When you tire of working on your tan there are more arduous activities to enjoy on Phu Quoc Island. Phu Quoc abounds in wildlife, some of it unknown to science. In 2009 a new species of dragonfly was discovered on the island, and that is only the start. Much of the island is national park, and red dirt roads are the only way to get around. If you want to get out and about exploring the rainforest and endless beaches, hire a motorbike (only $US5-12 a day, and you don’t even need a license to ride). If you want to explore the oceans, try scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking or squid fishing.
Scuba divers can attest to the spiritual highs which result from cruising the ocean’s silent depths. With its hard and soft coral reefs, calm and clear warm waters, and swarms of tropical fish, Phu Quoc offers superb scuba diving. Many of these underwater gardens have never been dived before, as scuba diving only arrived on the island recently, in the year 2002 to be precise. The pioneer of Phu Quoc was Jeremy Stein, an English PADI course director still regarded as the authority of diving on the island. Jeremy and his crew at Rainbow Divers offer the only 5-star PADI diving on Phu Quoc, and their office is at 11 Tran Hung Dao St, Duong Dong.
Rainbow Divers claim to make a big effort to be eco-friendly on their excursions, and restrict diver numbers. Rates range from US$100 for a full day’s outing with three dives (each 45-60 minutes), to US$40 for a night dive off the beach. If you don’t have certification to scuba dive try out a beginner’s “try dive” in a swimming pool or on a shallow beach. For certified scuba divers Phu Quoc is a great place to learn new skills. If you want to become a divemaster the course takes between 1-3 months and costs US$1500.
Some other diving companies include: Coco Dive Center (58 Tran Hung Dao St, Duong Dong; tel: (84-77) 3982100), run by a former French navy diver. Dives last about one hour and are conducted in 10m deep water off Turtle Island, Mong Tay and Ong Khoi. When you return to the surface expect a buffet of Vietnamese food to be spread out on board the boat. Searama (91 Tran Hung Dao St, Duong Dong; tel: (84-77) 3994577). Supposedly run by a guy called Willy. Offers speed classes for scuba proficiency. For a glimpse of the animal life on Phu Quoc (as well as the seafood and diving), see Chad and Anema’s Adventures blog.