Welcome to the most hidden gem of Vietnam! Have you ever recalled yourself thinking “I wish to be lounging on a fringed palm light coloured sand charming and relaxing tropical Island? That Island is Phu Quoc. Home to less than 100.000 people and covering an area of 574 sqkm, you can rest assured to find your own little paradise corner here!
OK, maybe is not as stunning as the Maldives, but if you are planning a trip to Vietnam and would like to include some serious sunbathing into your holiday you have to come here! As I watched through the ferry boat window while approaching to the docking area I was welcomed by a gorgeous deserted strip of fringed palm and golden sand (Vong Beach) that immediately put a smile on my face as well as awakening that inner sense of discovery that I suppose is still largely present in most human beings behaviour..
Off we go on the mainland where shuttle buses take you to your hotel destination for around 50.000d. (Ferries from Rach Gia reaches the Vong Bao dock in 2.5 hours, it costs 350.000d,but book at least one day in advance as they may get full in peak season)
Our hotel, the Thai Tan Tien Resort, is located on the “crowdiest” beach of the Island (later I will show you what it means “crowdy” beach in Phu Quoc!) called Long Beach, as it stretches south for a few kilometers from the main town of Duong Dong. We found it through bookings for 30$/night considering that it comes with its own private beach and we are very happy with it. Each bungalow has wi-fi, a private balcony, a minibar, a mosquito net over the bed, a private bathroom and a small table. Amongst the resort services you can have your laundry done within the day for 30.000d/kilo, rent motorbikes for 150.000d a day or book a daily tour for about 20$.
Breakfast is included and is served in the beach hotel restaurant. Don’t expect a great deal on that but the view balances that out…
Oh, being Long Beach settled on the western side of the island you can enjoy a gorgeous sunset too around 5.30pm….we are absolutely mind blown!
Duong Dong town
The main town in the Island is just a few kilometers north from our resort which can be a great commodity as the rest of the island is not very much developed.
We had a stroll around the town on our second day and we actually found that it can be a fairly busy place that can well reflect the buzz in the main land.
The calm river cuts across the town and if you walk over the bridge on the left hand side you will find a very busy local market where you can feel the conservative and yet communal side of the vietnamese
And yes, we found out that Vietnamese get married any day of the week! Congratulations!
One of the highlights of Duong Dong is surely the night market, opened from 5pm to midnight, in the town centre. Here you can get your souvenirs and have a good value for money sit down meal. Great grilled fish and soups are very tasty.
If you feel like having a good coffee and cake to complete your meal try the Buddy Ice Cream, located just at the end of the market, they not only serve the best ice creams but they host a well of information on the island. It’s a traveller’s modern cafes with free internet and a helpful staff. Good to keep in mind!
Taxis are always around when you need them, so not worry if you stay outside Duong Dong area! We were told the cheapest meter taxi company is called Phu Quoc..
Lounge, Lounge and …..Lounge!
Good Morning World!
Welcome to Long Beach in Phu Quoc. This morning we enjoyed a long walk along our beach coastline, realizing how quiet it can be despite being considered the busiest strip of beach on the island.
Today we have decided to explore a bit more of the island and its wild deserted beaches that we’ve heard of on the book guides..the best way to do it is indeed by renting a motorbike and just wander off…for 150.000d you can have one for a whole day and if you ask for a detailed map at the hotel all you need is a towel and some sun protection cream!
There are only a few roads that cut through the island, with other coastal or connecting tracks covered on red dust, ideal for a jeep but with a bit of caution you can ride along with a moped too!
We headed north of Duong Dong on the main road and turned left in Cua Can village, to follow a dusty coastal road along Vung Bau Beach. It was fun to ride through what is a far from developed area, coming across strips of beaches left at their wildest and enjoy the tropical landscape with only a few other human being encounterings, it gave us a sense of immense freedom! There are only a couple of resorts in Vung Bau, everything else is just nature and some dotted huts inhabited by the locals..
An Thoi Archipelago
On our last day we took a tour to visit the An Thoi Islands, off the southern tip of Phu Quoc. They are almost all deserted and apparently the only way to visit them is by joining of of the fishing and snorkelling tours offered by most of the hotels.This is so fascinating!
The tour is $25 dollars per person for a full day including a generous vietnamese lunch on the boat. The young tour guide was fun and open to questions. We understood that Phu Quoc has been well noticed by major investors and they will soon turn the southern part of the island into an upmarket holiday destination by 2020…Driving on the way to the An Thoi port we could actually have a vague perception on the level of work that its getting done in order to transform Phu Quoc…which means saying goodbye soon to wild beaches and scattered huts….I feel lucky that we had the chance to enjoy the rural side of Phu Quoc this year!
On the same road we stopped to visit the Ngoc Hien Pearl Factory, the only true pearl workshop in the island that is supervised by Japanese experts that control the cultivation of pearl. Other factories unfortunately sell counterfeit pearls, so please keep this in mind! At the workshop we learnt that a the value of a pearl is based on it perfect round shape, rarity in colour and shines and it is not easy to have this combination even in a pearl farm, let alone find a good pearl in the sea…
I am not a jewellery shopper but I have to admit that I found the whole thing very fascinating..and I wasn’t going to buy anything until the lady at the counter mentioned “present for mum?” in her primitive english…that was it!
The island tour was fun and very relaxing at the same time, as we lounged on the top boat deck chairs on a hot sunny day, here are some hints of the islands and its locals…
On the way back we were taken to visit beautiful white sanded Sao Beach, which is said to be the most attractive beach on the island, on the south eastern side. Oh, what a wonderful day!
We are really sad to leave all this beauty behind, if I can give you an advice I would say don’t rush in here, allow to treat your body and mind for at least a week in Paradise!
On our next move we will be heading to Hoi An, the Unesco World Heritage ancient town that survived the Vietnam wars..stay tuned with us!