Phu Quoc’s Beaches: A Guide

Last updated November 2018 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle

INTRODUCTION | GUIDE | MAP | RELATED POSTS

Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s largest island, and fast becoming the country’s premier beach destination. There are dozens of excellent beaches on Phu Quoc Island, and this guide covers them all, including my tips for accommodation on each one. In recent years, upgraded infrastructure – including a road network across the entire island – has opened access to more and more of Phu Quoc’s beaches. But Phu Quoc is currently in a state of transformation: there are only a handful of beaches left on the island where there isn’t large-scale resort construction or the presence of litter. This doesn’t mean the island and its beaches are ruined, but it is the reality of Phu Quoc today. And this is something that all travellers should be aware of before they visit. As a general rule, the south and western coast is increasingly developed and in the midst of major construction; whereas the north and eastern coast is still quiet and relatively untouched. Use this maxim as a guide to which part of the island may suit you best.

A Guide to Phu Quoc's Beaches, VietnamPhu Quoc Island is developing fast, but there are still large swathes of empty beach

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GUIDE: PHU QUOC’S BEACHES


A Guide to 19 Beaches on Phu Quoc Island

The 19 beaches below are listed in order of my own personal preference. I’ve written a detailed description of each beach, plotted them all on my map, illustrated them with my own photos, and included my personal accommodation tips, with links to check current rates, availability, and make bookings directly. I’ve listed accommodation in three price categories: ($)=budget, ($$)=mid-range, ($$$)=high-end. The best time to visit is from November to April. But better still, visit during the shoulder months (October and May) when prices are slightly lower, availability is higher, tourist numbers are fewer, the weather is good, the sea as calm as an infinity pool, and the island is beautiful and lush. Most of the beaches are now easily accessible, but a couple still lie hidden at the end of dirt tracks. If you’re not staying on one of the beaches, you can hire a taxi or rent a motorbike, or get on the excellent Hop-on Hop-off Bus.

Note: with the current pace of change on Phu Quoc, although this guide is accurate at the time of writing (November 2018), some details are bound to have changed by the time you read this.

Click a beach below to read more about it:

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MAP:

19 Beaches on Phu Quoc Island:


View in a LARGER MAP

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1. Ganh Dau Beach:

• Location: north-western tip [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Bãi Gành Dầu

• Accommodation tips: Gold Coast ($$), Peppercorn Beach ($$$) 

• Description: On the remote northwestern tip of the island, Ganh Dau Beach is a wonderful little corner of flour-white sand fringed by palm trees, and bounded to the east by high, densely jungled ridges. Reached via a paved lane leading east from the lively fishing village of the same name, Ganh Dau Beach is sheltered and shaded, the water calm and shallow with a cluster of wooden fishing boats moored offshore, and the Cambodian islands lying only a few kilometres in the distance, their blue silhouettes sitting on the horizon like humpback whales. Ganh Dau is the name given to the entire northwestern cape, including a picturesque bay sheltering the local fishing fleet, a surprisingly bustling little fishing town with an active and interesting market, a filthy fishing harbour, and lots of street food and local life. But down by the beach, it’s very quiet, and there’s none of the mega resort construction here that plagues so much of the rest of the west coast of Phu Quoc. The resorts that have been built are, so far, small and beautifully positioned. (However, the sea is encroaching on the beach at high tide and threatening to flood some of the resorts, which were probably constructed too close to the surf.) Of the handful of accommodation options lining the beach road east of town, my favourites are Gold Coast ($$) and Peppercorn ($$$), although the latter has inflated prices so much that it’s hard to justify the expense when you could stay at the former for half the price. Even if you’re not staying on Ganh Dau Beach, visit either of these resorts for a good lunch, a cocktail, and a swim. The presence of Ganh Dau town adds another dimension to staying here, because it means you can easily access local life (and food). The town is walking (or cycling) distance from the resorts, and it’s great to be able to interact with island life and island people – something that’s hard to do if you’re staying on some of the other popular beaches on Phu Quoc. There’s also a remote edge to this part of the island: it feels isolated and cut off; as if it were its own little municipality. I could (and have) spent days on end at Ganh Dau Beach.

Ganh Dau Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamGanh Dau Beach, at the northwestern tip of Phu Quoc Island, is a gorgeous palm-fringed bay


Ganh Dau Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamGanh Dau is also a cape & a fishing village, where there’s local life, food, and a fishing fleet


Ganh Dau Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamGanh Dau Beach has several very good mid-range resorts which are secluded & serene


Ganh Dau Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamGanh Dau village has a lot of local character & colour: here durian are for sale near the fishing harbour

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2. Ong Lang Beach:

• Location: central north-west coast [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Bãi Ông Lang

• Accommodation tips: Mango Bay ($$$), The Shells ($$$), Chen Sea ($$$), Bo Resort, ($$), Sea Sense ($$), La Casa ($), Ninila Fruitfarm ($), Green Land ($) 

• Description: Only 10 minutes or so north of the clogged streets of Duong Dong town, Ong Lang Beach is a long stretch of lovely, sandy bays punctuated by slabs of black, volcanic rock, on the central north-west coast. More of a chain of connected mini-bays than a long, unbroken beach, Ong Lang is peaceful, calm, green, and serene – everything you want your tropical beach to be. The beach, which is backed by coconut palms and casuarina trees for most of its length, turns to fertile red earth just a few metres inland from the sea, where tropical gardens, fruits orchards, and exotic flowers grow in abundance. In the shade of all this foliage, a network of narrow paved lanes and dirt alleyways is now a thriving tourist enclave, featuring boutique resorts in all price-brackets, organic-produce shops, hipster cafes, smooth bars, and Western restaurants. But, unlike other popular beaches on the island, most of the development here has been low-rise and, occasionally, low-impact. Just as everywhere else on Phu Quoc, Ong Lang has grown enormously in popularity over the last few years – I was surprised by how much the wedge of land between the beach and the main road has developed since my last visit. But, somehow, it retains a low-key atmosphere, and remains an extremely attractive place to stay for a few days. Whether you’re a family, a couple, or a group of backpackers, Ong Lang Beach has got you covered. The general level of accommodation across all budgets is excellent. Most of the cheaper options are inland, just a few minutes’ walk from the beach, whereas the mid- and high-end resorts are right on the sand. Mango Bay ($$$) remains the standout resort here, but The Shells ($$$) and Chen Sea ($$$) are also very smart indeed. Good mid-range options are Coco Palm Beach ($$), Bo Resort ($$), and Sea Sense ($$). And excellent budget options include La Casa ($), Ninila Fruitfarm ($), and Green Land ($).

At the northern end of Ong Lang Beach there’s massive construction going on at the new Movenpick Resort, which itself is just passed the huge, disturbing ‘Phu Quoc landfill’, overflowing with foul-smelling waste, smouldering in the sun – a reminder of where the majority of our trash ends up. However, next to the Movenpick site, a gravel path leads to Mộ Bà Ông Lang (signposted to ‘Beach Picnic’). The path ends at a seaside shrine to Nguyen Trung Truc (a Vietnamese hero who fought the French colonialists in the mid-19th century) right on a gorgeous slice of Ong Lang beach. This is actually one of the most peaceful spots on the entire west coast. The swimming is good, there’s a cool breeze, and incense wafts over from the shrine.

Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamOn the central-northwest coast, Ong Lang Beach is a very attractive series of interlinking, sandy bays


Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamOng Lang features some volcanic rock on sandy beaches backed by trees; there are lots of good resorts


Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamAt the northern end of Ong Lang is a shrine to Nguyen Trung Truc next to a nice stretch of empty beach

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3. East Coast Road: Bai Thom to Ham Ninh

• Location: north-east coast [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Đường TL48: Bãi Thơm→Hàm Ninh

• Accommodation tips: Kiki Coconut Beach ($), Banana Homestay ($), The Pier ($$), Rocks Beach Boutique ($$) 

• Description: Only now that the road (TL48) has been sealed between Bai Thom and Ham Ninh, has this long, enchanting section of the east coast begun to attract visitors. Though it may lack the long sandy beaches of other parts of the island, the east coast has a charm and isolation that’s more and more appealing to me with each passing year, as the construction, crowds, and general paraphernalia of mass tourism take over the rest of the island. Starting just south of Bai Thom, the East Coast Road runs for 30km to Ham Ninh. Consisting of empty, rocky, sand and silt beaches fringed with coconut palms and tropical almond trees, and dotted with volcanic rock, the east coast is sparsely populated, quiet, and undeveloped. An onshore breeze blows from Cambodia – whose high ridges grow in a purple haze on the horizon – throughout the day, cooling the entire coastline. Just inland, the jungles of the interior grow up the steep slopes within the restricted confines of Phu Quoc National Park. The bays lie slow, lazy, and undisturbed in the sun. The water is shallow and full of fish, and even some coral close to shore. Trash is washed up on the beach, but nothing like the rest of the island. Little hamlets nestle in the shade of tropical trees, some of them with local seafood restaurants. Near the beginning of the northern section, Hon Mot is a small, green islet that can be reached via a wooden plank causeway over the sea from the pretty beach at Quán Hòn Một. A sign on the island warns of landmines, but locals say if you stick to the stone pathways, you’re safe.

A little further south, Da Chong Port, which used to have daily ferries to the mainland, is now rarely used, but surely it will be resurrected soon to serve the new resorts that will be opening along this remote stretch of coast. The current resorts are all clustered toward the centre and south of the East Coast Road. And very nice they are, too. Kiki Coconut Beach ($) is simply wonderful: stop in for a coconut on the beach or stay in one of their simple, breezy bungalows on the white sand under swaying palms. The Pier ($$) is an attractive mid-range resort with a good bar and pool, that’s starting to put this area on the map. And there are several others, including Banana Homestay ($), Wildland Resort ($), Rocks Boutique ($$), Mango Beach ($$), and Dugong ($$). If you want to know what Phu Quoc was like 10-15 years ago, take a ride down the deserted, beguiling East Coast Road. Construction will come, so explore this area now.

East Coast Road, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamThe East Coast Road runs from Thom Beach to Ham Ninh, the least populated area of the island


East Coast Road, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamSome very good budget & mid-range resorts have started to open along the East Coast Road


East Coast Road, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamThe East Coast Road has only recently been paved, allowing easy access to this remote part of the island

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4. Rach Tram Beach:

• Location: north coast [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Bãi Rạch Tràm

• Accommodation tips: none 

• Description: By far the most remote and least visited of all the beaches and bays on Phu Quoc Island, Rach Tram is nonetheless one of the most serene, scenically located, and untouched beaches of them all. That’s likely to change very soon, because the previously rough, red-dirt lane from the main road to the beach is soon to be completely paved and widened, mainly – surprise surprise – to facilitate the construction of an enormous resort. However, it does mean that, for the time being, access to Rach Tram is easier than ever (even though the last couple of kilometres were still pretty bad at the time of writing, in November 2018). Once on the bay, the beach is long and lovely, the sea beautiful and calm, with densely forested hills rising all around. But it’s important to remember that this is a ‘working beach’. Along the shimmering, tree-backed sand, there are a couple of rustic fishing villages, almost completely undisturbed by tourism, which appear to be very poor indeed. Their trash is strewn around the bay, which is not uncommon in Vietnamese fishing communities. Fishing-related debris – some of which is ‘picturesque’, such as the rotting hulls of abandoned wooden boats, and some of which is unsightly, such as polystyrene boxes and discarded fishing nets – clutters much of the sand. But it’s on a much smaller scale than elsewhere on the island. I wonder where these fishing communities will go once the resorts arrive. It’s well worth visiting Rach Tram, because if you do you can walk for miles along sublime empty beach – it’s a wonderful feeling.. There’s no accommodation here at the moment, but there are plans afoot.

Rach Tram Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamRach Tram, on the north coast, is the least visited beach on the island, but it’s a sublime stretch of coast


Rach Tram is remote & tranquil, but the road has just been paved in anticipation of a huge resort

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5. Vung Bau Beach:

• Location: north-west coast [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Bãi Vũng Bầu

• Accommodation tips: Bamboo Cottages ($$), Wild Beach ($$), Vung Bau Resort ($$), Nam Nghi ($$$) 

• Description: Definitely one of the most attractive beaches on the island, Vung Bau, on the north-west coast, is now seeing major resort development, particularly at the centre of the bay. But there are still a couple of gorgeous little stretches of sand – at the southern and northern ends – where the placid blue water meets the tree-lined beach. However, the dirt road along the length of the bay is now broken up into two sections due to construction sites. There are several access points: From the south, continue over the bluff from Cua Can, past a (usually unmanned) checkpoint, and onto a beautiful bit of beach. From the north, take the lane down to Nam Nghi Resort from the main road, after which you can head south on a dirt road along Vung Bau Beach, where there are several excellent mid-range resorts on a glorious, empty stretch of beach. Bamboo Cottages ($$), Wild Beach ($$), and Vung Bau Resort ($$) all share the same marvellous location for a seriously relaxing but reasonably priced island escape. But it’s a strange contrast to all the construction and dust surrounding Vung Bau. Surely these small-scale, mid-range resorts only have a couple of years left before the big boys of resort development move in. Enjoy it while you can. Nam Nghi ($$$) is the newest and fanciest addition to Vung Bau, built around a lush, rocky headland at the northern tip of the bay. There’s a lovely pool, a Tree House restaurant (made for social media photos), and even the resort’s very own island, reached by a short boat trip (for a fee of at least $10). It’s a fun, if expensive, excursion for a smart cocktail at the island bar.

Vung Bau Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamVung Bau Beach, on the north-west coast, is gorgeous: an sweeping arc of soft sand & calm, blue water


Vung Bau Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamAt the northern end of Vung Bau, a few mid-range resorts have excellent beach access


Construction on Vung Bau Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamBut construction & mega resorts are fast gobbling up Vung Bau, especially the central section

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6. Cua Can Beach:

• Location: north-west coast [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Bãi Cửa Cạn

• Accommodation tips: Dormstay Riverside ($), Phu Quoc Ecolodge ($), Chez Carole ($$), Green Bay Resort ($$$) 

• Description: Cua Can is a little settlement, in the north-west of the island, at the point where a clear-flowing river meets the sea. As it drains into the Gulf of Thailand, the river creates a long, arcing sandbar lined with casuarina trees, with the choppy sea on one side and the placid river on the other. The village used to be a scruffy, dilapidated assembly of wood, brick, and corrugated iron homes. But now, since the road through town has been paved, it’s a much more well-organized scruffy village, with some snack outlets at lunchtime, and a couple of excellent budget places to stay: Dormstay Riverside ($) and Phu Quoc Ecolodge ($). It’s possible to weave your way through the small fishing village and onto the sands of Cua Can Beach for a swim. Alternatively, there are a couple of good mid- and high-end resorts – Chez Carole ($$) and Green Bay ($$$) – at the northern end of the beach, set on an attractive hillside overlooking the river mouth and bay. Cua Can village and beach is a mellow, pretty, and slow-paced part of the island to spend a couple of days. And tourist development here is mercifully light.

