Phu Quoc Island attractions aren’t just limited to its stunning beaches, but extends to historical sites, Buddhist shrines, and fishing villages that have stood the test of time. Despite the rise of high-end beach resorts, modern facilities, and international dining venues, visitors can still enjoy plenty of sightseeing opportunities during their holiday.
A UNESCO-listed national park takes up more than half of Phu Quoc Island, offering recreational activities such as hiking, camping, wildlife, photography and bird-watching. Meanwhile, vibrant markets, traditional fishing villages, and pepper plantations are perfect for experiencing the local lifestyle and sampling authentic regional specialities. Read on for our guide of what to see on Phu Quoc Island.
1. Cao Dai Temple
Cao Dai Temple is an interesting religious site on Phu Quoc Island, boasting a bright technicolour exterior and relics of prominent religions from around the world. Founded in 1919, Caodaism is a monotheistic religion which combines Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, and Islam. Basically, the central tenant of the religion is that we may follow different religions but we all share one true God. Currently, there are over two million people practising Cao Daism in Vietnam. It is certainly one of the most interesting and intriguing religions found in Southeast Asia, and has a certain mystique for most people.
Considered as the birthplace of Cao Daism, Phu Quoc Island has two outlets which are found within Duong Dong Town. Located along Nguyen Trai Street, the newest and most popular shrine was erected in 2008 and features similar architectural styles with Ho Chi Minh City’s Cao Dai Temple.
The main symbol of this religion is the left eye of god, which is featured prominently in every temple in Vietnam. Cao Dai Temple also easily stands out from other temples on Phu Quoc Island as it houses not only Buddhist swastikas and statues, but also Christian crosses, and Islamic crescent moons. The temple also commemorates popular figures such as Vietnamese poet Trang Trinh, Chinese president Sun Yat-Sen, French poet Victor Hugo, and Jesus Christ as some of its many patron saints.
Cao Dai Temple on Phu Quoc Island is open to the public, with worshipping ceremonies held between 06:00 and 12:00 every day. As with any temples in Southeast Asia, visitors are advised to dress appropriately out of respect for the devotees who frequent this temple.
2. Dinh Cau Rock
Dinh Cau Rock, also known as Cau Temple, is an odd-shaped natural formation in Phu Quoc Island, which local fishermen pray to before embarking on fishing excursions. Located just next to the Duong Dong Fishing Harbour, it features a brightly-coloured lighthouse and Buddhist shrine, making it a popular photography spot among travellers.
Dinh Cau Rock was constructed in 1937 to commemorate Thien Hau (the goddess of the sea), whom locals believe provides protection for fishermen heading out to the open sea. There are 29 winding stone steps to reach Cau Temple’s rooftop terrace, where you will be greeted with spectacular sunset views of Dinh Cau Beach, traditional fishing boats, Duong Dong Town, and neighbouring islets.
The temple is relatively quiet throughout the year, apart from annual festivities such as Tet (New Year) and Dinh Cau Festival (15–16 October), when locals offer prayers and burn joss sticks at Thien Hau’s altar.
There are plenty of food and beverage stands at the base of Dinh Cau Rock but, if you’re craving fresh seafood after your visit, Dinh Cau Night Market is a just five-minute walk away. Entrance to Dinh Cau Rock is free of charge and visitors are advised to dress appropriately out of respect for the locals who frequent this temple.
3. Duong Dong Market
Duong Dong Market is Phu Quoc Island’s busiest and largest outdoor market, where travellers can experience the local lifestyle and purchase a wide range of fresh produce during their holiday. Set along Tran Phu Street, Duong Dong Market features a wet zone that’s set close to Duong Dong Port, where you can see throngs of fishing boats drop off freshly-caught seafood such as eel, squid, mackerel, barracuda, and shellfish, to be sold by local vendors.
Phu Quoc Island is also renowned for its fish sauce, mushrooms, peppers and cashew nuts. We highly recommend making your way to the dry section to pick up a few as souvenirs for loved ones back home. Thanks to its growing popularity among tourists, there’s also a few stalls selling handicrafts and t-shirts, though most carry the same stock.
Like most Asian markets, Duong Dong Market also houses plenty of food stalls serving fruit juices and Vietnamese cuisine at relatively low prices. Must-tries include banh tet (Vietnamese Cylindrical Sticky Rice Cake), echinus porridge, and raw herring salad. The best time to visit is in the early morning, where you can see the locals bargaining hard for household items, fresh and dried seafood, meats, sweets and fruit from mainland Vietnam.
