I love the sea, and I like the islands because every time I set foot on each island, I felt like my life at that time was like being separated from the rest of the world, though the islands I’ve been to are all rich places.
More than a dozen years ago, when Phu Quoc was still wild, I traveled to Phu Quoc with my parents. About five years ago, Phu Quoc recorded many memories between me and my ex. Four months ago, I went to Phu Quoc with my lover. Less than a month ago, I came back, taking my best friend from Australia who was coming back to Vietnam to visit her home. I came here at different times with completely different feelings, but every time I came there, I all wished I would breathe in this salty free smell every day…
If you have never visited Phu Quoc, remember to include Phu Quoc on your list!
That time I rode a motorbike from Chau Doc, going through An Giang to Kien Giang. The National Highway N1 from Kien Giang down to Ha Tien was narrow, flanked by the fields, Vinh Te canal, the rows of shady trees and a scattering of houses which made a peaceful sight.
If you are traveling by car from Saigon to Ha Tien, take a taxi to the Ha Tien pier. Because we rode a motorbike so we came to Binh An ferry terminal. There were air-conditioned rooms with courteous and comfortable seats. The ferry time was 3 hours, twice the train time. I like to take a ferry from a young age, so 3 hours on the ferry was not long at all. I was free to enjoy the sea breeze because I could stand at the balcony of the ferry, especially enjoyable for late afternoons when the sun had already set.
You should check the train and ferry schedules in advance to arrange a reasonable timeline to go!
It is simple this way. You just need to find the right flight at the right price and go.
- HOTEL/ HOMESTAY
Phu Quoc is temporarily divided into two parts: Southern and Northern parts of the island. In the middle is Duong Dong town. The Duong Dong Dong area is the busiest with many good eating places, and it is easy to shop for personal items. The Southern part is currently being invested by big corporations to build resorts. Due to the incomplete construction, the Southern part is a bit dusty and does not have many services. However, the advantage of the Southern part is it is deserted, quiet, and secluded. The Northern part is still wild, enjoyable, but staying overnight is not recommended for it is quite inconvenient.
Here are the places I used to live:
The Fish Phu Quoc is a restaurant – café. They also have some pretty small rooms, designed each room like a hut for tourists, a shared toilet, just a few hundred meters away from the beach, located right in the town so it is convenient to go out at night. When I was there, the food was delicious in a 4-star standard, but the next time I returned, the quality was bad. I told the manager my suggestion, hope they will learn from experience.
This was the meal when I first came to The Fish
D’ house located near The Fish has 6 spacious rooms with private bathrooms, white tone, simple decoration, absolutely quiet – no music, no traffic sound, no laughter; we only occasionally heard the rustling of leaves or the sound of rain falling on the roof. D’house has a small dog named Crab and a tabby cat that you just need to say “meow” and he would immediately rush to “cling on” on your pants. D’ house has the indifference of Phu Quoc: the doors are never locked, and sometimes the owner is away, the guests will voluntarily take the key to open the door, check-in, leave, return the key, leave the money, then continue traveling. Because of the nature of the host, I think D’house is more suitable for Western guests than Vietnamese guests. Not about the background distinguish of Vietnamese or Westerners, but about the need when traveling, most Vietnamese want to go to gorgeous places or places with professional services because few people can enjoy such things at home, while most Westerners have a high material life, so they like to experience the natural, rustic things. I emphasize that it is just “most” of them! There are still people who are not “out of the trend” like us.
Audrey’s Villa is located on Long Beach, between Duong Dong town and An Thoi port. This area was newly opened, so it was a bit deserted, not many restaurants, a bit far away from the town (~ 16km), but Audrey has a spacious suite type with a relaxing living room beside a bedroom and a toilet. The beach is about 100 meters away. Although it is a public beach, the sea is empty and not crowded like the other beaches along with the town.
Novotel had not completed the construction process so many rooms did not have very nice views. The room, of course, was spacious and fully furnished. Because I work in hospitality, I have so many opportunities to eat or stay free in various magnificent places which I am used to, therefore I didn’t feel too much to tell.
- GOOD PLACES TO EAT
I am a picky eater. Food can have a positive or negative effect on my mood, so I choose quite carefully, I don’t try too much, and if I find any good place to eat, I often come back there.
Huynh Nhu crab soup shop has been operating for nine years. The shop has crab soup, crab fried rice, chicken vermicelli, and fried noodles with seafood. Just looking at the ingredients in the glass case in front of the door and sniffing the aroma of the broth, I felt it was so delicious. The noodles were home-made, very tough. The noodle bowl was not too much, not too little, but enough for a small portion. The crab meat was fresh and sweet.
