PHU QUOC, VIETNAM ISLAND GUIDE

ABOUT PHU QUOC
Phu Quoc is a gorgeous tropical island off of Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand, situated near Cambodia. The island is about an hour flight from Ho Chi Minh City, but seems worlds away.


WHY VISIT
Phu Quoc is still relatively under the radar as a tourist spot, but that's sure to soon change with the addition of a new JW Marriott hotel... so book your tickets now! I've never been to Phuket or the Thai islands, but there 's a lot of debate online about which islands to go to in South East Asia. It seems like a major benefit of Phu Quoc is the relative lack of tourists.

GETTING THERE
Phu Quoc has a small international airport. I was originally supposed to fly in on China Southern Airlines from Guangzhou, but due to weather issues the first leg of my flight was delayed and I missed my connection to Phu Quoc. I was able to easily change to an inexpensive VietJet flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc (they offer multiple flights a day). VietJet offers inexpensive flights throughout Vietnam with many going to Phu Quoc each day. You can also take a ferry to the island. 


WHERE TO STAY
I stayed at Salinda Resort and I can't recommend it enough! It definitely goes down as one of my favorite hotels I've stayed at. The resort is situated on gorgeous Long Beach in the middle of the island. While the grounds are stunning with a beautiful infinity pool, stately palm trees and beautiful gardens, the staff  really makes this a five star resort. The entire Salinda Resort staff went out of their way to be accommodating and helpful during our stay. 

Another major stand out point of the hotel was the food! While you'll definitely find food options off property (more on that below!) we enjoyed having a few meals at the resort. We especially loved the breakfast, which was included in our stay, and was one of the nicest, most expansive breakfast buffets I've encountered. Our morning guava mimosas and Vietnamese iced coffees were the perfect way to fuel up for the day! While there are plenty of budget and less expensive hotel options on Phu Quoc, I highly recommend spending a little extra and trying out Salinda.




WHAT TO DO
Bai Sao Beach
Being an island, the main draw of Phu Quoc are its gorgeous beaches. I absolutely loved Bai Sao beach for the fun swing, sugar-white sand and easy access to Paradiso restaurant and (clean!) bathrooms.




An Thoi Islands
If you're on Phu Quoc you must visit the An Thoi islands. An Thoi is actually the name of the harbor on the southern tip of the island. From here you can get on a boat and visit some of the small islands and coves off of Phu Quoc. There are a few ways to go about doing this, but my research led me to Mr. Phu, a local who owns a boat and gives visitors tours of the islands. Mr. Phu can take you out for the whole day or to specific islands. We did a five hour trip and stopped at two places (Mong Tay and Ram Ri). We spent a long time at Mong Tay, but if I went back I'd want to see more of the farther islands. Mr. Phu was amazing, it was a great private tour with his brother and a helper and was only around $80 USD for the five hours! You can reach Mr. Phu at 0123 7799 141. He speaks a little bit of English, but we had people at our hotel call to ensure nothing was lost in translation.


I was so excited to visit my first Asian night market, and Phu Quoc's definitely didn't disappoint! Dinh Cau offers a sensory overload of food vendors, shops, outdoor bars and tourist stands piled into a narrow road with tourists and locals hanging out and motorbikes speeding by. Phu Quoc is known for their pearls, and there are plenty of shops in the night market selling them. I've been wanting a specific type of pearl bracelet and one of the shops custom made it for me. I can't remember the shop name, but I think it's called Roberta's and it's its right at the beginning of the market on the left hand side. I'm not sure I got the best deal, but it was certainly cheaper than a custom pearl bracelet in the states and the people were great to work with.

WHERE TO EAT
May Restaurant - For fresh seafood and vegetables grilled outside, the BEST crab fried rice and super affordable prices

Bun Cha Ha Noi - Bun cha is a traditional northern Vietnamese dish of vermicelli noodles, grilled pork (or you can get it without), fresh herbs and a lukewarm soup like dipping sauce. Bun Cha Ha Noi is THE spot to go on Phu Quoc if you're interested in trying this dish... it's the only thing on the menu! The lady who runs the restaurant is so sweet and the meal is delicious, and super inexpensive!



Paradiso - Paradiso is location on Bai Sao Beach and has gorgeous ocean views. I don't know if I'd necessarily go there to eat if I wasn't spending time on the beach, but it's a great spot for cocktails and small bites like spring rolls and calamari



Grilled Seafood on Mong Tay - If you do the An Thoi island trip there's a good chance one of your first stops will be on Mong Tay. Island locals have set up a sort of make shift restaurant grilling freshly caught seafood and selling ice cold beer. Do not miss this!

Beer Garden Dong Phu - Phu Quoc's own microbrewery with two types of beer, light and dark. The outdoor beer garden is a great place to spend the evening and the staff is lovely.

4 comments:

  1. I had never heard about Phu Quoc before reading this post ! I see idyllic beaches and crystal clear waters: the sand seems soft and the water is calm and clean. However it seems that there is enough to explore if you want to do more than sit a beach chair all day :-)

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    1. Definitely! The beaches are a major draw, but there is so much to do! The market was amazing and so was the brewery.

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  2. That water and food over there looks amazing! Had no idea the water was so blue there!

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