4. Ham Ninh Fishing Village
Ham Ninh Fishing Village is an ideal locale for foreign visitors looking to experience the daily life of local fishermen as well as authentic regional dishes at affordable prices. Widely known as one of the oldest villages on Phu Quoc Island, its residents’ main sources of income include diving for pearls and sea cucumbers, fishing and, in recent years, selling handmade souvenirs and seafood delicacies to tourists.
Not far from the village is a pier that stretches far out to the sea called Bai Vong Port, where cargo boats carrying a wide range of fresh produce, seafood, and household items from mainland Vietnam stop by in the early morning. Travellers can also enjoy relaxing sunset views of colourful fishing boats, Ham Ninh Mountain range and coastline, and the Hai Tac Archipelago during their visit here.
Waters along the Ham Ninh coastline are relatively shallow, resulting in expansive beaches during the low tides. It can get rather polluted with rubbish from the main village, though, so we highly recommend walking further up north to enjoy a better beach setting.
Accessible within a 30-minute drive from Duong Dong Town, Ham Ninh Fishing Village is renowned for its unique seafood dishes. Make your way to the Ham Ninh Market to enjoy sea cucumber soup, tram mushroom, and boiled flower crab as well as medicinal drinks made with seaweed, ginseng, seahorse, and rice wine.
5. Phu Quoc National Park
Phu Quoc National Park comprises more than half of Phu Quoc Island’s northern region, where adventurous travellers can enjoy a range of outdoor pursuits throughout their tropical vacation. Declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2010, this massive natural attraction spans over 314, 000 square metres of unique flora and fauna, evergreen forest, and dense mountain ranges.
While the majority of Phu Quoc National Park is strictly protected by the Vietnamese government for research purposes, visitors can make their way to the Khu Rung Nguyen Sinh Forest Reserve via Ganh Dau Village as it’s accessible for camping, hiking, bird-watching, and photography. Nature lovers can also spot rare wildlife such as long-tailed macaques, silver langurs, slow lories, otters, and hornbills.
If you’re looking to test out your endurance, Mount Heaven in Phu Quoc National Park is accessible within a challenging four-hour trek through the evergreen forest followed by a 10 metre-tall bamboo ladder. The highest peak in the national park is Mount Chua, which stands at 600 metres above sea level, but hiking trails and viewing platforms for the mountain are currently under construction.
Located 26 kilometres north of Duong Dong, the best way to get to Phu Quoc National Park is by booking a day tour or renting a motorcycle. The roads leading towards Ganh Dau Village can rather bumpy, so only opt for the latter if you’re comfortable navigating through dirt roads.
6. Phu Quoc Prison Museum
Phu Quoc Prison serves as a bleak reminder of Vietnam’s turbulent past, where thousands people were imprisoned and tortured during the Vietnam War. Also called Coconut Tree Prison, this war museum now houses authentic torture instruments, photographs of former detainees and exhibits of brutal punishments.
Built in 1949 by French colonists, it is believed to have detained over 40,000 Vietnamese soldiers and political figures who have opposed both French and American forces. After the end of the Indochina War, most of the prisoners were released to their families but developed physical and mental disabilities due to the barbaric tortures of Phu Quoc Prison.
In 1995, the prison was declared a national historical site and opened to the public by Vietnamese government. Phu Quoc Prison also has a retail outlet selling handicrafts, local snacks, and books about the Vietnamese War. There are numerous life-sized wax mannequins depicting graphic scenes of torture within the two-storey exhibition centre, including crucifixion, food deprivation, and electrocution.
Another prominent site in Phu Quoc Prison is the row of tiger cages. Prisoners were kept in total darkness and subjected to extreme heat and cold for a prolonged period of time, resulting in pneumonia and blindness. The prison is one of Phu Quoc Island’s most iconic landmarks, attracting mostly former prisoners and foreign visitors looking to learn more about Vietnam’s history.
Accessible within a 45-minute drive from Duong Dong, entrance fee to Phu Quoc Prison is priced at VND 3,000 per person with guided tours available in English, French and Vietnamese.
7. Sung Hung Pagoda
Sung Hung Pagoda is a combination of two shrines that were built in the early 10th century, making it the oldest of its kind on Phu Quoc Island. Set along Tran Hung Dao Street in Duong Dong Town, the pagoda was formerly Sung Nghia and Hung Nhan Pagodas which were built in the early 20th century for locals to pray for the departed before it was merged and renamed as Sung Hung Pagoda.
