Phu Quoc (Phú Quốc), a peaceful tropical paradise, is about 50km away from the Vietnamese mainland. This island floats in the warm turquoise waters in the Gulf of Thailand. Taking just about 50 minutes from Ho Chi Minh (Hồ Chí Minh) City through airplane, Phu Quoc is one of must-see attractions in Vietnam. This tear-shaped island is one of the largest islands in Vietnam of which the area is similar to the size of Singapore. Actually, this destination is reckoned as the pearl of Vietnam with a lot of must-see Phu Quoc island attractions. Whether you come here to explore remote corners of that island, relax on sun-kissed beaches, or enjoy fresh and delicious seafood, you will absolutely discover the charms which make Phu Quoc a real gem of Southeast Asia.
Previously, Phu Quoc is an almost unknown destination in Vietnam. Both domestic and international tourists just recently discovered Phu Quoc. In fact, it is not difficult for tourists to see why a large number of tourists are boasting of the natural beauty as well as untouched remote beaches of Phu Quoc – a spectacular tropical island.
Phu Quoc is naturally blessed with peaceful, natural environment like the virgin forest of more than 37,000 hectares in area, white-sand beaches, clear blue water, diversified wildlife species, so it is not difficult to see why this island shows enormous tourism potential.
Apart from breath-taking Phu Quoc island attractions, tourists will also find that the locals here are incredibly welcoming and friendly; the weather is great, the views are wonderful and the foods are so delicious and fresh. If you are planning to visit somewhere in Vietnam, then Phu Quoc is one of the best options which will not disappoint you as there are a lot of Phu Quoc island attractions, ranging from beaches, natural landmarks to historical sites, and national parks. Now, it is time for you to check out all of must-see Phu Quoc island attractions!
Phu Quoc Island Attractions – 13 Out Of Best Places To See
1. Long Beach (Bãi Dài)
Any tourist who has been to Phu Quoc will surely tell you that there are so many beaches in this island. And, Long Beach (also known in Vietnamese as Bãi Dài) should be the first must-visit beach in Phu Quoc Island. A trip to Phu Quoc will not be complete and perfect without a day lazing on the white sands of its main beach Long Beach. The beach stretches more than 20 kilometers, which become the epicenter of local and tourist activities.
Swimmers and sunbathers can enjoy the cool air rolling in off the ocean and the general view here is really spectacular, particularly at sunset.
Bai Dai, one of the most enjoyable Phu Quoc island attractions, is situated on the west coast of the main island of Phu Quoc and just about 10 minutes from the Phu Quoc International Airport. Clean and clear water, the golden sand beach, gorgeous sunsets, and swaying coconut palms really make Long Beach a dreamland of every photographer.
On the other hand, here tourists can snorkel, swim, kayak, and more. For those who want to relax on the beach and have suntan, they could opt for one of so many resorts found along the beach which offer sun loungers. For more relaxation, tourists can also enjoy a lovely massage on the beach for just a few dollars offered by one of the seasoned masseuses.
In addition, there is a wide variety of places for travelers to drink, eat and party on off the shore as well. Because of the development of tourism in this island, recently there is a constant stream of local beach vendors patrolling the sands peddling their products and services, such as cold beverages, fresh fruit, coconut juice, and even fresh seafood.
This is also the place where you could find some of the pearl farms; and further down the road, you can also witness more real images of the other industry of this island – fish sauce. To make fish sauce, fresh anchovies are caught off the coast and then left to dry on those large wicker mats.
To access Long Beach, it is easy for tourists to walk on foot from Duong Dong (Dương Đông), but a bicycle or a motorbike is essential for them to reach a few of the remote stretches flung out towards the island’s southern end.
2. Ganh Dau Beach (Bãi Gành Dầu)
Situated at the top of Phu Quoc Island, on the North West coast about 28 kilometers from Duong Dong, Ganh Dau Beach is among great Phu Quoc Island attractions that tourists should not skip. Actually, this is currently a quant fishing village which has pristine beach, mountains, and forests. On Ganh Dau’s tip, you could see Cambodia. There are some high quality resorts in Ganh Dau Beach, which are Gio Bien (Gió Biển) Resort and Peppercorn Resort.
Widely considered as the most worth-visiting beach on Phu Quoc Island, this beach is arches-shaped and approximately 500 meters in length. The sand here is golden in color and a bit coarse because of the huge amount of corals found under the water.
