We had planned on spending a day in Can Tho before heading to Phu Quoc, but seeing as this was impossible, we ended up getting to Phu Quoc a day earlier than planned, which was not a bad thing at all. Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam and lies extremely close to Cambodia.
We arrived in Phu Quoc around 6:00PM after a short flight from Saigon. Our first night we stayed at a brand new hotel that was closer to the city center than to the nicer beach areas but seeing as it was Tet we were just happy to have a place to crash. We spent that night walking the beach trying to find a cheaper place to stay and fortunately stumbled upon a place called Amigo's that had 3 open rooms for the 6 of us to all crash in. Amigo's was right in the center of Long Beach, the main beach for hotels in Phu Quoc. We were lucky to get this place at only $40 a night because all of the other places around us were upwards of $200 a night due to the holiday.
The following day we met Julie and Quinn at Amigo's and spent the day relaxing by the ocean and taking in the sun. We had had heard that the best way to explore the island was to hop on a scooter and explore the island, so that is exactly what we did. To rent a moped for the day was only $6 (plus gas) and could take you to beaches that have been untouched by civilization. Our second day in Phu Quoc we decided to head to the southern tip of the island to Sao beach. The trek there was a bit dangerous. The roads were 80% unpaved and we would be dodging rocks, pot holes, cows, chickens, sand, bridges, crazy Vietnamese moped drivers, basically it really wasn't a safe idea, but it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Stopping on a red dirt road for a herd of cows to cross the street was something I never thought I would experience, but it was a fairly common occurrence in our two days of mopedding.
We took the inland route to Sao beach but opted for the ocean route on the way home. Both were incredible in their own ways. Inland was a bit more crowded and dangerous. There were tons of families travelling around the island for Tet so we would see families of 4-5 all on one moped, and then you would have the guys driving all alone weaving in and out, I was nearly hit on a couple of occasions by scooters coming from the opposite direction. The beach route was beautiful. It was kilometer after kilometer of untouched beach were we could have just stopped and hopped in the perfectly white ocean at any time. It was truly amazing. Here are some pictures from the South.
On our way back from Sao beach, we made a stop at a little town called An Thoi. We were the only white people to be seen in this poor fishing town but we weren't really being stared at. I would get stares even in Beijing, but not here it was pretty bizarre. Anyhow, we were all starving and had yet to have Pho the entire time we had been in Vietnam, so we decided to grab some street Pho. It was amazing, the best meal I had in Vietnam. We also found some time to do a bit of wandering before it got to dark to drive back considering none of us could figure out how to turn on our headlights.
That night was Tet, so we went to the local night market to grab some dinner and watch the fireworks.
posted by Sam Schofield
all photos by Chris Bailey