Hai Nam Seafood Restaurant the name sounded normal, the space was also normal, but the food was so delicious. Fresh seafood, not too many seasoning so the taste of the dishes were mild. Hai Nam is highly appreciated on Tripadvisor so it welcomes many foreign visitors. My friend and I had to come back there three times and still craved that.
Ham Ninh crab dealer sold super delicious live crabs. You cross a narrow bridge on the side of the Ham Ninh market. About ten meters from the bridge, there is a small alley leading to the crab dealer. 350 thousand a kilo (about 4 big crabs). You can buy crabs, telling them to boil crabs for you, and bringing to the beach to eat crabs and drink beer while watching the sea. The crab meat was firm and sweet. The shell was thin, easy to use teeth to separate the meat.
Crab House specialized in serving CAJUN in a very American style. The price was relatively high compared to the common price in Phu Quoc, but the quality was absolutely good, so the shop was always crowded.
Rach Vem fishing village. There were many raft houses there, but it was some kind of destiny that we went straight to Quoc Tai raft house, telling the host to boil 2kg of crabs for us to eat. This place has a beautiful view of the sunset, so you will love to be here in the afternoon.
Sunny Beach Bar is located right on the beach in Duong Dong town, you can google it out immediately. Lying on a chair to drink a cocktail and watch the sunset or the sea at night is also very interesting.
JW Marriot Phu Quoc has several restaurants close to the beach that serve European – Asian food and delicious cakes, but as far as I know, the sea is beautiful or not depending on the season and the price is quite high!
- CHECK-IN LOCATION
Although it is called “check-in location” because of our hobby of photography, we lived in the real-life and enjoyed every moment! ^ _ ^
Watching the sunrise in Ham Ninh fishing village is an unforgettable memory for me. From Duong Dong town to Ham Ninh, it takes about 20 minutes to go by motorbike. Next to the market, there is a tiny bridge. Crossing the bridge, you will see a fishing village with modest metal-sheet roofing houses along the coast. The smell of the salty sea was all over the hair and clothes, even on the slightly dark skin of the fishermen. We went there in the morning to see the big water, so we didn’t see the sand field. The two of us had to park our motorbike on the seashore near a local house and then walked about 2 meters to stand near the seawater and waited for the dawn. The sun rose quickly, sometimes hiding, sometimes emerging, and hiding behind a cloud as big as a mountain. The sea was calm. The quiet boats exposed in the early sunshine were suddenly brightened. A boat carrying 3 men reached the spot where we were standing. They got off the boat and waded ashore. In each person’s hands were several baskets of fish. They followed the sunlight, so there were only three shadows. Before our eyes was a magical picture.
Watching the crowded fishing boats in An Thoi harbor is very interesting! An Thoi Port, 25km from Duong Dong town. This is the largest port in Phu Quoc, so when the car was near the harbor, I could smell the bustling. And when the car came to the harbor, the bustling scenery was clearly visible. The fishermen, the drivers, and the transporters talked loudly, worked freely and continuously: brought seafood to the shore, put it into a big plastic container and loaded it into a truck. Compared to Ham Ninh port, the port of An Thoi was many times bigger. Some people drove boats to bring tourists to visit the An Thoi archipelago with more than ten large and small islands. If you stand still, someone will come to introduce to you, so don’t worry about where to go to ask for information! Boat drivers often take guests out for half a day or all day. Where the guests want to stop and how long they want to go depend on them. The prices also differed accordingly. For example, if you go half a day, it takes 500 thousand, if you go a day, it takes 1 million.
Boat tour to the islets to see the corals is amazing. I chose a coral-watching tour at Dam Ngang and Mong Tay islets (known as the Maldives of Vietnam) in An Thoi archipelago organized by John’s Tours Phu Quoc . I must say nature is wonderful! The sight of colorful fish swimming around the vibrant coral reefs is still astonishing when someone can observe it with their own eyes. There were a few brave fish who came close to me and raised their shining eyes to look at me and then continued to swim away. The service was not too excellent, and because we went with a group so we could not decide the calendar, but in general it was ok with the price of 500 thousand VND/ person including shuttle bus from and to the port, boat to the island, lunch, mineral water, life jacket and breathing apparatus to watch corals.
Mot Islet located in the North of the island was quiet, fresh, with clear water. It is suitable for those who love nature because this place has only beautiful views and nothing else. On the beach, there was only a small shop selling water and food. I only drank water and didn’t try their food yet, so I don’t know how it is.
I have mentioned Rach Vem fishing village in the list of good places to eat. On the way from Mot Islet to your hotel, do not forget to stop at Rach Vem!
JW Marriot Phu Quoc was rumored to be an excellent place to check in with no bad view. In my opinion, there was actually … bad views, but many beautiful spots can be exploited if you like the magnificent and beautiful beauty ^_^