Ganh Dau beach is an ideal place for tourists to observe the sea eagle flying high above them. Under the water, you will find a variety of fish and marine species like crabs, clams, parrot fish, and so on. Especially, hard coral is abundant in this beach. From the shore, visitors could see two different islands, including Fortuneteller Island (Hòn thầy Bói) and Ban (Bần) Island (Hon Ban). In addition to enjoying the great view and comfortably swimming, tourists could also rent a boat and then take a simple tour along the coast, or snorkel at two points. Thanks to the convenient conditions for water sports like healthy hard coral and calm water, it is very ideal for you to snorkel here. Basing on the season as well as ocean currents, you could also rent a boat to see the two islands mentioned above.
Though by the Ganh Dau village, there is another beach facing Cambodia, it is not as clean and nice as Ganh Dau Beach because that beach has become a parking place for fishing boats.
3. Sao Beach (Bãi Sao)
Located on the east side of the island, Sao Beach is another beach that attracts a large number of tourists worldwide annually. In reality, Sao Beach ranks high amongst best beaches in Vietnam as well as Southeast Asia. Also known in Vietnamese as Bãi Sao, this beach is about 7 kilometers of white sandy area. Being famous for the white sand, Sao Beach features with warm, calm and distinctive turquoise clear blue color. The sand here is a little slope but no sudden drop. Besides, because the ocean here is rather shallow, it is safe for non-swimmers and children to play around. Moreover, during low tide, tourists could see sand ripples that resemble a sand bar. This destination is also great for photo taking, especially during low tide in the morning.
Before being discovered and renovated for tourism, a few years ago, Sao Beach was pristine. However, nowadays, the development of tourism in this region also affects somehow to the environment surrounding.
Under the water, there are a lot of types of small fish, shell fish, a small squid and needle nose fish. For those who want to snorkel, there are some areas at the north and south end of the beach which are ideal for snorkeling. In September and October, tourists will find a variety of starfish near the seashore. Sometimes, you can even see a sea urchin, yet they might be rare here.
Today, though Sao Beach is different than it used to be several years ago, it is still one of the most attractive Phu Quoc island attraction tourists cannot skip. Visiting here, tourists will find a few high quality beach front resorts, tour operators, bars, water sport operators, kayaks, wind surfers, powerboats, fishing boats, beach vendors and more.
The best thing of this beach is itself. Tourists could walk up and down the beach and then look for snails, crabs, and many other small crustaceans. Furthermore, in the far southern and northern part of this beach, tourists could enter the jungle through a few small trails made by locals.
It is rather tricky for tourists to access this beach. Maybe, you need some help from locals in order to get there. If you take a taxi, it will not be hard to find this beach, yet keep in mind that it is a little bit isolated.
4. Cua Can Beach (Bãi Cửa Cạn)
Unlike other beaches in Phu Quoc Island, Cua Can Beach might be the wildest one which resembles the arched sand bar with the Cua Can (Cửa Cạn) River on one side and the ocean on the other. This is a small beach divided by Cua Can River. Tourists could observe the beach by navigating their way through Cua Can (Cửa Cạn) Town. Cua Can beach itself is as beautiful as the sunset there. There are many stilt houses established above the ocean and river.
Also, there are some wooden bridges which are nice to take photos of. They are just accessible by bicycle, motorbike, and by foot.
Visiting Cua Can Beach, tourists can also drift down the Cua Can River by hiring a fisherman to take them down that river and into Phu Quoc National Forest. A few kayaks for rent are available here during the high season. Another activity for visitors to enjoy is fishing. You can do it by hiring a fisherman to take you to the Cua Can River or to the sea or simply fish off many wooden bridges with local people.
If you want to eat something out, then there are some street side restaurants scattered around the area for you to opt for; and the food here is very affordable but still very delicious and basic.
The beach is situated about 15 kilometers from Duong Dong Town, so if you want to get there, you just need to follow the signs to the Chez Carole resort and then you will finally find the beach.
Keep reading the list of Phu Quoc island attractions to know more must-see places in Phu Quoc!
5. Dinh Cau Rock (Cau Temple) (Đền Dinh Cậu)
This odd shaped rock lies at Duong Dong River’s mouth. It is said that no trip to Phu Quoc Island is complete without visiting this little oddity.
Actually, this is the most popular Phu Quoc island attractions majorly because it is situated near the Long Beach – maybe the most worth-visiting Phu Quoc island attractions that no tourists can overlook.
