The 17 Best Things To Do On Phu Quoc Island

View on Phu QUoc Island
Nestled off the coast of Cambodia in Vietnam’s far south lies Phu Quoc Island. Phu Quoc was once a remote backwater paradise ringed with pristine white sand beaches and filled with dense jungle. Sadly, these days are now a thing of the past with massive new developments rising across every corner of the island and rubbish adorning many of the beaches. Despite this, Phu Quoc island  still offers many great things to do and the island does serve as an incredibly easy ocean escape (1 hour flight) from Ho Chi Minh City.  If you’re looking for any easy way to get a bit of salt in your hair and sun on your skin, this list of things to do in Phu Quoc may be just what you’re looking for! ** Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. If you click one of the links and make a purchase we’ll earn a small commission at no cost to you. Just like the travel backpacks we build, we’re very particular about products and we only recommend products, services, or accommodation we trust and use ourselves.*** 

How to get to Phu Quoc

By plane

The easiest way to get to Phu Quoc is by plane. Flights are offered from numerous cities across Vietnam and several from international airports. Multiple flights leave from Ho Chi Minh daily with the sub-hour flight costing between $25-$70 dollars. 

By bus/boat

Phu Quoc is accessed by boat via the port at Ha Tien.  Accommodation can be easily arranged from Kampot or Kep in Cambodia to Phu Quoc. If travelling this route, make sure you obtain a visa for Vietnam in advance. 

Where to stay on Phu Quoc

The bulk of accommodation is based along Long Beach and budget options are typically located inside or close to the town of Doung Dong. Quieter stays can be found in the smaller towns and beaches and the quieter roads that snake off the main highway leading from the airport to Doung Dong. Valley Sen Bungalows is an excellent value option with a series of air conditioned bungalows set beautifully around a pool in the hills near Long Beach. For a luxury beachfront experience check out Cassia Cottages

Things to remember for your trip to Phu Quoc

Travel insurance

From motorbike rides to scuba diving, Phu Quoc offers a variety of adventure activities. Make sure you’re properly insured if something goes wrong. Check out World Nomads for comprehensive coverage for all kinds of adventure activities.

Do you need a visa for Phu Quoc?

Phu Quoc offers a rare visa exemption for stays up to 30 days. If you plan on doing any further travelling within Vietnam or are going to Phu Quoc overland/by boat, a Vietnam visa will be required. Learn how to get a visa for Vietnam here.

An everyday backpack

Beach days, motorbiking and boat tours require a variety of different gear. Carry it all in the most efficient way possible with Kiri the customizable everyday adventure pack. 

Best Things to do on Phu Quoc island

Hit the beach | The best beaches on Phu Quoc

Starfish Beach on Phu Quoc Island one of the best beaches on phu quoc

Starfish Beach

Bounce your way down a few dusty roads on the island’s north side to find Starfish Beach. The beach retains some of the original Phu Quoc charm with local restaurants serving up cold drinks and seafood to beach loungers. The shallows are also filled with numerous beautiful starfish, unfortunately this also makes for the worst part of the beach with irresponsible tourists throwing them or lining them up on the beach simply for the purpose of a photoshoot.  Walk further to the east and the crowds will thin a bit. The beach is worth a trip and is one of the least polluted on the island. 

Cua Can

North of Doug Dong town, Cua Can is by far the island’s best beach for crowds and providing a taste of what all of Phu Quoc must have been like pre-development!  The beach is nicest up towards Chez Caroles, but more remote to the south.

Long Beach

Phu Quoc’s major destination, Long Beach begins at Duong Dong and runs south along the bulk of the eastern coastline. Nearly the entire expanse of the beach has become blockaded/privatized by resorts making even accessing it a challenge. It’s not a bad place to spend a day renting out a lounger or for a sunset walk and beverage.

Bao Sao Beach on Phu Quoc Island

Bao Sao

If you’re looking for Seadoos, parasailing, instagram swings, and a stairway to heaven, this is the beach for you! It’s a beautiful strip of white sand that gets quite crowded. If you proceed past the rocks to the south you’ll find some solitude, unfortunately you’ll share it with a heartbreaking amount of garbage. 

Spice House at Cassia Cottages on Phu Quoc Island

Enjoy a romantic poolside meal

If you’re looking to enjoy a top calibre meal poolside with the waves crashing just beyond look no further than the Spice House at Cassia Cottages.   

