Phu Quoc's quiet dirt roads are a great place to get your motor runnin' and ying ying ying all over the island. Motorbike rental for 1 day costs 200,000 VND and can be arranged at any hotel front desk or from the motorbike taxi lads themselves at the airport.
Heading north along the west coast of the island, roads of thick red dust connect villages set along salty inlets crowded with small fishing boats. You'll first come to the beach area of Ong Lang, which hosts a small clutch of resorts and services along a quiet stretch of sand; a small turnoff from the main road takes you there. Continuing north, follow long stretches of open beach lined with fish and squid out to dry on large bamboo mats. There are lots of opportunities along the way for complete seclusion. The coastal road reaches Gan Dau, a small town of busy nuoc mam (fish sauce) factories. Note: Don't buy bottles of nuoc mam as souvenirs; the pungent sauce is banned from Vietnam Airlines and virtually all flights out of the country! Farther out on the peninsula area, you'll find a few local hangout spots with hammocks under shade trees by the beach.
From Gan Dau, you can turn inland and make a long clockwise loop. It's 13km (8 miles) along jungle road to the town of Rach Vieu, and another 6km (3 3/4 miles) east brings you to the Suai Cai Crossroad. From there you can go 13km (8 miles) to the beaches of Bai Thom (a military base on the far north end of the island), or even get motocross for the long trip down the treacherous trails on the island's east side; most take the short loop inland, some 16km (10 miles) heading back to Duong Dong town.
Going south from central Duong Dong town, toward the An Thoi Port area on the far southern tip of the island, are a few attractions. The west coast road is unpaved and bumpy, but far more interesting than the paved central road (though that's a good way to head back to your hotel).
Along the coast, Phu Quoc Pearl Farm (Duong To Village, 10km/6 1/4 miles south on the western coastal road, Tran Hung Dao; tel. 091/399-3201) is a relaxed roadside stop overlooking a long stretch of open beach along the dusty coastal road, as well as a small museum with good explanations about the complex process of pearl farming and a very high-end boutique with some very unique colored and clear pearls in fine gold and silver settings. Stop here if you're heading to Sao Beach (Bai Sao) in the far south.
Nha Tu Phu Quoc is the old jail where the French housed Vietnamese dissidents. The sight is just an enclosed field with old fallen-down sheet metal Quonset huts, but there is a little adjoining museum with some photos and information (daily 7-11:30am and 1:30-4pm).
The town of An Thoi in the far south is little more than a turnaround point, a busy little port worth a wander, though.
One-day boat trips from Phu Quoc to the An Thoi Archipelago off the southern tip of the island are fun. Saigontourist runs regular junkets to this chain of 15 small islands and islets surrounded by deep blue waters, and every hotel works with the same boat-trip consolidators to arrange the $15 all-day tour, which includes a lunch and snorkeling gear rental.
Saigon Phu Quoc Resort also runs evening squid fishing trips. You're sure to see the lights of squid fishermen far out on the horizon each evening; it looks like a small city out there at certain times of year. The tour leaves at 4:30pm and you motor out to join the large fleet. Fishermen catch squid by attracting them with a light and hooking them near the surface, a fun and playful jigging technique. Kids love it.
Not far from the ferry terminal of An Thoi, some 25km (16 miles) south of central Dong Duong town, lies beautiful Khem Beach, a long white-sand stretch lined with palms and with some actual pounding surf. On clear days, it's great for snorkeling. The beach is still free of the developers' shovels, which means no resorts (yet). You'll just spot a few lazy beachside sugar shacks with low tables under umbrellas and lots of hammocks in the shade where you can sip a cool drink, order lunch, and watch the day go by. It's a popular beach for domestic tourists, though, so it gets pretty crowded on the weekends.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.