Dinh Cau Rock is often mentioned to as “the symbol of Phu Quoc as well as Phu Quoc locals”. Before every fishing trip, Phu Quoc locals come to this temple to burn those incense sticks and then pray for a safe trip.
Here, you can see spectacular sunsets that is great for taking photos. At the base of the temple, you can relax on a plastic chair, then order sugar cane juice and witness the sunset.
6. Vung Bau Beach (Bãi Vũng Bầu)
Vung Bau Beach, also known as Circling Beach, lays in-between Cua Can (Cửa Cạn) Beach in the south and Long Beach in the north. It is about 10 kilometers from Duong Dong town. Actually, this 4.5 kilometer-in-length beach is rather remote that makes travelers feel like they have the area all to themselves, but it is still close enough to several resorts if they want to stay overnight or grab something to eat.
White sand, calm clear blue water and thick tall grass developing close to the seashore make this a private and peaceful beach, so many foreign tourists who make a trip here might not feel the demand to take swimwear. For those who are looking for some adventure, there is dive shop along the major road that will take them to the nearby islands for a small fee.
The green around this beach is interesting, with a variety of coastal flowers, a mixture of tall grass, and a good mixture of coconut palm trees and poplar. Thanks to the calm and clear sea here, the water’s color is a great combination of different shades of blue. The slope into the sea is rather low, thereby making it a safe place for children as well as non-swimmers alike to play around and exit the ocean without any fear. Underwater, you might find conch, starfish, and perhaps a few sea urchins, so it is better for you to be careful when placing your feet on the ocean floor.
Similar to the beaches above, sunsets can be considered as the specialty of Phu Quoc Island, in general, and Vung Bau Beach, in particular. Not only does this breathtaking view bring a calm and peaceful environment for tourists to relax and enjoy, but it is also ideal for photo taking.
On the other hand, if you have a chance to visit Vung Bau Beach, do not skip trying yourself with some interesting water sports here, particularly snorkeling. This sport is great for those who love adventure. By renting a kayak from the nearby resort, you can paddle to the nearby Fingernail Island. Also, you could swim to this island from Vung Bau’s most southern point situated at Mai Phuong Resort.
However, be careful with it as the currents here are rather strong, particularly during the low season.
Want scuba diving? Then go to a dive shop, situated on the main road, which is always open during the peak season, and prepare anything you can do for your snorkeling.
7. Rach Vem Beach And Rach Tram Beach (Bãi Rạch Vẹm Và Bãi Rạch Tràm)
These are two little-known beaches in Phu Quoc Island. Located in remote north area of Phu Quoc, calm and quiet, these beaches are wonderful and the forested hills backdrop is spectacular. Nonetheless, Rach Vem (Rạch Vẹm) Beach and Rach Tram (Rạch Tràm) Beach are “working” ones where fishermen along with their families reside.
These beaches are situated in Rach Tram Village – a small fishing village which belongs to Bai Thom (Bãi Thơm) commune and is just 800 meters in width and 2.5 kilometers in length. It is an ideal place for tourists to experience the local life, mainly for cultural experience. There are a few crab farms as well as seafood processing “plants” here. Tourists when visiting these beaches will also see Cambodian coast here, how those local fishermen work and live, and how a variety of seafood is processed for consumption and sale. However, if you have a chance to talk with local people here, it is not a good idea to mention about the Cambodia-Vietnam war as well as Pol Pot’s regime because this issue is rather sensitive here.
Some fun activities to do for tourists are fishing, trekking, and hiking. You can ask local fishermen to take you out for fishing either in the river or in the sea for a small fee, yet you might need to be able to speak Vietnamese or Khmer (Cambodia). For hiking or trekking, a few small trails taking you into the forest are available here. It is really worth exploring for both domestic and international tourists.
8. Ham Ninh Fishing Village (Làng Chài Hàm Ninh)
Situated about 20 km northeast of the Duong Dong Town, Phu Quoc district, Ham Ninh village is well-known for its wonderful natural scenery as well as peaceful life of local fishermen. Actually, no one knew when this village was built, just know that, whilst Phu Quoc Island deserted, some people from land go to the exploitation of marine resources, and then built up the village.
In fact, fishing used to be the sole method of earning living of locals in Ham Ninh village, yet recent years, thanks to the development of tourism, tourist service becomes a main source of their income, like from selling seafood or handmade souvenir for travelers.