Exploring the red dirt roads on Phu Quoc island is one of the best things to do

Explore Phu Quoc on motorbike

The spread out nature and vastness of Phu Quoc make renting a motorbike the best way to get around! The positive of all the recent development is the island’s numerous smooth, wide, and relatively quiet roads. Bikes can be rented for about 150,000 VND for the day just about anywhere. Take a trip to the islands far north on the way to Starfish Beach where a few of the original red dirt roads remain surrounded by lush jungle.

Visit the Coconut Prison

Near Bao Sao on the island’s south coast is the Phu Quoc Prison, or Coconut Prison. Built during the French colonial period, the prison was later taken over by the South Vietnamese and at times held over 40,000 communist prisoners. Today the prison museum houses numerous mannequins depicting gruesome representations of the torture and violence that occurred here. 

Bittersweet Cocktail Bar the best spot for a drink on phu quoc

Go for a custom cocktail at a speakeasy

Behind a clothing and leather goods shop south of Duong Dao in the Long Beach area is Phu Quoc’s only speakeasy, Bittersweet Cocktail Bar. Step through the curtain in the back to a hidden cocktail lounge. Forget about asking for the menu, there isn’t one.  Every drink is custom crafted. Simply tell the bartenders a liquor and/or flavor profile you’re into and they put together something amazing. I was sceptical, but the cocktails were top notch and didn’t disappoint!

Go on a jungle tour with Jerry

Take a trip with the highly recommended Jerry’s Jungle Tours for everything from jungle walks, to bird watching, to tours of the An Thoi archipelago. Jerry’s been living on Phu Quoc for well over a decade and has plenty of insight and off the beaten path adventures to help you make the most of your trip and experience the real Phu Quoc. 

Tour a fish sauce factory

Phu Quoc is known for producing some of the world’s highest quality fish sauce and the island has 80+ producers. If you’re a connoisseur and wish to get a better understanding of what goes into its production, several of the larger factories in Duong Dong offer tours sure to provide an olfactory overload. 

Visiting the night market is one of the best things to do on Phu Quoc island

Wander the Phu Quoc night market and grab a bite

From 6pm onwards Phu Quoc’s night market comes alive. Stop for a drink, dine on some seafood, or step off the main drag and find a stall with the iconic Vietnamese red stools and begin the feast. Seven Teo a block back from the main market street did not disappoint. 

A smoothie bowl at Holly Polly Smothie Bowl Bar on Phu Quoc Island

Enjoy a smoothie bowl

For a delicious smoothie bowl and Phu Qouc’s most instagrammable breakfast head to Holly Polly. If the vibes and bowls aren’t enough, Polly’s incredible energy will unquestionably start your day off right!

Treat yourself to a burger and a brew

If you’ve got a craving for some western fare, head to Winston’s Burgers and Beer for some classic American dishes. The burgers and fries are the best you’ll find on the island and there’s a fantastic selection of craft beer on tap. The perfect remedy for those facing a bout of homesickness. The bar owner Winston’s company only improves an already fantastic experience!

Take the cable car to the waterpark

Phu Quoc is home to the world’s longest cable car which stretches from An Thoi on the south coast across to Pineapple Island. Take the 15 minute trip to Pineapple Island for some captivating views. Once you get there you’ll reach the newly opened Aquatopia Water Park, Southeast Asia’s largest waterpark and another sign of the immense level of development that has happened on the island in the last 5 years.

Enjoy Phu Quoc’s largest selection of craft beer

If your beer palette has been worn down by endless consumption of Tiger, Bia Saigon, and 333, head to The Bench eatery and bar for the islands largest selection of craft beers.

Go island hopping

28 islands make up Phu Quoc District. Take a trip to a few of them for beaching, snorkeling, and swimming. Jerry’s Jungle Tours offers several different island adventures.

Go scuba diving on Phu Quoc


Phu Quoc is far from a mecca for scuba diving, but if you’re interested in getting certified or simply would love to get back in the water it’s a great place to do it! Several shops offer PADI certification and fun dives around the island and surrounding archipelago. If you’re diving make sure to double check your travel insurance covers this type of adventure sport. If you need insurance, click here for a quote.

Watch the sunset at Din Cau temple

The temple of the sea goddess is part temple and part lighthouse and makes for a great place to watch the sunset and experience the more authentic (and less touristy) side of Phu Quoc. Locals congregate around the entrance at sunset selling snacks and cold drinks. Make a walk up the stone steps for a view over the ocean as the sun dips below the horizon. 

Valley Sen Bungalows on Phu Quoc Island

Lounge poolside at your resort

Kick back into island life. Take the afternoon or morning,  grab your book and catch up on some reading poolside. The hillside retreat of Valley Sen was the perfect spot for this. If you’re travelling with a lavish budget, the 3 pools at Cassia Cottages will be nearly impossible to leave.

