Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam, and is located in the Gulf of Thailand.  It is actually only 12km from the coast of Cambodia and about 40km from the nearest coastline of Vietnam; apparently there have been some debates about who really has ownership of the island for many years.  The French weren’t quite clear about that when they were losing control of their colonized land.  Now, it is used primarily for fishing and tourism, but during the war it served as Southern Vietnam’s largest prison camp housing about 40,000 during 1973.  We drove past the prison complex on our scooter adventure, but didn’t stop to look around.  Research reveals that is was also a major source and site of conflict in the Vietnamese and Cambodian war at the end of the 70s.  None of this conflict was evident on our glorious long weekend retreat.

map of vietnam with phu quoc

Phu Quoc is the island in yellow to the left side of Vietnam.

We arrived at our hotel by 11am on Saturday morning and checked in before venturing down to the beach for a walk and breakfast.  Our hotel was a little off the beaten track, but it was close to the water and just a bit of a stroll over to Long Beach which was lovely.  We stayed at a Truong Linh Phu Quoc Resort, and it was a nice place.  It was clean, had air conditioning, a mini fridge, mosquito nets, and a cute little front porch where I spent some time grading papers and writing a few postcards. I loved all the plants around our bungalows.  

troung linh

Truong Linh

We found really great breakfast at a beachside cafe.  In this spot, it dawned on me that I love iced coffee here because it tastes the same as coffee ice cream.  Yes, there is that much sugar.  This is why I have to limit my love to a couple per week.  On our walk to the cafe we passed some hilarious dolphin and mermaid statues.  

mermaid

My only posing like a statue photo so far. I guess these sculptures just aren’t as fun to imitate as the ubiquitous Tagore monuments.

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The beach closer to our place was not as well maintained as the main beach. There was some trash and debris, but also COWS! Not the mama and her baby on the right.

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fishing boat

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fruit seller outside the cafe where we ate breakfast. Also, I love the coastline of the northern part of the island in the background. Yay for hills!

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My traveling crew exploring Long Beach.

After breakfast, we went back to our rooms for some R&R while it rained.  I graded 7 whole essays! Then we started exploring the area around our hotel and Long Beach.  We found a cute cafe, Coco’s, where we ate some spring rolls and calamari (the start of our overindulgence in squid that weekend) and played some pool.  Then we wandered down the beach again trying to choose a massage place.  The sun was setting; live was gorgeous.  

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Mai Resort had a massage place that we considered, but there weren’t enough beds for all 5 of us. So, we had a beer, used their bathroom, and were on our way.

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sunset and water sports

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The best lighting and weather of the trip. If I had known this was our only day like this, I would have gone for a swim.

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This is the massage place on the beach that we finally chose. It was great except that people walking on the beach could totally see us getting massages. A little weird, but still amazing.

After our massages, we went back to the same cafe on the sand where we ate breakfast and ordered piles of seafood and vegetables to share.  So yummy!  Then we walked home along the streets since the beach was dark, and we stopped at a bar close to our hotel that served 16 oz of beer for 8,000 VND (about $0.40).  This place was a dangerous discovery in many ways. Aside from not needing a reason to drink more beer, I lost my heart to a puppy.  Rebecca suggested that we name him Not Yours; Alison suggested Rabies; I suggested Gil.  We settled on Frankie.  Everyone was pretty appalled that I was actively cuddling with this dirty dog and letting him lick my face, but I couldn’t resist him.

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It was semi impossible for me to photograph Frankie while he was attempting to eat my camera. You can still see his precious soul through these eyes though.

So, that was the end of day one! Stay tuned for more.

 

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