Phu-n in the Sun


Having to spend a night in Rach Gia, quite possibly the most unpleasant and charmless town in Vietnam, before being allowed by the travel gods to embark on a stomach-turning three hour ferry ride through choppy waters with 3 metre swells was yet another example of how the best places on earth are the hardest to get to.

(Of course, we could have avoided that whole disappeared-hotel-reservation-get-put-into-another-hotel-room-more-like-a-windowless-cell-with-polyester-sheets-then-shouting-then-different-hotel-room-better-but-one-million-mosquitoes-and-rat-droppings-in-our-bed ordeal altogether by taking a direct flight to Phu Quoc from Saigon, but it made us feel like we earned the vacation.)

And when we finally escaped from the vomit fumes permeating our boat, we were delighted to be met by paradise.

Our front yard, for four days.

Phu Quoc is a Vietnamese island off the southern coast of Cambodia; in fact it used to belong to the latter before the French “gave” the Mekong delta region and Phu Quoc to Vietnam during its colonisation of Indochina. On a clear day one can actually see Cambodia from the island’s northern tip.

Life is so hard.

We were lodged at the Beach Club, a beach resort/bungalows at the far end of Long Beach on the western side of the island. Our main plan on this relaxed island was to have no plan, eat some of the best seafood in Vietnam, and watch some sunsets. And as you can see, we were not disappointed.

Just the end of a regular day.

We did much of this with three Dutch friends we made as we were getting off the ferry. Marieke, Koen and Lino were staying next door to us, at the Paris Beach Club, run by a very friendly French-Vietnamese lady whose husband teaches at the business school next to my old flat in Paris. Most of our time was spent lying in the beautiful beachfront garden of our guesthouse, moving a couple of metres to the right for lunch, then back to our original horizontal positions to read, and if we got really motivated we might play some Scrabble.

Getting my legs "threaded" by the very eager roaming pamper squad. I had little choice but to acquiesce.

On one particularly active day we rented motorbikes and drove to a waterfall for a swim, then drove all the way to the southern tip to White Sand Beach for a float in the perfectly still waters of the beach, followed by a huge seafood lunch.


Jumping photo! Koen, Lino, Marc and I test our athletic prowess, to varying degrees of success.

Then lunch.

Digestive float.

In the evenings we watched World Cup matches and drank beer/wine next door at the Paris Beach Club. We would go to bed only to wake the next day to do more of the same.

Holland vs Slovakia

On one evening, we decided to explore the night market, full of “Phu Quoc Pearl” stalls (apparently this is a complete invention; all specimens sold on the island are in fact cheap Chinese fresh water pearls) and seafood restaurants. Here we ate hands down the best squid we’ve had ever, fried in garlic and butter. Let it be known that Marc didn’t even like squid or cuttlefish before coming to Phu Quoc.

Squid, shrimp, nom nom nom

Also, we got to hold a very cute monkey, though it kept trying to take my shiny things (necklace, camera, something at the bottom of my bag).

Marc and Monkey.

All in all, a perfectly lovely five days to wrap up our Vietnam tour. Shame we had to get back onto a ferry in equally, if not more, choppy waters than the first time around, with people all around us puking into plastic bags, but at least we had the memory of four blissful days to sustain us. Needless to say, next time we’ll be taking the plane.

Enjoying it while it lasts.

Buh-bye Vietnam! (It was Phở-n!)


2 Responses to “Phu-n in the Sun”

  1. Gabrielle Says:

    Hohoho so punny there at the end…. I’m super jealous and want to do it all again. Hope you had a rad time at Lazy Beach

  2. cynthia cutler Says:

    Yet another wonderful descriptive story. Aaaaaamaaaazing

    luv n stuff

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