Phu Quoc, Vietnam

June 20, 2010 - Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Alex and I decided that we wanted a beach holiday after Phnom Penh (we needed some cheering up after the killing fields and S-21!). We decided that we would go to Phu Quoc - we met travellers that went there and said they had good weather (despite the fact that its monsoon season) and they thought it was amazing - its an island just off the coast of Vietnam.

So we took a bus for 5 hours from Phnom Penh to Kep. From there we had to get a tuk tuk for an hour (which took us through the middle of nowhere, just paddy fields and farms, no hotels or tourist in site!) then we had to change again and get on the back of 2 motorbikes - back pack and all - to get to the border. The border was a 'shack' (we went to a REALLY remote one - Yeo's idea), anyway, once we were through, we got back on the motorbikes (which was actually really fun) :) and asked the guys to take us to Ha Tien; the port where the ferry to Phu Quoc leaves from.


When we got to the port, there was an old Vietnamese guy who was like "oh sorry, my ferry broken.. No worry, I help you, I give you lift to Richard Gere (which turned out to be another place called Rach Gia!?).. next port town.. you get ferry there.. only 3 hours away"..

This was VERY bad news. Yeo and I had been travelling since 7:30 am and it was now almost 4pm. I was starving (I had only had a biscuit for breakfast at 8am) and I was very tired and had NO energy.

..but the guy was PERSISTENT and kept saying that we should leave with him STRAIGHT away otherwise we wouldn't make the ferry. We though something 'smelled fishy' and just KEPT demanding that they take us to a hotel in town, which eventually they did, and luckily too because it all turned out to be a scam! They didn't even take us to the right port! There ARE ferries leaving from Ha Tien, they where just trying to scam more money out of us by driving us all the way to the next town! (BASTARDS!)

So we stayed the night in this little vietnamese border town (like OFF the map.. not even in our Lonely planet guide.. no-one goes here!) I was starving.. and the place was a HOLE!! no-one understands us, we cant find a restaurant.. it STINKS.. there is rubbish and dead fish lying on the streets and kids just squat and poop wherever they want.. I was seriously NOT HAVING FUN at this point.. so Yeo demanded that I go lie down in our hotel room..  later he came back with 2 tickets for the ferry and directions to a restaurant :) he apparently had to communicate with our hotel manager by going online and typing stuff in an English - Vietnamese translation site.. the guy then read it and took him around town on his bike (everyone here has a motorbike) and helped him to get tickets and showed him where to eat.  Things were looking up.. or so I thought.  We went to a restuarant and luckily the menu had pictures - we just pointed to a picture of a cow and got beef with rice :) 

The next day, we headed to the ferry.. I was happy to get out of Ha Tien! But then I saw what we'd be leaving in... I was not impressed! The princess in me was coming out!! LOL.. it was an old wooden floating shack thing.. crammed FULL with locals .. anyway, alex promised me that it was only 2 hours then we'd be in Paradise.. mmmmm..

An hour in and the sea started to get really choppy.. the boat started swaying wildly from side to side and things were creaking.  It sounded like the boat was falling apart and water started splashing in from outside.  Everyone started shutting the wooden hatches to keep the water out, which meant we were now sitting in a damp, dark boat - one solitary light-bulb swinging back and forth - with no oxygen.. then it REALLY got choppy! Everyone around us started throwing up, and the smell of vomit mixed with cigarette smoke to make me feel very ill (the locals think it's FINE to smoke on a WOODEN boat with no air!!). I was scared that the boat was going to break (all of a sudden I realised that we were on a little shitty boat - out in the middle of the sea - in MONSOON season!) and on-top of being scared, I felt like I was going to vom any moment and had a pounding headache.. then Alex started to throw up and his hands started cramping (I think from dehydration), he looked like DEATH and was obviously really sick and quite worried too.. 

In the end it took us 3 and a half  hours (NOT 2) to FINALLY get to the island.. it was the longest 3 hours of my life.. I felt like SH!T.  Although at least we got to the other side! It was really pretty.. just a shame it was pouring down with rain! hahaha.. sometimes you just have to laugh.. otherwise you'll cry. Roll with the punches and all that, hey?! :) (and pray for sunshine).



Still though.. at least we're ALIVE!

As Brendon would say; "Happy thoughts".

Jinnie & Alex


Pictures

Phu Quoc
Our Bungalow
Rainy day in Phu Quoc
Local kids in a local boat
 
 

5 Comments

Alex:
June 20, 2010
Goodtimes! ;)
Liesl:
June 21, 2010
Its usually days like these that are the most exciting to tell afterwards! (I'm SO glad that you guys are ok tho!)
Pics are stunning!
Jo:
June 22, 2010
Ah my Friend thats awful! I would have freaked... at least thats your 'crap time' over, every trip has one. I contracted a parasite in Egypt (the world traveller that I am) Ill tell you all about it when Im back in work next Tuesday. Got meetings out of the office this week and then fly to Czech for the wedding on Thursday and dont have access to work PC at the moment.

Miss and love you loads!
Happy thoughts .... and make the difference!

x
June 22, 2010
Ah guys! Its awesome to finally stumble across your blog. Awesome narrative. Great photos, even on my iphone.

Sounds like you guys are having fun! Glad i wasnt on the boat! I would not be saying happy thoughts! And the only difference i would have made would be the first kid throwing my sweetpeas overboard!

Glad you guys are still alive.

Remember! Take the opportunity of a lifetime in the lifetime of the opportunity... But i recon you guys are already :)

safe journeys

b
DJ:
June 23, 2010
Happy thoughts! :)
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