Cua Can Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamCua Can Beach, in the north-west of the island, is a pretty sandbar created by a river estuary

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7. Thom Beach:

• Location: north-east coast [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Bãi Thơm

• Accommodation tips: Luna Beach ($) 

• Description: Thom Beach has a stark beauty. Silent, still, hot, sparsely populated, and filled with the scent of cashew fruit and the sound of midday cicadas, there’s something beguiling about this remote northeastern tip of Phu Quoc Island. Most of the beaches are pebbly, rocky, and hidden from view – reached via dirt tracks – and the water’s very shallow and tidal here. Thom hamlet consists of just a few local shops, a couple of seafood restaurants, fishermen’s houses, and a school. And yet, tranquil, sleepy Thom Beach is charming and characterful. It may not have the long, stretching sands of other beaches, but it has calm shallow waters, hiding some coral and plenty of fish, wonderful views over to the Cambodian coast and highlands, friendly locals, lush tropical foliage, a couple of informal places to sit and to stay, and most importantly, hardly any large-scale construction or noise pollution. Places like Local Beach Bar and Luna Beach ($), where you can camp by the sea under huge palms while dogs play in the surf and you order a fresh coconut and a glass of local beer before settling down to a seafood dinner in the cool evening sea breeze, remind you that Phu Quoc still has real island life (even though many of those I spoke to at Thom seemed to hail from suburbs of Hanoi). Thom Beach and the surrounding area is ripe for exploration, and it’s a place to sit back, relax, and let time stand still for a bit. For me personally, now that so much of the southern, central, and northwest coast is either built up or in the process of transforming, I find myself more and more attracted to places like Thom Beach, Rach Vem, Rach Tram, Ganh Dau and the Eastern Coast Road. This, for me, is the travellers’ side of the island; not the package-tour, family-holiday side. But, now that the eastern coast road between Thom and Ham Ninh has been paved, perhaps it won’t be long before slumbering Thom Beach is awoken.

Thom Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamThom Beach, on the northeast coast, is quiet & slow: there’s very little construction here (yet)


Thom Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamThom Beach isn’t really a long stretch of sand; rather it’s a shallow bay backed by tropical foliage


Thom Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamThom Beach is very relaxing: it feels like Phu Quoc did 10 years ago, before the arrival of mass tourism

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8. Long Beach:

• Location: central south-west coast [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Bãi Trường (Dương Đông, Của Lấp, Dương Tơ)

• Accommodation tips: Thanh Kieu ($$), Mai Spa Resort ($$), Lahana ($$), Kim Bungalow ($), Lana Land ($), Intercontinental ($$$) 

• Description: Aptly named, Long Beach stretches for almost 20km along the southwestern coast of Phu Quoc. Beginning just south of Duong Dong town and stretching almost as far as An Thoi on the southern-most tip of the island, the beach’s yellow sand is backed rows of coconut palms along its entire length. During the dry season months (November to April) the water is almost completely motionless: a liquid mirror to the sky. However, Long Beach is now the scene of some of the most intense and large-scale development on the island, especially its central and southern sections. Long Beach can be divided very roughly into three sections: the north (from Duong Dong down to the international airport), the centre (from the airport to the Intercontinental), and the south (down to the cape near Dat Do Beach).

Golden Sand Bar, Long Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamLong Beach, on the central-southwest coast, can be divided into three sections: north, central, & south


NORTH LONG BEACH: The northern section is the original Phu Quoc tourist strip. This is where the majority of visitors to the island stay, in one of the many good budget, mid-range, and high-end accommodations available. In general, the mid- and high-end resorts are on the beach side of the road, while the budget guest houses, hostels, restaurants and bars are on the other side. These days, the road is pretty busy, dusty, and unpleasant. But, head down any of the smaller lanes to the seaside resorts, and the beautiful, palm-studded beach reminds you why all this development is here in the first place. However, it’s getting pretty cluttered along the beach, and noise pollution can be an issue at night. But, providing you’re staying in good, beachside accommodation, the northern section of Long Beach is still a very satisfying place to spend a few days on the sand. I love the lush, calm oases of Thanh Kieu ($$) and Mai Spa ($$). Lahana Resort is on the wrong side of the street for the beach, but is excellent value, and has a superb infinity pool. For cheaper digs, check out Kim Bungalow ($), Lana Land ($), Hoi An Phu Quoc ($), and Mango Resort ($).

Long Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamThe northern section of Long Beach is where most of the island’s resorts are: the beach here is very nice

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CENTRAL LONG BEACH: South of the international airport, Long Beach is portioned off – each giant slab of land to a different developer – for the construction of super resorts. Think Intercontinental, Novotel, Hyatt etc. – huge edifices that look like the Starship Enterprise. A handful are already complete, but most are in the construction phrase, which means the land (and most of the long, lovely beach) is cordoned off with corrugated iron fences, and trucks ply the main road, throwing up dust and exhaust into the salty sea air. It’s still possible (just about) to take a couple of small lanes off the main road down to the beach and access a couple of good swimming spots. Golden Sand Bar, for example, is a great little place to chill for a day, with cocktails, loungers, and an excellent beach. Of the resorts already open, the Intercontinental ($$$) is one of the snazziest and classiest on the island, while the Novotel ($$$) and Sol Beach ($$$) are large, luxurious monoliths. An interesting side-product of all the massive development-in-progress are the makeshift, temporary villages – mostly scrap metal and wooden shacks – that line the main road by the construction sites, housing and catering to the enormous companies of domestic migrant workers, contracted by the resort developers. They hail from all corners of Vietnam, but mostly, it seems, from north-central provinces, which are some of the poorest regions of the country. The temporary ‘shack-towns’ double as cheap, local markets full of good street food – lots of it northern-style – beer, rice wine, and, erm, ‘entertainment’ for the male workers. It’s lively, fascinating, confusing, and disturbing. All around are the luxury villas, resorts, and high-end shopping malls that the workers are building, which are ultimately for the enjoyment of wealthier people of a different social status, while they themselves are living in fairly grim conditions. You can’t argue with the job creation, I suppose. I don’t claim to have any deep understanding of this situation, but, at the very least, being confronted with this obvious division of wealth and labour, forces contemplation.

Resort construction on Long Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamThe central section of Long Beach is subject to major resort development: most of the beach is roped off

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SOUTH LONG BEACH: South of the Intercontinental, yet more huge chunks of land have been portioned off for giant resorts. But further south, construction begins to dissipate, leaving the red dirt road of old to plough its course along the serene coast all the way to Mui Dat Do. Here, there are still plenty of deserted stretches to bathe in the calm, clear sea. However, the land is due to become the construction site of the Hyatt. Unfortunately, trash on the beach is off-putting, and the remains of fishermen’s homes – now just piles of bricks and woven palm-leaf roofs bulldozed to make way for luxury resorts – are reminders of what the future holds. If riding here by motorbike, take care on the dirt road: some of it is very sandy and it’s easy to lose control. Also, after heavy rain, the sand becomes mud, which is very treacherous on a motorbike.

Trash on Long Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamThe southern section of Long Beach still has some deserted patches, but it’s blighted by trash

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9. Dai Beach:

• Location: north-west coast [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Bãi Dài

• Accommodation tips: Radisson Blu ($$$), Vinpearl ($$$)

• Description: This long, long stretch of fine sand beach with turquoise water lapping at the exposed roots of casuarina trees, was for many years one of my favourite beaches in Vietnam. In the northwest of Phu Quoc Island, Dai Beach was, until quite recently – only a few years ago, in fact – completely undeveloped, save for a handful of seafood shacks dotted on the grass under the shade of large tropical trees. However, that changed dramatically when Vingroup moved in (as they always do) to build a mega-resort complex, including theme parks, waterparks, casinos, golf courses, safaris, enormous hotels, and rows upon rows of luxurious faux-Roman villas. Collectively known as Vinpearl, this high-end development now sprawls along the entire northern and central sections of Dai Beach, closed to non-guests. Hundreds, probably thousands, of old-growth tropical trees were felled to make way for Vinpearl. The destruction was in full view of the road, and an extremely disturbing sight to behold. The southern section of the beach is going the same way: cordoned off for more resort construction, and closed to public access. But, it is still possible (just about) to access the southern part of Dai Beach, which is almost just as glorious as it was a few years ago. You can get here via the turn-off to Nam Nghi Resort, which splits west and south, both ultimately taking you down to the southern slither of Dai Beach, either side of the Crowne Plaza construction site. Yes, picnic trash is a problem – it always is when Vietnamese beaches are public, not private – but the swimming is excellent and the bay is still drop dead gorgeous. But it won’t last: you only have a very limited amount of time to see Dai Beach without staying at one of the resorts. If you choose to stay on Dai Beach, your options are the Radisson Blu ($$$) or Vinpearl ($$$).

