Before heading back to Europe for Xmas i spent around ten days on the island of Phu Quoc. Phu Quoc island lays just to the South West of Vietnam very close to Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand. The island is a popular weekend getaway for Saigon tourists and Westerners looking for a quieter island experience in Vietnam.
It takes around 45 minutes to get to Phu Quoc Island from Saigon on using the likes of Vietjet or Vietnam airlines. The flight is reasonably cheap at around $50 return but this depends on time of year-for example during Tet holiday in February each year the price may be double or triple this.
Like much of Vietnam Phu Quoc is exploding in terms of tourism and growth. The main tourist area on the island to the west side is currently a giant building site as they widen the main road to allow a walkway for tourists. The Vietnamese are slowly starting to realise that westerners often prefer walking than taking a motorbike or taxi somewhere.
Even though i’d been living by the beach for a year in Da Nang, i wanted to check out some of the southern beaches before i took a long overdue trip back to Europe for the freezing winter. I pipelined using Vietnam cupid before arriving in Phu Quoc, so had a girl waiting for me when i arrived which i think was a good idea. It’s definitely much quieter than Saigon and even Da Nang, and touted as more of a couples place than a party island. I had a good time none the less.
Phu Quoc Bars & Phu Quoc Girls
The main tourist area in Phu Quoc where i recommend staying is Duong Dong sandwiched between the old and the new airport on the west side of the island.
I quickly found out that most people will start their night at the Langchia Hostel on the main road in Duong Dong. The drinks are cheap, it has a pool table and friendly staff so it’s not too bad. You get the usual mix of travellers of all ages passing through here. they also have a pool out the back. I met some interesting people here although the girls weren’t so great. My mate hooked up with one of the bar staff one night, although she wasn’t anything decent.
The busiest and arguably best bar here is Rory’s Bar located on the beach off the Tran Hung Dao main road. It’s busy most nights with a decent DJ (something of a novelty for Vietnam.) Drinks are around 40K a beer so not too bad-everything is a little more expensive than the mainland due to the transportation costs to the island. You can sit on the beach here most nights but it gets busy later on with both tourists and a few locals.
After Rory’s bar people tend to head to The Pirate Cave about a 5 minute walk away. I did this numerous times with my girl and without even though it’s fairly shite there. The music is a mix of deep house and RnB and it contains the usual weird and wacky mix of expats, tourists and locals you see at most late night venues throughout Vietnam.
Phu Quoc Accommodation
Accommodation wise there’s a lot of choice from cheap to luxury resorts and i’d recommend going through one of the larger booking portals online as most places are on there. It’s a little more expensive than Saigon for a decent room at around $25+ per night. I stayed up on the main road Tran Hung Dao at a B&B type place that was good value. Next time however i would stay nearer the beach in one of the bungalows or resorts there as you’re nearer places like Rorys Bar and of course the beach in the day for swimming.
Getting Around & Conclusion
It’s advisable to hire a motorbike for a couple of days to get around and see most of the island. The traffic is not too bad although watch out for lorries speeding about as there is a lot of construction there. It’s about 150k per day to hire a motorbike on Phu Quoc and most hotels will be able to sort you out with a decent bike. Taxis are plentiful but slightly more expensive than the mainland.
So would i recommend Phu Quoc? If you’re looking for a party Island then this is not the place, you’d be better off staying in Saigon or hitting up one of the Thai islands such as Samui or Phuket. If you want to chill out and get some work done or are looking for somewhere to take a girlfriend for the weekend then it’s a good choice.