Phu Quoc seems to be the most advertised island in Vietnam. People say it is the most beautiful in the country, but about that, I am not sure. It might surely be the largest. My understanding is that Phu Quoc is trying to be to Vietnam the same as Phuket is to Thailand or Langkawi to Malaysia. At least during Covid, this was the only “visitable” part of Vietnam for a long time and the island even has different visa policies than the rest of the country. Phu Quoc was my destination for the Tet holiday aka the Vietnamese new year. I spent 10 days on the island and honestly could have spent more because I haven’t seen half of the things that are possible to do in Phu Quoc. If there is one thing the island doesn’t lack is different attractions.
Where to stay
Phu Quoc is not that small and to explore it the best way is really to rent a motorbike. There are no public buses or other ways to move further than the main village. Grab is available on the island but only near the most crowded place on the island which is not far from the airport- Duong Dong village. This area is where most parts of accommodation are, restaurants, and nightlife, the other areas on the island are way more chilled.
Initially, I thought to split my stay into 3 stages, north, center, and south, but I ended up spending 3 nights in the busiest part of Phu Quoc, 3 nights in the very south, and another 3 nights back in the first place to explore the very north of the island that doesn’t have those many budget options for night sleep. The budget options are near Phu Quoc Beach and the Duong Dong population. As a solo traveler, I decided to stay here most part of the time and it felt like other backpackers did the same. Duong Dong is the only area in Phu Quoc with hostels. So, this is the best option for a stay and then you can simply rent a motorbike and explore the island from here.
I said that Phu Quoc is trying to be like Phuket but don’t take it literally. I say it cause the place is making an effort to attract more foreigners the same way Phuket does. The island has nothing to do with Phuket, is way more undeveloped and way less touristy. No comparison even. I didn’t see so many foreigners while there actually. So, if you are looking for a less-known paradisiac island, this might be it, but be aware that Phu Quoc doesn’t have those many night activities and attractions to entertain yourself. There is no such thing as Bangla, the night market is pretty small, and even I tried to find a club to dance a bit, but it was completely empty. This is not a party spot!
If your vibe is relaxing and taking in beautiful beaches this might be for you. The island offers indeed some very beautiful beaches. I was far from seeing them all, but I have been to the most known ones. Not on the same day though.
Starfish Beach Phu Quoc
One of the days that I stayed in Duong Dong village I took a whole day to go to the starfish beach that is still about 1 h ride away by motorbike. I rented a motorbike at my hostel for 180K a day. The beach is not that far from Duong Dong (about 25km) but at some point, the street is made of dirt, very bumpy and dusty so a slow ride is guaranteed.
Starfish Beach is truly very beautiful! I think it was the most beautiful beach I saw on this trip.
As the name indicates, the beach is known for the many starfishes that can be seen near the shore. You’ll see they are the main attraction with people moving them strategically for the perfect picture, etc. I didn’t touch the animals with my hands because I heard that is not good for them, and I’m glad I didn’t because they have some suckers on the arms and it would have been scary to have one holding on to me. I saw the starfishes’ suckers because I too find them really interesting so I spent some time after them and observing the animals. I used some sticks to pick them up and see them closer, not sure if the best thing to do but I never dealt with these amazing animals before. I saw how they can flip over by themselves actually pretty fast. I had no idea… Was amazing just to stare at these creatures.
The sand is thin like flour and very white. There are free wooden chairs on the sand!!! Wow, this was truly surprising. Free and good beach chairs with beach umbrellas, so perfect. There are also some floating restaurants and a few places selling drinks. Was enough. The water is beautiful and clear. There were some fish that didn’t leave me alone and were even biting me haha. I think they were after something when I moved the sand under my feet.
My idea for this day was to visit more things around but this beach had me. I stayed here all day until it was time to turn back before it turned dark.
West coast beaches
Near Duong Dong there are also beaches. In fact, I was staying a few minutes’ walk away from a beach. A very normal beach though, named Public Beach on google maps. This area has several resorts just by the beach and beach bars. I also walked from there all the way up to Dinh Cau, or even down to Phu Quoc beach, but these beaches on the west side of the island are plane normal beaches. Not amazing shades of blue whatsoever. This is not the area in Phu Quoc that will make you feel like you are in Paradise… Honestly, beaches in this area are not even worth the time to try to explore. Just find the nearest to your spot and that’s it. As I said, on this side of Phu Quoc they are all more of the same. I say it cause I made sure to try to visit several of them to check it out.
There was even one beach that demands payment to access. It is the one with the elephant statues. To go to that beach there is an entrance fee. I skipped it. It is called Sunset Sanato. I didn’t make an effort to try to find if there was another way in on the other side, because the area here is just these big resorts next to the beach and I don’t even know if people from outside are supposed to go there or not. Everything is very big with security guys… I don’t know. Didn’t particularly like this part that extends basically from Cau Cang Trai Tom Giong to near the airport. There is nothing going on along that street and I only saw these massive resorts.
However, these are the best beaches to watch the sunset as it sets on this side of the island. I saw someone parasailing at sunset near the Public beach, so this area might be where you will find some more water activities to do.
But, I visited more beaches around the island like the famous Sao Beach or even Khem Beach. Read more about them HERE!