Suoi Tranh & Suoi Da Ban WATERFALL
(admission 3000d, motorbike 1000d) Compared with the waterlogged Mekong Delta, Phu Quoc has very little surface moisture, but there are a lot of springs originating in the hills. The most accessible of these is Suoi Tranh; search for the entrance sign and concrete tree from the Duong Dong–Vong Beach road. From the ticket counter it’s a 10-minute walk through the forest to the falls.
Suoi Da Ban (admission 3000d, motorbike 1000d) is a white-water creek tumbling across some attractive large granite boulders. There are deep pools and it’s nice enough for a dip. Bring plenty of mosquito repellent.
For both of these falls, the best months to visit are between May and September – by the end of the dry season there’s little more than a trickle.
Nha Tu Phu Quoc MONUMENT
( 7.30-11am & 1.30-4pm) Worth a visit when visiting Sao Beach in the south of the island, Phu Quoc’s notorious old prison, built by the French in the late 1940s, includes a small museum that narrates the gruesome history of the jail. A war memorial stands south of the prison on the far side of the road.
An Thoi Islands ISLAND
(Quan Dao An Thoi) Visitors can visit these 15 islands and islets just off the southern tip of Phu Quoc by chartered boat. It’s a wonderful area for sightseeing, fishing, swimming and snorkelling. Hon Thom (Pineapple Island) is nearly 3km in length and is the largest island in the group.
Other islands here consist of Hon Dua (Coconut Island), Hon Roi (Lamp Island), Hon Vang (Echo Island), Hon May Rut (Cold Cloud Island), the Hon Dams (Shadow Islands), Chan Qui (Yellow Tortoise) and Hon Mong Tay (Short Gun Island). As yet, there is no real development on the islands, but expect some movement in future.
Most boats depart from An Thoi on Phu Quoc, but you can make arrangements through hotels and resorts on Long Beach. Also enquire at the dive operators, as they have boats heading down there regularly for diving. Boat trips are seasonal and generally do not run during the rainy season.
A common round trip between HCMC and Phu Quoc is travelling overland through the Mekong Delta, take a ferry to the island from Rach Gia or Ha Tien and, tanned and rested, take the short one-hour flight back to HCMC. With the Vietnam–Cambodia border at Xa Xia–Prek Chak, it’s also convenient to visit Phu Quoc as part of a loop through the Mekong Delta and the south coast of Cambodia.
Diving & Snorkelling
Even though Nha Trang is arguably the best all-round dive site in Vietnam, there’s plenty of underwater action around Phu Quoc, but only during the dry months (from November to May). Two fun dives cost from US$40 to US$80 depending on the location and operator; four-day PADI Open Water courses hover between US$320 and US$360; snorkelling trips are US$20 to US$30.
Rainbow Divers DIVING, SNORKELLING
(0913 400 964; www.divevietnam.com; 11 Ð Tran Hung Dao; 9am-6pm) This reputable PADI outfit was the first to set up shop on the island and provides a wide range of diving and snorkelling trips. As well as the walk-in office, it’s well represented at resorts on Long Beach.
Flipper Diving Club DIVING
(www.flipperdiving.com; 60 Ɖ Tran Hung Dao; 9am-9pm) Centrally situated (by the Coco Bar), multilingual PADI dive centre for everything from novice dive trips to full instructor courses.
Searama DIVING, SNORKELLING
(0126 479 1922; www.searama.com; 98B Ð Tran Hung Dao) French- and English-speaking operators; likely to be a little bit cheaper than the competition.
Vietnam Explorer DIVING
(077-384 6372; 36 Ð Tran Hung Dao) Well-known outfit, also operating out of Nha Trang.
There are several places to rent kayaks along Sao Beach, and its protected, fairly calm waters make for a smooth ride. In addition to locals hiring out boats, you can ask at the beachside restaurants. The going rate is about 60,000d per hour.
Your best bet for booking tours is through your hotel or resort, as there’s no government-run tourist office in Duong Dong. It is very popular for visitors to squid fishing, and you’ll spot the lights of boats (to lure the cephalopods to the surface) on the evening horizon.
Specialised companies and individuals offering boat excursions and fishing trips include the following:
Anh Tu’s Tours BOAT TOUR
(077-399 6009; [email protected]) Snorkelling, squid fishing, island tours, plus motorbike rental.
Jerry’s Jungle & Beach Tours BOAT TOUR, HIKING
(0938 226 021; [email protected]; day trips from US$25) Archipelago discovery by boat, snorkelling, fishing, day and multiday trips to islands, motorbike tours, bouldering, bird-watching, hiking and cultural tours around Phu Quoc.
John’s Tours BOAT TOUR
(0919 107 086; www.johnsislandtours.com; 4 Ð Tran Hung Dao) Well represented at hotels and resorts; cruises include snorkelling, island-hopping and squid-fishing trips.
Accommodation prices on Phu Quoc yo-yo depending on the season and number of travellers. Variations are more extreme than anywhere else in Vietnam, but are likely to affect budget and midrange places rather than the high-end resorts. Some destinations will treble their prices for the peak season of December and January, when bookings are crucial. Across all of the budget categories, you’ll get less for your money than you’d expect for the price.
Most of the visitors like staying at the beach, but Duong Dong has some guesthouses if the beach is bursting at the seams. Prices are more competitive here.
