With a renewed investment in the tourist sector and a tropical island location, the amount of things to do in Phu Quoc has skyrocketed in recent years, making it a top destination for travelers from around the world.
Just over 200 square miles in size, this tropical island is home to sandy beaches, luxury hotels, lush jungles and historical sites, all of which are surrounded by the blue waters of the Bay of Thailand.
The island boasts its own international airport in addition to luxury accommodations and amenities, making it the perfect destination for your southeast Asian vacation. Because there are so many amazing things to do in Phu Quoc, be sure to research ahead of time to make the most of your time spent on this paradise island!
Things to do in Phu Quoc on your visit
Ride the Phu Quoc cable car
Currently the longest non stop cable car ride in the world, the Phu Quoc cable car connects Phu Quoc with Hon Thom Island AKA Pineapple Island. I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t include this as one of the best things to do.
Offering dramatic views of the islands, the ride itself takes about 15 minutes and is about 8 kilometers in length (around 4+ miles). This is a great way to see the beautiful grounds below. If you visit when the weather is good, you will be gifted with gorgeous blue seas for as far as the eye can see.
Bonus: there are windows and slats in the cable car that allow you to take photos without having a window reflection in your shots. You can get perfect aerial view shots, long range shots of neighboring islands and you can take time lapse video easily from the cable car.
Explore natural wonders at Phu Quoc National Park
Covering nearly half the northern portion of the island, Phu Quoc National Park is a government protected region that is a refuge for the unique flora and fauna found in this area.
While much of the park is restricted for research and habitat protection, you can access the Khu Rung Nguyen Sinh Forest Reserve, located within the park, for hiking, camping and observing the native plants and wildlife.
The thick evergreen forests, densely forested mountains and wide rivers of the reserve are home to some incredibly unique wildlife. The opportunity to see langur monkeys, the slow loris and exotic hornbills among many other rare creatures makes a visit to the Phu Quoc National Park one of the top things to do in Phu Quoc.
Drink your weight in Vietnamese coffee
If you have had it, YOU KNOW! If you haven’t had it, you need to get it as soon as you arrive and don’t quit drinking it until your last drop exiting Vietnam. The secret to this great coffee is in the way it is made and poured over ice and condensed milk.
Relax on the shores of the Suoi Tranh Waterfall
Located a mere ten minute drive from the major hub of Duong Dong City, the Suoi Tranh Waterfall is a breathtaking waterfall surrounded by lush jungle foliage and home to a number of exotic animals. It’s easy and close location make it a popular destination for travelers and locals alike, so it is advisable to arrive early in the day to find a perfect picnic spot before the crowds arrive.
The waterfall is surrounded by wild orchids and ginseng plants and a number of exotic birds can be seen among the canopy of the surrounding forests. Walking trails lead further into the forest and one particular trail follows the stream to Han Doi, also known as the Grotto of the Bats.
This massive and cavernous destination is filled with hundreds of unique stalactites and other rock formations, making it one of the most interesting things to do in Phu Quoc.
Visit Sung Hung Pagoda for a taste of the vibrant religion of the area
While in Vietnam, you will find a number of vibrant and ornate Buddhist shrines and temples and one of the best things to do in Phu Quoc is to visit Sung Hung Pagoda for an example of this rich culture. Built around the 10th Century, this particular shrine is one of the oldest on the island.
Inside the ornate architecture of the complex, you’ll find statues, shrines and a three story tall prayer building, all of which exemplifies the rich colors and symbolic architecture of the Buddhist faith. Paintings of Buddhist myths can be found in all the pagodas and buildings and the main courtyard features a large lotus pond used for reflection and meditation on the large statue of the Lady of Mercy that sits in the center of it.
Visitors to the Sung Hung Pagoda are encouraged to dress conservatively out of respect for the monks and locals who frequent this religious site.
Shop for pearls!
Little known fact: Phu Quoc is known as Pearl Island. The island harvests pearls and sells these magnificent pieces. You can find a variety of colors, including black pearls.