During hot summer, when visiting Ham Ninh village, travelers will be able to leave their busy life behind and be lost into the natural, picturesque scenery here. With the turquoise sea here, you may be stunned and try to immerse yourself into the clean, cool water while still contemplating those small fishes swimming beside and seaweeds floating into the blue water.
Also, do not overlook the golden chance of tasting delicious, mouth-watering seafood and drinks like ginseng-seaweed water, sea-horse soaking in liquor, or Tram mushroom – one special type of mushroom in this island. It is also great for you to lie down on the white sand, enjoy great food and watch the breath-taking sunset on this beach. And, before returning your hometown, do not forget buying a few flower crabs, some souvenirs made of shell, and a few bottles of sea-horse as the gifts for family and friends.
There are a number of pagodas as well as temples around Phu Quoc Island. These are worth-visiting Phu Quoc island attractions for those who want to enjoy some religious destinations.
Some of the most famous pagodas and temples in Phu Quoc are:
- Sung Hung (Sùng Hưng) Pagoda: This is one of the oldest pagodas in Phu Quoc Island. Situated at the base of mountain near Duong Dong Town center Sung Hung Pagoda has a distinctive architectural structure which is unique among other pagodas in Phu Quoc with the door heading to the North. This pagoda is covered by huge trees and designed following the ladder structure, which goes higher in each step. Having an impressive “triangular gate” that leads to a white statue of Goddess of Mercy situated in the middle area of the yard, the pagoda attracts a huge number of tourists to visit. If you want to learn more about the ancient architecture of the pagoda and get some knowledge about one of the most Phu quoc island attractions, then this site is for you.
- Cao Dai (Cao Đài) temple: the name “Cao Dai” means literally high tower. Actually, in Phu Quoc, there are two Cao Dai Temples that are both situated in Duong Dong Town. The first is situated on 30-4 Street at Duong Dong’s edge. The second (also the main) is situated on Nguyen Trai (Nguyễn Trãi) Street, right in the heart of Duong Dong Town. The second one was established in 2008 and resembles the little-known Cao Dai temple available in Tay Nin (Tây Ninh) province, right near Ho Chi Minh (Hồ Chí Minh) City.
Cao Dai Temple is rather colorful and unique. Tourists will see different images of the most popular religions of the world and tigers and dragons.
Also, every day, you can witness the simple worshipping ceremony from 6 am – 12 pm. While visiting this temple, you should pay more attention to the top where you could have incredible views of Duong Dong Town, the sea and the river. Really, it is an ideal spot for photo taking.
- Ho Quoc (Hộ Quốc) pagoda: also known as Truc Lam Ho Quoc (Trúc Lâm Hộ Quốc), this pagoda is part eco-tourism spot, part monastery, and part Buddhist temple. About 18 km away from Duong Dong Town, situated in Suoi Lon (Suối Lớn) hamlet within Duong To (Dương Tơ) village, this temple has a variety of Buddha statues and a giant bell. Visiting here at about 5:30 am, you will witness the spectacular sunrise view that will stun you so much. It is said that Ho Quoc Pagoda is considered among best sites to watch the sunrise in this island. There is a lush mountain behind this temple complex, which has rich wildlife. If you are lucky enough, you might see macaques.
- Phap Quang (Pháp Quang) Pagoda: this is a Chinese Buddhist temple which was established recently and has rapidly become one of spiritual Phu Quoc island attractions, mainly for its various Buddha statues. There are two major halls in the pagoda, including Bodhisattva Ksitigarbharaja and Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, the two religious figures. Once tourists pass the major gate of this pagoda, they will see many statues located equally with each other.
Are you fancy of discovering what the most famous plant in Phu Quoc Island is? Then you should add the following site to your list of must-go Phu Quoc island attractions.
10. Pepper Plantations (Trang Trại Tiêu)
One of the most recommended Phu Quoc island attractions is Pepper gardens. Phu Quoc is well-known for pepper, especially red pepper. The heat and spice of Phu Quoc pepper is very special. Local farmers here do not use chemical fertilizers yet organic fertilizers when processing pepper as in other areas. There are about 385 ha of pepper plantations on this island, majorly in Cua Can (Cửa Cạn) and Cua Duong (Cửa Dương) villages. During the major harvesting period, from February to July, ripe peppercorns are carefully collected by famers’ hands, and divided into 3 types: the red type, the black type and the white type. Today, tourists could easily visit one of many pepper plantations on the island. It is estimated that there are 3 main plantations here which are very easily accessible. If you are going to travel around Phu Quoc, you should not miss visiting a pepper plantation. Those people who are interested in culinary could have a guided tour of pepper plantation to see the complete process in detail.