Dai Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamDai Beach, in the northwest, is one of the prettiest on the island, but it’s changed dramatically recently


Large-scale resort building has destroyed much of the forest along Dai Beach

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10. Rach Vem Beach:

• Location: north coast [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Bãi Rạch Vẹm

• Accommodation tips: none

• Description: Reached via a sandy lane, which itself is off a red dirt road traversing the forested northern coast, Rach Vem is remote, and this has so far kept development away. But Rach Vem is gaining in popularity as a day/lunch trip on the island due to its abundance of floating fish farms, which double as floating seafood restaurants run by the local fishing community. As everywhere on the island, resort development is on its way but has yet to start in earnest. At present, only a trickle of day-trippers arrive each day for a seafood lunch and to laze of the nice patch of beach to the eastern end of the bay. Conditions in the fishing hamlet look very rough indeed, and the water and beach immediately surrounding it is thick with trash and sewage. But this is not unusual for a remote fishing community in Vietnam, and don’t let it put you off, because the larger bay area is pretty clean and very picturesque. In particular, the white sandy section just beyond the main cluster of fish farms, to the east, is lovely for a swim. In high season, it’s especially popular with Vietnamese groups, who, being a nation of discerning foodies, come for the fresh seafood. During these times, inflatable slides are often floating in the calm bay for the kids to enjoy (and the occasional adult, too). There’s no accommodation at the moment on Rach Vem Beach, but you could potentially camp, if you have your own gear.

Rach Vem Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamRach Vem Beach, in the north of the island, is known for its floating seafood farms & restaurants


Rach Vem Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamAlthough Rach Vem fishing village is very dirty, the beach nearby is nice & good for swimming

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11. Sao Beach:

• Location: south-east coast [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Bãi Sao

• Accommodation tips: My Lan ($$), Phu Nam House ($), Wanderlust Bungalows ($)

• Description: Sao Beach, with its arcing palm trees, snow-white sand, and distinctive blue-sapphire coloured water, is one of the most popular beaches on the island. Once touted (but incorrectly, even back then) as the ‘Best Beach in Vietnam’, Sao is still a very attractive stretch of sand to walk along and swim. But, sadly, the writing has been on the wall for Sao Beach for at least a few years, and there are many reasons for this. Its increasing popularity led to haphazard, temporary construction of small resorts, bars, cafés, and restaurants; trash quickly built up – squeezed into the narrow freshwater creeks that feed onto the beach and into the sea; jet skis filled the waters with gasoline and broke the silence; even the husks of fresh coconuts – consumed in the hundreds by day-trippers each day – built up to clog the sand and the surf. For at least 2 or 3 years now, Sao’s best days have been behind it. But, today, I personally find it quite a sad place and a sad sight. There’s not much effort to keep up appearances anymore: things look forlorn and uncared for. Even though the dirt road to the beach has finally been paved and people still flock to Sao by the thousands each day, it’s a shadow of its former self. And it’s no surprise that massive resort development – which was always inevitable, and surely part of the reason why the temporary structures were of such low quality – is now on the way. The northern end of the beach – the nicest part of the entire bay, where spindly coconut palms form the perfect paradise-beach backdrop – has been cleared for construction of a large resort. I doubt it will be long before the rest of the bay follows suit. It’s still worth coming to Sao for a swim, a stroll along the gorgeous sand, a gin and tonic, and a grilled fish lunch at Paradiso Beach Club – the best place to be on Sao. And don’t get me wrong: I hope that the forlorn state I see Sao in today is just a phase, or perhaps it’s going to be ingeniously reinvented, reinvigorated. But if you saw Sao 10 years ago (yawn, I know), it’s hard to come to terms with what it is today.

There are a couple of places to stay right on the beach, the most popular of which is My Lan ($$), offering simple, clean but soulless rooms with easy access to the beach. It’s usually better (and cheaper) to stay in the leafy back-streets behind Sao Beach, where you’ll find friendly budget guest houses, such as Phu Nam House ($) or the smarter Xuan Hien (Sea Pearl) Resort. Or even Wanderlust Bungalows ($), located on the main road near the entrance to the Sao Beach road, which has clean, crisp, good-value rooms.

Sao Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamSao Beach is beautiful, but the scene in this photograph is now a rare sight, due to trash & development


Sao Beach in the morning, before the hundreds of daily tourists arrive


Sao Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamSao Beach at lunchtime, one of the busiest times of day, especially for foreign tourists


Sao Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamSao Beach in the late afternoon, looking forlorn & blighted by the trash of the day’s tourism

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12. Pagoda Bay:

• Location: south-east coast [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Bãi Đăm

• Accommodation tips: Montana Resort ($)

• Description: Accessed via a narrow, concrete road curling along the south coast, Bai Dam is a wide, mostly rocky bay, where dense jungle meets the sea from the hills behind. I’ve given it the name ‘Pagoda Bay’ because of its most famous attraction, the recently completed Hộ Quốc Temple, with its colossal sculpture of Quan Âm (the Goddess of Mercy) presiding over the pagoda complex and looking out to sea. The pagoda itself is impressive, serene, and very attractive, with lots of shrines, long staircases, and sculptures of deities from the Buddhist pantheon. Its position looks out over the bay, across the dark blue sea, and down to Vinh Dam port, just to the south. Visit in the afternoons (about 4pm-5pm) for the low light and a beautiful cool, scented breeze off the forested hills. Beyond the pagoda, where the road ends, it’s possible to find a couple of quiet, secluded, rocky spots for a waterside chill and a swim. The rest of the bay (surprise surprise) is covered in trash: picnic trash, fishermen’s trash, flotsam washed up for the mainland, and household and construction trash dumped here on purpose. Tragic. But the temple complex, the views from the top, the sculptures, and the presence of the lapping sea, all make ‘Pagoda Bay’ a worthwhile excursion and a contemplative little place, away from the usual beach paraphernalia. There’s no accommodation on the bay itself, but there are a couple of OK cheap resorts at the beginning of the entrance road. Neither are great, but Montana Resort is fine for a night, if you want to get to the temple for sunrise, for example.

Pagoda Bay (Bai Dam), Phu Quoc Island, VietnamThe view from Ho Quoc temple down to ‘Pagoda Bay’ (Bai Dam), on the south-east coast


Jade Buddha, Pagoda Bay (Bai Dam), Phu Quoc Island, VietnamA statue of the jade Buddha near the entrance to the pagoda seated under a sacred bodhi tree

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13. Dat Do Beach:

• Location: south-west coast [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Bãi Đất Đỏ

• Accommodation tips: none

• Description: Accessed via a dirt road just north of the cable car station, Dat Do Beach is a pretty bay bookended by two small headlands that frame an attractive stretch of sand and calm waters. The bay is nice enough (although the surroundings are quite scruffy) and there are a couple of local seafood restaurants (nhà hàng hải sản) right on the sand. But the beach’s primary focus is the production of cá cơm khô – dried anchovies – which are laid out to dry in their hundreds of thousands on wooden trestles on the sloping beach. It’s quite a sight. Swimming here is fine, and there’s no development yet, although I’m sure it will come soon. At the moment, there’s no accommodation on Dat Do Beach.

