Blog » Phu Quoc
Posted: 2024 February, 19

phu quoc

Short history

Phu Quoc has a rich history and a diverse population, with a heritage influenced by various cultures and historical events. Here’s an overview of the history of Phu Quoc and its population’s origins:

Ancient Times:

Phu Quoc has a history dating back over a thousand years. It was originally inhabited by the indigenous Kinh people, who are part of the larger Vietnamese population.

The island was known to ancient Chinese and Vietnamese records as "Pulo-Cus" and "Koh Tralach" respectively. It was a trading hub for seafarers and merchants in Southeast Asia.

Khmer Empire Influence:

In the 12th century, the Khmer Empire extended its influence over Phu Quoc, and the island became part of the Khmer Kingdom.

Evidence of Khmer influence can still be seen in the island’s culture and architecture, including several Buddhist temples and pagodas.

Colonial Period:

During the colonial era, Phu Quoc came under French colonial rule along with the rest of Vietnam in the 19th century.

The French established rubber and coconut plantations on the island, which had a significant impact on the local economy and population.

Vietnam War Era:

Like much of Vietnam, Phu Quoc was affected by the Vietnam War. It served as a prison camp for political prisoners during this period, known as the Coconut Tree Prison.

The war had lasting effects on the island, with remnants of military infrastructure still visible today.

Post-War Period:

After the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, Phu Quoc gradually opened up to tourism and development.

The island’s population grew as people from mainland Vietnam migrated to Phu Quoc in search of economic opportunities in the emerging tourism industry.

Population Diversity:

Today, Phu Quoc’s population is a mix of various ethnicities, primarily dominated by the Kinh people (ethnic Vietnamese). However, due to its location and historical influences, there are also Cham, Khmer, and Chinese communities on the island.

what are the historical sites

Phu Quoc may not be as renowned for its historical sites as some other destinations in Vietnam, but it does have a few places of historical significance that you can visit:

Coconut Tree Prison (Cay Dua Prison): This is perhaps the most well-known historical site on the island. It was used as a prison during the Vietnam War, where political prisoners were held. Visitors can see the original prison cells, barbed wire, and learn about the harsh conditions that prisoners endured.

Dinh Cau Night Market: While not a traditional historical site, Dinh Cau Night Market is culturally significant. It’s a bustling market where you can sample local street food, shop for souvenirs, and witness the daily life and culture of Phu Quoc’s residents.

Phu Quoc Historical Museum: This small museum provides insights into the island’s history, including its indigenous culture, colonial era, and wartime experiences. It’s a good place to learn about the island’s past.

Cao Dai Temple: Cao Dai is a syncretic religion that blends elements of various world religions. The Cao Dai Temple on Phu Quoc is a colorful and ornate place of worship, offering a unique cultural and spiritual experience.

Ham Ninh Fishing Village: While not a traditional historical site, Ham Ninh Fishing Village provides a glimpse into the traditional fishing way of life that has been prevalent on the island for generations. You can see stilt houses, fishing boats, and enjoy fresh seafood at local restaurants.

While Phu Quoc’s historical sites may not be as numerous or well-preserved as those in some other parts of Vietnam, they do offer valuable insights into the island’s past and its cultural heritage. Most visitors come to Phu Quoc for its natural beauty and outdoor activities, but taking the time to explore these historical sites can provide a more well-rounded understanding of the island’s history and culture.



The beaches on each side of Phu Quoc Island can have different characteristics due to various natural factors, including ocean currents, wind patterns, and geographical features. These differences can impact the beaches’ appearance and water conditions. Additionally, some of these differences can change with the seasons. Here’s why:

Ocean Currents: Phu Quoc Island is situated in the Gulf of Thailand, and it is influenced by ocean currents. The eastern side of the island typically faces the Gulf of Thailand, where the water is generally calmer and clearer. The western side faces the open sea, and as a result, it may experience stronger currents and waves.

Wind Patterns: Wind patterns can vary between the east and west sides of the island, which can affect the beaches. During different times of the year, prevailing winds can create conditions that are more favorable for water sports and swimming on one side of the island than the other.

