Can someone tell me what is so special about this place? I've been here 2 days and it is probably the worst place I've visited in Vietnam. Dirty, muddy roads , lined with rundown expensive hotels which don't even have access to the beach.And the beaches- very ordinary. You'd be better off sticking to Hah Trang or Quy Nohn.This place sucks
Surprising post! I loved Phu Quoc Island -- thought the beaches -- especially Bai Sao -- were stunning. Agree there are some crummy hotels there - but there are some top ones too.
#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,789
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I thought that Phu quoc was no better for beaches than many places on the mainland.I think it's a long trip for what you get. Plus it's a lot more expensive than the mainland beaches. I would recommend Quy Nohn.Take a bicycle and in half hour you can have a stunning beach to yourself if you want.Phu Quoc is Ok but is it worth the effort?
we just had the most dreaful experience on bai sao- after reading all the good reviews on this beach we heading straight there from off to plane- to stay at the only place, currently renting out rooms- My Lan. This place was absolutely disgusting!!!!!! they dump all their waste on the beach. When we arrived there we we're greeted by pretty rude staff, was shown our bungalow (basic but fine), and was greeted by 100 locals, who have camped out in the griunds of the resort. we ignored this,m and headed for the beach, which was dreadful. we had many of the locals laughing at us and being veryu rude, so we moved down the beach away from them. while trying to move rubbish out of the way to lay our towels down I moved a stick and found underneath the reamins of a dead dog (!!!!!), trying not to vomit moved a bit further down, we were greeted by a dead chicken wrapped in plastic floating in the water. deciding to get the hell out of there, the staff were then SO rude and wouldnt give us our passports back, until we paid for a days accomodation ( we had been there 40mins). After the vwery kind help of a random guy, and the lovely aussie Ian, owner of Gecko Jacks next door, we got them back. Ian told me that Mylan have been dumping rubbish on the beach for ages, and has had many porblems with them.
The beach is beautiful, but is ruined by the hoards of rubbish floating in the water and lying on the beach. At Ians advice we left for long beach to a place called liep heap thanh and have been SOOOO happy there. really lovely people, great food and great set up- and cheap!!
All in all, phu quoc has the potential, and has some great spots, but is ruined by the lack of enthusiasm and brains of the locals..
#4 Isobel_123 has been a member since 4/12/2008. Posts: 22
I was attacked by a man in the middle of the Phu Quoc, main market. He hit me in the chest a couple of times and then said something and all the people in the market laughed. Didn't hurt me at all. I have been in Vietnam on and off over 7 months and I was in shock. I have been to places where there are zero foreigners and people have always been friendly besides Phu Quoc. I than told the family at the Hotel I stayed at and the girl said I should have fought him. That's the most stupid thing I have ever heard. Let's see get in a fight with a VN man maybe hurt a VN man. No one speaks English. Do this in the middle of the market. etc If I did that the police that speak no English are going to aid me. Give me a break! She couldn't care. Zero help and very unfriendly she lucky she has wealthy parents that own a Hotel are she would be a peasent too. Wonder where the parents got the money for the Hotel maybe KR who knows. She thinks she is someone important. Please!
I found the people to very unfriendly. It's a tropical Island run by communists with very unhappy people. This is my experience! Not one bar. I will help them with just 2 words: "Beach Bar." with music. Try "Don't worry be happy". No Govt tourist office. Nothing! Empty beaches. Well there empty beaches all over the world.
It's the cultural differences and the lack of English. Phu Quoc isn't ready for primetime. They have alot of work to do. Mainly with people trianing. They don't care thou. Just greedy Vietnamese in hope of work and money. Many Vietnamese and German tourist. Probally East German.
This is my experience, too. "Puh Quoc has potential, and has some great spots, but is ruined by the lack of enthusiasm and brains of the locals.."
How can you screw up pradise? Communism!
You can always visit the fish suace factory and prison. Pretty exciting! Laugh
Each to there own there are many other places in the world. I won't be back.
