We left Kep in the late morning by minibus enroute to Phu Quoc, Vietnam. Phu Quoc is a small island off the very southwest coast of Vietnam, and was actually visible from where we ate dinner the night before in Kep. We’d read the beaches there were better than anything we’d find in Cambodia, so we were off to our final country on our SE Asia leg: Vietnam!
Our minibus ride and the border crossing couldn’t be a further departure from the Scambodia border in Poi Pet. We pulled up in our minibus and to find a handful of casinos, and a few small buildings that marked the Cambodian side of the border. We didn’t even have to get out of the bus, which was nice because it was raining. We just passed our passports to our handler and she took care of things.
While we waited to get stamped out, we saw some humorous things. First was a guy on a motorbike crossing in from Vietnam that must have had 500 pounds of goods on his bike, balanced precariously. We felt bad for him, because when he stopped to go through customs his whole bike tipped. Luckily others at the border helped him up but it looked like he had a miserable ride ahead of him. The other funny thing was when we stopped in front of a casino, there was a minibus in front of us, which several people were running towards. After a bit, the minibus pulled away, much to the chagrin of the other two people who had just emerged out of the casino, missing their bus. They had to jog the 400m or so to the Vietnam side of the border.
At the Vietnam side, we were expedited through the border by our handler as we were on track to miss our ferry, since our bus was late. She had us run over to her van to the ferry which was so packed with people there’s no way Sara and I could both fit (and we’ve crammed in a lot of vans). Ultimately, I had to hop on the back of a moto and speed through the rain with Sara’s bag. Fortunately I had my raincoat and a bag cover handy. We barely made it for the ferry but we got on board a few minutes before we left for Phu Quoc.
Phu Quoc itself was fantastic and relaxing. We ended up not really leaving the resort except to walk up and down the beach, because we were lazy, and our food was good. The weather was raining the first morning we were there, so we manage to steal some wifi from the neighboring resort and were productive (Christmas shopping, check!). Otherwise, we focussed on our tans and filling our bellies.
Our resort actually had pretty good food that was comparably priced to everything else in the area, so we usually ate there (to compound our laziness). The best part was the seafood BBQ they did nightly. For around $15 including drinks, we got a large piece of tuna, 6 chili-salt prawns, a chicken-mango skewer, and grilled vegis – it was so good, we ordered the same thing two nights in a row. The chili-salt prawns will likely take the prize for best seafood on the trip, which is impressive, beating out other contenders like Singapore’s chili crab and Kep’s pepper crab.
We grudgingly left Phu Quoc after 4 great days. I’m writing this on the bus to our next destination, and first Vietnam mainland city, Can Tho, famous for its authentic floating markets. We will be here two days before heading north to Saigon, where we’ll spend Christmas, and then criss-cross our way north through the rest of the country before heading home from Hong Kong on January 20. It’s hard to believe it’s gone so quickly. But between now and then, there are many more adventures to be had, so stay tuned!