Our day actually started in Hoi Ann. We had a pick-up for the airport arranged at the travel agent by our hotel to get us to Danang. When we arrived the travel agent was asleep at his desk and the airport pick-up was nowhere to be found. We were not overly concerned because we had left ourselves lots of extra time to make the flight and we understand that 1:00 pm can be anytime between 12:45 am and 1:30 pm. After 30 minutes the travel agent woke up and noticed we were still there and should not have been. He made a few phone calls and we were picked up by a private car and taken to the airport. We got the 250,000 VND private ride for the 90,000 VND price we had paid for the group van pick-up. We still made the plane with time to spare. We flew from Danag which is a bigger city with a beach and amusement park.
Danang airport is modern but small. We flew on Jetstar Pacific who have a reputation for late and cancelled flights but ours were both on time and we had no issues. The flight was from Donang to Ho Chi Min City and then from Ho Chi Min City to Phu Quoc. As with other cheap Asian airlines Jetstar charges for your bags on each flight even when you have connecting flights on one ticket. They also charge much more if you do not pay in advance so make sure you add the bags and pay for them when you buy the tickets or when you check in on line. The flights are cheap but they charge for everything including coffee and water.
Phu Quac is the largest island in Vietnam and it’s closer to Cambodia than it is to Vietnam. What started as an island of fishing villages became home to the largest prison camp in Vietnam between 1953 and 1973 housing 40,000 in 1973. In 1975 the Khmer Rouge took over the island but Vietnam recaptured it. The island is now officially part of Vietnam but it still remains a bone of contention between the two counties. There is a lot of tourist development going on…go now before it’s all resorts!
We arrived in Phu Quoc at 8:30 pm with our bags and took a metered taxi to the hotel for 100, 000 VND. We stayed at Huong Giang Bungalow outside Duong Dong the room was very basic but it had a little porch and a hammock with a garden view and the showers were good. We paid $140 US for five nights. Pho Quoc is expensive. Our hut looked out onto the garden which featured several resident chickens and a very cute puppy who was obviously well looked after. He was having a wonderful time chasing the chickens. He would also run into the huts if the doors were open and grab anything that looked interesting. At one point we had to rescue Harold’s underwear from the puppy. That’s what he gets for leaving it on the floor!
Pho Quoc is developing fast. Our little bungalow out of town was one of the areas which still had small hotels and restaurants on the beach. The erosion here is not as bad as it is outside Hoi Ann but it’s gets worse the closer you get to Duong Dong and many of the fancy hotels go all the way to the water. This forces the locals and even tourists not staying on the beach to hang out in abandoned lots along the beach.
We started our day by walking down the beach to town. Its about 3.5 km and you can get about half way there before you run out of beach and have to go up to the street.
Our walking tour continued out to the local harbor which has many fishing boats.
There was a local market and a lady selling food right in the middle of the main bridge!
We visited the night market which was just getting started at 4:00 pm and found some great coconut buns with butter on top for 10,000 VND.
We also discovered their most excellent cookies later in the trip. Most of their baking was coconut based so it was hard to go wrong.
As with everywhere in Vietnam there were various brides taking wedding pictures along the beach.
There are lots of restaurants with great looking fresh seafood of all types. We ate at Jo Jo’s BBQ on the beach. The curry was great.
Today was a travel booking day. We booked a snorkeling trip with Red River Tours and transportation to Can Ton for $27 US each. You can do it for $22 each with the local bus but it takes much longer: 2.5 hours on a boat and 3 hours on a bus vs. 1.5 hours on a boat and 45 minutes on a bus. So we spent the extra $5 each.