Retired at 45 and have been traveling for 2 years looking for good places to live you. Phu Quoc isn't one.
#5 dmcrory has been a member since 26/12/2007. Posts: 4
Ok, the reports on Phu Quoc are not overwhelmingly in it's favor. It has never been my kind of island as well but recently I went for the second time and I thought it has become much better. And I would like to balance the picture a little for future travellers. I don't live on Phu Quoc or have any interest there though.
- when I visited Bao Sao the beach was clean and I think it's a wonderful beach that can rival with some of the beaches in southern thailand. The rubbish that comes ashore is highly dependent on season/currents. Perhaps I visited in the right season, perhaps they have learned and cleaned up the beaches. Many beaches in this region have the same problem.
- I like the fact that the beaches are empty on Phu Quoc. Other people don't like it obviously.
- I also like the smaller type of beach. The big 5 km crescent Nha Trang beach is not my type. Also very subjective.
- attack at the market. I see this really as an incident and it could have happened anywhere in Vietnam or the region. I'm really sorry for you that it happened. On occasion these things happen. Most likely a powerful person (or son of), probably drunk and then no-one dares to go against that.
- the communists do a decent job in other parts of vietnam. Or at least not better or worse than their democratic neighbors. To blame every single thing on communism seems a bit harsh. I'm not a communist nor do I want to engage in a discussion about it.
I think most people have wrong expectations of Phu Quoc which is partly to blame on the government. They already try to sell it as a resort destination while that is the ultimate goal but it definitly lacks any of that (including the beach bars etc.) for now.
- For beach(night)life head to Nha Trang. You won't find anything of your liking on Phu Quoc. I visited the Kiki (night)club and that was a "local" experience. Enjoyed it thoroughly though.
- It is absolutely true that the island has nothing of the slightest interest. If you're not a beach person you won't have much fun.
- Most resorts cater to holliday couples. That also includes the tourist prices for food and so. Most are also quite isolated and take advantage of that with the prices and I wasn't very impressed with the quality of the food in many places (at least for the prices they charge). Not to backpackers liking but all standard practise on a holliday destination.
- For package tourists who expect a tropical island (like Samui, Phangan or so). You will be very disappointed by the lack of infrastructure and things to do and even the resorts don't come close to any thai resorts.
- For backpackers I would recommend to stay in a cheap small local hotel in or near the main town. Eat cheaply at the (night) market (be wary of agressive guys, apparently). Rent a bike for the day and visit some of the empty beaches during the day.
I was on Phu Quoc over Christmas last year. We stayed a few miles from the main town, near to (but not on) the big long beach. Some things we liked - we enjoyed being close to Phu Quoc town, nice to wander round a proper Vietnamese market, plus the town generally. We liked zipping around the island on scooters, there are some nice beaches. We liked the snorkelling trip, nice people, good fun, decent coral and got to eat sea urchins brought straight from the sea. We liked the lovely staff at our guest house. Other things were less impressive - the island was somewhere inbetween up and coming destination and fully discovered, but at the moment wasn't really either. This meant it didn't really have the 'tropical island paradise' feel, nor did it have full tourist facilities. Neither nowt nor summat, as we say in my part of the world. The tourist infrastructure was a bit basic, as if they haven't fully worked out what people want yet. In addition, we found the food at nearly all the resorts we ate to be distinctly average. Barbecued fish was on nearly every night at most places. Should be great ( and on Thai beaches it nearly always is), but sadly every night it would be overcooked and dried out.
It was interesting to see PQ and it's possible to enjoy yourself there. But, even though many Thai islands are more heavily developed, they are still streets ahead in terms of providing what you want. Plus the Thai islands also win hands down if you're looking for a more remote experience (in my view).
