Your guide to fabulous Phú Quốc, Vietnam

Phu Quoc island from above

Zoe Macfarlane

Posted August 16, 2023

Vietnam’s long skinny coastline and 3,000-plus islands mean the country is not short of a good beach or two. However, none impress as much as Phú Quốc, Vietnam’s largest island, found off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand.

An idyllic getaway awaits, where stunning white sandy beaches, inviting azure waters, and the island’s verdant inland terrain reward you with relaxation, rejuvenation, and unforgettable memories. Use this handy guide to plan your ideal Phú Quốc holiday.

Phú Quốc was, until fairly recently, a forgotten slice of paradise, with only intrepid travellers making the rocky, hours-long boat ride to the island. Now, travellers can fly direct from Ho Chi Minh City and several other Vietnamese cities, or jet in from Bangkok, Siem Reap, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur. The best time to travel to Phú Quốc is from October to April.


Uncover Phú Quốc's history & culture

While Phú Quốc may only have developed as a tourism hotspot in the past 10 or so years, the history of human inhabitation on Phú Quốc dates thousands of years. Archaeological finds reveal fisherfolk and seafarers used the island as a stopover on their Southeast Asia and Indian subcontinent explorations. 

Phú Quốc’s fascinating cultural and historical influence not only comes from its maritime history, but from the mainland too. The 2nd- to 15th-century Champa Kingdom had a significant impact on the islands, as did the Khmer Empire. Phú Quốc came under Vietnamese rule in the 18th century. 

While no Cham landmarks remain on Phú Quốc, you can discover more about their influence at the small Coi Nguon Museum. You’ll also find traditional Cham artefacts and textiles at the Dinh Cau Night Market.

To learn more about the island’s long-standing connection to the sea, visit Ham Ninh Fishing Village, one of the island’s oldest. Experience local life at play, a seafood feast, or even allow a fisherman to teach you their craft. Be sure to stop by a local fish sauce factory, too. Phú Quốc is famous for its high-quality fish sauce, an essential ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine. 

One of Phú Quốc’s best Buddhist landmarks is the hillside Ho Quoc Pagoda. After exploring the statues and temple grounds, watch locals make offerings and soak in the pagoda’s impressive panoramic views.

For a glimpse into Phú Quốc’s more notorious recent history, visit Coconut Tree Prison. Also known as Phú Quốc Prison, the French built it in 1949 to detain up to 14,000 political dissidents. It's more famously known for housing some of the 40,000 North Vietnamese prisoners of war that were captured during the Vietnam War. Models of some of the gruelling torture techniques used during this period can be a little confronting.


Ho Quoc Pagoda in Phu Quoc

Ho Quoc Pagoda is one of Phú Quốc's best Buddhist landmarks. Image: Getty.

Phú Quốc's natural wonders

Phrases like ‘postcard-perfect’ and ‘paradise’ are often used by visitors arriving on Phú Quốc island. It won’t be hard to understand why when you see pristine white-sand beaches like Long Beach, the island’s most famous, Bai Sao, its most picturesque, and Sao Beach. The latter is great for water sports lovers. Phú Quốc's quietest beach is Vung Bau (keep it mum, though).

Beyond soaking up the relaxed ambience on heavenly beaches, you can explore the protected Phú Quốc National Park. Covering half the island, the diverse ecosystem reveals a host of natural treats. This includes tropical forests, mangroves, and local wildlife like long-tailed macaques, black giant squirrels, and countless birds. Enjoy the park’s diverse flora and fauna on hiking trails, including the easy Ganh Dau Trail or into the heart of the park on May Rut Trong Trail. If you're keen to add in a refreshing dip at scenic falls, walk to Suoi Tranh Waterfall.

Another fascinating nature-focused attraction is the Phú Quốc Bee Farm. It’s an educational, immersive experience led by passionate staff, with honey tastings and delicious tropical fruits to enjoy, too.


Suoi Tranh waterfall in Phu Quoc

Suoi Tranh Waterfall is scenic and refreshing. Image: Getty.

Phú Quốc’s culinary treats

There is a range of delectable treats to sample while visiting Phú Quốc, with many (unsurprisingly) featuring seafood. There's even a seafood version of banh mi, Vietnam’s most popular sandwich export. 

Lẩu Hải Sản is a perfect way to enjoy a variety of seafood in a flavourful light hotpot broth. Crab soup (súp cua) is another delicious Phú Quốc specialty. For adventurous gourmands, give sea urchin a try.

The island’s signature dish is nem nướng, a tasty grilled herb-infused pork sausage served with rice paper, vermicelli noodles, and a sweet-and-savoury dipping sauce. Also with thin rice noodles, bún quây is a Phú Quốc specialty; served with flaked fish and fresh herbs in a fish broth.

If you’re looking for an upmarket meal, make a reservation at one of Phú Quốc’s fabulous fine-dining restaurants. Many have spectacular sunset views, like Rock Island Club and Castaways. 


restaurant at Long Beach, Phu Quoc

Restuarants can be found along the shores of Long Beach. Image: Getty.

Treat yourself, Phú Quốc style

There are plenty of ways to splurge on your Phú Quốc vacation, from your accommodation to spa treatments to decadent days out. 

The island has several high-end resorts, including the sophisticated InterContinental Long Beach Resort, the gorgeous rooms and suites at the Salinda Resort, and the quirky JW Marriott Emerald Bay Resort. The latter offers a fantasy-like decadent stay and a range of classes, like Vietnamese martial arts or cooking. 

Fusion Resorts are well-known for their wellness-inspired all-spa inclusive properties, and their Phú Quốc property does not disappoint. World-class spa and wellness therapies are available at several other hotels, as well as dedicated spas on the island. 

To upgrade your day trips, why not book a private yacht tour? Play castaway on secluded beaches, snorkel away from the crowds, and devour seafood feasts aboard. Wine and dine sunset cruises add romance to a couples' getaway. 

To see Phú Quốc from new heights, take a helicopter tour for mesmerising aerial views of the island’s spectacular beaches and lush forest.


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