The lush forests as well as a lot of waterfalls in Phu Quoc are among great Phu Quoc island attractions. They are also the reasons why this island is popularly referred to as the “Jade island” or “Emerald Island”. Whilst many travelers visit Phu Quoc as a manner to fight against the winter cold or a temporary escape from the bustling city life, some of them also go to Phu Quoc due to the adventurous sports associated with waterfalls here. Like the majority of waterfalls, the falls in Phu Quoc Island might be much more impressive during the rainy season yet it is still worth passing by during dry season. Some of the most famous waterfalls in Phu Quoc are:
- Da Ban (Đá Bàn) waterfall: it just takes about 10 minutes from Duong Dong Town to get Da Ba waterfall. Close to the lake of Duong Dong, it is very worth visiting Da Ban waterfall to enjoy your lunch and take a rest after a long day of going sightseeing. Da Ban waterfall might not be as well-known and crowded as Tranh waterfall mentioned below, but it is famous for the diversified flora and fauna. There is a wooden suspension bridge which is very nice to walk on, but if you are not a fan of adventure, you could use the nearby stable wooden bridge. Some activities you can do while visiting Da Ban waterfall include soaking in the stream, picnicking, or observing various animals and plants here, such as wild orchids, wild ginseng, mushrooms, and ferns.
- Tranh (Tranh) waterfall: though it is not the most dramatic waterfall in Phu Quoc, Tranh waterfall still shines its own charms over others. With the peaceful surrounding forest, this waterfall also contains a few other smaller waterfalls as well as streams. Looking into the stream, you can see freshwater shrimps and little fish. Within the forested region around, you can also see exotic mushrooms, wild orchids, and diversified moss and lichens. Here, tourists can throw themselves into some activities like picnicking or soaking into the stream. There are some small shops for snacking that have been built along the trail and sell the quail eggs, drinks, fruits, rice and pork in case tourists get hungry.
- Fairy stream falls (Aka Suoi Tien (Suối Tiên)): similar to Da Ban waterfall, Suoi Tien is a small stream situated close to Duong Dong Town. Despite it is not easy to get there, but if you have a chance, it is definitely worth your visit as the lush forest scenery here is very stunning. The natural scenery here is rather peaceful and nice. You can explore the region and find ginseng, orchids, and myrtle fruit tree. Like two waterfalls above, there are some activities for tourists to enjoy here, including soaking into the stream and picnicking.
12. Cashew Nut Plantations
One of the lesser-known Phu Quoc island attractions is cashew nut plantations. Actually, cashew nut is grown in a fair abundance on this island. If you travel to the more remote areas of the north around Bai Thom (Bãi Thơm), you can see many cashew nut trees with the huge pear shaped husks upon in season.
13. Phu Quoc Prison (Nhà Tù Phú Quốc)
When it comes to Phu Quoc Prison, it might not be one of the most renowned Phu Quoc island attractions, yet is still worth a visit. Located in An Thoi (An Thời) town, Phu Quoc prison, aka Coconut Tree prison, was once an active prison established and initially used to the French and by the Americans after that. According to reports, it once housed over 40,000 Vietnamese soldiers who were tortured and beaten there during the period of American- Vietnam war. Nowadays, it becomes one of historical Phu Quoc island attractions and was formally recognized as the special Vietnamese national heritage site. Travelers when visiting this Phu Quoc Prison will witness an actual outdoor prison setup with tiger cages, barb wire, and mannequin prisoners and guards. In addition, you can have an opportunity to go through the escape tunnel which is underground.
You have discovered 13 out of must-see Phu Quoc island attractions that many experienced tourists, both domestic and international, highly recommend for new ones. To put in simple words, Phu Quoc is an ideal destination for a lot of travel activities that range from ocean, land and aerial tour to fishing, scuba diving, hiking, bird watching, snorkeling, and trekking. On the other hand, you also find a safari zoo, large museum park, and high standard courses. There are no limited ideas and places for tourists to visit here, including the most beautiful beaches of Vietnam, sacred pagodas and temples, historic prisons and large pepper or cashew nut plantations.
Now, it is your turn to plan a comprehensive trip to Phu Quoc Island and visit at least some of the Phu Quoc Island attractions introduced above. Well, believe me, Phu Quoc is really one of the most undeniably attractive destinations in Vietnam, not to mention in the whole world.