Explore the site of Vietnam’s newest religion at Cao Dai Temple
Considered the birthplace of Cao Daism, one of the can’t miss things to do in Phu Quoc is to visit the Cao Dai Temple.
Founded in Phu Quoc in the early 1900s, Cao Daism is a unique religion that combines popular sacraments and ideals from Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, and Islam.
As the birthplace of this religion, Phu Quoc has some of the best examples of Cao Dai temples. These religious sites are unique for their mix of bright colors and religious symbols, borrowed from all the major religions that inspire the teachings of this faith.
As one of the newer faiths, it has a surprisingly large amount of followers, with estimates claiming at least two million followers in Vietnam alone. You can visit the Cao Dai Temple in Phu Quoc to marvel at the imagery and symbolism as well as attend their religious practices, held twice daily and open to the public.
Get a taste for local life at Ham Ninh Village
Just twenty minutes outside the city, this quaint fishing village is a remarkably popular tourist attraction and one of the top things to do in Phu Quoc.
Visitors from around the world come to visit this village to get a glimpse of local life and a taste of unique, traditional cuisine. Most of the items you can sample here won’t be featured on a five-star restaurant menu, though. Sea cucumber soup and boiled flower crabs are popular dishes found at the market in Ham Ninh, and you can find some truly unique concoctions purported to have medicinal qualities.
From more traditional items like rice wine and ginseng tea to more peculiar offerings such as boiled seaweed tea or drinks made with seahorses, you will be sure to find something that claims to heal whatever might ail you. The long pier serves as a cargo dock by day, bringing numerous varieties of fruit and vegetables from mainland Vietnam.
As the evening draws closer, the docks become crowded with awed onlookers who come to marvel at the breathtaking sunset and colorful and vibrant fishing vessels belonging to the locals. Since it is a popular tourist destination, you can also find a large number of handmade crafts and items sold as souvenirs in Ham Ninh, making it one of the top things to do in Phu Quoc.
Get your fortune told at Su Muon Pagoda
Visiting this hidden treasure is a little known but incredibly special item on any list of things to do in Phu Quoc. A little over two miles outside of town on a remote hill, this religious site features statues and imagery in bright colors amid the flora of the island.
The main building at this location sits at the top of a long staircase that climbs the hill amid the lush foliage and inside, you will find historic relics, vibrant art and a number of golden Buddha statues. The area is frequented primarily by locals and is generally not busy or overrun by tourists, making it a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the more popular locations.
One of the most fun things to do here is have your fortune told by a Buddhist monk. Be sure to make an offering to the spirits afterward! Travelers are advised to dress conservatively and remain reserved out of respect for the culture and faith of those visiting the site for religious reasons, but a visit is a must to enjoy the calm atmosphere and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the local way of life.
Enjoy a relaxing afternoon or sunset at one of Pho Quoc’s beaches
As a tropical island, one of the best things to do in Phu Quoc is to spend some time soaking up the rays on one of the many beaches that can be found here.
The golden sands and calm blue waters in addition to the warm climate and lush backdrop make the beaches of the Vietnamese island some of the best for enjoying some down time. Some of the best beaches in Phu Quoc are Sunset Beach and Bai Sao beach, but no matter which one you visit, you will be able to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and regional cuisine offered nearby.
Marvel at the Dinh Cau Rock Temple
Just steps away from a popular beach is the massive and incredibly unique rock formation known as Dinh Cau Rock. Also known locally as Cau Temple, this massive rock formation overlooks the beach and water, providing for sweeping views as well as incredible sunsets.
Set atop the natural rock formation is a colorful lighthouse as well as an equally vibrant Buddhist temple in honor of the local Goddess of the Sea, Thien Hau. Steps have been built up the face of the rock to provide access to the temple and the rooftop terrace built on top of it is a popular spot for travelers to take in the view.
