Phu Quoc Island

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Time for a change of scenery, this time we opted for an un-developed Island very close to the coast of Cambodia but actually belonging to Vietnam; Phu Quoc is relatively new to tourism and is renowned for it’s bad roads. Vietnams famously smelly fish sauce “Nuc Mom” is produced on the island, Pearls are farmed here and there’s also a couple of pepper plantations.

The flight to Phu Quoc was onboard a Vietnamese Airlines tiny prop plane…..fine once you’re up in the air but the take off and landing are a bit of a nerve tester!!

We stayed on Long Beach at “The Beach Club”, excellent accomodation run by a Brit and for $30 a night we thought it was a bargain. The day we arrived there was a storm brewing and by 6pm the heavens had opened and the sea in front of our bungalow turned choppy, the sea churned up all kinds of crap so there was no way we fancied swimming in it the next day, it’s not the prettiest of beaches to begin with.

On day two we hired a scooter and took the road inland and then south to find Bai Sao beach, from what we’d  about it the beach was the best on the island; apart from the beach next to it which is strictly “off limits”, the military patrol the beach there to keep an eye on the Cambodians who apparently have ideas of their own about taking over the Island. The journey south was OK at first until the paved road turned into a dusty red one and then a grey rocky one, we honestly couldn’t ever imagine finding worse roads than the Monsoon ravaged Goa ones, but Phu Quoc beats them to it hands down!!! The scenery wasn’t really too impressive to be honest but once we reached Bai Sao we soon changed our minds. The beach is picture perfect, pure white sands, the clearest water, palm trees and lush vegetation…….absolutely glorious!!

We parked ourselves under a palm tree until it got too hot and we decided to have a swim, we bobbed about in the beautiful clean water for ages and only managed to drag ourselves out and back onto the beach when we got hungry. We had a nice lunch in a beachside restaurant then snoozed under our palm tree but had to tear ourselves away before dusk, those dusty, rocky roads are also un-lit and the prospect of driving in the dark didn’t appeal to us. We took a different route back to The Beach Club along the coastal road, the scenery was lovely but the road was even worse than before and it looked like rain was on the cards, not ideal driving conditions. We we’re lucky with the weather and the dark clouds soon dispersed but the red dust didn’t and the big trucks and buses seemed to revel in the fact that they could cover you in the stuff. We stopped off at a place called “Wings” that had been recommended on Trip Advisor, it’s a small family run Restaurant situated next to the busy road, the owners have been really enterprising and have pinched a bit of beach across the other side of the road to make a seating / eating area with hammocks and a couple of deck chairs. The food wasn’t the best but it was OK and the family were lovely, bringing stuff back and forth across the dusty road from their kitchen to our beachside table.

We spent the next day exploring the main town of Duong Dong which was quite interesting, the lighthouse overlooking the town and harbour seems to be the place where the locals hang out so is a great place for people watching. We spent the evening at the night market in the town, the market was made up of stalls selling either pearls, plastic shoes or food; we overlooked the pearls and shoes and went straight for the food, tonight we ate beef hotpot which is basically a wok containing stock brought to your table on a gas burner, the raw ingredients are laid out on plates and you cook it yourself adding as little or much sesoning etc as you like…..it was delicious!!

After spending three days on the island we’d seen enough so arranged to change our flight at the Vietnam Airlines office in town, we get the feeling that this happens quite a lot because when we told the staff at Beach Club that we’d be checking out early they asked “Don’t you like the island?”, it wasn’t that we didn’t like it, it was more the fact that we wanted to get back to Thailand and spend another few days on a nice beach away from the dust.

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