As it emerges from Vietnam’s southern tip, the charming island of Phu Quoc rightfully deserves the Pearl Island nickname. Holding unseen beauty inside it, it provides plenty of ways to live life here. Some of these are illustrated in the following tours.
Diving Tour in Phu Quoc
There is an exciting ecosystem living inside the limpid waters of Phu Quoc, full of healthy coral reefs, many different types of fish, and more beauty that a human mind can digest easily. Taking a diving or snorkeling or scuba diving tour is indeed a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you decide to join one or set out on your own, know that it is best to run this trip in the morning as the seas can get pretty rough in the afternoon and you really want to be on shore when that happens! So start the day early and begin this fascinating dive into the rich Phu Quoc underwater world at some of the greatest dive sites on the island enjoying calm, current-free waters, such as:
- Hon Ko – When looking at Hon Ko from up above many people falsely believe that it is nothing more than a bunch of rocks arising from the water. Once down there, though, everything changes as if by magic. Besides an impressive reef system, Hon Ko also boasts a rich plethora of tropical fish, like rays, catfish, and bamboo sharks, as well as a fab selection of nudibranchs and mitre shells to name a few.
- Nudibranch Gardens – You will find it on the east side of Phu Quoc, and it will surely leave you in awe. Being the perfect diving spot for beginners due to its shallow depth, Nudibranch Gardens is also one of the most phantasmagoric sites on the island and home to more than 2,000 nudibranchs species. Diving here will also give you the opportunity to come face to face with bamboo sharks, which, most of the times, prefer to relax underneath a rock. Because of its low depth, the Gardens can also be appreciated with a snorkel!
- Turtle Island – This small island on the northeastern coast of Phu Quoc (about an hour’s boat ride) is around 50 metres in length and no more than 10 metres deep, which makes it the ideal location to explore marine life with relative ease. Surrounded by shallow, calm waters, Turtle Island is also a hospitable habitat for cute creatures like yellowtail damselfish, blue-ringed angelfish, and stonefish and a blossoming environment for the coral reefs and the life around them.
- An Thoi Islands – Those looking to take their adventure to the next level will find An Thoi Islands challenging their diving skills as they provide dive sites that can reach 25 metres. This small group of around 15 islets off the south coast of Phu Quoc is listed as one of the most spectacular dive sites in the country. From gigantic sea urchins and butterfly fish to scorpion fish, parrotfish, and fan corals, you have a lot of marine life to startle you. Bamboo sharks and blue-spotted rays also pass by so you may as well spot one or two as you splash these waters.
Now, if you prefer to go scuba diving or snorkelling, these sites will also do, so give them a try. However, you could also consider May Rut Island, Dam Ngang, and Finger Island as they are too on the list of the best snorkelling sites around Phu Quoc. They are full of colourful fish and some of the most diverse coral reefs on this planet.
Note: To be able to enjoy this tour the most, it might be best to plan these activities anytime between November and May. That way, the weather will be your cordial ally, allowing you to take in every single moment of this experience.
Tour to Vinpearl Safari Park & Vinpearl Land
The largest wildlife conservation park in Vietnam is found here, ready to treat you with a plethora of fun games and activities for all ages while offering you the chance to spot animals that not many people have seen, such as beautiful flamingos, giraffes, striped hyena, gibbons, African lions, and Bengal tigers. The best way to get around the park and see it all is by taking a safari bus tour as the place is massive and exploring it on your own may cause you to miss some interesting sites (or even get lost).
As for Vinpearl Land, it is an excellent option for families too and a fantastic place for some wild splashes in the wave pools. Glide down the water slides at the water park and spike your adrenaline at the amusement rides. If you still have enough energy after all this fun, do enter the aquarium as it is indeed worth it, especially if you are lucky enough to attend a live show at the amphitheatre! Hungry? The food village is full of delicious foods to quench your appetite. Go back in. There is still the indoor games arcade, the manmade beach, and live shows that you have not yet played, visited or seen!
The National Park & Cua Can River Tour
A tour to the Phu Quoc National Park, which is basically half the island, is not to be missed. Take your time and let your eyes get used to such profound beauty, unlike anything else seen before. Raw, jugged cliffs, verdant valleys, lush forests, karst limestone formations, swirling rivers, beautiful ponds, and so many more comprise a scenery that is hard to imagine. While there, you can take a short hike, go on a kayak ride, throw yourself to some romantic paddling with your significant other, tour local farms and enjoy a bit of sunbathing and swimming at Dai Beach.
Mekong Delta Tour
The Mekong Delta is a popular pole of attraction that offers you the chance to actually realize how simple life is here, see the villages located on the banks of the Delta, visit the floating market of Cai Rang, and, why not, spend a night abroad a wooden cruise boat under a star-lit sky.
You will soon acknowledge that the little communities here are like buzzing beehives, with everybody doing a specific task, mainly related to rice growth or fishing. There are also fruit orchards and lots of local produce that the locals use to create delicious dishes, which you may taste if you wish to while you are there. This can easily be a 2-day or even 3-day cruise and can stretch to Ho Chi Minh City if want to go even further. Without a doubt, though, spending the night on the Mekong River can be mind-blowing as you will be surrounded by pristine beauty and so much bustling life around you. Even the sound of the river and the sight of the rising rise are a marvel on their own.