Phu Quoc Sailing Club

Chill out or turn up at the Sailing Club

Take the main road south and drive into a massive new resort looking complex to experience the bougiest item on this list. The Sailing Club is a modern Ibiza style beach club that transforms into a nightclub during the dark. For a minimum restaurant tab of 500,000 VND (~$25) you can hang out at the beachfront infinity pool all day or just come for a sundowner at the bar. It has a real resort feel which you may or may not enjoy.

Ha Giang Loop | The complete guide to motorbiking Ha Giang

Man Motorbiking the Ha Giang Loop

If you’re seeking an epic adventure, Vietnam’s Ha Giang Loop should be at the very top of your bucket list on a trip to Southeast Asia. This motorbike loop takes you across 400km of dizzying roads that wind their way through limestone mountains, dropping steeply off to deep turquoise rivers often concealed under a blanket of mist.  

Located in the most northern section of Vietnam bordering China, Ha Giang province is the place to go to escape the heavily pounded Banana Pancake Trail, admire some of Vietnam’s finest landscapes, and bask in the kindness of the country’s ethnic minority groups.

The area is best explored by renting a motorbike in Ha Giang city and completing the infamous “Loop” of 4 days and 3 nights. With winding roads and unpredictable weather, driving here is sure to satisfy your appetite for adventure.

** Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. If you click one of the links and make a purchase we’ll earn a small commission at no cost to you. Just like the travel backpacks we build, we’re very particular about products and we only recommend products, services, or accommodation we trust and use ourselves.*** 

Man Motorbiking the Ha Giang Loop

How to long does it take to motorbike the Ha Giang Loop?

The length of the Ha Giang loop is up to your timeframe. You can cut off sections and complete it in 3 days or shorten your days on the bike to make it 5 days. However, most travellers choose to do it in 4 days and 3 nights, which is the itinerary I’ll cover here.

How to get to Ha Giang

From Hanoi, hop on a night bus to Ha Giang city to save precious travel time. The trip takes around 6-7 hours. Note that if you do take a night bus, you will often arrive in the very early morning, so it may be worth getting a bed to crash in when you arrive in Ha Giang. 

 

You can also travel from Sapa to Ha Giang which will take between 7-8 hours.

How to rent a motorbike in Ha Giang

Ha Giang is well groomed for motorbike rental. Bong Hostel rents great and new motorbikes (plus helmets and padding to protect your elbows and knees!). The staff will also provide you with their phone number in case you have any issues with your bike on the road and need roadside assistance or repair. If you’re new to riding a semi-automatic bike, they’ll also give you a tutorial so you feel comfortable hitting the roads. Depending on where you rent your bike, it will cost around 150,000 Vietnamese dong per day. 

And if you aren’t comfortable riding your own bike? Find a travel buddy who is a more experienced driver and willing to take you on the back of their bike. Alternatively, you can also hire a driver from the area to really enjoy a safe and relaxed ride. 

What to pack for motorbiking the Ha Giang loop

Leave your big pack (maybe your Khmer Explorer Travel Set) at your Ha Giang hostel and bring only the essentials:

    • A small day pack like Kiri
    • A backpack cover or wet/dry bag for your valuables like Kiri’s No Sugar Kit – the rain can be torrential on this loop!
    • Poncho for inevitable downpour days 
    • Sunscreen
    • First aid kit (including antiseptic, bandages, and ibuprofen) 
    • Clothes for 4 days – be sure to bring a sweater for the evenings, long pants and long-sleeved shirts to protect your skin from the sun and road rash
    • Running shoes
    • Toiletries 
    • Offline map app on your phone like maps.me
    • Phone charger/power bank
    • Reusable water bottle and Steripen (for purification)
    • Your hostel’s phone number in case you have any motorbike issues

Other essentials for the Ha Giang Loop

Vietnam Visa

Visas for Vietnam require some advanced planning.  Refer to this post on Visa on arrival/e-visas for Vietnam for all the details. 

Travel Insurance

You’ll be motorbiking or riding on the back of one. Comprehensive travel insurance is an absolute must! Check out World Nomads for comprehensive coverage including high adventure activities like motorbiking or get a quote below. 

Best season to motorbike Ha Giang

Vietnam’s dry season, October-April, is usually the best time for the loop. I visited in April and the road was starting to get pretty slick with rain, which increases the danger of driving here.

