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Phu Quoc Island

Getting out of Vietnam was easier than getting in. The biggest problem we had, was that the person taking us over the border only had a $100 bill and they were having difficulty changing it for smaller denomination notes so that they could take their cut before passing us on to the Cambodian driver on the other side (who needed $25 each from the $100 bill for the visas). Eventually it got sorted and the visas were issued fairly quickly after that. Going to Vietnam and getting a new Cambodian visa on the way back - rather than extending our existing ones - saved us enough money to pay for nearly all the transport costs in getting to and from the island.

We ended up spending only seven nights on Phu Quoc but that was plenty enough time to experience and enjoy what it had to offer.

We stayed the first night in the main town, Duang Dong, then moved to a bungalow on Long Beach (the main and most easily accessible beach on the island) for two nights. Long Beach is a stunning 5km stretch of sand but, due to the season and prevalent winds, the sea was incredibly rough and not much fun to swim in.

Above: Long Beach. The noise of the waves crashing in was nearly loud enough to keep us awake at night.

Above: Long Beach. The noise of the waves crashing in was nearly loud enough to keep us awake at night.

After two nights we decided to move back to some cheaper accommodation in town. We had read that the best way to see the island was to rent a moto (moped) so that's what we did for a few days. The traffic wasn't too crazy (the roads were a different matter) and we found it an excellent way to get around and to search out some of the more remote beaches.

On the first day, we headed North in search of a beach called Cua Can. We ended up on some fairly rough dirt tracks and found ourselves in small, remote fishing villages in what felt like the middle of nowhere. Thankfully, the locals did not seem to object to our being there.

When we got to Cua Can, it wasn't much to look at so we carried on for a short while and came across another long stretch of sand that was completely deserted except for two local guys fishing off the rocks. We worked out from our map that it was Vung Bau beach - still on the West of the island so the sea was still fairly rough but we managed to have a swim. Whilst swimming, a large bird of prey - probably a eagle - appeared in the sky and, as we watched it, it moved towards us as if to check us out. It must have had a wingspan of at least five feet and interesting markings on its wings.

Above: Vung Bau beach. There are no signs of tourism (or even any buildings) whatsoever and we had the beach all to ourselves.

Above: Vung Bau beach. There are no signs of tourism (or even any buildings) whatsoever and we had the beach all to ourselves.

Here is a link to a picture of the beach taken in January. You can see how different the sea conditions are.

Above: A picturesque corner of Vung Bau beach.

Above: A picturesque corner of Vung Bau beach.

Above: The 'jungle' dirt tracks that we had to negotiate to find the isolated beaches.

Above: The 'jungle' dirt tracks that we had to negotiate to find the isolated beaches.

On our second day with the bike, we decided to go to a beach on the South-East coast that we had read and heard was beautiful. It was around a 35km journey over varying grades of road surface; sometimes tarmac, sometimes gravel and other times, massively pot-holed sandy tracks.

It took a tiring one and a half hours to get there and the journey was a pain in the backside (literally!) but as soon as we clapped our eyes on the beach, we knew it had been worth it. It had threatened to rain during the ride down but the sun managed to win through eventually and we spent a wonderful afternoon in the most amazing setting.

Bai Sao (Sao Beach) is easily the most stunning beach either of us has ever seen; very fine, pure white sand and clear, flat, turquiose sea. The sea conditions were a complete contrast to the rough waves on the West coast. Apparently, so we were told, this beach is listed as one of the world's top ten. It wasn't completeley untouched by tourism but due to its remote location, it still retained a sense of isolation.

Above: Beautiful Bao Soa, Phu Quoc Island.

Above: Beautiful Bao Soa, Phu Quoc Island.

Above: Taking a picture of ourselves at Bao Sao!

Above: Taking a picture of ourselves at Bao Sao!

The next day, we couldn't really be bothered to go anywhere after the long ride to Bao Sao, but we still had the bike and felt we should utilise it, so, we decided to head inland to visit a local stream and waterfall called Dan Ban. It didn't take long to get there but it wasn't much to look at. Whilst we were there, a huge rainstorm broke out which made the ride back a bit more interesting. Teresa decided to get off at a particularly slippy and rocky part of the track at which point a local came by and offered her a lift. The guy was clearly more experienced on these roads and in the conditions and the lift was gratefully accepted.

Above: Dan Ban stream. It seemed like a popular place for locals to spend a day out eating and drinking.

Above: Dan Ban stream. It seemed like a popular place for locals to spend a day out eating and drinking.

Above: Locals cooking fish at Dan Ban stream.

Above: Locals cooking fish at Dan Ban stream.

Above: Dan Ban stream once the heavens had opened.

Above: Dan Ban stream once the heavens had opened.

We generally spent most of our evenings at the Night Market in town. The market consists of many restaurants serving all manner of seafood. Of particular interest were the sea-urchins. We didn't go there, but the scallops were plentiful, excellent value and delicious.

Above: Seafood at the Night Market, Duang Dong.

Above: Seafood at the Night Market, Duang Dong.

Above: Teresa trying to blend in!

Above: Teresa trying to blend in!

Above: The fishing harbour in Duang Dong.

Above: The fishing harbour in Duang Dong.

Posted by Rivercity 04:47 Archived in Vietnam

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Comments

Looks amazing, especially Bao Sao! Great photos & nice hat Teresa :-)

by Imogen

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