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Is Phu Quoc a Good Place to Live As a Digital Nomad?

Ah, Vietnam.

This popular backpacker destination has become a popular digital nomad destination in recent years. Spots like Danang, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hanoi already have digital nomad communities and infrastructure.

But we love #islandlife and became curious about Phu Quoc as a digital nomad destination. So we stayed on the island for about two weeks while working online.

And now I am here to help you answer the question, Is Phu Quoc a good place to live as a digital nomad??

Pedestrian in Phu Quoc
I think this photo makes Phu Quoc look cuter (and more pedestrian-friendly) than it actually is

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Digital Nomad Community: 0/5

Luke and I did not meet (or see) any other digital nomads while in Phu Quoc. I tried posting on one of the Phu Quoc expat Facebook groups to see if there was anyone out there who wanted to meet up and didn’t get any responses from other digital nomads.

There does appear to be a healthy community of expats living on the island, though (I think they are involved in the tourism sector — maybe diving…? I’m not sure). I think they are mainly living in the Ong Lang beach area and Luke and I didn’t see anything by the way of workspaces in that area to justify staying there versus Long Beach.

Star fish underwater and girl above water at Starfish beach in Phu Quoc
Out here being lone star[fish]

WIFI and workspaces: 3/5

You won’t find a lot of resources online to consult on good work spots on Phu Quoc so we just had to drive around and see what we could find. We did find a few good cafes and WIFI was fine for working on this island.

There were no coworking spaces, so I would recommend making sure you can work from home if needed.

Air-conditioned digital nomad cafes in Phu Quoc

The Embassy

This was the only “Bali style” cafe we could find. It has lots of natural light and trendy (and kinda pricy) drink and small plate options. The tables weren’t great for working and the place was poppin most of the times we went there — it might be weird to work there if they get really busy which seems likely…Sorry I forgot to get a screenshot of the WIFI speed here!

Inside the Embassy Phu Quoc digital nomad cafe
Sourced from The Embassy’s Facebook page

Tarapaca Cafe

We really liked this spot for work even though it was a bit dark in the back. It was very comfortable for working and there were other people sitting on laptops so we never felt weird. However, there are no food options here — just drinks — so we had to leave when we wanted to eat.

Inside Tarapaca Cafe in Phu Quoc where we worked as digital nomads

Screenshot of wifi speeds in Tarapaca cafe in Phu Quoc

Anba Coffee

We never actually worked here but did go inside to check it out. They have indoor and outdoor seating options, some food on the menu, and even a dedicated ‘work room’ with aircon and no music which is a major plus. However, if I remember correctly, their hours are very short – they closed pretty early in the afternoon.

Anba cafe in Phu Quoc outside area
The outdoor seating area in Anba Cafe, but they have an air-conditioned inside area too. Sourced from their Facebook page

24 Coffee & Tea

We went here a few times and really enjoyed it as a work spot. They have multiple floors, it’s super quiet (no music) and it wasn’t too busy to make it weird to be sitting around working there. In fact, it was pretty empty the times we were there. Plus, they have nice views on some floors and lots of good light. Do note: they don’t serve food!

Inside 24 Coffee & Tea on Phu Quoc
Sourced from their Facebook page

Screenshot of wifi speeds in 24 Coffee and Tea in Phu Quoc

Cost of living: 3/5

Like most islands, prices were overall inflated when compared to the mainland.

Compared to Hanoi, it was much harder to find affordable local food options (that were also delicious). In fact, we felt like the food on the island was pretty mediocre no matter the price point.

We opted for a hotel room for a week while deciding what we wanted to do next. We stayed at the OYO 509 Ngoc Thao Phu Quoc Hotel and it was fine but we got way better value for our money in Hanoi and Danang.

Potential Phu Quoc digital nomad accommodations to check out:

Sleep Box Hostel Phu Quoc- This place is very cute and well located. They have private rooms. We almost stayed here but they were booked out. I think it would be a good first spot while looking for something longer-term.

Seana Apartments Phu Quoc – This apartment complex has a gym and pool included. They have different types of rooms available (1br, 2br etc.). Google them for more photos of the inside — for some reason, they don’t have any on Agoda.