Monsoon Seasons: Phu Quoc experiences two primary monsoon seasons—the southwest monsoon and the northeast monsoon. The southwest monsoon, which occurs from May to October, brings wetter weather and can result in rougher seas on the western side of the island. Conversely, the northeast monsoon, from November to April, typically results in calmer seas on the western side.

Geographical Features: The island’s geographical features, such as bays and headlands, can create sheltered areas on some beaches, making them more suitable for swimming and water activities. For example, Long Beach on the western side is relatively sheltered, making it more suitable for swimming compared to other western beaches.

Tides: Tides can also influence beach conditions. Some beaches may be affected more by tides, resulting in fluctuating water levels and beach widths throughout the day.

Due to these factors, the characteristics of the beaches on Phu Quoc Island can change with the seasons. For instance, during the dry season and the northeast monsoon, you may find calmer waters and clearer beaches on the western side. In contrast, the wet season and the southwest monsoon may bring rougher seas to the western side while making the eastern beaches more appealing for swimming and water activities.

It’s essential to check local conditions and weather forecasts when planning your visit to Phu Quoc to ensure you can enjoy the type of beach experience you desire, as conditions can vary throughout the year.

Water activities


Phu Quoc offers opportunities for both snorkeling and surfing/bodyboarding, but the best locations and timing can vary depending on the season and weather conditions. Here’s a general idea of when and where you can enjoy these activities:


Best Time: The best time for snorkeling in Phu Quoc is generally during the dry season, which runs from November to April. During this period, the waters are calmer, clearer, and offer better visibility for underwater exploration.

Snorkeling Spots:

An Thoi Archipelago: Located to the south of Phu Quoc, this group of islands is known for its excellent snorkeling opportunities. Sites like Hon Thom, Hon Dua, and Hon May Rut offer diverse marine life and coral reefs.

Fingernail Island (Hon Mong Tay): This small island in the northwest also offers great snorkeling conditions with vibrant corals and marine life.


Best Time: Surfing and bodyboarding in Phu Quoc are best enjoyed during the wet season when the southwest monsoon brings waves to the western coast. This season typically runs from May to October.

Surfing Spots: While Phu Quoc is not a world-renowned surfing destination, you can find suitable waves for surfing and bodyboarding, especially on the western coast. Some spots to consider include:

Long Beach: This beach on the western side of the island can occasionally have waves suitable for surfing and bodyboarding, primarily during the wet season.

Vung Bau Beach: Located on the northwest coast, Vung Bau Beach can also offer decent waves for surfing and bodyboarding during the wet season.

Ganh Dau Beach: In the northwestern part of the island, Ganh Dau Beach can sometimes have waves for water sports enthusiasts.



There are several smaller islands and islets in close proximity that you can visit. These islands offer unique attractions, natural beauty, and opportunities for exploration. Some of the nearby islands and islets around Phu Quoc that you can visit include:

Hon Thom Island (Pineapple Island): This is the largest island in the An Thoi Archipelago and is known for its beautiful beaches, cable car ride to the island, and the Hon Thom Nature Park.

Hon Dua Island (Coconut Island): Located near Hon Thom, this island is famous for its coconut groves and pristine beaches, making it an ideal spot for relaxation.

Fingernail Island (Hon Mong Tay): A small but picturesque island with stunning coral reefs, making it an excellent spot for snorkeling and diving.

May Rut Island: Also known as Hon May Rut, this island is famous for its white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, perfect for snorkeling and swimming.

Hon Gam Ghi Island: Known for its tranquil ambiance and untouched natural beauty, this island is great for a peaceful getaway.

Hon Vong Island: This island offers hiking opportunities and a lighthouse with panoramic views of the surrounding sea.

Hon Moc Island: A small island known for its rugged beauty, perfect for adventurous exploration.

These islands can be visited on day trips from Phu Quoc, and many tour operators on the main island offer excursions to explore the nearby islands. Whether you’re interested in water activities like snorkeling and diving, hiking, or simply enjoying pristine beaches and tranquil settings, these neighboring islands offer a variety of experiences for travelers looking to explore beyond Phu Quoc itself.


