Phú Quốc is a Vietnamese island situated in the Gulf of Thailand between the southern coasts of Vietnam and Cambodia. Its’s known for its white sandy beaches and hotel resorts. Over half of the island is national park.
We arrived in Phu Quoc late in the night after a long days riding. After a bit of searching back and forth and help from the resort, we found our (hidden) accomodation down a dirt track backroad. Ninila Fruit Farm bungalows unexpectedly gave us a free upgrade to a pool side villa and as we walked to our villa we could see the other huts, the pool and the communal lounge area all beautifully lit up in the night, we knew we would like it here, our home for the next week. Soon after we settled in, we set up a mozzie net over our bed, had a couple of cans of beer on the balcony, then passed out exhausted. What a day!
The next morning, through exhaustion, we had a fairly late start and wandered over to the resort restaurant around 11.00 a.m. where we took in the sights of the resort and had a leisurely breakfast.
We then jumped on our bikes and headed to a petrol station to fill up our tanks after our long ride from Can Tho the day before. It was a scorching hot day so we decided to ride to the south of the island and cool down in the breeze our bikes gave us. The roads on the island are good for the most-part, with very few potholes.
We rode through Duong Dong village and past the night market site, then on to the resort-lined Long Beach. We continued to ride down the coast and turned inland past a surprisingly huge international airport that looked remarkably modern. It was then a left turn up the coast and then right towards what we thought was a secret seculuded beach, but sadly it turned out to be all industrial so we did a U-turn and headed towards a more popular beach.
We took a quick pit-stop to buy a few beers and snacks before parking up at Bai Sao beach, where we found sun loungers and chilled out, watching the world pass by and dipping in and out of the sea for the next few hours. The beach has striking white sand and is lined with palm trees, however it’s a pretty popular spot and is also lined with restaurants so it was full of tourists – not as peaceful as we were hoping. The beach was also full of litter, sadly the one thing the Vietnamese are still not good at is litter control. However, our time at the beach was very enjoyable – the water was very shallow and warm for around 50 metres out to sea. I took a stroll along the beach and saw a local man get into a coracle (local circular boat) and row out to a larger boat at sea using a zig zag motion, it kept the boat steady and was more of a steering as the tide took him out.
After the beach we rode up to Phu Quoc Prison where we walked through an exhibition of artefacts and then through large barbed wire walls to the inner prison huts. The prison was built in 1949-1950 by the French colonists to jail those considered specially dangerous to the colonist government. Many of the high ranking leaders of Vietnam were detained here. We learnt about the barbaric ways the prisoners were held and the war crimes that were committed, very gruesome.
After visiting the prison we headed down to the south market town, back up past airport and different way in to Duong Dong. We decided to save some money and stock up on a crate of beer (rather than pay the resort prices all week) so we did a few loops around and rode up to the old air strip where we saw Zoe – from Zoe’s secret plan, who we follow on Instagram, riding in the opposite direction, what a coincidence! Sadly we were staying at other ends of the island and didn’t meet up for drinks in the end. We then saw a shop and bought a crate of beer and some crisps and found a fruit stall across the road where we stocked up on bananas, oranges and watermelon… A healthy balance, right?
We rode home and unpacked our load, then headed straight out to dinner on Eddies bike (me riding pillion) to a local BBQ restaurant where we dined on grilled aubergine, vegetables, beef and red snapper, washed down with red wine for me and beer for Eddie.
Before it got too dark we rode home back down the tricky mud track. We sat in the hotel bar and drank gin and tonics and spoke with other guests, listening to their journeys and sharing our adventures. The resort had two Phu Quoc Ridgebacks (apparently a very rare and expensive breed) that we befriended, such cuties!
Full days route here: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1272857694
The rest of our time in Phu Quoc was spent lounging by the resort pool, a few more trips around the island and eating some fantastic restaurants where we had some really great chats with other travellers – including a night at a German restaurant where we met three Americans who’s local bar (Hockey Haven) was a favourite of Andy, Janice and Eddies when they visited San Fancisco – that was a really fun night chatting with them! That same night a little kitty cat needed our help protecting it from a large dog – we ended up letting it in our villa and it stayed with us for two nights as we cared and fed it. When we left the resort staff thought it would be happy staying with them.