Phu Quoc on a tight budget

BANGKOK, 26 June 2019: Flights and hotel rates at Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island, one of the country’s leading beach destinations, remain competitive for the upcoming peak season starting November.

We checked out the fares and hotel deals for a week on Phu Quoc Island in November flying from gateway cities Singapore and Bangkok. The holiday cost was slightly cheaper from Bangkok due to direct flights on Bangkok Airways.

As for the island’s hotels, offers a rate of USD225 at the five-star Salinda Resort on Ong Lang beach, while the five-star Seashells Phu Quoc on the popular Duong Dong bay sells at USD114 a night.

Both are superior deals to what the four-star Dusit Princess Moonrise resort offers with its best rate on Agoda pegged at USD249. But in the end, we don’t spend our holiday in a hotel room so we opted Agoda’s best deal at USD34 a night in a three-star resort.

Travellers who like Duong Dong bay can enjoy the bargain rate of USD34 at the three-star Arcadia Phu Quoc and it includes breakfast.

Travellers visiting Phu Quoc save on visa fees too. As long as you fly direct to the airport and are not intending to travel to mainland Vietnam, the island visit is visa-free.

Definitely, one of Vietnam’s most popular beach destinations for international travellers it is also a port of call for cruise ships plying between Singapore and Hong Kong.

For travellers flying via the Singapore gateway, unfortunately, there are no direct services. You have to fly via Ho Chi Minh City on Vietnam Airlines or Kuala Lumpur if you book with AirAsia.

From Singapore, with a change of plane in Kuala Lumpur AirAsia will get you to Phu Quoc in four hours and 35 minutes either way. The flight departs from Singapore at 1000 and gets you to Phu Quoc Island at 1335 for a roundtrip fare of USD229.

That’s the cheapest, beating Vietjet that quotes a roundtrip fare of USD297. The flight departs Singapore at 1655 and there’s a change of plane in Ho Chi Minh City. Unfortunately, you arrive on the island 15 hours later at 0710 on the following morning.  The return flight is even worse taking 22 hours to get you back to Singapore. The flight departs at 1620 and you land at Changi at 1600 but on the following day.

Vietnam Airlines does much better flying you end-to-end in five hours and 35 minutes including a change of plane in Ho Chi Minh City and seven hours and 15 minutes on the return leg. The roundtrip fare costs USD233 with the departure from Singapore at 1335 and the return flight leaving Phu Quoc at 1050.

Based on the AirAsia deal out of Singapore, flights and a three-star hotel with breakfast for seven nights on Phu Quoc will set you back USD467 excluding, taxis meals and drinks.

The Bangkok gateway (Suvarnabhumi airport) is more convenient due to Bangkok Airways serving the route with a direct flight. The roundtrip fare quoted for November hovers around USD209.

The flight departs Bangkok at 1120 and gets you on Phu Quoc Island at 1310. Flight time is one hour and 50 minutes.

Vietnam Airlines has a codeshare agreement that allows it to sell seats on the PG flight but the customers lose out as they will have to pay USD396 for the same flight sold at USD209 to PG passengers. Not sure how the airlines justify that sales ruse, which kind of challenges the value of codeshare deals from a passenger’s perspective.

Out of Bangkok, Vietjet even with its low-cost credentials just doesn’t compete with a fare of USD313 and a change of plane in Ho Chi Minh City.  The travel time tells you that at 11 hours on the outbound leg and seven hours on the return there are better flight options to Phu Quoc Island.

The cheapest seven-night trip (flights plus three-star hotel with breakfasts) flying from Bangkok will cost around USD447. Not the cheapest beach holiday in the world but definitely trending.