Phu Quoc is a relatively small island, and it doesn’t have many distinct cities or large urban centers like some other destinations in Vietnam. The primary town and largest settlement on the island is Duong Dong, which serves as the administrative and commercial center. However, there are a few smaller towns and areas on the island where tourists can explore and enjoy various activities. Here are the main areas and what tourists can do there:

Duong Dong: This is the main town and transportation hub of Phu Quoc. Tourists can explore Duong Dong’s markets, shops, restaurants, and cafes. Notable attractions in and around Duong Dong include:

Dinh Cau Night Market: A bustling night market where you can sample local street food, shop for souvenirs, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

Dinh Cau Temple: A small temple located on a rocky promontory by the sea, offering beautiful views and a place for quiet reflection.

Fish Sauce Factory Tours: Learn about the production of Phu Quoc’s famous fish sauce by visiting local factories.

An Thoi: Located at the southern tip of Phu Quoc, An Thoi is known for its fishing port and proximity to the An Thoi Archipelago. Tourists can:

Take Island Tours: Many boat tours depart from An Thoi to explore the islands of the An Thoi Archipelago, offering snorkeling, fishing, and beach visits.

Visit An Thoi Market: A local market where you can experience the fishing culture of the island and sample fresh seafood.

Cua Can: Situated in the northern part of Phu Quoc, Cua Can offers a quieter and more rustic atmosphere. Activities for tourists include:

Cua Can Village: Explore the village’s riverside setting, visit pepper farms, and see traditional wooden stilt houses.

Cua Can Bridge: A picturesque bridge offering scenic views of the river and surrounding mangroves.

Ganh Dau: Located in the northwest, Ganh Dau is known for its beautiful beaches and natural beauty. Tourists can:

Relax on the Beach: Ganh Dau Beach is a peaceful spot for sunbathing and swimming.

Ganh Dau Cape: Visit the cape for panoramic views of the sea and enjoy a serene atmosphere.

Ham Ninh: Ham Ninh is a fishing village on the eastern coast, known for its unique stilted fishing huts. Tourists can:

Visit the Fishing Village: Explore the village, enjoy seafood at local restaurants, and walk along the pier to see traditional fishing boats.

Phu Quoc’s charm lies in its natural beauty, beaches, and outdoor activities, so most tourists spend their time exploring the island’s coastal areas, national parks, and water-related attractions. Duong Dong serves as the primary base for accommodations and dining, while the other towns and villages provide a more laid-back and authentic island experience.




They allow you to explore the island’s diverse landscapes and attractions beyond the beaches. Renting a motorbike is a popular way to get around Phu Quoc and discover its unique offerings. Here are some motorbike trips you can consider:

Circumnavigate the Island: A popular motorbike route is to circumnavigate the entire island. You can start from Duong Dong (the main town) and ride along the coastal road that takes you through various fishing villages, scenic viewpoints, and secluded beaches. This trip allows you to see the entire coastline and experience the island’s natural beauty.

Visit Fish Sauce Factories: Phu Quoc is famous for its fish sauce production. You can take a motorbike trip to visit some of the island’s fish sauce factories to learn about the traditional methods of making this essential Vietnamese condiment.

Explore the North: Head to the northern part of the island to explore areas like Ganh Dau Beach and Cua Can Village. Ganh Dau offers beautiful coastal views, and Cua Can is known for its river and lush landscapes. You can also visit the Cua Can Bridge and the nearby Pepper Farms.

Phu Quoc National Park: Ride to the Phu Quoc National Park in the northern part of the island. The park features hiking trails, waterfalls, and rich rainforest biodiversity. It’s a great place for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

Visit the South: Explore the southern part of the island, including An Thoi Town, which is famous for its fishing port and fresh seafood. You can also ride to the southern beaches and take a boat trip to the An Thoi Archipelago.

Pepper Farms: Phu Quoc is known for its high-quality black and white pepper. You can visit pepper farms on the island, especially in the central and northern regions, to see how pepper is grown and processed.

Historical Sites: Visit historical sites like the Coconut Tree Prison and the Phu Quoc Historical Museum to learn about the island’s history and wartime experiences.