Dat Do Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamDat Do Beach, in the southwest, is where little anchovies are dried in the sun – known as cá cơm khô

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14. Duong Dong Harbour:

• Location: central-west coast [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Cảng Dương Đông

• Accommodation tips: Seashells Hotel ($$$), local guest houses ($)

• Description: Right in the middle of the west coast, Duong Dong is a sprawling, bustling town of the sort you’d expect to find on the mainland. A massive increase in population, fuelled partly by the tourism boom and partly by domestic migrants arriving from other provinces as far afield as the north, Duong Dong is a busy, noisy, frenetic place, filled with street food, beeping traffic, and busy people: in short, everything that a Vietnamese town in the Mekong Delta should be. The main market is fantastic and fascinating, as is the river, which winds through town, its black waters clogged with fishing vessels, cargo barges, and waste. At its mouth is Duong Dong harbour, where a fleet of wooden tour boats lie at anchor and a slender new pier reaches out to sea for about a kilometre, to deeper waters where giant cruise ships dock. The only beach in Duong Dong town is a spit of sand immediately south of Dinh Cau Temple, a small shrine to the sea goddess atop a rocky outcrop at the harbour’s entrance. Bathing here is quite nice but gets crowded with locals at sunset, when dozens of street food vendors also set up under the temple. Trash is a problem because many people discard their empty plastic food containers in the sea or leave them on the sand. But promenading along the harbour walls and new harbour park, watching the boats come and go, especially at sunset, is wonderful. A sleek new hotel, Seashells ($$$), occupies a prime position overlooking the harbour and ocean. For much cheaper accommodation, there are dozens of local guest houses (nhà nghỉ in Vietnamese) clustered in the streets around the night market (chợ đêm).

Duong Dong, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamAt the harbour mouth in Duong Dong, Dinh Cau temple sits on the rocks looking out to sea


Duong Dong, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamThe river in Duong Dong is full of fishing boats & cargo vessels

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15. Khem Beach, Ong Doi Cape, Cay Dua Beach:

• Location: southern tip (east) [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Bãi Khem, Bãi Cay Dua, Mũi Ông Đội

• Accommodation tips: JW Marriott Emerald Bay ($$$), Premier Village Phu Quoc ($$$)

• Description: Sometime, in between restricted access due to military control and the development of the absurdly ‘fairy-tale’ luxury resort of JW Marriot Emerald Bay, there was a brief period – probably less then a year – when the snow-white sands of Khem Beach were accessible to the public. But that time has pretty much gone now. The southern portion of the bay is taken up entirely by the Marriott – a really strange luxury concept resort based around the idea of a fictional university – and the central and northern sections are an enormous construction site for yet more high-end resorts. All this leaves only a tiny slither of beach, at the northern end, for public access. But it’s a bit shabby and hardly worth the trip. If you can afford the Marriott (upwards of $300 a night) it’s a wacky and luxurious way to spend a night. Otherwise, there’s very little reason to visit Khem Beach anymore.

However, branching south of Khem Beach, a lovely paved lane leads along a steep and jungled hillside by the sea, all the way to Ong Doi Cape. It’s a beautiful little ride but dead-ends at the entrance to the upscale property of Premier Village. Managed by AccorHotels, this luxurious resort consists of white villas built on stilts over the rocky bay and sandy coves of the entire Ong Doi Cape. It’s a beautiful and secluded place to stay, if you can afford it: rates start at upwards of $400 a night. Even so, it’s well worth the excursion (if you’re on a motorbike) down the scenic lane, although there’s a chance you might get turned back by the resort’s security guards. Just west of Ong Doi Cape is Cay Dua Beach, which looks enticing but is off limits due to a naval base.

Khem Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamKhem Beach, in the southeast of the island, is now almost entirely taken up by resorts & construction


Ong Doi Cape, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamMui Ong Doi is the southeastern tip of the island: a road leads to the entrance to Premier Village resort

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16. An Thoi Port, Xep Beach, Hon Thom Cable Car:

• Location: southern tip (west) [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Cảng An Thới, Bãi Xếp, Cáp Treo Hòn Thơm

• Accommodation tips: Lien Thong Hotel ($), Phung Hung Boutique ($)

• Description: A dusty, busy town at the southern tip of the island, An Thoi is Phu Quoc’s main fishing port. Away from its sandy main street lined with shops, markets and food stalls, the harbour is an interesting place to explore. There’s an entrance fee (10,000vnd) for the main terminal and pier, but you can get to the habourfront just next to it, where the smaller fishing boats are moored, for free. The fishing-related activity is interesting but the water is filthy.

Around the back of town (due west), Bai Xep is a sheltered bay reached by a series of narrow alleyways. It’s home to a fleet of wooden fishing boats and a rough-looking fishing community, whose crumbling homes lie under the path of the Hon Thom cable car: the concrete pylons soaring into the sky and stretching into the distance out to sea. There’s a sandy beach here, but it’s more of a working beach than a leisure one. And, although the setting is scenic, the litter is a bit distracting.

In fact, the best view of Bai Xep and An Thoi is from above: from the cabins of the Hon Thom cable car. The cable car station is on a bluff just north of Bai Xep, accessed via a separate road. The scale of the project is astonishing – apparently one of the longest oversea cable cars in the world. The concrete pylons are colossal columns that look like the legs of a Wellsian alien from War of the Worlds, traipsing across the sea from island to island. It’s impressive, but also rather hideous. Ticket prices are 300,000/500,000vnd (low/high season). There’s also massive ongoing development around the cable car station. However, one gets the feeling that the residents of An Thoi haven’t benefitted much from the explosion of tourism around their homes: the locals I met weren’t a particularly happy bunch, and I’d imagine it’s not going to get better for them, as development continues to swallow up the land and sea upon which and from which they make their living. Staying the night in An Thoi is quite fun and a good way to soak up the local atmosphere of the town if you have the time. Lien Thong Hotel ($) and Phung Hung Boutique ($) are both reasonably priced, clean, comfortable places to sleep.

An Thoi Port, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamAn Thoi, on the southern tip, is a large fishing port with hundreds of wooden boats in the harbour


An Thoi Port, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamAn Thoi town is a busy & dusty town, but its backstreets are narrow & interesting


Hon Thom cable car, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamThe Hon Thom cable car towers above the fishing fleet around An Thoi, on the southern-most tip

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17. Bai Vong Bay:

• Location: central south-east coast [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Bãi Vòng

• Accommodation tips: none

• Description: Bai Vong is a gaping bay on the central southeast coast. For some visitors, Bai Vong will be their first impression of the island, because this is where all the fast boats and car ferries from the mainland dock. The large, long bay is impressive enough when seen from the boats as they approach the island, especially with the forested hills of Phu Quoc National Park rising behind. But, in reality, Bai Vong is more of a port than a beach: it’s a point of arrival and departure, rather than a place to relax on the sand. There are a few shops and snack outlets around the fast boat pier at the north of the bay, but very little else of interest, except to watch the boats as they come and go. (For boat schedules and ticket prices see this guide.) The northern portion of the bay is sandy and lined with casuarina trees, but the water here is often thick with jellyfish and not very clean. The southern section of the bay is mostly rocky and given over to industry. However, there are plans to build some kind of resort along Bai Vong in the future. Currently, there’s no accommodation.

