Where: Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
How to get there: Border Crossing from Kep, Cambodia then Ferry from Ha Tien
Where we stayed: Ninila Fruit Farm Bungalows
There is plenty to do on Phu Quoc – or you can do nothing. If you want to do more than lie by the pool, we suggest:
- heading to the Beach – we like Ong Lang. Good picnic areas, relatively clean, not too many people. We ‘swam’ (floated) in the sea for ages
- heading out to sea – we went snorkeling. There were quite a few boats out there, and there was plenty of rubbish on the sea floor BUT it was great to be able to see a different aspect of Phu Quoc. Plus you can see the huge hotel developments under way
- checking out the Night Markets – don’t go too early. We ended up being there before everything was open. By the time we left at 7.30pm it was starting to liven up. Plenty of places to have a good seafood meal. Tourist prices.
- eat fresh BBQ seafood – we ended up at Noname BBQ several times – the food was ultra fresh and delicious, and you have to be quick as they ran out of some things early. This place is very busy, so get there early. Once you have had your BBQ (of if you can’t get in) head to Venus bar a couple of doors down – good food and they brew their own tasty beer.
Phu Quoc Island was a lovely surprise. While we have been to Vietnam several times, we had never made it to Phu Quoc. We were excited, although a bit nervous as our last ‘hotel’ (more about that experience in a later post) had advised us it was a good time to be heading to Phu Quoc as there was a week-long dance party about to kick off – with thousands of people. I suspect our wee group of seven – with a 10 and 15 year old – were probably not the target market for said party. We were hoping for a quiet time relaxing – and we were not disappointed at all.
Border Crossing from Cambodia to Vietnam
After two weeks in Cambodia we made the trek across the border on New Years Eve. We booked a bus from Kep right through to the ferry at Ha Tien. When I say bus, what actually turned up was a mini van. We were happy with the van – until we realised that our party of seven were not the last ones to be collected. Once we added several more bodies – and packs into the mix it was a snug journey to the border.
The border crossing itself was fairly straightforward. Passports get checked as you leave Cambodia. You fill in forms to enter Vietnam, pay a small fee, and hop in the van on the other side. Except this van appeared smaller, so we were really jammed in this time. All part of the adventure – and for $10 – well, you can’t really complain.
Getting to Phu Quoc
The difference between Cambodia and Vietnam is immediately noticeable. The roads are wider, there are fewer potholes, there is more traffic. To get to Phu Quoc we took the ferry from Ha Tien to Phu Quoc. They run regularly and you can buy your tickets in Ha Tien. The ferry to pho quoc from Ha Tien to Phu Quoc was super efficient, cheap, departed on time – so no complaints from us. Everyone received a bottle of water and a wet wipe, plus a comfy seat – a nice added touch.
We had arranged for our hotel to pick us up from the ferry. Really good pick up, although we did appear to drive around in circles for a good half hour while the other three people in the van checked out potential hotels to stay at!
We eventually arrived at our hotel Ninila Fruit Farm. What a delight. Great service. Fabulous pool. Great staff. We loved it. Breakfast was included in the price and include fresh fruit, eggs, baguette, cereal…and the list goes on. Oh, and really good wi-fi throughout.
It was close enough to Ong Lang beach and a small village for our intrepid explorers to wander in search of excitement and dinner options. It was also quiet enough for those of us (that would be me) who fancied parking up by the pool and reading. We were regularly joined at the pool by some cows meandering through and ‘mowing’ the lawns. A wonderful small hotel that is well worth the visit. Did I mention they do a mean cocktail? Happy hour every day – our favourite was the passionfruit mojito – delicious.
10 minutes walk away is a small village with several restaurants – serving fresh seafood bbq’s – pick of the bunch was Noname BBQ. Venus Bar a couple of doors down also brew their own tasty beer. There are also a couple of convenience stores and the ubiquitous massage places. On our last day our advance party of explorers found a great spot for lunch – delicious food and a cold beer. We then thought we would venture out for dinner – after talking to some of the other guests about good local places we ordered a cab to set off for the recommended restaurant – only to find we were delivered to the exact place we had had lunch! Well – at least we knew the food was going to be good. Best of all you can choose what you want to be cooked on the BBQ and they cook it right in front of you. Fantastic.
Phu Quoc – Thumbs up or down?
We definitely recommend Phu Quoc. It is a beautiful place with lots to do or you can do nothing. A word of caution though – there is lots of development going on. There appear to be giant hotel complexes, with adventure parks, being built right along the coastline. Recommend visiting sooner rather than later.