A week ago, Long Beach was essentially a rubbish-strewn elongated sandy sewer with fabulous sunsets and nice views of fishing boats and pallid buttocks. Dust from the building sites floated over much of the place and there was a fine coat of slime on top of the waves. As background we were treated to a cacophony of American jingle-pop and Chill. Accommodation is grossly overpriced here compared with the less commercial Thai islands. It's best left to the Russians.
On the other hand, Blue Sea resort just north of Mango Bay resort was marvelous - clean water, pleasant hut and good breakfasts. Lunch at Mango was brilliant.
Two further days up at Bamboo Cottages at Vung Bao were also terrific.
These options are not for the backpacker budget. Most of the punters were young washed out corporates or visible achiever family types, and a smattering of active retirees.
OK, I did not like Long Beach either, but guys, Phu Quoc is way more than Long Beach! Did you ever head out to the North??
I staid over a week in the Northwest of Phu Quoc and had a wonderfull time. The bungalow was big and clean, the owner really friendly, the people great, food was amazing and after all I had a fantastic time. But honestly I hated the ride to Phu Quoc town to grab some money from ATM.
So, OK if you complain about Long Beach the the weired places there, but there are still a few gems on Phu Quoc.
I have to say Vietnam in general was my least favourite country to travel in although there are a couple amazing sights that a person should see.
My biggest issue with Vietnam was the attitude toward travellers, but what I also realized that in the quieter locations there are some friendly people. Ha Tien was surprisingly nice and laid back(minus the b**** working the tour counter, but that is another story...). I had a decent time sitting and chatting with a few moto drivers while waiting for my bus there. I also enjoyed Dong Hoi. Not only were the people friendly but its proximity to Paradise Cave(imo the best sight in Vietnam) was great. I recommend everyone go before it too becomes too touristy and unfriendly.
I think the key to really enjoy Vietnam is to get off the main tourist trail and go visit some of the less touristy areas. The problem with doing that is that many of these places have very limited selection of restaurants/guest houses, the people speak less English and many of these places don't have much in the way of high end sights. I think the biggest problem with Vietnam is that there are so many tourists that all stop in the same places and the locals have just got tired of it(especially since Vietnam doesn't need and in some ways want to rely on tourism for income). Also there is also some dislike of westerners due to the fairly recent war(funny how some of them became friendlier when I mentioned I was Canadian).
Besides obvious infrastructure issues, this is why I prefer Thailand over Laos. I have a very deep seated dislike of communist officialdom and if they realize I am a retired American soldier, that dislike is instantly returned. That said, I have some dear friends who are Vietnamese and who are urging me to come visit, so I will go. It should be interesting as one is a world class dancer and a charming lady in Hanoi and the other was my housekeeper for years who my wife and I are very fond of and lives in a village northwest of Hue. Two completely different experiences... sorry to get off track here. Greer started it.
I don't want Sayadian or Stuart bitching me out... somehow it always ends up on me.
Funny side note, all my neighbors (with one exception) on my street are ethnic Vietnamese. We all get along well, and they are always out front with my wife playing dominos. I call them "Charlie Cong". They didn't understand that until I explained it to them. Now sometimes when I see them out front I'll say "Charlie's in the wire..."
Madmac, I was never shown any animosity for being an American or a vet when I was there in 08. Even exchanged several shots of whiskey with a Vietnamese man a little older than me where I was staying at on Phu Quoc. The majority of people are to young to know of the war except what they are taught in school.
As for the island itself, I found it very relaxing and enjoyed it.
#15 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
Just spent three days on Phu Quoc...very sad how such a beautiful island is being destroyed by rubbish. Long beach was "fairly clean" compared to Bai Sao which had alot of rubbish in the water. As long as you can ignore that you are fine as on the surface it looks great, indeed i got some wonderful "tropical island paradise" photos...scratch the surface by heading out into the villages and you see the real rubbish and pollution....very sad as it isnt going to improve any time soon....I did enjoy scooting around on a bike though the roads reminded me of Cambodian ones and the waterfall was nice :) but I wont be back and I wouldnt recommend it to anybody unfortunately.