Bai Vong Beach, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamBai Vong, on the central-southeast coast, is the main harbour for fast boats & car ferries to the mainland

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18. Ham Ninh Village & Pier:

• Location: central-east coast [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Làng Chài Hàm Ninh

• Accommodation tips: Banana Homestay ($), Dugong Resort ($$), Rocks Beach Boutique ($$$)

• Description: Once a thriving port, Ham Ninh is now best known for its fresh seafood restaurants. A small but lively fishing village on the central-east coast, Ham Ninh doesn’t really have a beach: rather, it’s a cluster of quite rough-looking dwellings crowded around a small river mouth as it empties into the sea, at which point a long pier reaches out into the surf. Now that the boats no longer dock here, the pier has become a seafood market/restaurant zone, with about half a dozen informal eateries jostling for space along the narrow causeway. It’s particularly popular with Vietnamese tourists – who always know where to find the best, freshest seafood. The pier can get very busy during lunchtimes, and the water around Ham Ninh is filthy from the refuse of the village and the restaurants. So, leave your swimwear at home and come with a good appetite. Just north of Ham Ninh, several good little accommodations have recently opened, now that the road north has been paved. Banana Homestay ($), Dugong Resort ($$), and Rocks Beach Boutique ($$$) are all very quiet, relaxing places to stay, just a 10 minute drive north of the village.

Ham Ninh, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamHam Ninh, on the central-east coast, is a fishing village whose pier hosts dozens of seafood restaurants

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19. Vinh Dam Bay:

• Location: south-east coast [MAP]

• Vietnamese name: Vịnh Đầm

• Accommodation tips: none

• Description: On the south-east coast, Vinh Dam is in the process of becoming the island’s major port and naval base. The southern half of the bay is undergoing large construction for port and naval facilities, while the northern part of the bay has been partitioned for resort development. With access to the southern half controlled by the navy, and most of the northern half roped off for construction, it’s very difficult to actually get onto the bay at all. And there’s no real reason to either, because it’s not a great beach. In short: there’s nothing to see here, nothing to do here, and no accommodation of any note, so move on.

Vinh Dam Bay, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamVinh Dam, on the southeast coast, is becoming a large port & naval base: it’s usually closed to visitors

Disclosure: I never receive payment for anything I write: my content is always free and independent. I’ve written this guide because I want to: I like this Phu Quoc’s beaches and I want my readers to know about them. For more details, see my Disclosure & Disclaimer statements here

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62 Responses to Phu Quoc’s Beaches: A Guide

  1. Laura says:

    Hey Tom thanks so much for all your wonderful help and posts.i am trying to keep track of my adventures too here in Vietnam and beyond-how to you customize your maps-google maps does not seem to have this feature but it’s so useful.

    Thanks so much

    • Hi Laura,

      If you google something like ‘how to create your own customized maps using google my maps’ then lots of information, step by steps guides, and video tutorials will come up to help you through the process 🙂

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  2. Steve says:

    Tom, thanks for your review. I’m on Pho Quoc now, and – a couple of things.

    The people here are beautiful. They’re friendly and hospitable. I really enjoy their company.

    But Pho Quoc is history. It’s done. The island hasn’t figured out what to do with the results of exploiting tourism – sewage, trash, etc. It – or those who are in political control – smell the almighty buck, so you have rampant growth everywhere. And yes, the great wtf moment is seeing Vinpearl. That says it all. It is bizarre yes also but heart-breaking. The island itself is becoming a giant amusement park. You have to make an effort to seek out genuine Vietnam. In fact, Vietnam really isn’t here anymore. The entire island is catering to tourism and is rapidly consuming the island like a ravenous animal.

    Admittedly, I look to avoid heavily touristed areas. Remote and beautiful, particulately beaches, is what calls my heart. So I’m up at Gold Coast and Peppercorn, north side. It’s cool how you can look out to Cambodia from the beach. And again the folks up here are super sweet. But the amount of trash is unbelievable. It’s in the once clear-and-beautiful waters, and in the dead and dying coral. It surrounds the very clean resorts. It’s a small island and it’s producing more garbage than it knows what to do with. And other things are washing up on shore, from cruise ships and whatnot. Anyway, I’m sure some folks who don’t know better or have different sensibilities will be fine here. For me, Phu Quoc is done.

    • Hi Steve,

      Yes, I know what you mean. Some of the problems, such as trash and construction will gradually get better – the island has gone through such momentous changes over the last 5-10 years that it hasn’t had time to catch up with itself. I’m confident that trash will start to be controlled (in the sense that you won’t see it on the beaches etc but not as a wider issue), and that construction will gradually slow down and will exist in pockets rather than across the entire island.

      I think a lot of the problem is travellers’ expectations of what Phu Quoc will be: it was for so long touted as a quiet tropical island, undeveloped compared to Thai beaches – a backpackers’ paradise etc. But that is not the reality anymore, nor is it the way that Phu Quoc wants to be seen: it wants to be a big, sophisticated, money-making, package holiday and high-end integrated resort island – and that’s what it’s on its way to being.

      Tom

  3. Justine of Travel Lush says:

    This is awesome. I’m on Phu Quoc now and your guide is so useful, as always! I can’t wait to get out and explore these beaches tomorrow morning. Thanks so much for putting up such a useful and informative guide!!

  4. Grace McAuley says:

    Hello!
    First off, great post! I have almost all the information I need. But I was just wondering about the tides on the southern beaches. Recently I have been to the Thai islands in the Gulf of Thailand and the waves were just too big to swim in at the beaches we stayed on and I want to know if the sea of southern beaches of Phu Quoc are more or less calm for swimming?

    Thank you,
    Grace

    • Hi Grace,

      At this time of year, all of the beaches on the north and west coasts of Phu Quoc Island should be very calm and perfect for swimming, especially in the mornings. The eastern and southern beaches are usually a bit choppier at this time of year, but still suitable for swimming.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  5. FATIMA SIDDIQUI says:

    Hey Tom:

    My name is Fatima and i am travelling from Pakistan with my family. Last month we been to Thailand and it was a wonderful trip. Next Year, we are planning to hit Vietnam and Phu Quoc especially but we dont really know where to stay and which beaches to see/stay during our visit? Plus based on your recommendations, we will plan our stay in terms of no of days in phu quoc. So kindly let us know how many days are enough to be in phu quoc with locations wise beaches?

    Thanks;

    Fatima (Pakistan)

    • Hi Fatima,

      How long you spend on Phu Quoc depends on how much you want to do and see. Anywhere between 3-7 days is a good amount of time to spend on the island. If, for example, you spend 7 days on Phu Quoc then you could stay at one part of the island for 3 days and then change to another part of the island for the next 4 days.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  6. Derek Woodhead says:

    Hi Tom,
    Many thanks.

    As mentioned, 6 of us are staying in Phu Quoc 10 nights from 26th Oct to Nov 5th Nov.

    We are thinking of booking ahead a hotel for the first 4 nights to give us a chance to explore the isle ; and then to find a place we like and book it there ; ( we’ll book our hotels via your website).

    Do you think there is a risk that there may not be much availability of hotels rooms if we leave booking until we are there ?
    (we will need 3 double rooms)

    Many thanks,
    Derek

    • Hi Derek,

      In October, the tail end of the low season, you should be fine booking once you get there. If your dates fall on a weekend then there’s a possibility that rooms might get booked up. But I think you have the right plan: book your first few nights in advance and feel the island out for a place to stay for the next few nights.

      Tom

  7. Julietta says:

    Hi Tom!
    I really enjoy your notes, very helpful 🙂
    We are travelling to Phu Quoc in the beginning of November. It looks like the eastern beaches are more beautiful and peaceful to from your pictures. I wonder if that is true? The most appealing (in terms of beautiful water) to me seams Sao Beach. Is there enough places to eat/drink if we stay at one of the few hotels there (e.g. My Lan Guest House).
    Like you we enjoy journeys out of beaten track, but don’t want to be isolated after all 🙂
    And one more question is there a way to get to Sao Beach if we stay somewhere else and don’t get a bike?
    Thank you for the answer and all your effort 🙂
    Cheers!

    • Hi Julietta,

      Sao does have nice water, but it can get crowded during the day – however, if you’re staying on the beach then you will have plenty of time when it is quiet. If you’re not staying on Sao you can easily get a taxi to take you there. There are enough places to eat for a few days.

