Phu Quoc is perhaps most famous for its endless coastline of white sand beaches, but the diversity of experiences possible on the island that makes it an ideal vacation destination. Nature lovers have their pick of national parks and UNESCO-protected eco-tourism activities, adventure seekers can get their kicks with a dozen different water sports, and the twenty-one other wild islands of the Phu Quoc Archipelage are just a boat ride away, waiting to be explored.

1. Beaches

With 150 kilometers of coastline, you can spend every day in Phu Quoc on a different beach. Head east for postcard-pretty Bai Sao to try your hand at water sports like windsurfing or jet skiing. Head west for the cafes, clubs, and sunsets of Long Beach. To the north, there’s silent Ganh Dau, given privacy by a jungle-covered mountain ridge. The best southern beaches are scattered across the 22-island archipelago and can be reached by boat.

The glass-clear water surrounding Phu Quoc Island

“Beach photo that shows how clear the water is The glass-clear water surrounding Phu Quoc Island is a window to its marine secrets” photo by Christian Berg

2. Clean Ocean, Clear Water

The beaches are beautiful on their own, but the ocean around Phu Quoc Island has its own appeal. The water here is calm as bathwater and clear as green glass. Many of the islands in the archipelago are ringed by a dense and thriving system of coral reefs, both soft and rigid hard varieties. The pristine, transparent water is as good as a window into that aquatic world of vibrant color, making Phu Quoc one of the best places in Vietnam to try water sports and underwater activities like snorkeling and diving.

3. Nature Lovers

More than half of Phu Quoc Island is protected as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Trek through Phu Quoc National Park to immerse yourself in nature on land, or hop on a boat to experience the UNESCO marine reserve. If you’re up for a more strenuous experience, hike to one of mountain range peaks running south to north like a spine through the park. If you’re not up for a physical, you won’t miss out — Suoi Tranh Waterfall can be reached within minutes of the park gates.

4. For Foodies

Phu Quoc Island is world-famous for fish sauce and seafood. Visit bustling Phu Quoc Night Market to try out as many seafood dishes as you can, many of which are regional specialty recipes, exclusive to Phu Quoc Island. Foodies can’t miss out on Phu Quoc fish sauce. Tour a factory to learn about the production of this internationally-cherished treasure, taste-testing different kinds like a sommelier of pressed anchovies.

5. Five-Star Phu Quoc: Luxury Resorts

Staying in polished accommodation adds a nice balance to rugged adventure, and Phu Quoc offers an abundance of world-class luxury resorts. Wear yourself out hiking and swimming during the day, then come home to pool-side spa services and mixologist-perfected cocktails at upscale bars. Phu Quoc hosted the Gala Ceremony for the World Travel Awards in 2019, and the island’s resorts have won international awards for world-class style and services.

Phu Quoc's luxury resorts

“A couple enjoying cocktails at a beachside resort, pool overlooking the ocean Phu Quoc’s luxury resorts have won international awards for elegance and excellence”

6. Ease of Access

It’s easy to get to Phu Quoc from Vietnam and abroad. Dozens of short and direct flights leave every day from Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Can Tho, and Da Nang. If you’d instead take the scenic route, there are daily ferries from Rach Gia and Ha Tien.

Don’t worry about the paperwork, either. Visitors from every country in the world are entitled to a free 30-day visa exemption to travel to Phu Quoc.

7. Adventure and Activities

Phu Quoc Islands is Vietnam’s top destination for water sports, so adventure-seekers should head straight to the beach to pick from a range of water sports like windsurfing, kitesurfing, or jet skiing. If “low-key nature” is more your vibe, kayaking is still-exciting alternative to all the adrenaline. For exercise that feels like pure relaxation, swing the day away at a golf course.

Water sport at Phu Quoc Island

“Water sports of any kind Water parks and windsurfing, kayaking and kitesurfing — adventure-lovers, take your pick”

Take the 15-kilometer cable car to Hon Thom to play on the slides and rides of the water park, then tour through the Safari back on the main island. The zoological park is the largest in the country, doing important conservation work to protect hundreds of plant and animal species, including rare and endangered ones.

8. Local Life

If you want to learn how locals live, spend some time immersed in the fishing and agriculture industries, the true mainstays of the island. Visit a fishing village like Ham Ninh, where fishers pull in fresh fish at dawn and dusk, and docked ships unload produce and supplies from mainland Vietnam onto the docks. If you want to experience life in a fishing community instead of simply observing it, then climb aboard a squid fishing boat with a guide and see if you can catch yourself some dinner.

9. History and Culture

The long and dynamic history of Phu Quoc Island can be learned through monuments like Coconut Tree Prison, whose preservation of war memories gives context to the present. If history isn’t your thing, then step up into peace instead. Brave the 222 steps to the top  of Ho Quoc Pagoda for a panoramic view of the ocean and forest at sunrise. Finish the day off at Dinh Cau Cape, where there’s only 29 steps to climb to the shrine where the goddess of the sea looks after fishers.

10. Island Hopping

As if there wasn’t enough to do on Phu Quoc Island itself, there are 21 other islands in the Phu Quoc archipelago, each with its personality and unique ecosystem. Because many of them are entirely uninhabited, these islands are some of the places to find nature. Keep your eyes peeled for green or hawksbill turtles, which sometimes breed here!