There are several methods to be mobile on Phu Quoc Island. Just check out our description and pick what you prefer.
Getting around on Phu Quoc | photo: Frank Fox (cc-by-sa)
How to get around on Phu Quoc Island?
There are several options:
Mud | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
I believe that renting a motorbike is the best option to experience Phu Quoc. On a motorbike you reach almost every corner of the island and it's readily available at many shops along the main road. You can decide between a simple bike, a vintage one or an automatic.
You can even order your bike delivered to the entrance of your hotel, and the receptionist is taking care of the ordering process.
Nonetheless, make sure everything is okay with your bike before you accept it. Check the gear, brakes, lights and so on. You may also want to take a few snapshots with your cellphone. Even if the damaged bike scam is not common on Phu Quoc Island, you better make sure that everything s alright.
Bikes on the highway | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
The fee for renting a motorbike is commonly charged per day and starts at around 100.000đ. That cheap option is common when renting from a private person without further ado. That this method is usually rather accessible for people who speak Vietnamese or Khmer and bears some risks, I need to mention now. Even if the scam of "renting" a stolen bike is not common on Phu Quoc, it's still Southeast Asia and you gotta be aware of what could happen.
Bike shops usually rent from 150.000đ to 250.000đ. Some may want to keep your passport (which I do not accept, rather pay in advance and give them a copy of your documents, or rent it from your tour desk). They believe that foreigners only want the more expensive bikes, so when you point at a simple Honda Wave, they may try to divert your attention to some vintage Vespa or automatic thunderbolt.
As usual, it's up to you what to pick, but if you travel on a budget, just insist on the cheaper option.
If you expect more from your vacation on Phu Quoc than just staying at your resort and bum the day away, you will greatly appreciate the mobility of your motorbike.
By the way, the dogs on Phu Quoc Island rule the streets and they won't interrupt their day job just because of you.
Lazy dog | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
While the traffic on the island is much less hectic than in Saigon, people also drive faster. Keep in mind that the Vietnamese don't give a flaming fluff about traffic rules and the whole system is based on bullying. Buses and lorries are the greatest bullies, followed by taxis and cars, then motorbikes and cyclists or pedestrians at the end of the chain.
Bicycles for use at the resort | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
If you are the sporty type and have plenty of time and sun screen at hand, just rent a bicycle. If you consider it, I don't have to explain the advantages to you. Bicycles offer the greatest freedom and allow exploration of even harsh territory.
Most resorts offer bicycles for rent and many motorbike shops as well. Just make sure to pick a good one, otherwise you struggle at the slopes.
What applies to renting a motorbike, also applies to bicycles: Check your bike thoroughly, especially the brakes. Don't expect a light on your bike, that's very uncommon in Vietnam.
Also note that as a cyclist you are at the lower end of the traffic-foodchain in Vietnam. Be especially careful about buses and lorries.
Taxi at Suoi Tranh, Painting Stream | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
Going by taxi is one of the more comfortable options for some people. Myself I am not a fan of taxis in Vietnam, since you have to be on alert all the time not to get scammed.
Apparently the Mai Linh taxi company has a base on Phu Quoc Island and they are usually more reliable than others. Stick to the taxi rules, like insisting on the taxi meter and asking the receptionist in advance about the fare and you should be on the safe side. Avoid private taxis if you don't exactly know what you are doing.
When leaving Phu Quoc International Airport, you immediately get confronted with a selection of taxis. We picked a silver-coloured cab that read "Reasonable Price". While the initial price of these is not different from others, the guy tampered with the taxi meter to increase the kilometres by 50%. Another ride with the same company but different driver went well.
Taxis are available everywhere where tourists tend to accumulate. If there is none available, just ask your friendly receptionist or waitress to hail one.
Ride along the coastline | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
Xe Om - Motorbike Taxi
Xe om means "hug-bike" and applies to the readily available motorbike taxis of Vietnam. This transport method is fast and efficient and you can expect xe om riders to be quite professional. They know their way around, often offer tours to popular sights. Contrary to taxi drivers, the xe om guys work for themselves, so they are more capable to apply sustainable business practices than the latter ones.
Nonetheless, be careful. Negotiate the fare first and make sure they understand what you want from them. For a safer experience, have the receptionist or your trusted travel agent order the xe om for you. These riders often have an ongoing business relationship with travel agencies and won't ruin that opportunity for a quick buck.
Highway Cows | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
Sorry, didn't have a picture of the bus, so here is a cow - near a bus station!
The bus service apparently runs every couple hours, especially when ferries arrive at An Thoi harbour. There are also bus stations everywhere along the roadside, but during my entire stay on Phu Quoc Island, I have never seen a bus. That's why I actually recommend to focus on other means of transportation.
Boats as taxis | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
As an island, boats are among the popular means of transportation on Phu Quoc. The southern islands for example can only be reached by boat, usually rented from local fishermen who take the opportunity to earn a few bucks extra. To catch one of those you can either check with your friendly tour desk operator or, cheaper and more personal (sometimes prone to misunderstandings though), talk to the fishermen at An Thoi harbour yourself.
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