Snorkeling In Phu Quoc
SNORKELING IN PHU QUOC
WHERE CAN YOU SNORKEL IN PHU QUOC ISLAND?
The real question should be, where can’t you snorkel on Phu Quoc Island. The island has plenty of places for you to get your feet wet. At North Long Beach, Starfish (Sao) Beach, and Ganh Dau Beach you can find a good amount of underwater life close to shore. If you want some privacy while you snorkel, then at Thom Village, at the north east part of the island, there is a great patch of coral just 30m from shore with little to no traffic. Here are some of the snorkeling spots on Phu Quoc that we have discovered:
- North Long Beach
- Starfish Beach
- Thom Beach
- An Thoi Islands
- Ganh Dau Beach
- Fingernail Island
- Nudibranch Garden
- Turtle Island
- Kings Well
- Ong Doi Cape
DID YOU FORGET TO PACK YOUR SNORKEL AND MASK?
If you did not pack your snorkel mask and fin you can purchase basic gear from the numerous shops around Duong Dong Town and Long Beach Village. If you are looking for a higher quality mask and snorkel, they can be purchased at the various dive shops found along the main tourist strip.
- Cost for a basic plastic snorkel set: 100,000VND to 200,000VND
- Cost for an advanced snorkeling set (tempered glass): 600,000VND and up.
Below you will find a list of various snorkeling spots for you to explore and discover Phu Quoc’s underwater life.
Most tour operators on the island offer 2 types of snorkeling tours: 1) Snorkeling & fishing in the south tour and 2) Snorkel & fishing in the north tour.
1) Snorkeling & fishing in the south tour – Between $14USD to $20USD
- Pickup at 8:30am by van from your hotel/resort. Depending on how large the group is, you may be transferred to a larger bus.
- On the way to An Thoi and before reaching the port, your tour operator may take you to a pearl farm/store for 30minutes. Please note that these tour operators make a commission if you buy something.
- At around 10-10:30am, you will leave the pearl farm/store and drive down to An Thoi Port.
- You will board the boat at around 11am or so.
- Once you have disembarked, the first stop in the An Thoi archipelago is of a floating fish market to buy sea urchins.
- Then you will go fishing.
- The you will snorkel at the various spots in the An Thoi archipelago.
- Lunch and fruit is served at around 1pm. Cooked sea urchins are extra.
- Then you go to coconut island for swimming and sight seeing before heading back to An Thoi Port.
- Once you reach An Thoi Port, you are drive to Starfish beach. You will stay at Starfish beach for 1 hour.
- Finally you head back to your resort at around 3:30pm
Duration of the tour: 8:30am to 4:30pm
Cost: Varies depending on the tour operator; from $14USD to $20USD per person
Lunch: Tuna + Tofu + Egg + Vegetables + Noodle with Seafood + Potato Soup + Rice. Sea urchin, lobster and other “premium” seafood will be extra.
- The boat will leave from An Thoi Port and it has a seating area on the lower and upper deck. If you want to tan, stay on the upper deck. The lower deck is equipped with long benches and tables for those who love to read, listen to music or enjoy some snacks.
- After an hour at sea, the boat will stop for you to fish. Tourists will receive some plastic coil fish reels and squid as bait. Most of the fish you catch will be quite small.
- After fishing, you will travel to Hon Dam Trong Islet, an island close to An Thoi Town, and snorkel in the shallow sea there. The depth here is about 4m to 5m and there are some alive coral and colorful fish here, however most of the coral is dead (bleached). You have to swim from your boat to the good snorkeling spots. Be aware that there is scattered garbage (mainly plastics) in the water.
- You will then go to two more snorkeling spots before having lunch.
- The lunch varies but usually includes a soup, rice, noodles, fried egg, and some vegetables. Water is free but soft drinks and beer are extra (approximately 20,000VND to 30,000VND). If you want to try the urchin, the urchins will cost you anywhere between 20,000VND to 50,000VND per piece depending on which tour you go on. The urchins are BBQ’ed with oil, onion, and peanuts (Cau gai nuong mo hanh ).
- After lunch, you will go to Hon Dua Islet (Coconut Island) for sight seeing and swimming. If you want to step foot off the boat and onto the island there is a taxi boat that will take you at a cost of 10,000VND.
- Hon Dua Islet is the last island in the An Thoi archipelago that you visit. The next stop is Bai Sao Beach for an hour for swimming and/or rental of jetskis. You can also purchase snacks here but they are extra.
