Phu Quoc island - True paradise
Jan 8, 2005
|We hadn't heard a lot about Phu Quoc island as it is not on the backpacker trail through Vietnam but this was exactly the reason why we knew that it would be a good place to relax. Attempting to book a night's accommodation from Saigon had proved to be difficult as the only places we'd heard of were either fully booked or quoting a ludicrous rate which would have wiped out our budget for a few months! Kiran had finally found a place called Mango Bay and had spoken to the Aussie owner who was supposedly on the same flight as us from Saigon.
Boarding a small propeller plane at Saigon airport, we looked around us in the hope of spotting anyone that may have resembled our impression of the Aussie owner. We had to give up as our attention was soon diverted by the relatively turbulent flight.
Arriving at Phu Quoc airport, we still could not see him or the sign with his name that he claimed would be present. Refusing to take this as a bad omen, we jumped into a taxi and headed towards Mango Bay. The driver turned into a dirt track and continued to drive along an extremely bumpy track. Traveling has obviously had a calming affect on us as rather than panic we conjured up memories of our trip to Ko Yao.
The Mango Bay resort was stunning...a handful of large, tastefully decorated bungalows with hammocks and comfy chairs scattered all over the place. The restaurant served as much tasty seafood as you could eat and was the best place from which to watch the sun set. The beach directly in front of the bungalows was rocky but surrounded by white sand on either side....and best of all, it was far away from Long Beach where all the other resorts were located.
We quickly fell into a relaxed rhythm of reading, swimming, playing with the cute puppy and drinking fresh fruit shakes throughout the day, venturing towards the restaurant in time for sun set and to chat to the other guests over drinks and dinner. The variety of people staying at the resort and the friendly Vietnamese staff, eager to practice their English and teach us Vietnamese in return, ensured that no evening was dull.
After a few days of relaxing on the island, we decided to walk along the beach towards Long Beach to at least see what the other resorts were like. We were told it would be a pleasant walk along the beach for an hour. It must have been an Asian hour as an hour and half later we were still walking, with nothing resembling a tourist resort in sight. We had already clambered over large rocks, waded through litter and past a fishing village where it was clearly time for a toilet break en mass as the children squatted along the beach with a scrap of toilet paper in one hand....anything but pleasant!
Obtaining a multitude of hand gestures for directions from the villagers, we made our way past the small shacks, a smelly fish sauce factory and through a market to finally hop on two bikes towards Long Beach. We stopped for lunch, exhausted and extremely hot. Looking around us at the multitudes of resorts and sunbathers, we were only too happy to return to the sanctuary of Mango Bay.
That was the end of our adventures...it was just easier to stay in the hammock!!
Although it was only a week on the island, time seemed to have stood still and we are now fully recharged and ready for Cambodia and Angkor Wat in particular.