Phu Quoc Island – With Kids
Travel in Asia with children can be hectic. After ten days in Saigon and the Mekong Delta, I was longing to spend some time on the beach. I booked flight tickets for Phu Quoc. And you know what? It was a great idea and lots of fun.
Phu Quoc is the largest Vietnamese island. Located to the south of Vietnam, closer to Cambodia the island is a special economic zone. So far as tourists are concerned, this means that you have a 30-day visa exemption.
We arrived on Phu Quoc Island by air from Ho Chi Min City. There are also flights from other cities in Vietnam and from Kula Lumpur and Mumbai.
Getting from the Airport to the Hotel
From the airport, you can take a taxi, or use a hotel pick up. If you are planning to use an airport taxi, ask your hotel how much you should pay for it. With that information in hand, you are better informed when it comes to haggling with your taxi driver at the airport. Uber doesn’t exist yet on the island. nd there are no mopeds for hire at the airport unless you arrange to have one delivered for you there. I wouldn’t advise this, as it’s preferable to see your bike before you hire it!
Best Way to Explore Phu Quoc – Rent a Moped
If you want to explore the island, then the best way is to hire a moped. It’s probably the safest place in Vietnam to ride, as there isn’t much traffic. Very often I was the only one on the road. A little motorbike will cost around $8-$10 a day. You don’t need a driving license to rent one, but you should carry it with you anyway since if the police stop you, they will ask to see it. The island is small and very easy to get around. As with any bike hire, and check your machine, make sure you have a helmet for yourself and passenger(s). However safely you drive things can and do happen, as they did to us. In my case, I swerved to avoid a lamp post which suddenly appeared from nowhere and we went down. I cut my leg quite deeply and probably fractured my big toe, girls were ok but only because they had helmets on. And my toe hurt for a long time, but that was my punishment for riding in flip-flops.
Visit the Beach
We were staying next to One Lang Beach on the west side of the Island. It was perfect for chilling while you watch the sunset and for snorkelling. When we wanted to be away from the crowd, we drove a few kilometres further – close to Ong Lang Visit Resort. There the hotels are fewer with just a few bars on the beach, and places to hire deckchairs. We happily would spend the whole day there. Girls swimming, building sandcastles – me reading and having a message. Great times.
Vinpearl Land – Amusement Park
This place looked strange – like an old, small and almost abandoned Disneyland. there were so few people that most of the time we were alone on the rides. It was our first time in a place like this when we have spent more time on the rides than standing in queues.
Vinpearl Land also has a small aquarium and a great waterpark. There are two food outlets. You cannot take food into the Park though no one was checking. We had our own water with us. The food on sale is nothing special but you can get a selection of chicken, rice, chips etc. So you won’t be hungry.
The rides themselves weren’t very exciting, we were limited to kids only as girls were below 140cm, but we did ride like 20 times on bumper cars. Everything together – rides, aquarium and waterpark were good enough to entertain us for the whole day and I had to drag the girls out – to reach our hotel before darkness.
Entrance fee – Adults 500.000 VND, Kids (100-140cm) 400.000 VND (Approx $20 and $17 US)
We went by moped, spent the whole day and our verdict was that it was a great day for kids and for me as well.
Vinpearl Safari Park, boasting Vietnam’s largest wildlife conservation and zoological park, is open daily from 9am till 4pm. If you have only one day to visit both, then Visit Safari Park in the morning before the animals hide from the heat. then you can go to Vinpearl Land. You can buy a discounted ticket for both, which allows you to visit both on one day.
Prices For the Safari only: Adults 600,000 VND, Kids 500,000 VND dong (Approx $25 and $20 US) Combined tickets for are Adults 850,000 VND, Kids 700,000 VND (Approx $36 and $30 US)
Vinpearl Safari and Land are located very close to each other. Both offer shuttle service from a different location in Phu Quoc.
Bee Farm in Phu Quoc
The Bee Farm was probably the most interesting place we visited on Phu Quoc. It has a small garden with local and native different herbs and fruits. Nestling amongst these you will find beehives. The garden is their empire.