- After Sao Beach, you return back to your hotel in a mini van.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW AND THE TOUR AGENCIES WILL NOT TELL YOU:
- There is a good chance that you will be taken to a pearl farm/store, even though there is no mention of it on any website (except us) or brochure. The intent is that you buy something so that the tour agencies get a commission.
- It will take you about 2 hours to get to An Thoi port from Duong Dong Town/North Long Beach.
- If you are prone to sea sickness, please bring the appropriate medication with you.
- In the sea surrounding the An Thoi archipelago you will see a lot of plastic garbage floating around. The snorkeling spots will also have scattered garbage floating around.
- The fishing here is not the greatest and the tour agencies do not give you Deep Sea Fishing gear. They give you plastic reels with some line. Bring your own gear with you if you have it. If you do not have it and want to purchase your own rod and reel, you can pick one up at Duong Dong Town on 30 dang 4 street near the dental clinic as there is a fishing store there.
- If you are a seasoned snorkeler, don’t expect to see vibrant coral here. Global warming, dynamite fishing, and algal blooms have all taken their toll on the reef system here.
- After snorkeling, you drive to Bai Sao Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Vietnam. Although you may be tired from the snorkeling and driving, this beach will take your breath away. If you still have some energy left, you can rent a jetski for 20 minutes right from the beach.
What are the alternative ways to experience snorkeling at the An Thoi archipelago?
There are 2 alternatives to have a better experience at the An Thoi archipelago: 1) Join a scuba dive expedition and go snorkeling or 2) Do it yourself
1) Snorkeling with a diver operator
- leave at 7am come back at 4
- Snorkel spots vary and it depends on where they are going diving.
- Spots include: Hon Dan Ngang, Hon Doi, Ho Kim Guy, Da Chong, Bai Boi, Ngoc Trai, Ky Lan, and others.
Most of us at PhuQuocIslandGuide.com did not like the South Island Snorkeling & Fishing Tour. A lot of time was wasted on things other than snorkeling. We did, however, come back and created our own tour and you can too. This is how you can do it, and it really helps if you have your own snorkeling gear and can speak Vietnamese but it is not necessary as long as you have a smartphone and Google translate with you. You can buy basic snorkeling gear at Long Beach Village for 120,000VND.
2) DO IT YOURSELF – HOW TO CHARTER YOUR OWN BOAT TO SNORKEL THE AN THOI ISLANDS:
- Make your way to An Thoi port independently, either by a motorbike or by taxi. It will take you about 40minute to get you to An Thoi Port from Duong Dong Town. The roads are all well paved and the directions are really easy – just go south towards the new airport, make a left on the road that takes you to the airport then pass the airport until you reach a roundabout, and then make a right. Then follow that road all the way to An Thoi Town proper. Once you are in An Thoi, and you know you are there because you will see the ocean in front of you, ,make a right on Nguyen Troung Road (you cannot go straight as the road will take you to a restricted naval base) and then follow the road until you reach An Thoi Port. You know when you have reached the port when you see a lot of street side fish vendors and a large new white building. To get pass the port gate, you need o pay 5,000VND. Park your motorbike (10,000VND per day) and grab your gear.
- Once at the port, go to the pier and ask the people standing around the boats that you want to rent a boat to go snorkeling. There are many fisherman that will take you and the cost is about 300,000VND to 500,000VND depending on where you want to go and for how long. All the prices are of course negotiable. If you want seafood cooked for you, then that will be extra.
- The boats are very slow, so in order to maximize your snorkeling experience tell the boat owner that you want to go to Hon Dua, Hon Thom, Hon Roi, Hon Dam Ngoi, and Hon Dam Trong islands in that order. These islands are not that far from An Thoi Port. If the weather/current is not favorable, the fishermen may not want to take you to some of these islets. Snorkeling around these 5 islets will take you about 5 hours, including the the time to get there. All the fishermen know the spot as there is a good chance that they use to fish there. Once you are finished, the fishermen will take you back to An Thoi Port. You will pay him once you have arrived at the port. A tip is not required. You can now either head back your hotel/resort or explore An Thoi Town and the beaches near by.
Duration: If you get to An Thoi Port by 9:00am you should be back to your hotel/resort by 3:00pm to 4:00pm unless you plan on staying longer in An Thoi.
You can charter a boat to the deep south of An Thoi for 3,000,000VN.
We like our “Do it yourself” tour of the An Thoi archipelago over the organized tour because we spent more time out at sea and at our own pace. However we know that this option is not for everyone.