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Phu Quoc vs. Phuket

Chicago
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12 posts
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Phu Quoc vs. Phuket

My wife and I will be concluding a 26 day trip through Vietnam in mid-March, 2012. We were hoping to spend an additional 4-6 days on a nice beach somewhere. Phuket is a well known name, and some friends have been there before and recommend it. However, Phu Quoc also seems to offer some possibilities.

I'd really appreciate some compare/contrast comments from people who may have been to both. Advantages of Phu Quoc might be lower overall cost, avoiding Thailand's possible political unrest, and closer to our trip end point in Siem Reap. Advantages of Phuket might be better beaches, better tourist infrastructure and just seeing something else after so much time in Vietnam.

My wife and I are early 60's retirees. While we are not rich, we can afford better than "hostel" type accommodations. Thanks much.

UK
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173 posts
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1. Re: Phu Quoc vs. Phuket

Rather like comparing chalk with cheese!! It's whatever floats your particular boat really! Phuket has a well established tourist infrastructure and Phu Quoc is at the very start of these journey. Friends told us to go now before the tourism really takes off and we are heading back for a third visit in a few weeks. Absolutely loved it but had friends who didn't due to its LACK of tourist facilities. It really does depend on what you are looking for!

Brisbane, Australia
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2. Re: Phu Quoc vs. Phuket

As above has mentioned, like Chalk and Cheese.

We love Phu Quoc as it is at the beginning of the journey, its quiet compared to Phuket and l would even say basic. It has some great hotels and resorts which can be very expensive if thats what you like, choices to eat are in town or other hotels, not a lot to do, which is terrific!!

We stayed at the Beach Club and loved it, would go back at the drop of a hat. Whereas Phuket, too much for me! But sadly Phu Quoc will change!

Canberra, Australia
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3. Re: Phu Quoc vs. Phuket

Hi there

I totally agree its hard to compare. I have been to both places and loved both but so different for the above reasons. I would suggest you do some reading on both and see which is what you are looking for. If basic but lovely is fine I would stick with PQ if you want a place with every facility for tourists choose Thailand.

One other consideration is if you are leaving from SR for home the cost of airfares return to Phuket are considerable. Flying from Phnom Penh is cheaper. Also if you leave Vietnam for Cambodia then return you will need a multi entry visa which is more expensive.

We did Vietnam/Cambodia/Phuket last year but didnt back track so visa's etc were easy. I did choke on the cost of flying SR to Phuket via BKK.

I would recommend a beach stay somewhere in Vietnam then Cambodia then home. You could consider the Kep/Kampot area of Cambodia no real beaches but get rave reviews for a relaxing time. (its on my wish list of places to visit)

Hope I have helped rather than confused :) Would love to know what u end up doing and how it all went

regards

Georgette

Chicago
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12 posts
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4. Re: Phu Quoc vs. Phuket

Thank you all for your comments. My wife and I do not require every tourist amenity. We have previously been to China, the Outback of Australia, and various backpacker places in New Zealand. This time, we would like to "step up" from those backpacker accommodations. If Phu Quoc can provide this, with reasonable comfort and safety, perhaps that's the right answer. If Phuket is a better choice, given those parameters, so be it.

Any additional comments would be greatly appreciated.

How about, "I'd go to Phu Quoc before I'd go to Phuket because......."

Ho Chi Minh City...
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5. Re: Phu Quoc vs. Phuket

I'd go to Phu Quoc before I'd go to Phuket because...

It's smaller & easier to get around

It's a lot less developed

It has a lot more charm

However, I'd go to Phuket before I'd go to Phu Quoc because:

It has more variety of beaches

It has a HUGE choice of hotels & resorts

Surin & Kamala beaches are just wonderful

It has a lot of bars & restaurants if that is your thing

THAI FOOD!!!

Newcastle, Australia
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6. Re: Phu Quoc vs. Phuket

G'day niu72, (this is lengthy)

We've been to both Phuket and Phu Quoc, and I'll even throw in another beautiful option, Kep, Cambodia. You must understand we all have different parameters for a "beach holiday" and "tourist amenities."

Now, given you're 60-odd, I take it you are not looking for a surf break, so therefore, I would say the waters of all three are similar. That being calm and toastie warm. If you desire a swim, Patong/Karon etc in Phuket would be a safer option, given more facilities and people around etc. Phu Quoc's Long Beach sometimes can be deserted, which to us, was the bonus. Very good for lazy book reading days (dependent on the season I'm sure)The sands are very similar and currents fairly gentle. The beach at Kep has a nice setting, but onshore winds weren't kind during our stay, and it was a bit choppy. Being the only beach around, it was a little crowded with predominantly locals, which can also be a bonus. The Cambodians are so beautiful and friendly. I'd rather sit with them as opposed to some pretty ordinary tourists we met and saw.

