Day 62. After spending so much time in cities and mountains I decided it’s time to relax and recharge my batteries at the beach. I had quite high expectations about Phú Quốc because the pictures I saw were pretty stunning. My excitement was crushed quickly though, but first things first.
Instead of just taking a flight I thought I’d book a bus and a ferry to go from Saigon to the island, even though it was not a lot cheaper. I thought it might be an interesting ride where I’d also see a lot more of the landscape in between the two places.
It wasn’t necessarily a bad decision but after the first few hours on the bus, the road became extremely bumpy. Also, I booked a night bus, so seeing something outside wasn’t an option and sleeping was very difficult.
Around 5am in the morning we arrived in the harbor town of Hà Tiên and the sunrise there was indeed amazing and at least made up a bit for the bad sleep.
Sunrise in Ha Tien
After a short breakfast, I hopped on the ferry and immediately fell asleep. I guess I couldn’t wait to get a proper bed haha. I didn’t realize anything from the trip and only woke up again when we arrived at the island.
Hopping on the ferry in Ha Tien
As most hostels were located on the western side of Phú Quốc and the ferry docked on the east side I still had to get a taxi to bring me to my destination.
Finally, though, I was able to get some more (much needed) sleep and was looking forward to relaxing on the beach!
Day one here was not overwhelming. I played a bit of billiards and had a swim in the hostel’s pool. The day after I ventured out to explore the area.
Buddhist Temple by the beach
I walked along the beach to a Buddhist temple surrounded by cliffs, strolled around the town’s night market and took a swim in the sea.
Overall, Phú Quốc seemed not to bad at first. However, there were some things that heavily turned me off:
There’s quite a lot of tourists around. It’s not a bad thing per se, I simply prefer more untouched, local places.
Hotels stomping out everywhere. It’s getting very noisy all day long and probably gonna be a resort-only-island soon.
Roaring party music. It was like every hostel was pretending to be a nightclub. I’d rather have a calm place to sleep and a bar nearby.
Trashed beaches. It’s not the worst I’ve ever seen, but still very sad to see beautiful places crammed with plastic.
Hotel at the beach
I heard other people say they were told about 5 years ago that you better go now because in a few years time the island is gonna be packed with tourists and hotels. I guess I just experienced that happening now.
There are still nice spots around though. If you move a bit more outside the central area it’s gonna be a lot more relaxing and the sunsets surely don’t disappoint.
And apparently the island still has its charm also for locals, I witnessed a wedding with some cheesy shots by the beach. Super cute!
Beautiful sunset in Phú Quốc
Wedding at the beach
I can’t write too much about any experiences here as I was mostly relaxing and jumping into pools.
However, there’s one story: I booked a snorkeling tour. Nothing fancy. Just boating out to deep sea and watching some coral reefs. Not the best spot I’ve ever been to, but it was still cool and awesome food was served on deck. Anyways, this meant I was exposed to sun the whole time. Dumb me, as usual, didn’t put sunscreen on. Instead, I went straight to the beach after the tour and fell asleep in the burning sun. No good. When I woke up I realized that my whole body was pretty warm and already burned a bit in some areas. Checking my body in the mirror I looked like a crab with a stupid looking white patch from my swimming shorts. Ugh, my skin is going to peel off in coming days and it’s gonna hurt like hell.
EDIT: now, two months later I can still see the edges of my “tan” 😂
You learn from your mistakes. Not only should I put sunscreen on more often, but next time I’d take the air-route to reach the island. It took me days to recover from the bumpy road at night. Fortunately, I still managed to make my stay in Phu Quoc worthwhile and I think I’d go again.
I’m flying back to Hanoi now to do more stuff in the north. Let’s go 🙌🏻