Vietnam is more than just Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi – there are so many gems that this huge country has to offer! And if you’re dreaming of a beach vacay, then you’re in luck as we’re about to introduce you to the beach paradise of Phu Quoc. The island is one of Southeast Asia’s best-kept secrets, as it used to be largely undiscovered by travellers. But it has recently been in the limelight for all the right reasons – its white sandy beaches and emerald waters ?
The best time to visit Phu Quoc is November to March which is perfect if you start planning your trip now ?
With direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Phu Quoc on AirAsia, you don’t even need to go through the hassle of transits to reach this island paradise! Not to mention that it’s less than 2 hours away! So if you’re heading here for the first time, tick these off your checklist ?
Credit: @jwmarriottphuquoc on Instagram
1. Beautiful untouched beaches
What’s a beach getaway without the beach right? Forget Bali or Phuket, the beaches in Phu Quoc, are some of the most beautiful (and untouched!) in Southeast Asia. Here’s our top 3 picks so you can have some fun in the sun!
First time in Phu Quoc? Head over to its most popular beach, Long Beach, which stretches as far as 20km ? The beach is known for its golden sand and spectacular views, especially at sunset. Even though there are many accommodations here, the view here is still breathtaking so don’t let the crowd put you off!
Credit: Dmitry Sadchikov on Facebook
If you’re a fan of thrilling beach activities, you’d be right at home here! Try out snorkelling, jet skiing or kayaking. But if you’re feeling a little lazy, you can enjoy a fresh coconut juice, go for a swim in the clear waters or simply just laze in the laid back atmosphere ☺️
Sao Beach is just what you need for a chill afternoon! With soft white sand, electric blue waters and swaying palm trees, Sao Beach is where you should go if you’re looking for an idyllic respite ?
Credit: @frrankos on Instagram
The best part is – there are fewer crowds here as compared to Long Beach, so you can definitely get some alone time! The beach is also surrounded by greenery which makes it a really tranquil getaway – just what you need while on vacation.
#HHWT Tip: Head to the north end of Sao Beach where you’ll find a palm tree swing. This is the perfect spot to get your postcard-worthy pictures ?
Have you ever wondered what it feels like to swim with starfish? Well, now you can admire these charming little creatures at a ‘secret’ beach north of Phu Quoc. You’ll find hundreds of red starfish sunbathing on a spotless beach with crystal clear waters!
Credit: @beasta_r on Instagram
Trust us, the experience will be enlightening as it’s not every day that you get to be up-close and personal with starfish – such a rare sight to behold ?
Note: Just be careful not to step on them or remove them from the water!
Credit: @maria_khiking on Instagram
#HHWT Tip: While you enjoy the sun and sea at this secret beach, look out for this Instagram-worthy stilt bridge too! The fact that this beach is not crowded also means that you can take as many photos as you like without any disruption ?
2. Exciting must-do activities (other than beaches!)
For first-timers, the one thing you need to do is soak up the island’s beauty and nature. Here are some activities you need to do to get the most out of your time in Phu Quoc!
Record-breaking cable car ride
Did you know that Phu Quoc is home to the longest oversea cable car ride in the world? ? This 8km-long cable car ride promises you a breathtaking 360-degree view of Phu Quoc from above. It just opened earlier this year, so it’s something you have to try while you’re there.
Credit: @polina_psk on Instagram
While you’re on the cable car, expect to see a mix of emerald blue seas and lush mountains. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to spot coral reefs if the day is sunny! Definitely an experience you can’t get anywhere else.
And with direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Phu Quoc There’s no stopping you from admiring this breathtaking view ?
#HHWT Tip: Here’s how much it costs to take the cable car ride – VND500,000 (Adult), VND350,000 (Child).
Unique safari experience
No need to spend a bomb by going on an African safari – you can have that experience right here in Phu Quoc too! Vinpearl Safari is Vietnam’s first and only open zoo with wild animals from South Africa, India, Australia and more ?
If it’s been your dream to get up-close and personal with free-roaming animals, then this is the place to go! Here’s your chance to see lions, hyenas and giraffes in their natural habitat, or spot antelopes and tigers. And the best part is, they are not in restrictive cages as Vinpearl Safari is patterned after international safari models, so you know the experience is as authentic as it gets ?
Phu Quoc National Park
With forests making up 90% of Phu Quoc, a visit to the Phu Quoc National Park can’t be missed! This forest is part of a UNESCO designated site and is home to over 200 animal species - perfect for a day of break from the beach.
