The next morning, we started a few steps from my hotel and behind the night market. We visited the nearby Buddhist temples near the mouth of the Duong Dong river including the Cua temple at the Dinh Cau Rock. This temple is a dedication to the goddess of the sea. All the fisherman stop here prior to their journeys. We climbed rocks and watched as fisherman reeled in their catch of the morning.
Next was a visit to a plantation which grows Phu Quoc’s other biggest export aside from fish sauce—black pepper. The plants were high and the taste was something fresher than I’ve had anywhere.
After a few black pepper purchases, we toured the Hung Long Tu or Su Muon Pagoda. It was a bit of a hike uphill to the pagoda, and once you reached, you’re greeted by a big Buddha statue surrounded by children.
You follow the paths and visit the numerous temples around the property as well as all the natural beauty it’s encased in.
Reaching the top you get amazing views of Phu Quoc.
Upon leaving this sanctuary, the monks provided us fresh fruit grown on the land including papaya and longan.
This was a great snack just before our trek through the beautiful Tranh Stream.
The water flowing over the rocks created these peaceful sounds that you wish you can just capture.
This trek was my last adventure in Phu Quoc, an Island I’m glad I was able to see before the tourists take over.
The next day I woke up in Phu Quoc to torrential rains. But my hope was things would clear up later so that I could hit the beach.
Phu Quoc is an island off the coast of Cambodia that is now owned by Vietnam. It is said to be what Phuket used to be. The main visitors are mainland Vietnamese who use it as their vacation locale. The only access to the island used to be by boat from the main land, but within the past year, they built an airport for flights from Can Tho. Within a year, the airport would open up flights from other areas of Vietnam. They plan to eventually open it up to international flights. Because of the limited access, the island is fairly remote but expanding quickly with resorts breaking ground at every turn.
This morning I jumped on a tour of the island. The tour consisted of me, the only English speaker, 5 Vietnamese, and 1 French woman who was married to on of the Vietnamese. The first stop was the Phu Quoc Pearl farm. Phu quoc is also known as “Pearl Island” due the abundance of pearls created in their waters. The pearls from Phu Quoc are more lustrous than those grown in the fresh waters of China which makes them more expensive and sought after. The majority of pearls sold across Vietnam are Chinese, so a Phu Quoc pearl is a rare find unless you buy direct from an island farm.
After the Pearl farm, we stopped at Coconut Tree, the Phu Quoc Jail. This place was opened by the French during their colonization period in the mid 1900’s holding political prisoners. During the Vietnam war, the US kept the jail in use and expanded it. Walking through this place and seeing the torture instruments, and hearing what these men and woman had to endure was truly hard to imagine. It was almost unreal. The visual is needed.
After the Coconut Tree tour, we hit a Phu Quoc Fish Sauce plant where the smell was so over powering, a stop to see the official Phu Quoc dog, and taste of Simson wine—a wine made from the sim fruit.
It was a long day out, so it’s time to stop at the hotel so I can take in another sunset.
Once it’s done, a small group of us head out to a grand Vietnamese dinner that was a whole lot of amazing.
Once dinner is done, I take a walk through the touristy night market which was honestly nothing to see. There may be more when more tourists come. So I head back to my hotel which is walking distance…but as I walk back I got stopped in my tracks by the voice of Diana King and “Shy Guy” blasted from a speaker. I look up and it’s my new favorite bar. I sit and grab a drink…or 3…at once and sit a sip these extremely strong suckers.
While I sat I was invited by a couple of French guys, one younger in his 20’s and the other white haired and older, to join them at their table. Turns out the younger guy is the bar’s owner and the older is his French father. The dad was the only to speak English so he chatted me up a lot until their friends/loyal customers joined us. A couple of older French guys cruising the island on motorcycles. We sat, laughed, and drank until the drinks really hit me and I had to make my way back to my hotel to end the night.