While motorbike trips can be an excellent way to explore Phu Quoc, it’s important to prioritize safety. Ensure you have the necessary riding skills, wear protective gear, and obey traffic rules. Be cautious when riding on unfamiliar roads, and consider renting from reputable providers that offer well-maintained bikes. Always check the condition of the roads and weather conditions before embarking on your motorbike adventure.


Camping ?

Camping is a popular activity for outdoor enthusiasts, but it’s not as common on Phu Quoc as some other destinations in Vietnam. The island’s tourism infrastructure is more geared toward resorts and hotels. However, there are a few places where you can go camping on Phu Quoc:

Sao Beach (Bai Sao): Sao Beach is one of the most famous beaches on Phu Quoc, and some tour operators offer camping experiences here. You can rent camping equipment and spend the night on the beach, enjoying the serene surroundings and the sound of the waves.

Ganh Dau Beach: This is a quieter and less developed beach in the northern part of the island. Some tour companies may organize camping trips to Ganh Dau Beach, where you can camp near the shoreline.

Phu Quoc National Park: While camping within the national park itself may not be officially permitted, there are trekking and hiking opportunities within the park, and some organized tours offer overnight stays in tents or jungle lodges.

Private Campgrounds: Some resorts and accommodations on the island have private campgrounds or glamping facilities. These options can provide a more comfortable camping experience with amenities like showers and toilets.



Phu Quoc lies in its natural beauty, beaches, and outdoor activities, with most tourists dedicating their time to exploring the island’s coastal areas, national parks, and water-related attractions. However, there are also modern installations that can enhance the experience, especially during a family trip.

Aquatopia Phu Quoc stands out as a contemporary water park situated on Hon Thom Island in the southern part of Phu Quoc. As Southeast Asia’s largest water park, it boasts more than 20 modern attractions, encompassing various slides and pools suitable for all ages. Visitors can access the water park via cable car, indulging in a delightful day with family and friends. The park offers diverse food options, including fast food, coffee, cakes, pastries, pizza, smoothies, fresh juices, ice cream, and milkshakes. According to reviews, Aquatopia Water Park is a delightful destination on Phu Quoc Island, worth visiting for a day.

The Vingroup complex in Phu Quoc Island provides an array of engaging activities for visitors of all ages, showcasing several highlights:

VinWonders Phu Quoc: As the largest theme park in Vietnam and a prominent one in Asia, VinWonders Phu Quoc boasts over 100 fantastic activities. The park comprises 6 subdivisions themed after 12 civilizations, such as Middle Europe, Ancient Egypt, Cowboys, Thach Sanh, Alice, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Hawaii, Greece, Viking, etc.

Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc: This wildlife park enables visitors to observe various animals, including giraffes, zebras, and lions.

Grand World Phu Quoc: Spanning 85 hectares, this entertainment and shopping complex features exquisite architecture inspired by different civilizations worldwide. Activities include boat rides on the charming Venice River, exploration of one of Vietnam’s largest bamboo forests, and unique nighttime shows.

Phu Quoc Beaches: The island boasts numerous beautiful beaches, including Long Beach, a 20km white-sand stretch and the island’s central hub.


In Conclusion

This is a wonderful island, where anyone can find interesting activities that he/she likes. Visities, traveling, natures, sea, and even more modern activities with the complex for tourists. Nevertheless, if you like shopping, for example, this is absolutely not the place to go

Phu Quoc is a captivating island destination that caters to a diverse range of interests and preferences. Whether one is drawn to the tranquility of nature, the allure of the sea, the excitement of modern attractions, or the cultural richness of its complex for tourists..

However, it’s important to note that Phu Quoc is not be destination for shoppers, as at the exeption of some local market or modern tourists’ s shops in determine areas.

Regarding transportation, the best way is the plane. Flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc can vary in price, depending on the season and public holidays. It could start from 50 USD for a return ticket and can go much higher. The flight is short if you choose the proper airlines. From experience, avoid Vietjetair and Jetstar, as they are consistently late and provide no customer care, information, or compensation.

We hope this article can help you in your trip.





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