Credit: @loiccho on Instagram
Go on one of their many hiking trails and you might even encounter waterfalls or lakes in the park itself. The pristine landscape of this park is nothing short of amazing and will definitely blow you away!
3. Gorgeous luxury resorts
If your idea of a beach vacay is the resort life, then Phu Quoc’s resorts are just what you need. Phu Quoc takes its luxury resorts up a notch – with unique experiences and views you can’t find anywhere else! Here are some of the top resorts in Phu Quoc you’d regret not staying at ?
JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa
If you’re looking for an absolutely luxurious stay with world-class service, then JW Marriott Phu Quoc is just the place for you! Located along the secluded Khem Beach area south of the island, you’ll get access to the resort’s private pristine beach, which guarantees you total peace and tranquility. Not only is the hotel a haven for beach lovers, its stunning French-inspired architecture will awe you ?
Credit: @jwmarriottphuquoc on Instagram
All of the hotel’s 244 rooms have a balcony or veranda so you can enjoy exceptional views of the ocean. If you’re willing to splurge more, stay in their Lamarck House which includes an infinity ocean pool or their 3-bedroom villa which gives you a taste of exclusivity.
Credit: JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay on Facebook
JW Marriott Phu Quoc is more than just a hotel, where you can sign up for activities such as bike rides or lantern-making. You can also treat yourself to massages and other spa treatments – talk about total indulgence!
Book your stay at JW Marriott Phu Quoc here.
Nam Nghi Resort
A resort with a private bay? Count us in! For total comfort and relaxation – Nam Nghi Resort is the place to be. Its exclusive bay boasts clear turquoise waters, so you’re guaranteed breathtaking views right at your doorstep. The resort is also nestled amongst Phu Quoc’s lush forests, so you’ll get utmost peace and quiet here ?♂️
Credit: Nam Nghi Phu Quoc Island on Facebook
At Nam Nghi, you’ll get a villa or residence to call your own, and each of them has a balcony with magnificent views of the bay or the garden. And whatever your interests, the resort’s got you covered! You can either laze the day away in your room, the pool or the beach, or choose to pamper yourself with a rejuvenating spa treatment. For the more adventurous, go kayaking and admire the coral formations around the resort.
Credit: Nam Nghi Phu Quoc Island on Facebook
Book your stay at Nam Nghi here.
Booking a stay at this 5-star luxury boutique resort is the best way to pamper yourself. With direct access to its own picturesque beach, you can experience the best of Phu Quoc right at your doorstep. But if you’re not in the mood to relax by the seaside, take a dip in their infinity pool where you can still get unparalleled views of the ocean.
And with direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Phu Quoc, paradise is just a flight away!
Credit: Salinda Resort Phu Quoc on Facebook
Not to mention that the resort also boasts sleek guestrooms and complete amenities to give you full comfort. Every room has a balcony where you can admire the gorgeous view of the sea. If you wish, you can also rejuvenate yourself with a relaxing massage by their professional therapists – just what you need to complete your retreat! ☺️
#HHWT Tip: No need to worry about finding halal food here! Salinda has supplies of halal meat and you can just inform the staff with regards to your dietary requirements.
Book your stay at Salinda Resort here.
4. Interesting local culture
While you’re enjoying the awesome beaches and all the nature that Phu Quoc has to offer, don’t miss out on their local life too! The island has more than 100 thousand inhabitants and it’ll be a pity not to immerse in their local culture.
Phu Quoc Night Market
One experience you can’t miss while in Phu Quoc is to visit the famous open-air Phu Quoc Night Market. Here’s where you can really get a glimpse of local stall vendors and see their daily interactions. And as the island gets more popular, you’d also start to see more and more tourists flocking here, so it’s best to visit the market before everyone else does! ?
Credit: @noah_reiter on Instagram
Here, you can savour fresh barbecued seafood, indulge in local desserts or shop for unique souvenirs. Although there are no halal-certified stalls here, there are Muslim-friendly stalls selling purely seafood and desserts, so do dine at your own discretion! Get the popular Thai-inspired ice cream rolls (kem cuon), coconut ice cream or sink your teeth in fresh BBQ prawns and squid ?
#HHWT Tip: The market will start at around 5pm and it gets really crowded at 7pm so do plan your time wisely to avoid the crowds!
