Vietnam - Phú Quoc Island
Phú Quoc is a beautiful island in Vietnam, a short flight from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) - Vietnam Airlines is great! They just started offering flights from Singapore and Siem Reap. We spent a week exploring this oasis, which is quickly being built up with major hotel chains and restaurants. However, at present it still retains it's quaint charm, and we'd definitely visit before the full on "tourism" destroys this little piece of paradise. Oh the sunrises, and the sunsets! We are still dreaming of this amazing trip!
Where to Stay: Beach Club. We are not "all-inclusive people", and prefer smaller, more personal resorts. We find they have more character, and also usually offer a quieter beach, more time to talk with guests and staff, and the fees are also usually much better! The Beach Club did not dissapoint! Picture cabanas on the beach, delicious food made to order, incredible smoothies, drinks, music, and an easy location to get to. The Beach Club is far down the beach away from the tourist mecca, and we fully enjoyed our time there. Definitely email and book in advance - they are a popular place! If you like football (soccer) they can also arrange a match with the locals (fishermen) - definitely ask!
A second place we really enjoyed (excellent food), was right next door to Beach Club - Paris Beach Resort. Their claypot dishes are superb, with excellent service. Check them out as an alternative place to stay, or go and eat their wonderful food!
What to do - Rainbow Divers - this is your best bet for (a) scuba diving; (b) snorkeling, or (c) just going on a boat ride to see some amazing parts of the island. If you want to learn to dive, you can do your training there, with experienced and excellent trainers. They have locations all across Vietnam, and are not to be missed. This archipelago of Islands offers some of the best diving in Vietnam.
You can also book tours of the island, as the East Coast is an easy bike trip away, with pristine beaches and turquoise waters. John's Island Tours is a popular bet, with a wide array of options, from fishing, to swimming, biking, etc. We've also come across Jerry's Jungle Tours which has high ratings from visitors. Or, just ask your hotel to arrange to rent a motorbike, and go explore the island on your own! You won't regret it!
You can also walk to explore the town, and can buy all sorts of interesting spices and tourist souvenirs to bring home. The Island is famous for it's fish sauce, so if you like it, buy it! Or get the white peppercorns - an earthy and unique pepper that is a great condiment for dishes. And of course, to beat the heat you must stop for ice cream at Buddy's Ice Cream. We enjoyed the fresh flavours and it was definitely a nice treat after walking through the heat!
Overall, we spent a month in Vietnam, and Phú Quốc Island was one of our highlights. We enjoyed 6 nights there, and wish we'd been longer. The waters are warm, the people are friendly, and the food is incredible. Do go, and share your experiences with us, so we can pretend we're still there!