My recommendation would be, to incorporate Phu Quoc and/or Kep into your itinerary and leave Phuket for another day. It would be a very expensive extension to your holiday, for not much of an increase in "vacation value." We visited Phu Quoc only because we managed to find $20 flights (45mins) from HCMC on our way to Kep. We had accoms at La Verandas (US$50/night w. b'fast) in Kep, and we didn't want to brave the Vietnamese/ Mekong Delta traffic anymore. For amenity, price and location, I would recommend the Thien Hai Son in Phu Quoc. We didn't stay there but we did walk through there and use the WC and it looked very nice, Has a good beachfront and water activities on offer. A coupld of cafe/ restaurants nearby to keep eating costs down. It's a 5 min, 1/2 mile walk along a flat road to the main shopping area, where they have the night markets and other eating/retail options, most of which were cheaper than HCMC/ Ben Tanh Markets, and a lot more friendly. A taxi back and forth will set you back a whole dollar each way (using the metered cabs of course) The same metered cabs charge @ $5 to and from the airport.

We arranged forward travel to Kep, by fast ferry and private car, from Phu Quoc Isl. the day before travel, with assistance at the border crossing. All for $25 each, plus the extra USD$25 Cambodian visa fee. Broken down this was $3 for Phu Quoc ferry transfer transfer. $11 fast ferry ticket to Ha Tien, and $11 for the transport from Ha Tien to Kep (in an A/C Toyota Camry). The Cambodia visa is only USD$20, so $5 was charged for the assistance at the border. Some people have complained of paying this, but what we found ourselves and were later told by other tourists is that the border guards are so corrupt, they all hammer you for a dollar here and a dollar there, and then the big boss comes in at the end to hit you up for $3, so if you dare go through there yourself with limited Cambodian language skills, you'll lose that $5 anyway. I would rather give my $5 to the worker, rather than the corrupt official any day. They still tried it on us, but our guide sorted it somehow, and after a nervous stand-off.

Kep, like Phu Quoc, can be traversed on foot over the course of a day. A tuk-tuk can help and will provide some commentary in broken English. La Verandas was just the best place to stay, after using mostly low-budget options previously. There are some good day-trip options in and around Kep/Kampot, or just head to the crab market and tuck-in. An onward coach to Phnom Penh is $6-$9 and takes @ 5hours go to woe. We stayed at the Blue Lime in PP and its location and facility were sublime. It too was USD$50/night w. b'fast. Good luck with your decision making. If you only have four days, I would chose one only, but if you could spare another couple of days, I'd do 3 days at both.

Happy Holidays

Hanoi
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377 posts
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7. Re: Phu Quoc vs. Phuket

How about, "I'd go to Phu Quoc before I'd go to Phuket because......."

The beach is nicer

It's more relaxing and forget about the real world.

Hotels and resort are nice at good deals

Many untouched beach.

Easy to buy your own fresh sea food from the fishing village and ask the resort to cook ur meal

For young people like me, I rent motorbike in both PQ and PK and I enjoy riding in Phu Quoc more.

However, I'd go to Phuket before I'd go to Phu Quoc because:

THAI FOOD ( agreed C&G VN)

Islands

that's all, I'm over the age of combining night life and beach break hideaway in the same trip ( Gosh I'm only 30 :-)

Phu Quoc Island...
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8. Re: Phu Quoc vs. Phuket

i think all the above comments are all valid...

i lived in Phuket /Krabi area from 1990 for some years and am in PQ since 2005, I liken PQ now to how Phuket was back then.

So yes its all dependent on what you want, the more wants you have the more phuket is a better choice and v.v

this place does still have its local charm that is definitely changing in the next 5 years so if u want to enjoy it how it is now get down here!

if you ant any more info on PQ check this link;

http://www.visitphuquoc.info

Cheers!

Phu Quoc Island...
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9. Re: Phu Quoc vs. Phuket

I liken PQ now to how Phuket was back then. +++ haha i am not referring to the bar scene here but the beaches! :-)

Italy
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10. Re: Phu Quoc vs. Phuket

My choice would be Phuket, really because of the quality of hotels and restaurants.