By Hồ Hoàng & Thu Hà
In many people’s eyes Phú Quốc Island is the ideal place to chillax.
With its sun kissed shoreline and calm, clear crystal waters gently caressing the golden sands, there really is no better place to go to switch off from the rest of the world.
Phú Quốc is the perfect place to chillax on its exquisite beaches. VNS Photo Thu Hà
That said, the world we live in right about now has become a different place because of the global pandemic known as COVID-19.
Within minutes of arriving at the VinOasis Resort, I was asked to fill in a health declaration at the hotel reception.
Honesty, as they say, it has to be the best policy, so after admitting on the form I had been coughing and had the sniffles, I was told a health check-up was mandatory.
So instead of kicking back by the pool to enjoy the glorious sunshine, I was taken to the nearby VinMec health facility.
Not the perfect start for sure, but I had no complaints as this was entirely necessary, all things considered.
Hòn Móng Tay is one of the most beautiful islands in Phú Quốc. VNS Photo Hồ Hoàng
So instead of lounging on a sunbed sipping cocktails I found myself instead lying on a hospital bed as medical staff prodded, poked and did a thorough health check.
Half a day wasted on one hand, but on the other I felt reassured knowing I had been given the all-clear to finally, albeit several hours later, begin my holiday.
Without meaning to sound selfish, there were one or two distinct advantages to travelling during these troubled times.
At the time of booking, things looked good. Flights were cheap and I was looking forward to the break. But as the date of travel fast approached, things began to nosedive, albeit slowly, as the number of cases of people testing positive grew.
In the end I decided not to cancel, postpone or put off my trip, and, aside from the above mentioned hospital visit, I’m glad I did.
A seafood restaurant at Rạch Vẹm Beach.
Phú Quốc is a popular resort all year round, but when I was there, it was obviously much quieter than I expected.
Take Rạch Vẹm Beach, for example. In a world before COVID-19 came a-calling, this would normally have been as crowded as a London supermarket moments after receiving a large delivery of loo rolls.
But not right now, giving me plenty of opportunity to get up close and personal with the thousands of starfish the beach is famed for.
A trip to this region does have a downside to it, whatever the current climate.
Việt Nam, as we all know, has some of the best food on offer in the world, and Phú Quốc is no exception. So don’t expect to lose weight during your stay.
Being so close to the ocean means seafood here is a premium. You can even eat it out at sea on a floating restaurant where it really doesn’t come much fresher.
From sentinel crab, sea mantis to lobster and all kind of snails, they're guaranteed not only to tickle your taste buds but also, sorry to say, add a centimetre or two to your waistline. It was worth it though, after all, this was a holiday.
An ocean full of starfish at Rạch Vẹm Beach. VNS Photo Hồ Hoàng
Visitors must also head to Sunset Sanato Beach, but be warned, this place really is addictive for lovers of beautiful sunsets. No two are alike, and the next will always be more beautiful than the last. Believe me, I have the photographs to prove it.
If Phú Quốc’s natural beauty is not enough for your sightseeing palate, fear not. A short boat ride away you will find one of many simply stunning islands that are well worth a visit.
Hòn Thơm, for example, where the coral in the waters is simply alive with sealife. Here is the place to visit for those of you who love panoramic scenery, and the best place to witness this for yourself has to be onboard the world’s longest cable car ride that stretches a staggering 7,899m.
It is even listed in the Guinness world records as being the world’s longest 3-wire sea cable car.
Stunning view from Hòn Thơm cable car - the longest in the world. VNS Photo Thu Hà
A trip to Hòn Mây Rút Trong promises yet more beautiful beaches, while visitors to Hòn Gấm Ghì can try their hand at sea fishing. Take note, I was the only one from our party to catch anything!
Sadly all good things must come to an end, and it was time to say a solemn goodbye to beautiful Phú Quốc.
Sure, my trip was slightly agitated by an unplanned stay in the local medical facility, but all things considered, it was a small price to pay for such a wonderful time. VNS