"An immortal moment has come" in Asia.
With the arrival of September in Asia is the "Ber`s era".
What is this "Ber"?
The case is prosaic, it is four months in a row, which in English end with the syllable "-ber". This, especially in the Philippines, triggers an avalanche of events.
From now on, you can slowly start talking about the upcoming Christmas holidays and start advertising in local markets with Christmas decorations.
This is also the time when the first Christmas songs and the immortal "Last Christmas" start to appear….
It is such a local curiosity, but there is indeed something to it. From now on, the Christmas madness will slowly start to kick in. Surprisingly, this manner, or just a custom, also reached Indonesia, which is a Muslim country, and Christmas is not celebrated. Well, money, teddy bear, money.
In Viet Nam, due to the large number of Catholics, it is already a well-established practice.
Is anything changing here in Asia with the arrival of September?
In the north, yes. Japan, Korea, China and the Asian part of Russia are slowly entering the fall season.
In my part of Asia, Southeast, where there are archipelagos of the Philippines and Indonesia, where Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos are located, it is simply a change from rainy season to dry season.
For me personally, September has always been a special month. For two reasons.
The first, obvious - for many years as a student, I started the school year on September 1st.
Second, personal - most of the ladies in my family are teachers. Anyway, I had an almost 2-year episode as a teacher in an elementary school too.
This year, September is also a very special moment in my life. On September 1, the premiere of my new project took place - the podcast Bamboo Stories. Unfortunately only in Polish. Sorry guys...
Many people who dream of traveling to the tropics, whether to Asia, the Caribbean or somewhere in the vicinity of Africa, often say that they would like to spend their holidays on an island.
After all, Cyprus, Malta, Sicily and Corsica are very popular in Europe, not to mention the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, which are the Mecca of German tourists. These are also the Cape Verde islands. Anyway, island holidays are always something that attracts us as tourists.
If you like islands, today I invite you to visit Phu Quoc Island, located in the southwestern tip of Viet Nam, near Cambodia and Thailand.
An island vacation in Southeast Asia or East Asia in general is not a big problem. After all, starting from the north, we have Japan, a little lower we can reach Taiwan and even lower we can reach Hong Kong, which is an island in itself. We have the Philippines nearby, a beautiful island country.
Further to the west lies the mecca of Chinese tourists - Hainan Island, which is very close to Viet Nam.
For those who want even more exoticism, there is of course the entire archipelago of Indonesian islands, starting from Sumatra, passing through Java, Bali, Borneo or Kalimantan and, going further, to Papua. Thousands of Islands! And yet the largest island that is also a continent - Australia and the accompanying two islands that make up New Zealand.
As you can see, it's no problem to enjoy an island vacation in Asia.
So let's check what the tourist mecca of the Vietnamese has to offer, the island of Phi Quoc.
Interestingly, not only local residents appreciate a trip to Phu Quoc.
It is also a holiday destination for Russians who have seen Viet Nam and the island of Phu Quoc in particular as their tropical paradise.
I decided to check what this island can impress us with. What attractions does it allow to see and what views to experience.
I went there by plane that takes off from Saigon and the journey takes 45 minutes.
For people who want to experience a bit more adventures, I recommend a very interesting route to the island.
Using the WUTA buses, which I mention in the article about Mui Ne, you can reach Can Tho from where, after visiting the Cai Rang river market - check this article - another bus will take you to the coastal towns of Rach Gia or Ha Tien, from where the hydrofoils will take you to the island .
The island itself is shaped like a drop of water. It is surrounded by dozens of small islands that can only be reached by a small boat.
The airport in Phu Quoc is beautiful. For me, even nicer than the airport in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. It is an international airport that also serves intercontinental flights.
I was a bit surprised by this fact because I was expecting a small local airport and here you are, a nice, large and modern airport.
It's a bit of a surprise I experienced in Bali, about which island I wrote about in this article.
Denpasar, as the capital of the island, also has a large airport. Although taking into account the fact that it is a transfer port on a trip to Australia or New Zealand, it all forms a logical whole.
Phu Quoc is an island that has the charm of a Caribbean island. Beautiful sandy beaches. Sunsets and sunrises. Palm trees lying over the golden sand, allowing the body to soak up, are a common sight here. Although you have to walk a bit to discover such places.