      Ganh Dau, Ong Lang and Bau beaches are also beautiful and relatively quiet beaches to consider staying on. Ganh Dau in particular is very isolated and beautiful. Wherever you are on Phu Quoc you can always get a taxi to take you other places.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  8. mike zimmerman says:

    Hi Tom,

    This post is really helpful, thank you!

    We are headed to Pho Quoc in January 2018 with 3 kids and hoping to find a nice mid-range place with pool, some facilities and a nice stretch of beach nearby, and not in a completely bustling area. We were looking at at Ong Lang based on your description, but neither Shells or Coco Palms have availability. The Novotel seems to have a great pool and is on a beach but not sure about the area (Cua Lap).

    Any other suggestions?

    thank you!

    • Hi Mike,

      I’m surprised to hear there’s no availability at those resorts – but January is the high season.

      Ong Lang is definitely a good choice – the Novotel is fine but it’s a string of newly built mega-resorts so not such as great area.

      There are many good accommodation choices on Ong Lang to choose from. Also bear in mind that because the sea is so calm and clear and the beach so sandy that it’s not really necessary to have a pool, even with kids. I’ve made a custom search for you of resorts on Ong Lang in January – take a look at the options at here – you can change the dates at the top to suit you.

      I hope this helps you find a place for your holiday,

      Tom

  9. Pip says:

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for such a wonderful resource on Vietnam! My partner and I are travelling in October this year and for the final part of our holiday we’re looking to have some chill out beach time. We are contemplating Phu Quoc (in the final week of October). I know this is the tail end of the wet season and was wondering if you’d recommend it at this time? Or if there would be better options for that time of year?

    About the same time last year we went to Cat Ba Island and were very blessed with the weather. Hoping to try someplace new, that isn’t too difficult to get to (I’m probably a bit of a scaredy-cat when it comes to operating a motorbike on my own!).

    Thanks again,
    Pip

    • Hi Pip,

      Yes, I think Phu Quoc would still be OK at that time of year – and the accommodations would be cheaper too because of the low season. However, you would still get some rain and the sea probably won’t be as glassy flat as the high season months.

      You could also consider Mui Ne – easy to get to, lots of beach, lots of accommodation, and good weather.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

  10. Pati Serra says:

    Hello again Tom,

    Really appreciate all your tips.

    This thursday I am going to Phu Quoc with my boyfriend.

    It is necessary to book the accomodations in advance?
    Our idea is expending 10-20 usd per night

    Once again, thank u very much 🙂

  11. Lynda Maloney says:

    Dear Tom,

    My daughter (27) myself (66) and my sister (62) are visiting Phu Quoc in a few days time. We’re hoping to spend a couple of weeks there. I’m glad I came across your website. I’ve bookmarked it and will refer to it often in the days to come.

    Thank-you,
    Lynda

  12. Neville says:

    Hi Tom I’m on Phu Quoch island now arrived 7th Feb I was here last year tet to early Feb and the change is unbelievable inside a year the island is a big construction site more or less wherever you go . It’s sad how they are ruining a lovely island don’t think I will be able to use Vung Bau beach way things are moving up that coast.

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  15. Karan Narula says:

    Hi Tom:

    I am visiting Phu Quoc in Feb 2017 with my wife for honeymoon. Can you suggest the top most beach to stay and enjoy our stay? Also if you could give us an idea how & where to go around the island in 3 days. Any information is much appreciated.

    Regards
    Karan

    • Hi Karan,

      Congratulations on your honeymoon!

      Have a look and read through the beaches in my guide on this page and see which one you like the sound of the most. Personally, I like Ong Lan Beach for relaxation (there are lots of good places to stay here, including Mango Bay), or Ganh Dau Beach for isolation if you stay at Peppercorn Resort. Long Beach is also good, as long as you stay in a nice accommodation, like Thanh Kieu Resort.

      For trips around the island, most people like to visit Sao Beach, although it can get quite crowded these days. The waterfalls are popular too, and the pepper farms, fish sauce factories and boat trips too.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

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  17. Nat Jane says:

    Hi Tom,
    Thank you so much for your articles! We were considering a handful of places to visit to celebrate our 20th anniversary in May 2017, and after coming across your site we were sold on Vietnam.
    We are travelling from North to South (wanted to be in Halong Bay for a specific date early May), and ticking off several of your motorbike road trips along the way.
    We were hoping to spend the last 5-6 days in Phu Quoc, but are a little worried about the weather at the end of May.
    Is there a better part of the island to be at this time? We plan on hiring motorbikes to explore the whole island but want a base somewhere we can relax with a nice place to swim, but not too windy or secluded.
    We did look at Con Dao island, but as beautiful as it looks it seems just a bit too laid back for what we were after.
    Do you think we should consider spending the time somewhere like Mui Ne instead?
    Your advice would be greatly appreciated!
    Regards,
    Nat

    • Hi Nat,

      Great to hear that you’ve chosen Vietnam to celebrate your anniversary!

      May should be fine on Phu Quoc – it will be hot and increasingly humid because May is a transitional month, you may even get some rain too. But I was on Phu Quoc late April to early May and it was good.

      In general, April-May is a good time to be travelling the length of the country.

      I think you should be looking at Long Beach and Ong Lang Beach if you want to relax, swim but not too secluded.

      I’ve reviewed a couple of good places to stay on Phu Quoc here.

      If you book your accommodation through my site I’d be very grateful.

      Any other questions, just let me know.

      I hope this helps,

      Tom

      • Nat Jane says:

        Thanks so much for your insight Tom.
        We will check out your reviews and will most definitely book through your site.
        Regards,
        Nat

  18. Lindsay says:

    Hi Tom, we have a group of 4 friends headed to Phu Quoc in November. I was wondering which resort/beach you would recommend between the Shells and the Vinpearl?

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  22. Schang says:

    Great detailed informative post about the beaches. Planning to go to Phu quoc early next month (July) I know it’s rainy season but do you think I could catch some sunny days or mornings? How bad is the rain early July? Do you think it’s not work going at all? Thanks!

    • Hi Schang,

      Yes, it is the low season, but you should still see some sunshine too 🙂 One of the good things about going to Phu Quoc at that time of year is that you should find some good discounts on hotels and resorts! 🙂

      I hope the weather holds out for you.

      Tom

  23. Mez says:

    Hi Tom, I’m so glad i’ve found your blog before my trip to Vietnam so I can follow some of your advice and guides.
    I’ve planned a trip to Phu Quoc for the beginning of July staying on Ganh Dau beach but I am now unsure about the weather during this time on the island. Do you have any idea of what the weather may be like at the beginning of July as we are looking for a calm sea and sun but I have now read that it is the start of monsoon season but i just wanted to know if we will be affected by it during this time.
    If so do you have any other beach recommendations in Vietnam during this time? We love idyllic beaches and are looking for time to just shut off. We are also visiting Hoi An after.
    Thank you so much for any help!

    • Hi Mez,

      Yes, that is a good question.

      July is, indeed, the rainy season. But that doesn’t mean it rains all the time (unless you are very unlucky). However, it is the low season during that time on Phu Quoc, and the weather is the reason for this. On the other hand, the low season prices are extremely good value. It’s a good idea to contact whichever resort you’re thinking of staying in on Ganh Dau and asking their opinion of the weather. You should also make sure that the resort is open in July, as many places close during the low season.

      If you decide against Phu Quoc, you could try Con Dao. The rains reach there too, but I’ve been a couple of times in July/August and had wonderful weather and calm seas. Take a look at my Con Dao Archive here.

      Other beaches to consider are Nha Trang and Quy Nhon – the latter is great, you could stay somewhere like the Avani Resort there, for example.

      But, if you’re going to Hoi An anyway, check out An Bang beach, just 10 minutes from the town.

      You could also have a look at my guide to the Best Beaches in the South for some more ideas.

