Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc

When we got to Saigon, we didn’t have any further plans. We had been thinking of going back to central Vietnam to Hue, Hoi An, Da Nang, and Nha Trang, but we were feeling a bit Vietnam-ed out. We had always planned to go to Phu Quoc though, so we said, “let’s go now!” and we did. For six nights.

I booked a hotel called Cocopalm Beach Resort through our account. What we love about is that when you stay 10 nights, your 11th is free. When you’re traveling every day, this adds up fast. It’s really just an average of the 10 nights, but it’s been useful so far, and helped us out with this stay.

I was a bit nervous because there were some mixed reviews online, but I shouldn’t have been. We were so pleasantly surprised by our resort (especially at $65/night!). First, it’s slightly out of town, meaning it is quieter and less frequented. After visiting many of the beaches on Phu Quoc, we realized how good Cocopalm was. The water itself was like bathwater, not deep, no big waves, just a great big saltwater swimming pool with not that many people. The beach was quiet, we had use of the loungers and umbrellas on the beach, and could order food and drinks from our loungers, too. We also got pretty friendly with the staff who treated us like VIPs, especially since no one stays for six nights.

When booking we had told them this was our honeymoon. Essentially we treated Phu Quoc like a 2nd honeymoon. We were, after all, celebrating our six month anniversary and planning to do a whole lot of relaxing…

They had this cake waiting for us when we arrived
Our little seaview room
Lovely beach
Gardens around Cocopalm (so many coco palms!)

We spent a lot of time reading under the umbrella on the beach.

Look at this private beach!
Seriously! Look at this gorgeous beach!
Reading Trevor Noah’s book, “Born a Crime”

We did leave our resort a couple days to explore the island more. Don’t tell my mom – we rented a motorbike. At first, I was a bit ashamed that I participated in this dangerous form of transportation. And I was scared shitless pretty much the whole time. But let’s be real here – this is the way people get around in SE Asia. We could have spent a bunch of money on taxis to get around, no money on staying put and seeing nothing other than our resort, or braving it and spending $5/day to get around on our own accord. I never would have done this in a busy city, but in Phu Quoc where there are less people and cars/motorbikes, it seemed like the best option. We did this two of our six days. And we lived to tell the tale.

Our first day out, we headed up north to check it out, but the waves were rough and it was very windy. We ended up eating lunch at a random hotel before heading down south towards town and the main beach, Long Beach. After checking out the main town, we parked the bike and headed out to the beach to explore. They mean it when they say “Long Beach”; it goes on forever. We only saw a fraction of it.

Holding on for dear life. Shawn had no idea I took this picture.
A fraction of Long Beach

We spent a little time on the beach before deciding it was too much sun without our umbrella. Lauren & Kenny had recommended we check out Seastar Resort’s restaurant for some chili lemongrass shrimp, and we were in the area, so we got some. It was so delicious!

Chili lemongrass shrimp – yum!
Watch out for the wall, Shawn!

On our second day with the motorbike, we headed down to Sao Beach, on the southeastern corner of the island. After a crab fried rice lunch, we went to look at the beach. Wow! What a beautiful beach!

Crab fried rice
Sao Beach – Shawn’s on the swing there
Going slow over the bumpy road (don’t worry Mom! I took this photo, not Shawn!)

We ate some yummy food on Phu Quoc, though I don’t think any of it was the best we’ve had on our trip. Our hotel had a delicious breakfast included everyday, and we had some other decent meals at our hotel (some were sub par). Primarily, though, we went to the resort next to ours, Mango Bay, for the best cocktails and meals. Here are some of the food highlights:

Fruit plate – breakfast at Cocopalm.
Yin & Yang Basket, Mango Bay – includes lots of Vietnamese specialties
Fish sauce chicken wings, Mango Bay
Pina Colada and gin/cucumber/lime drink, Mango Bay
Crab Plate, Mango Bay
Ginger grilled squid, Mango Bay – this dish was so good and turned Shawn on to the possibilities of squid!
Duck breast with carrot puree and sauteed morning glory, Mango Bay (4/5 stars)
The Classic Burger, Mango Bay
Sunset at Mango Bay

What an awesome week it was on Phu Quoc. It was great for us to recharge our batteries, pamper ourselves a bit, and get ready for more roughing it. Sadly, we hear Phu Quoc is going to be pretty overrun in the next couple years. According to one of the managers at our hotel, five years ago there were 50 hotels on the island. Now there are 150. In two years, there are expected to be nearly 1,000 hotels. We saw a TON of development when we were riding around, so I’m not surprised. I just hope it can keep it’s charm a bit.

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