I recently visited Phú Quốc Island in May 2018. Phú Quốc island is off the south coast of Vietnam, actually being closer to Cambodia. I have heard that you do not need a Vietnamese visa if you want to visit just this island directly as there is an International Airport on the island. You should confirm this on your own for your own country.
Many other travellers that I talked too in passing have said that there is no information online about this secret paradise island. I came to this island not knowing what to expect. Personally, as long as there was a nice chill beach, that would have been good enough for me. Surprisingly this island has much more to offer than you can find information about online.
Here is a list of stuff that I did listed in order of best value for money first.
1 – Rent a private boat
You can drive to the town of An Thoi, the most southerly town. There is a pier there but actually I did not get a boat at the pier. As seen below, the pick up point is at the blue dot (GPS: 10.015393, 104.009376)
At the ocean front there will be some Vietnamese who will offer to take you on their private boat. They are very friendly and will give you a price to rent the entire boat no matter how many people you come with. The prices I have below are what I managed to negotiate but they don't speak English so it was very difficult. Luckily, I can speak a little Vietnamese.
There are mainly 3 types of boat.
Very small canoe type – probably the cheapest and slowest option and also no cover from the sun. Expect to pay around VND 1,000,000 – 1,200,000. They say there is a canopy for the sun but they give you 1 umbrella. I probably would not recommend this unless you want to be burnt to a crisp. Choose this boat only if you want to go out at sea to see the sunset (probably for a cheaper price also). Approximately 1 hour each way.
Slightly bigger high speed boat with canopy – this is the best option. It's fast and has sun protection. But it's small. It can only hold approximately 7 adults including the driver. It will be a tight squeeze with 7 people though. So expect to be rubbing up against your neighbour. Might be good for bonding while watching the sunset. Expect to pay around VND 1,500,000. Approximately 25 mins each way.
Bigger more luxurious high speed boat with canopy – A bit bigger than the previous option. Can hold about 15-20 people. Expect to pay around VND 2,000,000. Approximately 25 mins each way.
All boats should come with the following, but you should insist on seeing it before you depart:
Life jackets (make sure there is enough for everyone)
You should grab some beer and bags of ice for the boat ride. You can ask for a bucket where you can dump the ice and beer in. Aim to depart around noon so you have enough time to enjoy the rest of the day. I would advise that you also take food and water with you. There are no shops or anything to really buy but still walk with some cash as there are small bars with light food.
The standard itinerary/route is 3 major stops.
First stop, Fingernail Island – nice little beach. There is a small bar where you can buy more beer. But ice will be hard to find which is why you should buy as much as possible on the mainland.
Second stop, some rocks off the coast of Dam Ngan Island. You can do some snorkelling here around the rocks. There is a mini beach as well. Very picturesque.
Third stop – A lovely beach on Vong Island. There is a small bar on this island with cold beer and some light food. You can take a small hike across the island to the other side. But unfortunately there is some trash on that side. I wish I had garbage bags with me to take back some trash.
After your third stop, you will head back to your departure point on the mainland. You should aim to go in time for the sunset and it will be a very magnificent sunset boat ride.
2 – Take the Aerial Cable Car
Near the town of An Thoi, there is a spanking new cable car, 8km long and in the Guinness Book of Records for being the longest cable car in the world. It was opened in February 2018. It costs VND 500,000 per person roundtrip. It goes to Pineapple island. When you get there, there are free shuttles that will take you to the beach (5 mins drive). The beach is beautiful. Just do it if you have the time and money. There are set schedules of departures. I know for sure that the 2 departures to come back are 5.30pm (sunset views) and 7pm (night view but you don't see much). So go early, enjoy the beach and come back on the 5.30pm ride. Your ticket is return trip and you can come back on any ride.
3 – Coconut Prison
This prison is now a museum and at the time of my visit (May 2018), it was free to enter. It's actually a bit depressing to see the kind of torture that went on here. There are various camps each being numbered. Camp #17 has the underground tunnel which you can go in. You can go to this one last as it exits near the main exit with some shops.
4 – Suối Đá Bàn Waterfall
It's a dusty dirt road drive to this waterfall. They were still paving part of it at the time that I did it (May 2018). But it's definitely worth going. It's free as well. When you park your motorbike (cost to park is around VND 7000) you can hike up to the falls. The hike keeps going and going. I am not sure how far it goes. Many Vietnamese families will try to adopt you along the way and offer you beer and whatever food they are having. Vietnamese are really nice people. I even offered to pay for the beer/food I had and they refused to accept.
Important Translations of words that you might need. (Feel free to print this page. You can get a print version by clicking on the print icon at the top of this page)
Bucket - xô
Life jacket - áo phao
Snorkel - ống thở (để lặn/ to snorkel)
Goggles - mắt kính (để lặn/ to snorkel)
Beer - bia
Ice - Nước đá
If you are travelling in South East Asia, I highly recommend the following website for booking local trains, flights and buses. You can book and pay online with credit card...saving you the need to use up your local cash.
I hope this article was helpful. If you did find it helpful, feel free to leave a comment below and let me know your experience (and your original country). You can do me a massive favour and click on the banner ad at the top of this page if you found this article was useful. No need to donate money, just a simple click will do! Also please use the share icons at the top of this page to share with your friends or anyone that might be interested. Thanks!