Phu Quoc island, the largest Vietnamese island, just 15 km off the coast of Cambodia is a beautiful beach destination. The island, the size of Singapore, consists mostly of rainforest, sandy white beaches and a sleepy old fishing village with an incredible night market.
First of all you have to realize that there is not much to do on the island besides relaxing and enjoying the beautiful beaches and clear waters. You can go snorkelling, go on a boat excursion and explore the An Thoi islands for a day, or take a hike in the rain forest. If you are ok with this, than you should absolutely include this little piece of paradise in your Vietnam itinerary.
The island is changing very fast. Therefore don’t wait too long with visiting Phu Quoc. Just until recently it was mostly a back packing destination with small hotels or rather hostels. But many big hotel chains are currently developing properties on the islands, and vacation homes for well to do Vietnamese are being constructed. There is lots of construction going on everywhere on the island, just keep this in mind when visiting.
Here are some awesome things to do in Phu Quoc with kids. If you follow this list you will for sure see all the major highlights of this wonderful city. Use it as a check-list. It works really well.
- Take a taxi or rent a driver and drive around the island for a day. Stop and take a hike in the rainforest and cool off while taking a dive in the sea at one of the islands beautiful beaches.
- When you are in Phu Quoc, visiting a bee farm is a must. Phu Quoc honey is very famous in Vietnam. Visiting one of the farms is free and very educational for the kids.
- Visit the Fish Sauce Factory. The fish sauce from Phu Quoc is one of the most well known around the world. It does smell really bad… but if you can stand the smell the factory is worth a short visit. Admittance if free.
- Check out the Phu Quoc Coconut prison (it is free, but maybe not suitable for very young children).
- The Phu Quoc night market is one not the skip. There are many souvenirs to buy, but next to that it’s a perfect place to have some delicous Vietnamese food and very cheap as well.
JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay
AN thoi, An thoi, Kien Giang
+(84) 297 3779 999
On south east side of the island of Phu Quoc. On Sao Beach, about 20 minutes from the new International Airport. And a 35 minute drive to the islands main village Dong Duong, where the night market and most stores and resorts are located.
The hotel is a design of the famous hotel architect Bill Bensley. A Harvard graduate that has designed over 300 hotels, most of them located in Asia, now residing in Singapore himself. His design are always out of the ordinary. For the JW Marriott in Phu Quoc he used an university theme. All the buildings of the hotel have a faculty theme, such as department of Zoology, department of Mammalogy and so on. The building we were staying in had the Zoology theme. Everything on the walls and the surroundings of the building was designed with animals in mind. Until the very detail of it. Fake birds painted specifically for the Lamarck University.
We had 2 Le Jardin rooms, as the name indicates, the room on the lower ground all have a garden and from your garden you walk right to the pool or beach. The rooms aren’t really connecting but they are located next to each other sharing an entrance (which can be closed off) making it sort of connecting in that way. We had one King and a double with two extra beds to accommodate the children. Which was perfect! The rooms are spacious, have high speed internet, a large bathroom with rain shower and a separate bathtub and off course all other modern amenities. We preferred these rooms over the rooms located on the higher floors as it gave the children the freedom to quickly walk back to the room to get their stuff or if they just wanted to escape from the heat, without having to take an elevator.
In addition, we also had a villa for 1 night with a private pool. The hotel has several 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom villas located behind the faculty buildings, they all have a private pool and are really beautifully designed as well. Even though there is no view from the villas on the beach, you don’t feel closed in as the villas are designed in such a way that you overlook the pool and it feels like you are in the middle of the rainforest.
The hotel has four restaurants, lunch and snacks can be ordered around the pool and on the beach. We tried all but one restaurant (The Cantonese restaurant) as this had not been opened yet. The buffet restaurant also serving a la carte, Tempus Fugit, was good with a wide range of dishes. Furthermore, twice a week the hotel organizes a BBQ outside of Tempus Fugit, a very popular BBQ amongst the guests. Breakfast was fantastic, we all looked forward to that meal every evening.
Services and amenities for kids
The JW Marriott Emerald Bay Phu Quoc has the “Travel in Style with Kids” label.
For an overview of the services and amenities for kids at this hotel click here. Amenities provided by the hotel in green.
We stayed here for 9 nights over New Years and loved the hotel. We normally don’t tend to stay that long in a hotel and we were worried beforehand that we’d get bored. But if your goal is to relax and enjoy your kids and the beautiful weather, this hotel will definitely full fill your needs.
There are many activities organized by the kids club every day (honestly saying, mine were there only for 1 afternoon of the 9 days). There are free SUPs and kayaks on the beach. And the hotel provides beach/water shoes free of charge to avoid all the guests ending up with painful urchin bites in their feet. If you, as an adult, like to be entertained there are also plenty of activities to join. From biking to the Coconut prison and the fish factory early in the morning, to surf yoga or Vietnamese lantern making (something we did do!).
Legend goes that the spot where the hotel is build now, there once was a French University, Lamarck University, named after the famous french naturalist Jean Baptiste Lamarck. Everything in the hotel is designed to undersign this wonderful theme. There even is an athletic track and a soccer field with a guests/home scoreboard located in the middle of the resort. The spa is heavenly, we each had 4 great massages (there is a buy 1 get 1 free deal). All therapists were just fantastic. Of course if you compare the prices to the rest of the islands resorts and restaurants available at the moment, they are relatively high. But the price matches the quality in my opinion. The people are very friendly and helpful, although there is a slight communication problem as the staff’s english is not that good.
All in all, the entire hotel is really beautifully designed. If you like this kind of design, because it is quite over the top. But we just embraced, and loved, it!
Bamboo Cottages restaurant
Address: Cura Can, Phu Quoc
The Spice House at Cassia Cottage
Address: Tran Hung Dao, Duong To, Phu Quoc
The Pepper Tree at La Veranda
Dinh Cau Night Market Phu Quoc
As Phu Quoc is a tropical island the weather is good and warm year round. However, summers in Phu Quoc can get very hot and humid. So the best time to visit is December – April/May.