Local Guide in Phu Quoc

Enjoy the green season! While the dry season of December to April offers the most ideal weather and sunny skies, many savvy travelers take advantage of the “green season”, dodging the brief showers and occasional storms with indoor activities like cooking classes and a soothing massage in exchange for steeply discounted accommodations. The rainy season also brings out the best in many of the island’s natural spots, including the Tranh Stream (“Suối Tranh”, pronounced “soo-ey tranh”) with rapids and several waterfalls where visitors can swim which makes for a great Phu Quoc day trip. Explore the island DIY If organized tours aren’t your thing, there are many places to visit on Phu Quoc which can be done on your own. Adventurous travelers can rent a scooter and explore the many beautiful beaches in Phu Quoc. Be aware that while scooter rentals are cheap at roughly USD 8 per day, technically you do need an International Driving Permit and if you get stopped by the police, expect to pay a hefty fine. On the plus side, most of the main roads around Phu Quoc are paved and without too much traffic, making driving quite easy for even the novice. Note that roads towards the north of the island and through the national park are mostly unpaved dirt roads which require some skill to navigate the sandy areas. Otherwise, taxis can be hired for half-day or full-day Phu Quoc island tours, usually either to the south or the north of the island. Negotiate with your driver exactly where you want to visit and the price beforehand. Otherwise, many of the organized Phu Quoc island tours are based on volume, which means if you don’t mind being on a boat with 30-40 other people, the costs are quite reasonable at around USD 20 for a full-day boat trip with lunch and snorkeling. Alternatively, many of the high-end resorts can put together an unforgettable Robinson Crusoe-like day with a picnic lunch on a deserted island beach all to yourself. Boats can also be hired out to visit the islands that make up the An Thoi archipelago in the south or the more sheltered islands in the northwest known for their shallow water and good macrodiving. Some islands that offer postcard-pretty beaches with few visitors include Fingernail Island, Coconut Island with its fish farms and the uninhabited Shadow Island in the south. Night market The night market in Duong Dong is mainly for tourists, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit. Cheap souvenir stands vie for space with pop-up restaurants where fresh seafood can be cooked any way you like. Shopping While all the usual beach souvenirs can be easily found around the island, why not take something home that’s truly representative of Phu Quoc? Cooks back home will enjoy a package of famous Phu Quoc black pepper or a bottle of sweet sim wine. Authentic Phu Quoc pearls in a dazzling array of colors and quality are sold directly from the pearl farms along Long Beach and make for a stylish gift. Skip the Phu Quoc fish sauce though, as many airlines don’t allow them on the planes, in case of breakage. If you’ve ever smelled fish sauce up close, you’ll know exactly why!