      May I ask that, if you’ve found my site useful and you ever use Agoda to book your hotels (in Vietnam or anywhere in the world), you could support the work I do by starting your Agoda search from my site (or simply click this link to the Agoda search page). If you ever end up making a booking then I receive a small commission, which is much appreciated and goes a long way to keeping my blog up and running.

      I hope this helps you make a decision of where to go,

      Tom

      • Mez says:

        Hi Tom thank you so much for your detailed response and advice!
        We have booked to stay at the Peppercorn beach resort in Phu Quoc which seems perfect for what we are looking for so i’ll contact them and ask them about weather. Hoping the weather will be mainly sunny as it looks close to perfect!
        For sure in the future my girlfriend and I will definitely use your site to book our hotels via Agoda as we both love to travel.
        Thank you for also recommending Con Dao – that was also one of our top choices so if Phu Quoc doesn’t work out we will probably look at that next and will book our accommodation through your website.
        Thanks a tonne for all the help!
        Mez

  24. Maitane says:

    Hi Tom,
    I live in Viet Nam but I have never been to Phu Cuoc. I was a bit discouraged by the articles about littering and experiences of friends about the development of the island, but my parents are visiting in May and I have decided to give it a try. I would love to explore it by bike and get to the most deserted beaches, but taking into account that my parents are in their 60s, which beach would you recommend us that it is not too crowded or full of litter but easy to access ?
    Thanks

    PD: your blog was a great guide to explore Ha Giang, so thanks again

    • Hi Maitane,

      Yes, Phu Quoc is experiencing a surge in development, and it is very obvious when you are there. But some of that development has made some beaches and parts of the island much easier to access than before – which, for most people, is a good thing.

      Litter is a problem on the beaches which haven’t been developed, because many Vietnamese tourists and locals picnic on them and then leave their trash behind (I’ve written more about that here). But some of the trash is also just normal flotsam and jetsam, washed up on the shore from the Gulf of Thailand.

      I don’t think Phu Quoc’s beaches are ruined by any means, but you need to pick the right spot to enjoyed them at their best.

      My parents and I stay at Thanh Kieu Beach Resort. It is on Long Beach so it is close to all the restaurants. The gardens and beach are fantastic and my parents love it – you can read my review here.

      Another good alternative is to stay on Ong Lang Beach – the beach is good and there’s a handful of nice places to stay, including Mango Bay and Coconut Palm Resort (see above for details). It’s an easy 10 minute taxi ride into Duong Dong Town and Long Beach.

      Or you could stay on Ganh Dau Beach way up in the remote north – the beach is great and Peppercorn Resort is excellent (again, see above for details).

      I hope this helps you make your decision.

      Tom

  25. Areta says:

    Great! We found the bang mi opposite the one you suggested in town, absolutely beautiful! I’m still to hunt down the grilled beef lady. The southern part of the island was interesting, the road from An Thoi back to long beach was an adventure for my children 🙂 we are doing the north today so will check in if I find anything if interest. Thank you! Areta

  26. Areta says:

    Hi Tom
    Thank you so much for your advice and articles, I referred to your Ssigon guide on many occasions. We are now on Phu Quoc and are about to go out on a motorbike for the day. I thought I had sorted a little itinerary for us, thank god I double checked yours!
    Thanks again
    Kind regards
    Areta

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  28. Job Ahmed says:

    Hi, Tom, thanks so much for your useful information about Phu Quoc Island, I will visit it in december this year and I have heard that the best and most beautiful beach in Phu Quoc is Sao Beach, even though I love beautiful beaches, I love places with good nightlife, I know that Phu Quoc is not precisely for that, anyway I would like to know if you recommend me a place with nice bars or a Discotheques in case they exist. Once again, thanks so much for your help. Greetings from Mexico.

    • Hi,

      Yes, Sao is a nice beach. It can get busy during the day time, especially on weekends. There’s no nightlife on Sao Beach, but it’s a good place to meet other travellers during the day for food and drink.

      The nightlife on Phu Quoc is just south of Duong Dong Town, on Long Beach. There are several good beach bars that stay open late with drinks, music etc. Rory’s Bar is popular. When you’re there you’ll meet other travellers and be able to ‘follow the party’. But you are right that Phu Quoc is not (yet) a place with lively nightlife.

      Tom

  29. Abby H says:

    Hi Tom-

    Awesome website you have here. I just moved to Vietnam and am working south of Saigon in Tra Vinh for the next year or so. I am planning a trip to Phu Quoc with some friends and they want to rent motorbikes. Since they are just passing through Vietnam, none of them will have official VN licenses. How big of an issue can this be? I’m currently working on getting my license from home recognized here, but they will most definitely be without them… Thanks so much and again, fabulous stuff here!

    • Hi Abby,

      Thanks. In reality most foreigners driving motorbikes in Vietnam do not have domestic licenses. Normally, if you get stopped by the police you will have to pay a fine (200,000vnd is standard). Be polite, friendly, smiley and on the vast majority of occasions the police will take the money and let you go on your way. This is especially true is popular tourist areas such as Mui Ne and Phu Quoc. If you are renting bikes then be sure to keep a contact number of the rental company – if you encounter problems with the police you can call the rental company and they should be able to offer some help.

      Good luck,

      Tom

  30. Nice list of beaches! We just came back from Phu Quoc and wanted to say thank you for this as we would not have found Sao Beach otherwise.

  31. karen says:

    Dear Tom,
    Your guide has been a treat during our 3 months in Vietnam. We followed your northern loop; visited suggested waterfalls in Dalat and are rounding off our time on Phu Quoc. So, it with sadness I must tell you that your favourite Dai Beach has been wrecked. As you reported the bulldozers are well established and a shanty town of plastic awnings fringes the shore for the workers with huge craters in the sand where it’s been excavated presumably for building. We approached form the north and passed all this devastation until we were turned back by security just as we arrived near Dai Beach. We then retraced our tracks back to the main road and found another road further south leading back to the coastal route just beyond the Vinpearl Land entertainment complex which brought us out next to the peninsular of Vung Bau beach. We did then venture northwards again but not entirely to within sight of the Dai beach area. The coastal road south back from Vung Bau is still pleasant and hopefully will remain so for a very long time.
    You do not mention the coastal route to the north east from Bai Thom towards Ham Ninh…is the worth exploring?
    Best wishes and thanks again for your insights.
    Karen

    • Hi Karen,

      Yes, that is very sad indeed 🙁 I was on Phu Quoc a couple weeks ago, but I didn’t have time to make it to Dai Beach. I suppose it’s inevitable really. But we are lucky to see it (the rest of the island, at least) before it becomes Vietnam’s Phuket. Thanks very much for the detailed update.

      I’m so happy to hear that you’ve had a great trip around Vietnam and that my guides have been useful to you. The northeast of the Island (in and around Thom Beach) is the most remote, and therefore the most untouched, part of Phu Quoc. Although the beaches aren’t quite as pretty as Dai and Vung Bau it’s still worth a trip if you have time because it’s very sleepy and undeveloped. Best to avoid going all the way from Thom to Ham Ninh because that road is a dust bowl.

      Enjoy the last days of your trip.

      Tom

  32. Mat says:

    This is a wonderful article, it so deserves to be number one in Google for “phu quoc beaches”. The results above don’t have anywhere near the same amount of detail.

    Anyway I just wanted to say thanks for all the info. I shall be visiting soon for some videography and will be using your motorbike guide and map to help me choose locations.

    Plus there is plenty of great i formation for the rest of my party to use. I think this will be our travel guide for the 9 days.

  33. Hi Tom,
    This is an awesome article, I love the video, photos, and music. My daughter and son visited the island earlier this year and loved it. I will find out where they stayed. She teaches in HCMC and I think is planning another trip.
    Watching this video makes me long to visit VN again soon.

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