Phu Quoc island is my last stop in Vietnam! I’ve spent 5 days on this island. I came here without any expectations as I had heard mixed reviews about this place. Some people loved it, some hated it, some thought it was so-so. I realized I’d have to come here and find out for myself. I am certainly glad I did. The major part of this island is still a forest, a lot of areas still have just dirt roads and there are so many beaches, some good but some really dirty. Phu Quoc has real potential to be a stunning island. If the smaller beaches were cleaned up, if the national park had some hiking trails and if there was a road by the coast throughout the island it would be perfect. As it stands, there’s more focus on building resorts which means that more trees/forests will be felled. This is obviously needed for the island to grow but it has to be contained, I just hope somebody who matters knows when to stop.
So anyways, of the 5 days on the island, I spent about 3 days just relaxing. I stayed in a really good hostel with loads of hammocks and a beach just 2 minute walk away and I made the most of both these arrangements.
On other days, I took a tour for the south part of the islands. We visited pearl farms, fish sauce factory (which smelled disgusting but I managed not to throw up!), pepper farm (where we tasted delicious mangoes sprinkled with fresh ground peppers mixed with different spices), coconut prison (where the US army used to hold and torture the Viet Cong), a pagoda and the beautiful Sao beach. Each stop was short but it was still interesting to learn a little about each.
Another day I went with some Canadians on a bike ride to the northern part of the island. This was so much fun! The path we took didn’t have much of a road a lot of the times, it was mostly just dirt roads and then we hit some really tricky spots where it felt like an off-roading experience but on a scooter! It was just incredible. I had to hold on to the bike with both hands, trying my best not to fly off my bike and somehow I found it super funny and I could not stop laughing, may be it was just the nerves. lol Bits of it were scary too, like when we had to ride our bike on a bridge made of bamboos and a couple of these came loose! Stephan coined this ride as ‘Tandem Off-roading’ 😀
One (other) thing I really I really liked about this island is the people. They were very friendly. One evening I went to a restaurant (it was just tables put up on a massive patio and the family cooking for customers) and I was sitting by myself waiting for my food and this group of locals on another table asked me to join them. We had a nice conversation and they insisted on buying me dinner and drinks! I’ve had a local man walking up to me in a restaurant simply to say hi and to welcome me to his country. It’s always very comforting to know that there are people who are genuinely nice without wanting anything in return. I’m glad I visited Phu Quoc!