Vietnam! Phu Quoc Island & Vinh Long


Our journey over the border to Phu Quoc Island was a long one. After a boring bus ride and time consuming border crossing, we bought what we thought was a “fast boat ticket”, but ended up on some falling apart, old rickety thing that took 4 uncomfortable hours! It was all worth it though.

Phu Quoc isn’t your standard backpacker destination, with parts of the island dominated by upmarket resorts, however there are still many hidden gems left to be explored and enjoyed off the tourist trail. We were a little worried on arrival about the room prices; some were quoting up to $150 per night, so for us (who are used to paying around $5) this was extortionate. After many failed searches we managed to find a brand new hotel for $15, our most expensive so far, yet a bargain in the area and it was fantastic!

We decided to explore the island by moto in search for a quiet beach. We thought it would be easy to navigate; i.e follow the coastline, but it wasn’t this straightforward and we ended up in the far east rather than our desired destination of the north! We therefore scrapped the northern idea and headed south where the roads were much easier to follow! This was a great decision as we found ourselves upon a corker of a beach! The journey was really interesting (if a bit bumpy) as the dirt roads forced us around rocks, puddles and cows. Our backs were in agony by the end of it! The dust was extreme. On arrival back at the hotel, we found the hotel owner laughing as Lucy took her sunglasses off to reveal the worst “reverse panda” eyes you could ever see! It took three showers to get rid of it all!

Another relaxing beach episode!

We left Phu Quoc (this time ensuring we were on the fast boat) in search of a town on the Mekong Delta, en route to Saigon. We decided to stay in a small riverside town called Vinh Long. The bus journey there was really cool, travelling alongside and over many little waterways, rice and fish farms, and towns throughout the delta. After spending so much of our trip moving along the Mekong river, through Laos into Cambodia, we wanted to see it at it’s mouth. We were really glad that we chose to stay in Vinh Long, as it was such an incredible place and we were the only westerners in sight. The best part was the town square; during the day countless kites are flown by the town’s children and the night attracts the entire community. Families gather to play badminton or keepy upies, movies are played on a big screen and many gather to watch the teenage generation breakdance. These guys were brilliant, we sat and watched in awe as they produced moves you only see in music videos! The community spirit of the place was just amazing and it had such a happy buzz that made you feel part of something special.

The next day we went on a boat to the “floating market” which was a complete let down as by the time we arrived there were only 3 boats selling pumpkins… not quite the colourful, bustly spectacle we were expecting! The journey wasn’t all bad however as we did get to see how rice paper and the local “coconut candy” is made, follwed by a trip to a bonsai farm and a bee farm.

It was a great couple of days but it was time to move on to the great city of the south…..