So, when you wake up the next morning after a brief introduction with the locals, you can board a sampan and travel to the floating market of Cai Rang and purchase anything from local handicrafts to exotic vegetables and fruit that are so abundant around here from friendly merchants on their boats, who love to chat with foreign people. After another full day, you can head to Rach Gia and catch the ferry to Phu Quoc or continue sailing with your boat, speedboat or whatever else.
Notes about this tour:
- Since you will be spending a lot of time on the river, do bring insect repellent with you to avoid insect bites.
- The nights here can get chilly so besides wearing comfortable clothes for light walking don’t forget to throw a light jumper in your backpack.
- On the day of travel, bring your passport with you; you may need it as you exit Phu Quoc and explore the areas covered in this tour.
Island Hoping with a Speedboat
If you have some 8 hours to spare on a speedboat, you can have a fantastic day exploring not only one but up to four exotic islands around Phu Quoc within a day’s time. Fingernail, Dam Ngand, May Rut, and Pineapple islands invite you to views that are just beyond words. The beaches are simply amazing, with magnificently white sand and crystal clear turquoise waters. As for the vistas at the archipelago, they can be heart-stopping. With the jungle behind the shores, each one these small paradise islands look like a postcard image.
Among the things you can try during this tour is fishing, swimming, relaxing in the sun, discovering awesome coral reefs and, of course, enjoying a mouth-watering lunch prepared freshly on-site which may include the fish you caught, as well as other seafood (the islands are full of crabs and big, colourful fish).
Cable Car Ride Pho Quoc-Pineapple Island Tour
The cable car is a relatively new attraction in Vietnam and an exceptional option for a tour that will give you panoramic sea views and a unique sense of freedom, always in a safe and protected environment. The Phu Quoc cable car has also made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for being the longest non-stop, 3-way cable car in the world at almost 8 kilometres long. The ride to Pineapple Island takes no more than 15 minutes (each way), which leaves you with enough time to savour amazing 360o views of the An Thoi Archipelago dotted by charming fishing boats, turquoise coral reefs, and green islands.
Once you reach Pineapple Island (the cable car will leave you at Hon Thom Nature Park), you may start with relaxing by the golden-sand beach that features a fun playground, swings from the palm trees, and deck chairs. If you get hungry, a couple of restaurants along the beach will satisfy you. Depending on the day, you may also catch an entertainment show while eating that involves various types of dancing and people doing fire-dancing tricks, among others.
Notes about this tour:
- As you will be spending some time up in the air, it is recommended to wear sunscreen and sunglasses.
- The cable car tickets usually include free return tickets to the Pineapple beach described above.
Night Squid Fishing Tour
Fishing is one of the most popular activities around the island of Phu Quoc. Therefore, it is without a doubt something you need to experience during your stay here. Night squid fishing tours are awesome as you get to hop on a local squid boat and learn the secrets of catching fish; an activity turned into art by these skilled locals. As you are on-board a fisherman’s boat, you have the unique opportunity to watch the sunset in the Gulf of Thailand, which is simply arresting, and feel the peacefulness and serenity that comes along with this venture.
South Phu Quoc Tour
Each part of this beautiful island has its own charms and attractions. Going on a South side of the island tour will allow you to visit places such as the Coconut Prison, where prisoners of war were incarcerated and brutally tortured, and Sim Winery and learn more about the island’s pearl harvesting activities. Visiting a peal factory in the south will give you much more insight about this matter and also get you inside the world of jewelry designing, with pearls having the leading role. You may also stop at the magnificent Bai Sao beach, where you can soak up the sun, swim in the crystalline waters, or enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
Note about this tour:
- If you wish to visit the Tranh Stream along your way, you may do so between the months of May and October.
North Island Kayaking and Village Tour (Rach Vem)
Like living an adventure? Kayaking on the Cua Can River is your thing. Let the flavours and sights of Phu Quoc be revealed to you on a full-day excursion around the north. You can start with an exploration of the local countryside and visit the black pepper plantations, where you can learn about harvesting pepper plants (notorious local produce), among others. If you have time and fancy a visit to a bee farm to sip drinks mixed with locally-produced honey, this is your moment too. Then, make a stop along the Cua Can river and get a kayak to try your paddling skills in this mighty river. The views that will surround you are just incredible. As you paddle north, you will come across a national park perfect for hiking via a century-old forest trail. The Rach Vem village is not far, and you can have that delicious meal you have been thinking of for a while. Or you may choose to swim with starfish and take a leisure stroll around the sandy beach first.
Phu Quoc is full of hidden treasures and opportunities to live the kind of adventure you dream of, whether this includes escaping the beaten path and trekking through unspoiled forests, stepping foot in national parks of unsurpassable natural beauty, exploring a rich underwater ecosystem, or just relaxing under the warm sun with a cocktail at hand. Your options are limitless; as will your memories be when you leave Phu Quoc.