Michelia Homes – They have a few standalone homes/bungalows that look new and shiny. They were out of our price range but look great for a longterm stay on Phu Quoc.

John House – ($40 off your first Airbnb stay) We almost stayed here but I think chose something farther south because I can’t drive a motorbike.

And if all else fails, I recommend posting on the Phu Quoc Facebook groups saying you’re looking for long term accommodation with good wifi. We did this and got some helpful responses:

Locals, Expats & Visitors on Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc Expats & Locals @ Social Society

Activities and social life: 2/5

I thought the vibe on Phu Quoc was sort of weird to be honest. The island seemed really crowded with Russian families on holiday. We were there in early January, so this might have just been because people were coming off their winter holidays and we were staying in the tourist center of the island. But yeah…it was just a weird vibe IMO.

The main draw is definitely the beaches. We road-tripped to a few – Sao Beach and Starfish Beach – and had gorgeous beach days at both. If you go to Starfish Beach, PLEASE DON’T TAKE THE STARFISH OUT OF THE WATER. (Here’s why.) Thanks.

Foot selfie at the beach in Phu Quoc
Relaxing at Starfish Beach

Reportedly the snorkeling and diving scene is also good off the coast though we didn’t partake in either while we were there.

There seemed to be a lively scene of backpacker hostels/bars if nightlife is your thing. And we snuck in (by accident actually) to the island’s music festival EPIZODE. I think if we had wanted to, we could’ve met some cool folks there more our age and stage.

Salvadore Dali elephants at Epizode music festival on Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Sunset at Epizode

Do consider that a motorbike is a necessity here. Everything is very spread out and the island isn’t pedestrianized at all – you really need a vehicle to go out and about.

The consensus: Should you live in Phu Quoc as a digital nomad?

TOTAL: 8/20

Phu Quoc has some of the stirrings of being a good digital nomad base (mainly a few air-conditioned cafes with good WIFI) but overall might be best visited as a holiday destination while based in another Vietnamese digital nomad hub like Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Hoi An, or Hanoi.

For me, the island is lacking in coworking/coliving environments and a sense of community. I think the way it’s laid out with a very long, very busy highway running parallel to the coast and main tourist area of Long Beach perpetuates this lack of community feeling. It reminds me of my hometown of Atlanta in that you just have to drive everywhere and this can be isolating.

Digital nomad posing on rock in Sao Beach in Phu Quoc
King of the world at Sao Beach

Phu Quoc does have some really beautiful beaches though and I think a bit of a party scene going on with the Epizode festival and backpacker bars that would, to me, make it more interesting as a long weekend trip or something.


Check out my other posts…

 

Is Koh Tao a good place to live as a digital nomad?

Is Sri Lanka a good place to live as a digital nomad?

Is Phu Quoc a Good Place to Live As a Digital Nomad?
Is Phu Quoc a Good Place to Live As a Digital Nomad?
Is Phu Quoc a Good Place to Live As a Digital Nomad?

3 comments

  1. Jose says:

    This post about Vietnam is so timely in the middle of the pandemic, because Vietnam has arguably done the best job at keeping coronavirus at bay. Just as you got a shout-out on that blog about travel writers, Vietnam recently got a shout-out on CNN for its innovative measures like targeted quarantines instead of lockdowns and excellent contact tracing. In fact, they have registered no deaths from COVID-19, which is hard to believe but I suppose CNN vetted their data. So community or no community, I’d rather be in phu quoc!

    BTW, I like that picture of the starfish, with you hanging out just above. Now, who is the real ‘star’? 😉

    • Jose says:

      Hey Mishvo, I mixed up your reference in Thrillist with your recent post about the six travel bloggers. I don’t know what I was thinking, I suppose I was thinking of your pic by the RV with another blogger and recalled that as the shout-out. Tried to fix the comment but I don’t think you can. Sorry about that!

      • mishvo says:

        Hi Jose,
        Yes Vietnam has done an outstanding job during the pandemic! I wish I had ended up stuck there to be honest. Haha thank you re the picture! I was proud of that one.

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