with a tour.
Splash around at Suoi Tranh Waterfall
If you have had an indigestion of stunning beaches, or if you can’t stand the fierce tropical sun and salty seas, do something alternative and refresh yourself in a waterfall shaded by old trees. Suoi Tranh is Phu Quoc waterfall and it’s definitely a place to enjoy. Although not very high or spectacular, it is located in a quiet, lovely spot surrounded by lush rainforest, with really few people around. Find your rock pool and listen to the sounds of nature. Then, if you love to hike, you can look for the Hang Doi Cave, a few kilometers after the waterfall.