Ho Quoc Pagoda
If you’re up for a cultural traipse, head over to Ho Quoc Pagoda on the eastern side of Phu Quoc. Although this temple was just recently built, its architecture is magnificent and you get to see locals praying which is definitely an eye-opening experience. You can even interact with the monks to find out more about Vietnamese Buddhism.
Don’t forget to climb all the way to the top of the pagoda for stunning views of the sea! As Ho Quoc sits atop a hill with the mountains as the backdrop, this makes for a memorable photo spot too.
#HHWT Tip: Did you know that Ho Quoc is one of the best places to watch the sunrise in Phu Quoc? Get here at around 5.30am to witness this awe-inspiring sight!
Ham Ninh Fishing Village
Witness busy fishermen going about their daily lives at Ham Ninh Fishing Village. Look out for the brightly-painted boats which the fishermen use to catch fresh seafood in the nearby waters. What’s more interesting is that the main source of income for villagers in Ham Ninh is more than just fishing – they actually dive for pearls and sea cucumbers too ?
Take a moment to soak in the laid back atmosphere at Ham Ninh and watch the day go by – you’d definitely feel as though time stands still. If you’re feeling peckish, head over to the nearby Ham Ninh Market to savour fresh seafood ?
5. Muslim-friendly food
Phu Quoc is known for its fresh seafood so if you’re a fan of seafood, the island is food paradise for you! However, because many eateries in Vietnam tend to serve pork, it’s hard to find Muslim-friendly places, even in Phu Quoc. Here’s where we’d recommend you visit for some Muslim-friendly eats!
Bet you never knew you could savour American-style seafood in Phu Quoc! With a variety of seafood from crabs, lobsters, shrimps, mussels, squids, you can satisfy all your seafood cravings here. Have your seafood shell-out style and take a pick of their different sauces from Roasted Garlic Butter to Louisiana Cajun Spice ?
Credit: @guggigpr on Instagram
The seafood here is a little pricier than many of the local seafood eateries but for the quality of food that you’re getting, it’s worth it!
Note: Do note that like most eateries in Phu Quoc, Crab House has alcohol so do dine at your own discretion.
Halal status: Seafood options available, no pork but meat is not halal, alcohol is served in establishment
Address:21 Tran Hung Dao, Phu Quoc, Kiến Giang, Vietnam
Opening hours: 11am - 10pm daily
Contact No: +84 297 3845 067
Loving Hut Thai Duong
If you’re craving authentic Vietnamese cuisine, then head over to Loving Hut Thai Duong, a vegan restaurant. Although all their dishes are prepared only using tofu, vegetables or mock meat, they still manage to serve up mouthwatering delights that’ll even surprise those who aren’t vegan ?
Credit: @jenias_world on Instagram
Try their highly recommended dishes like vegan pho or fried rice with vegan duck, and pair them with spring rolls. We’re sure you’d be left thoroughly satisfied! Not to mention that the food here is really affordable too ?
Halal status: Loving Hut is a vegan/vegetarian restaurant
Address:10 Lê Lợi, Phu Quoc, Kiến Giang, Vietnam
Opening hours: 10am - 2pm, 5pm - 10.30pm daily
Contact No: +84 165 448 2765
Ganesh Indian Restaurant
Indian food in Phu Quoc? Count us in! With a wide range of Northern Indian dishes, you’re guaranteed an authentic meal here. Did you know that their naan bread is prepared in a genuine clay oven?!
Credit: @vegansofsea on Instagram
Try a range of different curries like Prawn Curry, Fish Masala or Lamb Tikka Masala and pair them with their soft naan bread – definitely a lip-smacking treat you won’t want to resist ? Do note that only the lamb here is halal and there are many seafood and vegetarian dishes as well.
Note: Ganesh Indian Restaurant serves alcohol so do dine at your own discretion!
Halal status: Only lamb halal, seafood options available, alcohol served in establishment
Address: 97 Tran Hung Dao St., Phu Quoc Island, Viet Nam
Opening hours: 10am - 11pm daily
Contact No: +8477-3994917
So the next time you’re thinking of a trip to Vietnam, remember to add Phu Quoc to your list! With its dreamy untouched beaches, and plenty of cool and unique activities to do, this is a beach vacay experience you won’t get anywhere else.
Plus, with direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Phu Quoc via AirAsia, you don’t have to think twice about booking your trip. Time to head here before everyone else does! ?
This article is brought to you by AirAsia.