The Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc is a hit amongst tourists with many flocking to its sun-drenched beaches and fantastic cuisine. Whether you’re looking to get off the beaten path and discover the hidden gems or just want to relax and enjoy the blissful sunsets on the white-sand beaches, Phu Quoc has you covered.
Situated in the Gulf of Thailand around 45km from the Vietnamese mainland, Phu Quoc packs a lot of adventure and excitement into its small teardrop-shaped island. The island is brimming with natural beauty with hiking trails and national parks bordered by white-sand beaches and glistening blue water.
Let’s not forget, this fascinating and peaceful retreat is still an island and offers some immense diving! Scuba diving Phu Quoc offers warm, crystal clear blue waters and unrivalled amounts of species of tropical fish and other marine life. You’ll never get bored with discovering new vibrant soft coral and beautiful colored fish. You’ll also find far fewer crowds than some of Thailand’s popular islands.
As if the postcard-worthy beaches with soft white sand and lush green palm trees aren’t enough, Phu Quoc offers a range of fascinating dive sites ensuring you’ll get the most out of your island retreat. Here are some of our favorite bits!
Southeast Asia is famous not only for its beautiful beaches and waters, but the incredible value for money you can get, and that definitely extends into their diving.
Many divers come here from other parts of Asia and Australia to complete their open water certification as it’s highly regarded as the best place to do so. Many backpackers and travelers opt to dive here too in order to save money.
Its remote island location leads it to be so peaceful and untouched.
That’s not the only reason we love its location, though! Phu Quoc sits amongst the action in the Gulf of Thailand, near Koh Chang, and offers some incredible diving spectacles not to be missed on any trip to Southeast Asia.
Diverse Marine Life
If you’re a bit of a marine biology geek, or just like pretty colorful fish, you’ll fall in love beneath the surface of the crystal clear waters of Pattaya. The warm waters attract an abundance of beautiful, vibrant marine life that’s sure to please the eyes.
Phu Quoc Scuba Certification
In general, you aren’t required to be certified in order to scuba dive on Phu Quoc. In fact, there are many tour operators that cater to those of all levels of ability, no issue for a first-time diver. There are plenty of beginner-friendly and easily accessible dive sites to get your flippers wet for the first time.
Having said that, it’s always recommended to get scuba certified to give yourself the best, most enjoyable diving experience possible. While you’ll have a great time scuba diving Phu Quoc as a first-time diver, there’s a lot you can miss out on without the extra confidence and diving experience, such as the more challenging cave dives and wrecks.
In addition, becoming scuba certified will help you feel more comfortable and confident underwater. This leads to maximum enjoyment and safety from your diving experience and something worth considering.
Phu Quoc Scuba Diving Requirements
Phu Quoc doesn’t have any specific laws or regulations with regards to diving. As always, tour operators state that you must be in good physical condition and have some swimming ability. Children must be at least 10 years old to scuba dive with a tour operator.
With that said, it’s always highly recommended to have a dive buddy when you’re out scuba diving in the waters of Phu Quoc, as it is anywhere else. This is particularly the case if you’re out diving without a tour operator or guide. In this situation, it’s also good practice to make use of diver down flags.
Best Sites for Scuba Diving Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc offers plenty in the way of a luxury island getaway, with many bucket list items available to tick off here. Diving is one of its best traits, too. Here are some of our favorite Phu Quoc dive sites.
An Thoi Islands
The An Thoi Islands form part of the Phu Quoc archipelago some 45 km off Vietnam’s south coast. The area is growing rapidly as a go-to destination for divers, particularly from October until April, when the visibility and sea conditions are at their peak.
Although the coral has been bleached and marine life depleted, there is still much to commend the An Thoi Islands. It’s a great place to learn to dive and become PADI or SSI certified and is now a marine park.
The big draw here is the quota-free deep-sea fishing that’s permitted, so you may wish to join the local spearfishermen and catch your supper.
As there are no sharks or other big fish, diving the An Thoi Islands is extraordinarily safe. However, visibility is not the best. It’s often down to five meters or less.
If this sounds ideal to you, be sure to check out our recommended experience below!
Vung Bau Beach
Generally speaking, the northern end of Phu Quoc has better diving spots than the south. Visibility is better at eight meters, and the underwater topography more interesting. You can also dive in the northern waters year-round.
Vung Bau Beach is one of the two primary diving hubs in the north. Alternatively referred to as Fingernail Island, it is becoming popular with divers from all around the world as a shallow reef surrounds it. It ranges in depth from one metre to 10 metres.
Many people come here to train and enjoy the hard corals and small marine life that inhabit the area. Unfortunately, a pier construction has damaged some of the coral, but it’s still a great fun dive in this southeast Asian paradise.
To avoid any confusion, there are two Fingernail Islands. One in the south in the An Thoi archipelago, and this one in the north.
Check out our recommended experience below, this one is not to be missed on any diving trip to Phu Quoc.
Also known locally as Hon Doi Moi, Turtle Island is the other northern diving spot to take in on your Phu Quoc (pronounced ‘Foo Kwoo-uck’) trip.
Getting out to Turtle Island like Fingernail Island takes around an hour by boat, making them more accessible than the An Thoi Islands.
When we say ‘island’, this coral-encircled islet is just 50 metres end-to-end. You can dive the reef here from pretty much anywhere. It starts at half a metre deep and reaches a maximum depth of 12 metres. The sweet spot is somewhere around five metres.
The best diving is on the southeast of the island at a spot called Trystan’s Trench. Here you will find a variety of colorful anemones and fish.
Check out our recommended experience below for more details!
Best Time to go Diving in Phu Quoc
What’s more, Phu Quoc truly is a tropical island paradise and features great diving conditions year-round with consistent water temperatures hovering at around 83 – 87°F. The crystal clear waters will also treat you to brilliant visibility.
With that said, the most popular time to visit is between the months of November-April. This is typically the dry season when the skies are blue, the water is very calm and visibility is at its best.
Diving aside, you may want to avoid the rainy season from May-October. You’ll still find sunny dry periods but you may find your vacation interrupted by frequent downpours at this time of year.
How Much Does Scuba Diving Cost in Phu Quoc?
If you’re looking at booking an experience through a tour company on Phu Quoc, you’ll find prices between $80-$120. The price includes gear rental so there are no extra fees.
In addition, a PADI Open Water Certification will set you back around $450, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Scuba Diving Gear in Phu Quoc
There are plenty of dive shops situated on the blissful Utopia of Phu Quoc so renting equipment for your dives is an option.
It’s worth noting, you’re left with one less thing to think about when going with a guided tour operator as all equipment and gear are included.
However, buying your own gear might be ideal for you if you’re a more keen and experienced diver!
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