We were given a guided tour around the farm and we learnt about herbs and spices. Did you know that Vietnam is the biggest producer of black pepper in the world? For myself, I was fascinated to learn which herbs to use in preparing fresh Vietnamese spring rolls (Asian Basil, Vietnamese Coriander, and Vietnamese Perilla or Cilantro). I had previously thought that I had been eating stinging nettles!
After the garden visit, we were invited to try ginger tea, lemonade and of course a selection of local kinds of honey. While we drank these our guide was telling us about bees, their habits and their ecological importance.
There is a small shop full of different local products including some made from bamboo, honey, herbs and spices. We bought some small jars of honey, one jar of cinnamon. and some bamboo straws – all local made – we still have them and use them at home.
The Bee Farm is Free to Enter.
Fish Sauce Factory
Fish Sauce Factory. If you look at the bottle of Fish Sauce on the table in any Vietnamese restaurant it will probably be made in Phu Quoc. Since the Fish Sauce Factory is open to visitors we decided to be brave and visit it. why brave? Because fish sauce production is extremely smelly. We probably stayed in the factory for as long as 5 minutes, which was all we could stand. The local shop turned out to be more interesting. It was full of souvenirs including pearls and more especially for us a variety of dried fish in different shapes and sizes. My girls spent a long and happy time in that shop investigating and discussing every bone in every dried fish.
Its free to enter, but really and truly – the smell you should be paid for being in there.
In the evening almost every hotel would have an external display of beautiful seafood and meat. Your job was just to choose what you wanted and they would barbecue it for you. We ate in several places and all were good. Our favourite one was also one of the cheapest Noname BBQ (yes that the name). The girls loved their pork, which was especially juicy. I would have barbecued ladies finger. It was all delicious.
There are various snorkeling trips organised around the island, including one with squid fishing. The main reason why we didn’t to go on one was that most of the boats came for snorkeling just opposite our beach so we were familiar with those waters anyway. And we did squid fishing while in Ha Long Bay.
Duong Dong Night Market
The Night Market in Duong Dong like other Oriental night markets is alive and bustling with food stalls, and tacky souvenirs – my girls would be so mesmerised by these that they wouldn’t move if not for the promise of prawn for dinner. Yes, yummy inexpensive seafood is the main reason to visit the night market. We visited early before the crowd since I wanted to ride back to the hotel on the moped before dark.
Phu Quoc Island Hotels – Where to stay in Phu Quoc with children
Phu Quoc offers a variety of hotels – from simple accommodation to big family resorts. They are available for every price. Prices of accommodation for a family of four starts from $12 – for a room in a guest house, $30 for a small cottage far from the sea, or around $50 for a good 3-star hotel with a pool – close to the beach, but not at the beach. You can spend $100-$150 for beach resorts, and of course $200 or more for luxury hotels.
We stayed in the Cottage Village hotel which was a 3 star hotel. It was located around 700 metres away from Ong Beach. I booked this hotel initially for a few nights. Hoping that later I would find some beach hotel, but we liked it so much that we decided to stay there the whole time. We paid around $30 for a room with double bed and sofa. The price included a delicious breakfast. The place had a great swimming pool and amazing service. Additionally, they have free push bike for guests. If you are lazy with walking to the beach you can go there on a bicycle – which we did. I could happily recommend it if you don’t mind walking to the beach.
If you want beach resort (the same One Beach) in reasonable price try Coco Palm Beach and Spa Resort or Mango Bay Resort
If you feel like going posh on the south end of the island then JW Marriot. It probably cannot get posher than this (at least on Phu Quoc)
If you prefer an upmarket Resort close to the amusement park then book a room in VinPearl.
The biggest disappointment of the island is an unmissable landfill site located in the north. If you are going by moped I recommend that you put a scarf over your face. The stench of rubbish and smoke coming from fires is unbearable. It is sad to see so clearly the impact of what we discard on this small island.
Phu Quoc Island With Kids – Conclusion
If you are wondering if you want to go to Phu Quoc island with kids. Please go. It’s a great place with lovely beaches, and amazing food. There are lots of things to do for everyone to do and see, and all within a half an hour bike ride.
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