Travel

Phú Quốc, Vietnam: Travel Reviews and Recommendations

Destination: Phú Quốc, Vietnam

We recently traveled to Phú Quốc (pronounced Phoo Kwoke), Vietnam and it was an absolute DREAM. This was the first vacation where I’ve been able to truly relax the entire time. Every time we’ve traveled over the past few years, I’ve always had set aside time to complete grad school homework. Having complete mental freedom made this trip particularly refreshing!

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Visa:

Tourists must receive a Visa prior to entering Vietnam. Citizens from 80 different countries (including USA) can apply for an e-Visa through their official online portal here. E-visas are for single entry (meaning if you leave for any amount of time you’ll need a new visa to re-enter the country) and they’re valid for 30 days. Applications cost approximately $25 USD. The turn-around time for applications is 3 business days. Finally, remember to print off your approved visa and bring it with you to the airport, as you will need it when processing through immigration.

Language:

Natives of Phú Quốc primarily speak Vietnamese, but the local tourism industry heavily caters to English speakers.

Basic Phrases:

  • Hello = xin chào (pronounced sin chow)
  • Bye = tạm biệt (pronounced tom bee-eht)
  • Please = xin vui long (pronounced sin voo long)
  • Thank you = cảm ơn bạn (pronounced cahm oon bahn)
  • Excuse me = xin lỗi (pronounced sin loy)

Currency:

  • Vietnamese đồng (VND)
  • $1 USD = ₫23151.90 as of March 2019
  • I would recommend exchanging money somewhere prior to leaving—airport exchange rates tend to be steeper

Flight:

VietJet Air – Seoul, South Korea to Phú Quốc, Vietnam. VietJet Air is a budget airline that is fairly bare bones in terms of accommodations and services. It is not fancy by any means, but it got us from point A to point B safely and without any hiccups. That is really all we ask for when it comes to flights—no frills necessary as long as we get where we want on time. However, if seat space and in-flight entertainment are important to you, you may not like VietJet Air. Our 6-hour flight from Seoul to Phú Quốc was a red eye, so we just slept the entire journey. Otherwise, make sure to bring a tablet or laptop if you want avoid boredom but save money on flight costs!

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Accommodations:

Sol Beach House at Mélia (all-inclusive). We stayed in their Big Beach House room—which includes one king-sized bed, lots of lounging space with a loveseat and two chairs, a balcony overlooking the pool and garden area, a bathing room (includes a bathtub and a shower area outside of the tub), and plenty of space to hang or fold clothes.

  • PROS:
    • Excellent breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets
    • Affordable all-inclusive option ($50 per person/per day that covered all meals and drinks, except for room service)
    • BEAUTIFUL grounds kept in pristine condition thanks to hardworking gardeners
    • Affordable, relaxing on-site spa
    • Several large pools with ample lounge chairs, umbrellas, hammocks, and cabanas
    • Decently equipped gym for strength and cardio training
    • Private beach specifically for Sol Beach House guests
    • Friendly, helpful staff
    • Delicious snack bar food and drink options
    • Rooms were comfortable, clean, and well decorated
    • Complimentary airport shuttle service
  • CONS:
    • No poolside service
    • Internet service was often slow
    • No ATMs on site
    • Mediocre shower water pressure
    • No minibar in the room
    • The toilet was covered only by a half-door. I mean love my husband and all, but I’d like to retain SOME mystery in our marriage, you know?

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Activities:

John’s Tours—3 Islands Full Day Snorkeling Tour. Isaiah came across this opportunity thanks to a brochure that was in our hotel lobby, and I’m so glad he did! We had such a nice day exploring, snorkeling, and meeting fellow travelers from around the world. The price of the tour is $32 per person, which covers the costs of hotel pickup, snorkeling equipment, and lunch. The tour lasted from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. The boat took us to three different locations (which apparently change every tour) where we could swim, relax on the beach, or snorkel. We had the option of jumping off the beach and swimming to shore/the snorkeling location, or being taken there by small boat.

The weather was perfect, and the white sand clear water beaches were gorgeous! Snorkeling was also a really great experience—lots of beautiful coral reefs and tropical fish to see. Finally, for lunch we were served braised fish, fried chicken, steamed shrimp, morning glory, veggie soup, fresh fruit, and rice. Water was free, and beer and soft drinks could be purchased for an additional fee.

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Phú Quốc Night Market: Phú Quốc is a remote island off the coast of mainland Vietnam, so activities are somewhat limited. We were okay with this, because we wanted a lazy vacation where we could just relax and spend our days lounging by the pool or at the beach. When we did venture off the resort, we went to the Phú Quốc Night Market. You can purchase souvenirs, clothing, snacks, and traditional Vietnamese food, as well as many spas and pubs.

Cell Phone Service:

Never use the roaming function of your home country cell phone service! It will cost you so much money and it’s simply not necessary as long as you plan ahead of time. I recommend buying a SIM card off of Amazon. I always search “(destination country) + SIM card” on Amazon, peruse ratings to make sure it has good reviews, and buy it a couple weeks prior to leaving. They costs $20-40 on average and provide cell phone service ~7-10 days. If your trip will be longer than this, simply purchase additional SIM cards. If you forget, you can purchase SIM cards at the airport, but they may cost a little extra.

Don’t forget these crucial items and tasks!

  • Passport
  • Medication(s)
  • Universal outlet converters
  • Print out e-visa approval letter
  • SIM card
  • Sunscreen
  • Aloe
  • Notify your bank of your travel plans ahead of time so they don’t place any holds or alerts on your cards/accounts!
  • For a full list of my list of carry-on essentials, click here!
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