Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Phu Quoc Island

 Duong Dong Harbour 

 Duong Dong Market

 Lunch time! 

 Looking down to the market 

 Dried fish for sale
 Meat vendor

 Seafood at the night market 
 Fresh tuna bbq'd in foil 
 Long beach

 Mrytle flower 
 Special "Sim" wine
 Fishing village

 Temple in the south of the island

 Views from the temple
Sao beach

 Fish sauce factory
 'Coconut Tree' war prison

We arrived in Vietnam last Sunday, on the last day of our Cambodian visa, after another long and uncomfortable bus ride. We were sad to say goodbye to Cambodia and it's beautiful beaches, but we are so excited to explore what Vietnam has to offer.

After crossing the border at the Vietnamese town of Ha Tien, we took the ferry crossing to Phu Quoc island, which is actually closer in distance to Cambodia, but is part of Vietnam. When we stayed in Kep in Cambodia, we could see Phu Quoc island from the coastline. The island has undergone massive development in the last few years, and new hotels are popping up everywhere, with more being built everyday.

Unfortunately, this means that the tropical paradise that may have once existed here, is now being taken over by huge characterless hotels and resorts. Like most of the countries we have visited in SE Asia, waste management is an issue, and as a result there is a lot of garbage hanging around the river and beaches. It is really sad to see such beauty go to waste.

We stayed in the centre of the main town of the island, Duong Dong, which is where the touristy night market and busy day market are located. The day market is a completely authentic Vietnamese market, where you can buy anything from live geese and chickens, to dried fish and prawns. It is also filled to the brim with fresh fish, brought in by the local fisherman, and descaled and prepared for selling by the fish vendors. The atmosphere of the market is chaotic and lively, with mostly only locals shopping there.

Though Phu Quoc island is not our favourite place we have visited on our trip, our time here was not completely wasted. Our favourite thing about the town is that we have many local restaurants close by serving good, cheap Vietnamese food.  We have been eating a lot of noodle soups and Banh Mi pork sandwiches, and most of our meals are less than $3 for the two of us.

We also did a tour of the southern part of the island, where we visited different tourist attractions, such as the pearl farm and pepper plantation. We were very disappointed with the presentations made at both of these places, and we felt that these attractions were not worth visiting. Our tour guide however was really friendly and told us more information about the island than any of the places we visited. We also got to visit another beach, Sao beach, which is smaller and quieter than the Long Beach closer to town. The sand was beautiful white and the water was clear and warm, but sadly there was also a lot of rubbish on the beach here too.

Now we are back on the mainland, in a city called Chau Doc, where we will be starting our journey through the Mekong delta.

Thanks for reading,
Hannah xx

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