Phu Quoc Island Snorkeling Tour Review
Not everyone wants to scuba dive and, to be honest, Phu Quoc is not a great diving destination. Phu Quoc, however, is a great snorkeling destination as the reefs surrounding the island archipelago are easily accessible and it is an activity that can be enjoyed by everyone at any time, even if you do not know how to swim.
Typical Phu Quoc Snorkeling Itinerary:
- Pickup at 8:30am by van from your hotel/resort. Depending on how large the group is, you may be transferred to a larger bus.
- On the way to An Thoi and before reaching the port, your tour operator may take you to a pearl farm/store for 30minutes. Please note that these tour operators make a commission if you buy something.
- At around 10-10:30am, you will leave the pearl farm/store and drive down to An Thoi Port.
- You will board the boat at around 11am or so. The boat has a seating area on the lower and upper deck. If you want to tan, stay on the upper deck. The lower deck is equipped with long benches and tables for those who love to read, listen to music or enjoy some snacks.
- Once you have disembarked, the first stop in the An Thoi archipelago is of a floating fish market to buy sea urchins. This is a great opportunity to view how aquaculture is done in the ocean.
- After the urchins have been purchased you will then go fishing. Tourists will receive some plastic coil fish reels and squid as bait. Most of the fish you catch will be quite small.
- You will then snorkel at the various spots in the An Thoi archipelago set by your captain.
- Lunch and fruit is served at around 1pm. Cooked sea urchins are extra.
- After lunch, you will go to Hon Dua Islet (Coconut Island) for sight seeing and swimming. If you want to step foot off the boat and onto the island there is a taxi boat that will take you at a cost of 10,000VND. After this stop over your captain will take you back to An Thoi Town.
- Once you reach An Thoi Port, you are drive to Sao beach. You will stay at Sao beach for 1 hour.
- Finally you head back to your resort at around 3:30pm
Duration of the tour: 8:30am to 4:30pm
Cost: Varies depending on the tour operator; from $14USD to $20USD per person
Lunch: Tuna + Tofu + Egg + Vegetables + Noodle with Seafood + Potato Soup + Rice. Sea urchin, lobster and other “premium” seafood will be extra.
**The lunch varies but usually includes a soup, rice, noodles, fried egg, and some vegetables. Water is free but soft drinks and beer are extra (approximately 20,000VND to 30,000VND). If you want to try the urchin, the urchins will cost you anywhere between 20,000VND to 50,000VND per piece depending on which tour you go on. The urchins are BBQ’ed with oil, onion, and peanuts (Cau gai nuong mo hanh ).
What you should know and the snorkeling tour agencies will not tell you:
- There is a good chance that you will be taken to a pearl farm/store, even though there is no mention of it on any website (except us) or brochure. The intent is that you buy something so that the tour agencies get a commission.
- It will take you about 2 hours to get to An Thoi port from Duong Dong Town/North Long Beach.
- If you are prone to sea sickness, please bring the appropriate medication with you.
- In the sea surrounding the An Thoi archipelago you will see a lot of plastic garbage floating around. The snorkeling spots will also have scattered garbage floating around.
- The fishing here is not the greatest and the tour agencies do not give you Deep Sea Fishing gear. They give you plastic reels with some line. Bring your own gear with you if you have it. If you do not have it and want to purchase your own rod and reel, you can pick one up at Duong Dong Town on 30 dang 4 street near the dental clinic as there is a fishing store there.
- If you are a seasoned snorkeler, don’t expect to see vibrant coral here. Global warming, dynamite fishing, and algal blooms have all taken their toll on the reef system here.
- After snorkeling, you drive to Bai Sao Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Vietnam. Although you may be tired from the snorkeling and driving, this beach will take your breath away. If you still have some energy left, you can rent a jetski for 20 minutes right from the beach.
What are the alternative ways to experience snorkeling at the An Thoi archipelago?
There are 2 alternatives to have a better experience at the An Thoi archipelago:
- Join a scuba dive expedition and go snorkeling;
- Do it yourself
1) Snorkeling with a scuba dive operator ($35USD to $45USD per person)
- leave at 7am come back at 4pm
- Snorkel spots vary and it depends on where they are going diving.
- Some spots include: Hon Dan Ngang, Hon Doi, Ho Kim Guy, Da Chong, Bai Boi, Ngoc Trai, Ky Lan, and others.
2) Do it yourself – How to charter your own boat to snorkel the An Thoi Islands:
- Ideally you should read our Snorkeling Guide To Phu Quoc first.
- Make your way to An Thoi port independently, either by a motorbike or by taxi. It will take you about 40minute to get you to An Thoi Port from Duong Dong Town. The roads are all well paved and the directions are really easy – just go south towards the new airport, make a left on the road that takes you to the airport then pass the airport until you reach a roundabout, and then make a right. Then follow that road all the way to An Thoi Town proper. Once you are in An Thoi, and you know you are there because you will see the ocean in front of you, ,make a right on Nguyen Troung Road (you cannot go straight as the road will take you to a restricted naval base) and then follow the road until you reach An Thoi Port. You know when you have reached the port when you see a lot of street side fish vendors and a large new white building. To get pass the port gate, you need o pay 5,000VND. Park your motorbike (10,000VND per day) and grab your gear.
- Once at the port, go to the pier and ask the people standing around the boats that you want to rent a boat to go snorkeling. There are many fisherman that will take you and the cost is about 300,000VND to 500,000VND depending on where you want to go and for how long. All the prices are of course negotiable. If you want seafood cooked for you, then that will be extra.
- The boats are very slow, so in order to maximize your snorkeling experience tell the boat owner that you want to go to Hon Dua, Hon Thom, Hon Roi, Hon Dam Ngoi, and Hon Dam Trong islands in that order. These islands are not that far from An Thoi Port. If the weather/current is not favorable, the fishermen may not want to take you to some of these islets. Snorkeling around these 5 islets will take you about 5 hours, including the the time to get there. All the fishermen know the spot as there is a good chance that they use to fish there. Once you are finished, the fishermen will take you back to An Thoi Port. You will pay him once you have arrived at the port. A tip is not required. You can now either head back your hotel/resort or explore An Thoi Town and the beaches near by.
Duration: If you get to An Thoi Port by 9:00am you should be back to your hotel/resort by 3:00pm to 4:00pm unless you plan on staying longer in An Thoi.
You can charter a boat to the deep south of An Thoi for 3,000,000VN by contacting this gut: Chu Tam: 01677563235.
We like our “Do it yourself” tour of the An Thoi archipelago over the organized tour because we spent more time out at sea and at our own pace. However we know that this option is not for everyone.
Did you forget to pack your snorkel and mask?
If you did not pack your snorkel mask and fin you can purchase basic gear from the numerous shops around Duong Dong Town and Long Beach Village. If you are looking for a higher quality mask and snorkel, they can be purchased at the various dive shops found along the main tourist strip.
- Cost for a basic plastic snorkel set: 100,000VND to 200,000VND
- Cost for an advanced snorkeling set (tempered glass): 600,000VND and up.