Sung Hung Pagoda has undergone two major restorations but most of its original architecture remains intact throughout the years. Exuding a peaceful ambience for devotees and tourists alike, the front courtyard features plenty of Bodhi trees, a statue of the Goddess of Mercy standing in the middle of a lotus pond, and a sanctum house housing a bronze bell, numerous sculptures and red lacquered boards with engraved writings.
The main prayer hall stands at three storeys in height, housing three Buddha statues (Amitabha, Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva and Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva) and intricate paintings of Buddhist mythical creatures and legends. Open daily, entrance to Sung Hung Pagoda is free of charge. Visitors are advised to dress conservatively out of respect for the monks and locals who frequent Sung Hung Pagoda.
8. Su Muon Pagoda
Su Muon Pagoda, sitting atop a hill about four kilometres east of Duong Dong Town, is the oldest Buddhist shrine on Phu Quoc Island. Also known as Chua Su Moun Hung and Long Tu Pagoda, local monk Nguyen Kim Muon founded this temple in 1932, attracting mostly locals due to its rather hidden locale.
Housing statues of Buddha, painted rock formations depicting various animals, plenty of greenery, and a 300-year old Kenia tree, Su Muon Pagoda is a good place to see devotees and monks paying their respects to Buddha. Visitors can also get their fortunes told or simply enjoy the peaceful ambience during their visit.
Su Muon Pagoda’s main sanctum is accessible via a 60-step stairway, housing colourful relics and golden statues of Buddha. Once you’ve reached the balcony area, you’ll be greeted with expansive views of Hamn Ninh Mountain and coastline surrounding Phu Quoc Island.
As with most religious sites around the world, do dress conservatively and refrain from making noises during your visit to Su Muon Pagoda. Entrance to the pagoda is free of charge, but donations of any amount are highly welcomed.
9. Vinpearl Land Amusement Park Phu Quoc
Vinpearl Land Amusement Park Phu Quoc is a massive entertainment hub that contains several sections, including an outdoor water park, outdoor and indoor arcade centres, an aquarium, and shopping street. It’s an incredible resort that is absolutely the best family friendly entertainment centre on Phu Quoc Island.
Accessible within a 20-minute drive from Ong Lang Beach, Vinpearl Land also offers spectacular displays of lights, music, and water acrobatics at the amphitheatre, and its indoor games centre features 120 arcades such as horse racing, motor-racing, and shooting.
The star attraction at Vinpearl Land Amusement Park Phu Quoc is the water park, which combines a manmade beach, amusement rides, family section, and kids’ zone. Thrill-seekers will delight in unique rides such as the Tornado water ride, free-falling Giant Boomerang, 120-metre high speed slide, and Spiral slide while the Wave Pool and Lazy River is suitable for all family members.
Vinpearl Land Amusement Park also offers a wide range of dining options, including European and Asian buffets at Deli Land, authentic Vietnamese dishes at Ba Mien Restaurant, and fast food kiosks set throughout the park. Prices are high for food but that is expected at amusement parks anywhere in the world.
Daily street performances, mermaid shows, water musical shows, flash mobs and traditional dances are also held between 16:30 and 20:30, making it an ideal destination for travelling families looking to enjoy a fun-filled day on Phu Quoc Island. Visitors can also find a wide range of souvenirs at Vinpeal Land’s Shopping Street, from beachwear and casual apparel to authentic jewellery and local handicrafts.
10. Suoi Tranh Waterfall
Suoi Tranh Waterfall is a four-metre-tall waterfall within the Ham Ninh Mountains that’s surrounded by lush greenery, natural caves, and rock pools. A 10-minute drive from Duong Dong, this natural attraction is ideal for those looking to escape the bustling town centre.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can hike further up from the main waterfall site, following the 15-kilometre stream to reach Hang Doi (Grotto of Bats), which measures 200 metres in height and houses unique stalactites. Suoi Tranh Waterfall is also located near Ham Ninh Fishing Village, where you can experience the daily life of the local fishermen and enjoy authentic regional specialities.
Like most waterfalls, the best time to visit Suoi Tranh is during the rainy season (May until September). Entrance is priced at VND 5,000 while parking is available at an additional.
Due to its close proximity to the main town, Suoi Tranh Waterfall is usually packed with locals during weekends and national holidays, so we highly recommend heading there early to get the best picnicking spot.
Nature-lovers can enjoy recreational activities such as picnicking, camping and bird-watching, with small walking paths available for those who prefer a leisurely hike through the jungle. Various flora and fauna such as shrimps, birds, orchids, ginseng and mushrooms can be found here.
For more information, please free to contact us directly
VIETNAM CHARM TRAVEL
Add: 15 Hang Can, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Tel: +84.2439231508/ Hotline: +84.983730882