I think I might have found paradise…
My final stop in Vietnam was a chill out stop, by the beach, time to relax after just rushing through the busy streets of Saigon, and to reflect on the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen over the last four weeks or so, since I’d been in the country.
Phu Quoc is the largest of Vietnam’s islands, lying a short distance off the west coast. I was meeting up with a friend there who I’d been travelling with for a short time earlier on in my trip down the Vietnamese coast, and by the time I’d arrived a few days later, found that she’d managed to befriend a local family. Although only one of the family could speak a little bit of English, they were all incredibly friendly and inclusive, and wanted nothing more than to show us around the island.
They were unbelievably welcoming, inviting us to their house way down the country paths somewhere in the centre of the island. The whole family lived in a small farm house and we were given the full tour of the farm and surrounding land, including walking up through the cool stream which ran through their land. They made us a feast of a lunch, a hotspot made from local produce of fish, pork and vegetables, with the whole family along with the two of us gathered around on the floor to laugh, joke and enjoy the food and company.
Most of the jokes were focussed on my driving, as I’d struggled to get the motorbike down the narrow, bumpy and muddy lanes to their farm. I think I did pretty well, especially as there were three of us in total on the bike I was driving, but clearly without the year s of experience driving on those roads, it provided quite some entertainment for everyone else!
After lunch, we were taken to Phu Quoc’s hot springs where we relaxed and swam in the cool river. Again, their welcoming was incredible as the family insisted on paying our entrance fee to the springs. A small fee, but a remarkably kind gesture. Later on in the afternoon, it was unfortunately time to say goodbye. I went back to the beach and the day was finished off by a beautiful sunset.
The rest of my time here was spent exploring. From the crashing waves on the west coast, to the calm and tranquil, white sand and clear blue seas on the east coast, to the forrested highlands and national park in the north, the diversity of this small island is remarkable, and I was so lucky to have the sun shining for much of this time.
It was the perfect way to finish off my travels through Vietnam, which as a whole has seemed to offer up anything I could have imagined and more. Really, there have been too many highlights to name, and I feel grateful to leave with all the good memories that I have.