Sea Breeze HOTEL $
(Gio Bien; 077-399 4920; www.seabreezephuquoc.com; 62A Ð Tran Hung Dao; r with fan from US$15, r with air-con US$25-40) A curvaceous hotel with clean, modern and attractive rooms. Accommodation road-side is noisier and it can be very bright in the early morning – fine for early risers, not for late sleepers.
Hiep Phong Hotel GUEST HOUSE $
(077-384 6057; [email protected]; 17 Ð Nguyen Trai; r US$15-20) A very friendly family-run minihotel in the middle of town. The rooms include satellite TV, fridge and hot water – something you won’t find on the beach at this price.
My Linh Hotel GUEST HOUSE $
(077-384 8674; 9 Ð Nguyen Trai; r US$10-15) Just a few doors down from Hiep Phong, this minihotel offers a similar sort of deal, with solid wooden beds and some balconies. English-speaking staff.
There are now lots of dozen resorts stretched in a continuous line along the sands of Long Beach. Some hotels provide; enquire when making a booking. Most can be accessed off Ð Tran Hung Dao.
Mushrooms GUEST HOUSE $
(0126 471 4249; 170 Ɖ Tran Hung Dao; dm US$6, d US$10-15) This spruce, clean and colourful outfit on the far side of the road has spic-and-span six- and four-bed dorms, and a couple of decent doubles, one sans shower.
Lien Hiep Thanh Hotel RESORT HOTEL $
(077-384 7583; [email protected]; 118/12 Ɖ Tran Hung Dao; r with fan US$15-20, r with air-con US$30-60) This hotel which is a friendly site has simple rooms and bungalows amid trees and a great strip of beach. Beachfront rooms include air-con and hot water, and restaurant here is not a big one.
A74 Hotel HOTEL $
(077-398 2772; www.a74hotel.com; 74 Ð Tran Hung Dao; r US$10-25) On the main drag near Long Beach, this friendly overspill option has simple and quite musty rooms, some with sea views.
Moon Resort RESORT HOTEL $
(077-399 4520; www.moonresort.vn; 82 Ð Tran Hung Dao; bungalows with fan $15-25, with air-con US$25-49) These rustic, woven rattan bungalows, set in a beautiful garden, are excellent value and right on the beach.
Mai House RESORT HOTEL $$
(077-384 7003; [email protected]; 118 Ð Tran Hung Dao; r with fan US$75, r with air-con US$95-240) Dappled with palm shade, Mai House serves one of the most exquisite settings on Long Beach, nailing the whole tropical-paradise vibe with its lovely gardens, open-sided restaurant and loungers shaded by rattan umbrellas. Scattered on the lawns, the bungalows are pretty and clean, although the back ones are much more tightly spaced than the front couple of rows. The food is delicious and the beach is clean and wonderful .
Sea Star Resort RESORT HOTEL $$
(077-398 2161; www.seastarresort.com; r US$36-46, bungalows US$60-85) It’s a friendly destination for travellers to stay, inluding 37 rooms and bungalows, many fronting on to a manicured stretch of sand with sea-view balconies. Cheapest rooms are conjoined in a block and prices drop by about 20% in the low season.
Beach Club RESORT HOTEL $$
(077-398 0998; www.beachclubvietnam.com; Ap Cua Lap, Xa Duong To; r US$30-40) This club which is run by an English-Vietnamese couple is a great escape from the main-drag bustle, with tightly grouped and well-kept rooms and bungalows on a small plot, plus a breezy beachside restaurant.
Paris Beach RESORT HOTEL $$
(077-399 4548; www.phuquocparisbeach.com; Cau Ba Phong, Cua Lap, Duong To; r US$32-150) With some lovely rooms facing the sea, this French- Vietnamese run resort hotel is near Beach Club. It has a very new swimming pool and clean and spacious bungalows, with a tiled terrace where delicious food is served by the congenial hosts.
Thanh Kieu Beach Resort RESORT HOTEL $$
(077-384 8394; www.thanhkieuresort.com; 100C/14 Ð Tran Hung Dao; r US$39-49) On a beautiful beachfront, the excellent brick bungalows are set in a leafy garden dotted with swaying palms and clumps of bamboo. Rooms are designed beautifully and the popular Rainbow Bar is set here on the beach.
Phuong Binh House RESORT HOTEL $$
(http://phuongbinhhouse.com; 118 Ð Tran Hung Dao; r US$30-65) With clean and usual cookie-cutter seaside accommodation, this small 17-room, friendly site is buried away at the end of the road to the beach.
Nhat Lan GUEST HOUSE $$
(077-384 7663; [email protected]; 118/13 Ð Tran Hung Dao; bungalows with fan/air-con US$25/60) The last in a string of affordable beachfront guesthouses, this place has rooms in a shady garden and six new, swish, glass-fronted beach-side bungalows.
La Veranda RESORT HOTEL $$$
(077-398 2988; www.laverandaresort.com; 118/9 Ð Tran Hung Dao; r US$275-375) This is the most excellent destination for visitors to stay on the island with grounds shaded by palms, designed in colonial style and tiny enough to remain intimate, with just 44 rooms. There is a cobalt-blue pool with a kiddies’ area, a stylish spa and all rooms feature big beds and nice bathrooms. There is a great beach and travellers can choose food between a cafe on the lawn and the Pepper Tree Restaurant upstairs, while drinks at Le Bar round off the day stylishly.