Phu Quoc Island

I promise I will be writing about the Mekong Delta and my time in Saigon soon, but for now I’m going to shove Phu Quoc in your faces. Because I’m here right now and it makes sense.
Phu Quoc is sort of up and coming as far as small, Southeast Asian islands go. While the Long Beach area around Duong Dong on the southwest coast is already buzzing with tourist life, the rest of the island remains peaceful and empty, with guesthouses only now starting to appear in some areas.

I started off at Ong Lang beach, where tourism is so new that our road had no name and our taxi driver had no idea where to take us. Tropical Garden Homestay, who provided us with comfortable beds, good breakfasts and obligatory free wifi, was only built a month ago.
Ong Lang has a handful of places to stay now- all brand new and still smelling of fresh paint. You can stay on the main, quiet beach, or walk a kilometre up the road and find one that is completely deserted. Right now it’s Vietnamese winter, so we’re frolicking in 34 degrees Celsius of burning sunshine and making the most of the ridiculously clear, calm sea.
Floundering loons, Evie and Millie
There’s not a lot of life this far up the western coast of the island, but we did find a shisha bar called Midori which served fantastic noodles and sat right next door to a little shop that seemed to only sell booze and suncream. So fear not, everything you need is clearly accessible.
Moving down to Duong Dong has placed us near a tremendous amount more bars, restaurants and wandering beach-based masseuses, but compared to the peace of Ong Lang it almost feels disappointingly European. There are leathery western retirees sprinkled around the beach, and armies of sun beds in most directions.
Waving, not drowning!
There are boat trips galore that you can take to explore all the beaches of the island, spending a day circumnavigating Phu Quoc and eating barbecue food until you explode. I hope the quieter, unmolested parts of the island stay that way and retain their Vietnam-y-ness, as it would be a shame for a place with so much natural beauty to be completely lost to nail bars and pizza joints.
If you’re bored of sunning yourself on the beach, you can take a trip to Phu Quoc prison and check out the old torture devices- a fun day for all the family!- or do some bargain hunting at the night market in the centre of Duong Dong. But really what you want to do is wait on the beach for nightfall, and try to catch a glimpse of some of the bioluminescent plankton that fills the waters around the island.
Credit for this last photo goes to Phu Quoc Island Guide… Because a) an iPhone camera couldn’t do justice to that stuff even if it wanted to and b) I went down to the shore after drinking homemade rums from the infamous Coco Bar, and it’s just for the best if none of the photos I came up with end up on this relatively family-friendly blog.

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