Top 16 Things to Do in Phu Quoc for First-Time Travellers

What to Do in Phu Quoc Island?

Jane Pham
Jane Pham | Published: August 7, 2020

Phu Quoc, located in Southern Vietnam, is a famous island for breathtaking landscapes and untouched beauty. As a favorite destination in Vietnam, it caters for all budgets and travel goals. Coming here, you will surely be amazed by its wide range of activities and worth-visiting attractions. If you are planning your trip to this wonderful island, don’t miss our following list of the top things to do in Phu Quoc.

I. 6 Most Popular Things To Do in Phu Quoc

1. Phu Quoc National Park

Phu Quoc National Park

Phu Quoc National Park covers more than a half of Phu Quoc’s northern area. It is well known as an unmissable place on the island for nature lovers. Spanning 340.000 square meters, the national park is home to various kinds of wildlife, including unique flora and fauna, evergreen forest, and lush mountain ranges.

It offers visitors plenty of things to do like hiking, camping, photography, and bird watching. For those who are deeply interested in nature, you may spot some rare species here like silver langurs, otters, slow lories, long-tailed macaques, and hornbills. On the other hand, if you are a more adventurous person, let’s try to test your endurance by a four-hour trek through the dense forest.

2. Sao Beach

Sao beach in Phu Quoc

Sao beach (Bãi Sao) is one of the most beautiful tropical sandy beaches in Phu Quoc island. Nestled on the coast of An Thoi town, it is 25 km from the center. With smooth sandy shore and clean and clear sea water, it is one of the most visited beaches. The beach looks impressive with the unspoiled beauty of gorgeous landscapes and the beach. Stretching fine sand over 7 km, Sao Beach, or so-called Bai Sao, is considered owning the cleanest and whitest sand on Phu Quoc island.

Its main highlight is a huge number of starfishes moving into the shores every night. Maybe that is the reason why it got the name Sao Beach (Sao means “starfish”). On the beach, you can get wonderful moments like wandering around the beach with your friends, looking for some sea animals on the shore like snails, crabs, and starfishes, or following the small trials to the tropical jungle to see huge trees and listen to beautiful voices of different wild birds.

3. Khem Beach

Khem beach

Khem beach (or Bai Khem in Vietnamese) is nestled in the southern beach on Phu Quoc island. Khem Beach boasts its peaceful beaches, smooth white sand stretches, and calm waters. Its beauty attracts a large number of tourists to the island, especially in summer.

As a private beach, it is most suitable for friend trips and relaxing family. Despite not being spacious, it still seduces anyone’s heart with alluring landscapes. Towards the southern end of Khem Beach, you can find the Fairy Well. Though it is close to the sea, the well still provides fresh water at any time of the day. Besides, the beach also attracts visitors to see the local people’s pearl cages. If you are a jewelry addict, don’t miss this place. 

4. Hon Thom Island 

Cable car to Hon Thom island

Hon Thom island is the biggest island in Phu Quoc. It brings a hidden charm that most visitors wish to be back here again. With no electricity grid and consistent telephone connection, the island is truly a getaway from hustle and bustle city. The pure and wild nature of Hon Thom helps you forget all the convenience. On the island, there are many small beaches where you can lie on the sand under the coconut trees, swim or dive in the cool and fresh water.

If you want to spend your whole day here, you will have a chance to experience night fishing and try attractive cuisine. A day in Hon Thom island is like experiencing Robinson’s life on an uninhabited island. You can explore the big and small islands as well as the simple and rustic life of the islanders. If you are lucky, the fishermen will teach you how to catch sea urchin, prepare and bake them for fascinating dishes. Especially, you can try many different games on Hon Thom island like paragliding, skateboarding, and snorkeling.

5. Long Beach

Long beach Phu Quoc

Long Beach stretches 20 kilometers of coastal area in Phu Quoc which is crowded with beachfront resorts and restaurants, cafes and bars. Compared to other islands, the beach remains quite pristine with plenty of soft sands and green palm trees. The beach is divided into 2 areas: the northern and the southern one.

