Asia | South East Asia | Vietnam – Week Two – Phu Quoc Island
Watch out Easy Jet, Vietnam airlines are just as cheap and you even get a complimentary drink! For just $32 (18 pounds), and an hour in the sky, we were transported from the pollution of Saigon to Phu Quoc, a tropical island off the south coast of Vietnam, close to the Cambodian border. Ringed by dazzling white beaches, and warm azure seas, its probably one of the few undeveloped islands in South East Asia. However development is on its way. There is already a cluster of hotels and bungalows on the west coast, and supposedly licenses for 30 more hotels have been granted. Rumour has it officials in Hanoi have high hopes for the island predicting it could be the next Singapore due to it being the same size and shape. Cant quite see it myself, Singapore is only what it is due to its location. I think the rumours are a classic case of Chinese whispers getting out of hand. For the time being though the island remains low key, with budget accommodation still available.
We spent the first five days at a resort called Mango Bay. For 13 pounds a night we relaxed in a huge wooden bungalow, with quirky open air bathroom, and veranda overlooking the sea. In the Caribbean you’d easily pay 100 pounds a night. Set around lush tropical gardens cows passed by each morning to mow the lawn, the sound of their bells adding to the atmosphere. Needless to say we didn’t exert ourselves too much. Exploring the surrounding deserted beaches, reading and eating were the order of the day. R&R was severely needed as I think I’d been living on nervous exhaustion over the last few weeks in London.
Whilst there we made a new friend Nick. A 52 year old, slightly eccentric, English guy who was a friend of the owner and had managed building the resort. Described by himself as “being a bit posh” he had many a tale to tell and gave us a great insight into the lives of Expats. Once he discovered I’d travelled a fair bit and my dream was to run my own bungalow operation, he suggested I come to Mozambique with him to set up a lodge, but living in Africa doesn’t really appeal, far too many mosquitoes, and Barcelona still seems a better option!
The island is one of cheapest place I’ve been to hire out mopeds, just three pounds a day. It was great to have the freedom to explore, even if it did result in a few bruises from being a bit overzealous with the throttle! Practice makes perfect as they say.
The main reason for coming to the island was to dive, but unfortunately a typhoon was on its way so local officials banned boats going out. Tara managed to get her open water course, settling on shore dives instead. There wasn’t much coral but she did see an octopus laying eggs as well as a few squid and other tropical fish.
I never thought I’d say this but after 10 days I was ready to leave. Being on a tropical island isn’t quite the same with a friend as it is with a boyfriend. Or perhaps I’ve just spent too much time on beaches? Most evenings were spent doing pretty much the same as we do in London, drinking beer and playing pool. We couldn’t get any spliff so our imaginations weren’t being fuelled. We have decided however to research doing a TEFL course (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), figuring it could benefit us in getting work in Barcelona.