Phú Quốc, a large tropical island in the south of Vietnam, is the newest destination for scuba diving in the Southeast Asian country. With a growing protected marine park and dive sites featuring calm currents and interesting marine life, this Vietnamese island offers is one of the best places in the region to get certified or earn an advanced certificate. It also gives divers the opportunity to ‘go where no man has gone before.’
The island is located at 10 degrees north of the equator and therefore has a tropical climate that creates ideal diving conditions for most of the year. The average air temperature holds steady at about 88°F (31° C) while the average water temperature ranges between 82 - 88°F (28 - 31°C). Diving season (dry season) lasts from October to May with the best conditions occurring from October to April. During the wet season (July to September), the island is still open for diving, but visibility may be worse.
Because of Phú Quốc’s hard-to-reach position, it has been relatively unvisited by tourists until very recently. Many dive sites are still being discovered, but currently there are a group of sites to the northwest of the island that go to 30 feet (10 meters) and have virtually no current, perfect for those just finding their first bubbles. To the south of the island, the An Thoi Islands offer more of a challenge. From May to October, currents are variable here and a variety of macro and pelagic life can be seen. Accommodation is becoming more plentiful. A good variety of budget, mid-budget and high-end hotels is also available.
When high season and diving season overlap (November to March), the country of Vietnam can get quite crowded and diving in other areas, such as Nha Trang, can be unbearable. While Phú Quốc also sees an uptick in visitors, it is not nearly as crowded as other places. However, your best bet is to utilize the shoulder season, October and April-May. During this time, discounts are available on diving and accommodation rates.
Because Phú Quốc is a new destination in Vietnam, it is not as crowded as the mainland. This works out to your benefit as there is still loads to see around this tropical paradise.
Hiking across the island or driving around it will give you a good idea about the local environment. The island hosts beautiful beaches, gushing waterfalls, colorful fishing villages and a variety of farms. At night, you can take a squid fishing excursion or simply watch the sun set behind the lighthouse while dreaming about your next dive.
Most journeys to the south of Vietnam begin at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport (Ho Chi Minh). From here, most tourists catch a domestic flight to Phú Quốc Airport in Dương Tơ. Although some flights originating in Singapore and Cambodia fly directly to Phú Quốc.
Alternatively, visitors can catch a local or fast ferry from Rach Gia. These take one and a half to two and a half hours.
Once on the island, a variety of minibuses, motos and taxis are available for your convenience.