To explore the island, you can easily navigate on foot. But, it is advisable to rent a bicycle or a motorbike to explore more of the beach like pearl farms and traditional fishing villages. The best time to enjoy this beach may be the sunset. Visitors can enjoy the spectacular view from many restaurants and cafes. In addition, you also can try swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling, and immersing in the fresh sea water of Long Beach.

II. 6 Unique Things to Do in Phu Quoc

1. Flavorful Pepper Farm

Favorful Phu Quoc pepper farm

Visiting Phu Quoc, you will have a chance to enjoy many different delicious dishes. And if you are a food lover, you will realize that the local pepper in these dishes has a different taste to other types because of its spicy flavor and unique aroma. Black pepper is considered a specialty in Phu Quoc. Each year, there are up to 1000 tons produced in this area. To get a better understanding about this kind of pepper, it is highly recommended to visit Phu Quoc pepper farm.

Most of the farms are in quiet, remote, and peaceful areas like in the northern parts or around the central of the island. There are some organized tours to these farms. Coming here, you will have a chance to take some nice photos, talk to the farmers and listen to the way they grow, harvest the pepper as well as the drying process. You can visit the farms all year round, but it is advisable to visit during the harvesting season which lasts from February to July. At this time, you can try to collect different kinds of peppers on your own.

2. Join A Cooking Class

Cooking class

Visitors may feel surprised when knowing that some cooking classes are held right on the island. Particularly, local people often hold these classes in organic farms. In these farms, they produce natural and healthy products without using synthesized fertilizers and chemicals. 

Join these classes, it is more than just cooking. You have a chance to go to the local wet market to shop for the ingredients from very early in the morning. After that, you can learn to cook typical dishes that are considered the essence of Vietnamese cuisine including sizzling pancake, spring rolls, and caramelized pork with fish sauce, etc. For more fun, you can ask tour operators to add a visit to a beer factory or a quick tour to the pepper farm. The normal price is US$ 35 for one person.

3. Dinh Cau Temple

Dinh Cau temple

Dinh Cau Temple, also known as Cau Temple, is part lighthouse and part shrine. Built in the 17th century, it has a majestic rock edge that overlooks the sea. From here, you can enjoy spectacular views, listen to the sound of the waves, and also contemplate many large rocks in different shapes. The temple was constructed to worship the God of the Sea and pray to him to protect the fisherman from the danger in the sea.

It doesn’t only impress tourists by some mysterious legends but also its unique beauty. The interior space is truly a masterpiece of intricate and sophisticated architecture. Facing the immense sea, the left of the temple has a white sandy beach while its right side is a harbor of so many colorful boats.

On some special occasions and Lunar New Year, you can witness a lot of local people and fishermen gather here to burn incense and pray. If you don’t plan your trips on these occasions, we suggest visiting the temple after sunset when the view becomes more fascinating than ever.

4. Phu Quoc Prison

Phu Quoc prison

Phu Quoc Prison is the place where you can get little knowledge of Vietnam’s turbulent past. During the Vietnam War, thousands of Vietnamese people were imprisoned and tortured here. Nowadays, it becomes a war museum where houses authentic instruments for torture, exhibits of brutal punishments, and photographs of former detainees. Besides, it also owns a retail outlet where local snacks, unique handicrafts, and books writing about the Vietnam War are sold.

If you are really interested in history, don’t forget to see tiger cages where prisoners were kept and subjected to severe weather conditions in a long time, resulting in blindness and pneumonia. Don’t need to pay an entrance fee, you can freely visit the prison and get yourself some things about the famous Vietnam War.

5. Ham Ninh Fishing Village

Ham Ninh fishing village

Ham Ninh fishing village is an ideal place for foreigners who wish to experience something unique in Phu Quoc. The village gives you a chance to know the daily life of hard-working local fishermen and enjoy regional dishes at a reasonable price. In the oldest villages on the island, most people make their living by diving for sea cucumbers and pearls, and fishing. Recently, as tourism gets developed, they also sell food delicacies and handmade souvenirs for better living. Driving 30 minutes from Duong Dong Town, you can enjoy tasty dishes like cucumber soup, boiled flower crab, and tram mushroom. Or if you wish to have a more relaxing experience, you can take a walk around the village, meet the friendly and hospitable villagers and listen to their stories. 

