The first stop on my Vietnam and Cambodia trip was a beach break on Phu Quoc Island. We definitely wanted a few days at the beach to relax and soak up some sun. After much deliberation, we decided to stay at Phuong Binh House which has its own (small) private beach and a lovely restaurant.
Getting to Phu Quoc Island is pretty easy and cheap from HCM, though we faced a 3hr delay at the airport.
We spent maybe about $10 on our taxi/toll to get to our bungalows with a few wrong turns by the driver. We had a few confusing minutes locating reception as we saw the bungalows but didn’t know that reception was part of the adjoining bar/restaurant!
Once we figured it out, the very friendly staff escorted us to our rooms. The bungalows are simple, with basic amenities and very clean. We definitely made the right decision! Here are a few shots of the facilities:
Phuong Binh House, Phu Quoc Island
As quickly as we could, we changed in to our swim suits and headed to the beach to catch the last couple hours of light in the day. We saw a nice sunset while sipping on fresh made cocktails from the on-site restaurant and bar.
After we lost the sun, we enjoyed a quick snack (2 types of spring rolls) and headed back to our bungalows to grab showers and head to the Phu Quoc Island Night Market. The night market was cool, though a bit overrated. We definitely saw much better markets in HCM and in Cambodia. I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to go there again. We ate at one of the market ‘restaurants’ and had some pretty good seafood, though the service was anything but efficient! We took a long long walk back (about an hour) and caught some much-needed sleep before our 1/2 day tour the next day.
The next morning we had a 6hr Southern land tour booked via John’s Island Tours ($12). Our tour started at 9am, so we grabbed a quick and yummy bite at the ‘hotel’ restaurant. Vietnam really does know how to make fantastic eggs and perfect baguettes!
We were promptly picked up at 9am and and met the rest of our tour group. I highly recommend doing one of these tours if you want to see a bit of the island. The staff is super friendly and we didn’t waste much time anywhere. We also got to see some of the less-fancy parts of the island and got to see how many of the locals lived. Our stops included: SIM Wine Factory (sampled some local wine), a Pearl Farm (nice enough if you are in to pearls), the Coconut Prison Museum (detailing the USA torture of Vietnamese prisoners), the Fish Sauce Factory (tasted some awesome local fish sauce), Sao Beach (where we had 2hrs to sunbathe and grab some lunch), Ham Ninh Fishing Village, a 2yr old Pagoda and a Pepper Farm. Quite a busy day and nothing absolutely ‘can’t miss’ about the tour, but definitely worth $12! I bough some spices from the pepper farm and wine factory. Here are a few of the highlights:
We got back to our place around 3:30-4 (didn’t mind getting back a little late) and took in a bit more sun while having some fresh fruit smoothies. We watched the sun go down again and decided to re-group for dinner at 7pm. After a massive Google Maps failure, we found The Palm Tree Restaurant and Bar about 3min walk from our place! We read some great reviews of this place on Trip Advisor and it did not disappoint. We shared a refreshing Lotus Salad, some Spring Rolls and then I had fish prepared Ha Noi style. Free beer from 6-8pm daily and my friend enjoyed got a Gold Label for about $2. The food was fresh and bright and wonderfully prepared. The staff was friendly but the kitchen small-good food, just a long meal! Note: We had 2 appetizers, 4 beers, 2 Gold Labels and 3 entrees and paid under $25! Absolutely worth every penny of that! We wanted to go back for breakfast the next day but they were not open that early in the morning.
Our flight was scheduled to leave Phu Quoc Island at 12:55 the next day, so we had one more beach-front breakfast and caught a few rays while enjoying more fresh fruit smoothies before checking out and heading back to HCM. I would definitely recommend this place to others who want a nice, quiet getaway with easy access to good food and nice sunsets. There are a few bars, etc. around for those who want to enjoy some sort of nightlife. The rooms are basic (you may wanna choose one with AC during the hot season) but plenty nice…. I lost water pressure and hot water on the last night, but that was my only (minor) complaint. Great people, great service and a perfect location for my needs. If I get the chance to go back to Phu Quoc Island, I’d definitely stay at the Phuong Binh house again and take additional tours with Johns Island tours!