After spending some time admiring the vista, you will find a number of food stalls and drink vendors situated around the base of the rock formation, offering fresh fruit juices and local dishes inspired by the items found in and around Vietnam, making a stop at Dinh Cau Temple one of the top things to do in Phu Quoc.
Take a stroll at the Phu Quoc night market
Vietnam and markets are nearly synonymous. It is not uncommon in the Vietnamese culture to go to the market three times a day for fresh food to cook with.
Visiting the night market is very lively event where you can find just about anything: fresh meats, seafood, produce, souvenirs, prepared foods, and you can get popular foods made right in front of you.
You can come and eat on the go or sit down for a meal. The market was a bit busy and it seemed like it was mostly locals – not sure if a lot of tourists visit or not, but it is definitely worth going to – especially if you love local food.
Bonus: everything is very cheap. Travel prices in Vietnam are very low compared to western states/
Eat ALL the Vietnamese food
One simply does not visit Phu Quoc and not eat. Not only are the prices good bu the food is sensational! If you love things like pho and rice paper spring rolls, there is no better place in the world than Vietnam to eat these local food items.
You can find food just about everywhere – from markets, street stalls, restaurants and hotels. Take it all in because it is insanely delicious and the Vietnamese people can cook.
Where to stay in Phu Quoc
If you are looking for a fantastic hotel on a stretch of beautiful beach with a gorgeous pool, walking distance to the night market, Sung Hung Pagoda and Cau Temple, then a stay at Seashells Phu Quoc is your destination.
The rooms are absolutely gorgeous with modern decor and offer a wealth of space to spread out.
Book a balcony room facing the pool and you will also get views of the sea and sunset! You will find ample storage space for your belongings, plenty of plugs to charge your items, a stunning bathroom and tub to relax in (bonus: the hotel leaves salts for an extra relaxing time), a large screen TV with both western and local channel options, and a work station.
The breakfast buffet at Seashells should not be missed!! There are several stations offering fresh fruit, western breakfast options and tons of local options, like pho. Seashells offers one of the best breakfast buffets out there.
- Complimentary WiFi
- Complimentary airport shuttle (less than 4 miles away)
- On site parking
- Laundry available for a fee (4 hour laundry service is also available)
- Restaurant and bar on property
Know before you go
- the local currency is Vietnamese Dong – you can get this from a major international airport on the way in or exchange when you arrive
- getting around – you won’t find Uber or Lyft but you can easily grab a taxi OR rent a moped, this is popular
- best time to visit: if you crave the sunshine and warmth, the dry season is typically November – March
- Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam and it 222 square miles
- Getting here: Phu Quoc has its own airport that you can fly into or you can take a ferry from Ha Tien or Rach Gia
- Avoid the tap water and drink bottled water, even when you brush your teeth
- You can fly your drone, just go through the proper channels to get permission
Packing for Phu Quoc:
- Get a strong insect repellent to protect yourself from possible malaria and dengue fever. You can get pills for malaria but there is no preventative or cure for degue fever.
- Wear sock and shoes when possible, long pants – protect your skin with deet as often as possible
- A disposable poncho or umbrella for the unforeseen rain
- A travel book to learn all things about Phu Quoc
- Reusable straws to drink from
- Reef safe spray on sunscreen
- Reef safe sunscreen for your face
- A drone for all those amazing aerial shots! I have found this one is compact and takes high quality shots.
- A camera to document your amazing adventure
- You will need a power adapter and voltage converter – I like this one because you can charge multiple things at once.
As a South East Asian island destination, Phu Quoc is a new and incredibly popular tourist destination filled with amazing sights and exotic thrills.
There are so many different and unique things to do in Phu Quoc, from relaxing afternoons on the beach to thrilling adventures in the jungle and everything in between. No matter your travel style or desire, you’ll be able to find something that appeals to you on this exotic Vietnamese island. Be sure to research ahead of time so you don’t miss any of the wonderful things in Phu Quoc!
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Disclaimer: I was a guest of the Insider Thailand partner program. As always, opinions are entirely my own.
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