6. Phu Quoc Fish Sauce Factory

Visit fish sauce factory

Among the Phu Quoc specialties, its fish sauce is quite famous and popular. As one of the typical natural products on the island, it is also exported to other countries in the world and also makes a great contribution to the economy of the region.

In Vietnamese cuisine, fish sauce plays an important role in adding more flavor. Now, there are several fish sauce factories on the island that are open for visitors. So, if you have the chance, don’t forget to visit one of them for a more interesting experience. These factories are mainly located in An Thoi town and Duong Dong town, which is not too far to reach. Arriving here, you will know the process of making fish sauce, take a look at large storage containers to plastic bottles of fish sauces. If you enjoy the taste, you can buy some at the factory for quality products.

III. 4 Fun Things To Do in Phu Quoc

1. Phu Quoc Safari Park

Phu Quoc Safari Park

Opened since the end of 2015, Phu Quoc Safari Park is the place to go for those who are looking for fun things to do in Phu Quoc. It has 2 separate areas called Open Zoo and Wildlife Park.

The park is one of the most impressive safari versions in Vietnam with almost 3.000 individuals, 1.200 fauna species and 150 rare animal species from all over the world. You will have a chance to witness some animals like Asian Elephants, Freshwater Crocodile, Bengal Tigers, and Green Iguana, etc.

To go into the deep forest, you will travel on specialized transports. Here, you can see endangered and rare species and experience the feeling of being in the cage and surrounded by roaming animals. Scared but fun, isn’t it? In addition, there are daily interesting activities in the safari park like feeding animals, enjoying animal performances, and photographing nature.

2. Diving and Snorkeling at An Thoi Islands

Diving in Phu Quoc

Though the best time to try diving and snorkeling in Phu Quoc is from November to April, you can explore marine life at any time when the sea is calm and the sun is out. Several spots in Phu Quoc island are suitable for these activities.

However, it is highly recommended to try them at An Thoi Islands. Standing out from other islands, it boasts a wide range of diving areas with a diverse underwater life like plenty of seagrass and sloping coral reefs. Most diving spots here are under 12 meters. There are many agencies providing diving and snorkeling as a part of their tour package. But if you want to experience the best of Phu Quoc marine life, we highly recommend spending at least one day and choosing the top diving operators. 

3. Phu Quoc Pearl Farm

Retrieving the pearls

If you don’t know what to buy for your friends, think about high quality items like Phu Quoc pearls. In Phu Quoc Pearl Farms, you will find remarkable pearls and know some information about pearl farming history on the island. The island has a large area of more than 6.000 square meters in land and 4 marine square meters for farming pearls.

To get the pearls, it must go through a complicated process, from implanting oysters, harvesting, cleaning, and cutting them to retrieve pearls. After that, these pearls will be bored, strung or placed on ornaments for decoration. Different products like necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets, etc, can be made from pearls.

There are 2 main pearl farms in Phu Quoc: Quoc An pearl farm and Ngoc Hien pearl farm. You can visit them to see the diversity of products and see how they were made.

4. Duong Dong Market 

Seafood in Duong Dong market

Though Phu Quoc houses 6 different markets, Duong Dong market is the largest market in this island. Located in the center of Duong Dong town and on the bank of a river, it is home to many trading activities. This is the most crowded market where you can experience daily life of local people and buy something for yourself. Goods here are quite diverse and abundant.

Apart from vegetables and home appliances, fresh seafood is sold a lot in the market like squid, crab, mackerel, eel, shrimps, etc. As they are newly caught so they are still fresh. There are also dried seafood if you wish to bring home. Besides, it is also quite fun to try bargaining a product with local people. It’s what local people often do to get a better price. If you visit the market in the early morning, you can try delicious dishes of Phu Quoc cuisine like echinus porridge, rice cake, and grilled fish or grilled crabs.

So, just looking at the above list, there are plenty of things to do in Phu Quoc. You may have no dull moments in this wonderful island. We really hope that you find it useful for planning your trip! If you have any other interesting things to do, don’t forget to share them with us. 

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