🖐 In this travel guide we’ll share all our experience travelling to Phu Quoc, located at the Southernmost part of Vietnam, near the Cambodian border. If this is your first time on Dronemade, we're a community of drone pilots around the world and thus like to share our travel experiences and how we see things from up there. Give a 👍 at the end of this post & feel free to share your experience or any updates you might have in the Vietnam Drone Forum. Keep in mind that the content below is updated to the best of our knowledge & does not replace official sources & your research.
Phu Quoc island is a place of extremes... and we really mean it. We say this because depending on your hotel's location it will change your complete perspective on your stay thus you better know what you want before heading there. We're more towards the remote experience and encountering locals and this is what we will focus on in this guide whilst mentioning a couple of other aspects of the island. Altogether you could easily stay a week here but 4 days is plenty to do most of it.
Where is it exactly & how to get to Phu Quoc Islands?
Phu Quoc are located south of Cambodia (2 km) and Vietnam (50 km) borders. It is a famous place to relax and party and the 30 day visa exemption for the island only plays a big role in the rapid expansion of Phu Quoc. The easiest way to reach the island is via plane but there are several fast boat services operating from Vietnam mainland as well. Note that for political reasons, it is impossible to get directly to Cambodia from Phu Quoc, you will need to regain continental Vietnam or take a flight via Bangkok for example.
We recommend you spend at least 4 nights onsite and combine it with a trip to Can Tho and Ho Chi Minh if you time (see itineraries green and red).
🛫 By plane, the fare will depend on where you come from but for a domestic flight, expect to pay around 1,000,000 dong one way. There are direct flights from most main cities of Asia including Bangkok, Hanoi, Seoul, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Yangon, Kuala Lumpur and even a direct flight from Milan in Italy.
🚤 Fast boat services operate from Da Chong on the East side of the island to continental Ha Tien. The price for the boat is about 230,000 dong pp, many re-sellers and tour operators will try to sell it up to 500,000 dong but you now know the real price. The boat takes about 2 h to cross, the ride can be quite uncomfortable as they will often board more passengers than there are seats.
💡 Ha Tien is the perfect getaway to southern Cambodia and to the small towns of Kep and Kampot. The town itself isn't really worth it but you will find all you need there including hotels should you decide to spend a night onsite.
What to do in Phu Quoc Island?
Phu Quoc was not that long ago a fishermen's island but you will quickly see that this was the past and there are moving on, fast. Depending on which side of the island you decide to stay, your experience and understanding of it will change dramatically. To help understand what to do in Phu Quoc Island we thought good to divide it into: South, West, North & East.
South Phu Quoc: The An Thoi Archipelago
A Unesco heritage site, the 15 islands composing An Thoi Archipelago are one of Phu Quoc hidden gems. To get there, you will need to rent your own boat, join a tour or wave to locals who are planning to go for a picnic all day (very famous activity for the locals). Once there, you can go snorkelling, sun bathing or explore the islands you just colonised, as there will rarely be anyone else on the smaller ones.
West Phu Quoc: Partying
This is the wild wild west and we mean it! If you're missing Las Vegas or have an irrational need of a pizza loaded with Swiss cheese, this is where you will find it. Most of the big hotels and casinos have been built together just below Phu Quoc village, next to the airport.
West Phu Quoc: Go shopping
Along the casinos and hotels come the shops and commercial centres. In the city of Phu Quoc, there is also a traditional (looking) night market. We say looking as prices and products are clearly not for the locals but it remains a nice activity for when it gets cooler.
North Phu Quoc: Sun bathing
The North is probably the less densified area of the island and you will need a bike to get up there easily (unless you decide to hire a driver for the day). One noteworthy beach is Starfish beach which wears well its name as it welcomes hundreds of "devil" starfish in its waters. You can approach them and go snorkelling but do not carry or touch them.
East Phu Quoc: Riding
When we visited Phu Quoc, the East side was in complete construction as the main road didn't exist back then. The East coast seems to be turning into a quieter alternative than the West coast with higher ends accommodation options between the smaller villages it hosts. A good way to enjoy it is to do it by bike and while there complete a loop around the entire island starting from your hotel for example.
East Phu Quoc: Croc Farming
This is not exactly the crocs you would get in store, we are more literate and advise you to go and pay a look at the crocodile farm located near Da Chong jetty. Its a small farm for local needs that isn't really suited for visits but it remains safe and locals will be proud to show you how they farm them. Not for everyone but definitely something we didn't expect.
Where to stay & eat in Mai Chau?
🚪 As you got it, this is the most important decision you've got to make to enjoy your Phu Quoc experience. We've a preference for the remote places that are still convenient enough to reach others when in need. We highly recommend Dormstay riverside (or Rivermouth), located in a small fishermen village with its private pontoon on the river, yet only 20 mins ride to the town centre. If you're after something else, we recommend to use HotelsCombined which compares hotel prices from Booking, Expedia, Agoda, etc.
🍴 When it comes to food it was pretty much all delicious but we spent most of our meals eating local food from the street so wouldn't be able to refer it to you. It is delicious that's all we can tell you!
Can I fly my drone in Phu Quoc Island?
🚨 Be aware of the airline you purchase to travel as some main ones will only accept your drone on-board if its batteries are detached & placed in a firecase during travel time. Most airlines will have a battery voltage limit based on the recommendation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You can find more info about a specific airline here.
✅ Currently, there doesn't seem to be any restrictions on bringing drones within Vietnam as long as your import is considered as legitimate (generally one drone per person). Phu Quoc Island is fine except near the airport. Avoid flying above the Phu Quoc village centre to not disturb locals (it isn't the nicest part of the island anyways) and think of others trying to enjoy a relaxing beach time too by not flying to close to them.
✅ In every case you should follow the Vietnamese drone rules and laws at all times. Note that these can evolve within months and its always a good thing to double check upon departure.
What to think of Phu Quoc Island?
Well we don't like to write this part of the story so we've put together some of our coolest pics. If you don't feel like seeing them before heading there, we get it and won't be sad.
✅ Please leave a comment or update the Vietnam Drone Forum when you receive news and/or gain experience in Phu Quoc Island! Have fun over there and make a lot of good memories!
Disclaimer: Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information researched, we take no responsibility for any loss, harm or damage caused as a direct or indirect consequence of relying on this information.