If someone asked me to describe Phu Quoc island in one word, it sounds totally cheesy but I would say: Paradise. It is truly amazing and we are both so glad this was our last destination in Vietnam. We've had an amazing time traveling North to South in Vietnam and this really was the topping on the cake.
So we headed to Phu Quoc Island from Ha Tien by ferry which took around 2 hours. We arrived in Ha Tien at around 10am and the ferry wasn't due to leave until 1pm so we had a good few hours to kill. Once we found our way to the centre in Ha Tien we went to a hotel to ask directions to the ferry office as we had to pick our tickets up. We were told it was on the otherside of the river so David jumped on a motorbike taxi and went and picked our tickets up. The hotel guy was really friendly and let us all leave our big bags there whilst we went and got something to eat in the market nearby.
John had woken up that morning with a really swollen eye - not surprising from the cleanliness of the hotel we stayed in the night before. It turned out he had conjunctivitis so we tried to find a pharmacy but Tiki (qualifies as a doctor next year so that was really helpful :) ) wanted to check online first what particular drops he needed.
At around 12 noon we all got individual motorbike taxi's over to the ferry which took about 5 minutes. The guy who took me was trying to get us to use him to go to Cambodia when we were back off the island. He quoted us $7 each and the journey would take about an hour. We told him we would think about it just to shut him up but we weren't keen sitting on a bike for an hour with our big bag!
The ferry ride over to the island was fine and I think I slept for most of the way. When we arrived on the island we walked down a long jetty like slip to a nearby market and was told to wait as we had arranged for a mini-bus to take us to Long Beach (the main beach on the island). We decided we would stay somewhere along there.
The mini-bus was soooo full. Over here if a mini-bus has 10 seats, they will squeeze 14 people in. Finally he dropped off a few people so we could all breath again and he said he would take us to see his hotel before so we could have a look to which we all agreed. It wasn't actually a hotel it was like a massive garden with bungalows in and the beach was 100 metres away. The lady who we presumed owned the place showed us one of the bungalows which turns out was brand new and only finished the day before. It was immuclate and totally gorgeous. It had 2 rooms, both with one double bed and one single bed. There was also a communal area. She quoted us $55 to rent the whole thing and they would put one more single bed in to accommodate us all. We didn't want to pay that much but she then offered it for $42 so $6 each - BARGAIN! We soon dumped our bags, got changed and went to the beach. The beach is gorgeous and the sea really calm and it is only waist deep for ages and ages - we never got past the waist deep area. The water was really clear and clean also. On the beach at either end to us were restaurants and massages places offering full body massages for $4!
At this point we realized that we had lost our Vietnam Lonely Planet book, we think we left it in the bus that brought us here. Damn! But then again since it was our last destination we were ok about it. Happens to the best of us!
The first night we headed to the night market on the island which was a 10 min taxi ride and had dinner there, before heading to the local shop to buy some alcohol. The lads brought 5 bottles of rum between them and me and Tiki shared a bottle of Vietnam Vokda. John and David decided to go and watch the Man U game in the pub whilst rest of us stayed behind and started drinking. After about 5-10 minutes out right boredom we realized how badly we need cards to get this drinking going as we could not think of any drinking games without cards. No one had any cards, so we decided to make our own cards from the pocket notebook. Amy's multi color pen came well handy for this. The night started off nice and slowly with a few card games which then turned out to us being in a local bar until 5am and then being on the beach until 7am. The next day we were all hungover to say the least!
We basically just chilled out for the next few days on the beach, occasionally heading into town. In the end it turned out that; Nick, Tiki, Andres and Me all got conjunctivitis! The only people who resisted was David and Jaan. I only got it on the last day and by then we all had stocked up on an antibiotic which Tiki had checked out so I started treatment straight away and was fine. Where as the other didn't have any to begin with and Nick looked really bad!
Me, Nick and Jaan were all heading to Kep, Cambodia so we all booked our Ferry to leave at 8.30am on the 9th November. The others were all heading back to Saigon so they got the afternoon ferry. We said goodbye to the others and heading to the ferry which was a 20 min journey in an again over crowded mini-bus. When we got to the ferry it was sooooo windy and walking down the long thin concrete pathway to the ferry was a struggle. The ferry ride back to Ha Tien was like a white knuckle ride!! We bouncing out of the water constantly and I was sure it would flip - we obviously arrived safe and sound though :) I had to sleep as if not I knew I would get sick and whilst I was sleeping apparently a few people did.
When we arrived back in Ha Tien we were met by the same motorbike taxi who we had used before, once again asking if we wanted him to take us to Kep. We told him we had brought our bus ticket already to which he looked really disappointed but soon left us alone. We got picked up by the bus company from the ferry terminal and taken to their office in Ha Tien where the bus would leave from to take us all the way to Kep, Cambodia. They collected up all our passports and we paid them $25 for our Cambodian visa.
So that is it for Vietnam - We've had an amazing month and so glad that we choose Vietnam to visit. Lets hope Cambodia will be just as fun!