Phu Quoc Island a new hotspot for South Korean travelers

By Bich Phuong   June 21, 2024 | 10:00 pm PT
South Korean tourists refer to Phu Quoc as a tropical escape due to its budget-friendly charm and diverse activities beyond the beach.

Park Woo Sung, a South Korean blogger, shared his experiences traveling across Vietnam, including Phu Quoc Island.

He observed that Phu Quoc started gaining popularity among South Korean tourists 7-8 years ago, when it began receiving reviews on Naver, South Korea's leading search engine. Back then, Da Nang was more favored over Phu Quoc.

By the end of 2022, Phu Quoc became a hot keyword on South Korean social media and travel groups due to direct flights from Seoul.

On Naver, information about Phu Quoc is available, including weather data, exchange rates, visa requirements, booking tips, and suggestions for dining and entertainment spots.

Woo Sung and his friends favor Phu Quoc for its affordability, fresh seafood, and resorts offering relaxing amenities like massages and mud baths.

Bãi Sao ở Phú Quốc. Ảnh: SG

A view of Bai Sao Beach in Phu Quoc. Photo by SG

Woo pointed out that South Korean beaches are only enjoyable in summer (late June to August) due to cold water in other months, limiting beach activities.

"In Phu Quoc, the sea water is warm enough to swim at any time, and there are more diverse activities like coral diving, squid fishing, parasailing, and canoeing," Woo said.

Shim Jun Hyeong, who visited Vietnam late last year, noted Phu Quoc was frequently hailed as a paradise in South Korean social media reviews. He mentioned South Koreans also prefer coastal destinations like Da Nang and Hoi An in Vietnam.

Mango Fairy, a Naver blogger with 16,000 followers, described Phu Quoc as the "Maldives of Vietnam," emphasizing its villas with sea-view pools that offer superior service and value.

While Da Nang and Ha Long Bay enjoy greater international renown, Phu Quoc has equally pristine beaches and 4–5-star resorts with private beaches.

Recognizing South Korean tourists as a key market, many businesses on the island cater extensively to this demographic.

Jun Gyu Eom, Director of Sales and Communications at Pullman Phu Quoc Resort, said that South Korean visitors consistently rank among the top three foreign groups since direct flights from Seoul to Phu Quoc commenced in June 2022.

Soobin của nhóm nhạc nam Hàn Quốc Tomorrow X Together tại đảo Phú Quốc, Việt Nam trong dịp nghỉ Tết Nguyên đán. Ảnh: Instagram/Soobin

Soobin from the South Korean boy band Tomorrow X Together on Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam, during the Lunar New Year holiday. Photo courtesy of Instagram/Soobin

According to Jun, late September to mid-May is the peak season for South Korean tourists visiting Phu Quoc. The resort records that South Korean tourists account for up to 70% of total room bookings.

"South Korean tourists tend to spend significantly at our resort, averaging from VND15 million to 20 million ($589 to $785) per person for a 4-day, 3-night stay", said a representative from the Pullman Phu Quoc

Jun noted that the resort customizes menus to cater to South Korean tourists' love for seafood, aiming to attract and retain this clientele through word-of-mouth recommendations.

"This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the business," Jun said.

Nguyen Vu Khac Huy, Vice President of the Kien Giang Tourism Association, noted that South Korean tourists often prefer high-end resorts with private beaches and golfing.

They usually travel in family groups, with friends, or as couples, often booking exclusive services such as private hotel rooms and tailored island exploration packages, with an average stay of five days.

According to the Kien Giang Department of Tourism, in the first four months of the year, the province welcomed nearly 220,000 South Korean tourists, a 165% increase from the same period in 2023.

Data from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism shows that in the first five months of the year, South Korea remained Vietnam's largest tourist market, with over 1.9 million arrivals, making up about 52% of the total in 2023.

For the entire year of 2023, Vietnam received nearly 3.6 million tourists from South Korea, topping the list of international visitors.

Truong Cong Tam, President of the Professional Tour Guide Association of Phu Quoc, noted the island's rising popularity among international tourists, especially from South Korea.

Daily flights from South Korea to Phu Quoc doubled from May to July compared to the previous year, highlighting its growing importance as a key market alongside Taiwan and India.

go to top