Where to stay in Ha Giang

Ha Giang – Bong Hostel – I highly recommend staying at and renting bikes from the lovely staff at Bong Hostel (which actually means flower in Vietnamese, I learned). The beds here are incredibly soft compared to the rock hard ones you will find in most of Ha Giang province. The hostel also offers an incredible family dinner under a beautiful paper-leaf tree in its adjacent restaurant. When you rent a bike here you’ll get equipped with a map and helmet, plus knee, wrist, and elbow pads you can wear to combat any potential road rash on The Loop. 

Yen Minh – Tom Homestay Tom’s is a staple spot on The Loop. The shared accommodation features large double mattresses on the floor, each with an individual mosquito net and warm blanket. The family dinner at Tom’s is delicious and, vegetarians rejoice, there are a lot of vegetable dishes to enjoy!

Meo Vac – Mr Hung Meo Vac Hotel – I stayed at Mr Hung Meo Vac Hotel, which had the hardest beds I have ever encountered on my travels, but the incredible view from the balcony really made up for the lack of sleep. Click here to check out places in Meo Vac.

Du Gia – Homestay or Hostel – There are only three places to stay in Du Gia: two homestays and a hostel. It’s thus wise to book ahead before you get here. All of these are excellent with wonderful family dinners served in the evening. The town itself is a simple street cut into the striking landscape. 

Homestay Ha Giang Loop

Itinerary for the Ha Giang Loop

Day 1 - Ha Giang to Yen Minh (~100km)

The city of Ha Giang is the logical starting point for the Extreme North Loop. After you rent your bike and fill up with gas, be sure to stop for a delicious raspberry smoothie in town at King’s Coffee before you hit the road. After a sugar kick, you should be ready to set out on the 100km journey to the town of Yen Minh. Only five minutes out of Ha Giang, the countryside unfolds in front of you and the incredible views of the next four days begin. 

Stop for lunch in the town of Tam Son (also called Quan Ba) and once you reach Yen Minh, navigate your way to Tom Homestay. 

Girl looks out at rice terraces in northern Vietnam

Day 2 - Yen Minh to Meo Vac via Lung Cu (~120km)

After a night at Tom Homestay, set out from Yen Minh for the most northern point in Vietnam, Lung Cu. At the time we visited, the road to get to Lung Cu was undergoing significant construction and it was one of the dodgiest patches to navigate on a bike. Once you finally arrive here, you can stretch your legs by climbing to the top of a tower with a famous Vietnamese flag pole and lookout over both China and Vietnam. Be sure to stop along the way to look out over the incredible terraces. 

 

After getting your view fix at Lung Cu, you can end your day in Dong Van or press on through the famous Ma Pi Leng Pass to reach Meo Vac. Meo Vac is a more scenic place to stay than Dong Van, although it has fewer food options. 

The Ma Pi Leng pass itself is an epic 22km pass that stretches from Dong Van to Meo Vac. Cut precariously into the limestone karst mountains and dropping off to the river below, Ma Pi Leng provides some of the most breathtaking views in Ha Giang province and it’s the stretch of road most people go on the Loop to see. While it may not be called the Death Road, this road can be slick and dangerous when it rains, so do be careful here.

View of Ma Pi Leng Pass

Day 3 - Meo Vac to Du Gia (~80km)

The journey from Meo Vac to the tiny village of Du Gia is easily the most beautiful day on the bike. With incredible views of rice terraces, ethnic minority villages, and old French hill station ruins, this is the day to take your time and experience Ha Giang at its finest. 

The town itself is a simple street cut into the striking landscape. Be prepared for a lot of rice wine and karaoke on this final evening in tiny Du Gia. 

Market Du Gia

Day 4 - Du Gia to Ha Giang (~80km)

In the morning, you’ll often find a market happening along the main street. With all sorts of fruit, traditional dresses, and animals for sale, it’s a fascinating experience. The final day of biking is a long haul back to Ha Giang. You’ll cross a number of rather precarious looking bridges on your way and can stop in Quan Ba for lunch once again. Once you reach Ha Giang, pat yourself on the back for making it safely (we hope!) and treat yourself to another smoothie. 

Empty Road on Ha Giang Loop

How to Get a Vietnam Visa on Arrival Quickly & Easily

Getting a Vietnam visa on arrival can seem like a complicated and daunting task.  Do you apply through a local Vietnam embassy or consulate or use one of the shady looking online providers for an e-visa and risk being ripped off? The first time I visited Vietnam in 2007, I spent a week waiting in Sihanoukville, Cambodia for the Vietnamese consulate to re-open from vacation so I could get my visa. The next time I overpaid drastically by getting a Visa through the Vietnamese consulate in Vancouver. After visiting Vietnam 5 times, I’ve finally figured out the best and easiest way to get a Vietnam visa on arrival! If you’re struggling to figure out the process, follow these steps and you’ll be eating Bún chả and drinking Bia hơi, in no time! 

How to get a 30 day single entry visa to Vietnam Online as an E-Visa

The e-visa is the easiest and most affordable option if you’re spending 30 days or less in Vietnam and don’t plan on crossing into nearby Cambodia or Laos during that time. It’s also available to foreigners entering Vietnam via air, land or sea (just check the official application website below for the full list of entry ports)!

Steps to get the Vietnam e-visa online

    • Go to the official Vietnamese government website.
    • Complete the form and pay $25USD.
    • Wait 3 business days and check back for your approval status.
    • Obtain your E-Visa form and bring it along for your entry into Vietnam.

Total Visa Cost: $25 USD

How to get a 1 month, 3 month, 6 month (US citizens only), or 1 year (US citizens only) multiple entry visa for Vietnam online

NOTE: This option is only available for travellers arriving in Vietnam by air.

A 3rd party agency can easily provide you with a visa approval letter which you’ll present upon arriving at the airport in Vietnam. There are many websites offering this service that look shady and probably are. Fortunately, I’ve used voavietnam.net multiple times for a seamless Vietnam visa process! In addition to offering multiple entry options, they also offer expedited service options as fast as 2hrs during weekdays (for a fee) if you’ve left the visa until the last moment. 

Step to get your Vietnam visa approval letter online:

    • Use voavietnam.net (there are a number of other reputable provides out there, I only recommend this one as it’s worked perfectly for me multiple times).
    • Submit the visa application through their website and pay their processing fee  of $12-32 USD (depending on duration of visa required). 
    • Once you’ve paid and submitted the information you’ll receive an email in a couple days (assuming you didn’t select rush service) with a visa authorization letter containing your name, nationality, and passport number and a blank application form to fill out. 
    • Print the letter, fill out the visa application form and bring a 4×6 cm passport photo along in your carry-on. Once you land, before immigration look for the visa counter and hand over the letter, your completed application, passport photo, and passport before taking a seat. A barely audible voice will  eventually call your name and you’ll proceed to the cashier pay the stamping fee ($25 $135) and get your passport back with a shiny new Vietnam visa inside! 
    • Proceed to immigration and enjoy your trip! 

Total Visa Cost: $37 - 167 USD based on the duration/entries

Visa Letter Fee (paid to agency):

$12 – 1 Month Single Entry

$17 – 1 Month Multiple Entry

$25 – 3 Month Single Entry

$32 – 3 Month Multiple Entry

$32 – 6 Month Multiple Entry

$32 – 1 Year Multiple Entry

+ Stamping Fee (paid at the airport):

$25 :1 month/ 3 months single entry

$50 :1 month/ 3 months multiple entry

$95: 6 month

$135: 1 year

*Extra fees are charged for express processing, privacy service (meaning you’ll get your own letter and won’t share it with other applicants), and the express airport service.  I’ve always gone without the add-ons meaning my name will appear next to a couple others on the visa approval letter. Additionally, my wait for the visa stamping at the airport tends to average around 30-60 minutes. 

How to get a multiple entry or 3+ month Visa for overland entries

You could apply for the Vietnam Visa by sending your passport to the nearest embassy or consulate in your home country by following these steps on the official Vietnam website or visiting a nearby consulate or embassy directly to apply during your travels. Unless absolutely necessary, I’d avoid this route as the costs can often be a staggering 2-3 times higher than the other options noted above. I made this mistake when I visited Vietnam in 2017 and ended up paying $100 for a single entry visa from the consulate in Vancouver, Canada that could of cost me $25.

Total Visa Cost: $100+ USD

Other considerations for your Vietnam trip

** Some of the links in this section are affiliate links. If you click one of the links and make a purchase we’ll earn a small commission at no cost to you. Just like the travel backpacks we build, we’re very particular about travel products. So any products or services we suggest, we test and use ourselves before making any recommendations or endorsements**

Travel Insurance for Vietnam

Vietnam is a great country for adventure activities from diving to canyoning to motorbiking so don’t leave home without making sure you’re properly protected on your Vietnam adventure with quality insurance. We use World Nomads for all our adventures in Vietnam and around the globe. 

Travel Gear for Vietnam:

 From city exploration to beach time to hikes Vietnam throws every adventure at you in a full sensory overload.  The perfect companion? A customizable everyday adventure backpack like our Kiri Collection.