If you add the charm of red earth and a few local attractions to it, a week or two on the island will give you as much as one day.
Until recently, the island was visited by many tourists focused on a weekly rest schedule. There were a lot of tourists, but still in numbers that were manageable in some way.
However, since last year, when the construction of the water park, to which you can get by the longest cable car in the world, was completed, I have been observing a significant increase in the number of 2-day tourists, whose destination is the cable car and the water park.
It is the southernmost part of the island, which is connected by a 7 km long cable car to the islands with the mentioned amusement park.
The views during the trip with this cable car are unforgettable. On both sides of the cart you have either the sea or islets, full of fishing boats, small villages and young people and children swimming in the sea.
The beginning of the line is a hotel center stylized as an old Italian town. The end station is a typical commercial amusement park.
The amusement park is a typical water park. If you like playing on slides, in swimming pools and various attractions on mattresses, I highly recommend it. There is something to do all day. All in all, you can spend up to a few days in this fantastic water park. The park's offer also includes a purely Caribbean beach.
The offer of resorts and resorts where you can spend your vacation is enormous.
Everything is tailored to the tourist's wallet. From cheap private accommodation, through inexpensive local hotels to mid-priced holiday resorts, to 5-star hotels of international chains.
I used a resort called Chez Carole Beach Resort which offered an airport transfer included in the rental price.
The resort also has its own beach, beautifully prepared and wooded with palm trees.
A freshwater swimming pool is also available. In addition, a fantastic restaurant, massages and kayaks. In principle, everything a tourist needs is in place.
Lying out of the way, it allowed me to see the island through the eyes of a local tourist.
I rented a motorbike, which normally costs from 100 to 150,000 VND per day, and went to explore the island.
The city of Phu Quoc offers quite a lot of traction, especially in terms of food. It's also karaoke clubs, bars and restaurants. Everything a tourist needs during the holidays. It is a bit noisy, especially since quite a lot of tourists come from Russia, but if you like such an atmosphere, I recommend looking for "your" place and staying here. On the other hand, it also has a positive feature. All bars and restaurants as well as service points have a Russian-language menu. Most of the waiters speak this language quite decently. If you know Russian, the problem of communication with local Vietnamese is solving itself.
I, apart from sunbathing, which I don't really like, set off on a motorcycle trip around the island.
Let's go for a ride together.
Well, a few facts to begin with.
Phu Quoc is not a big island. It stretches 50 km longitudinally and 25 km latitudinally in the Gulf of Thailand. Looking at the map, we see it similar to an inverted drop of water. The area of the island itself is almost 575 square kilometers and together with 21 islets it forms a kind of archipelago.
The location of the island from the very beginning caused disputes over the ownership of its territory. Mainly between Cambodia and Viet Nam, although the Chinese claimed the right to rule this island ...
The disputes lasted quite a long time. Imagine that only in 1999 Cambodia recognized Vietnamese sovereignty over the archipelago.
This island was also known as the "prison island". During the Viet Nam War, it played the infamous role of a heavy prison, where, unfortunately, prisoners were tortured. Today, outside the museum, there are no traces of this cruel story.
Getting around the island is not much of a problem, there is one main road along the coastline and several local roads leading to the hills and tropical forest.
And that's what I like. Trivia. Each kilometer of such a road around the island opens your eyes to the local life, houses, gardens and people who work and live there.
It is worth going a bit in the middle of the island, circling the light hills that are there. This is Phu Quoc National Park. The hills themselves aren't high, but the red gravel roads and wildlife provide a thrill. You can enter the backwoods which are a typical wilderness leading to the other end of the island.
The motorcycle works perfectly here. However, remember to refuel your motorcycle. Petrol stations in the middle of the island are practically inaccessible. Most of them are located along the road that leads around the island. In this case, no problem. However, if you are planning a trip through the middle of the island, you just have to go there with a full tank of gas.
Driving the road around the island, you can see the hills that beautifully stretch along the coast.
The perfect place to admire the sunsets.
I encourage you to come to one of the many fishing villages.
Usually you will find well-developed wharfs with small bars. So you can eat fish, squid, drink coconut juice and chat with local residents for a while. Surprisingly, everyone speaks quite good Russian and English.
Driving to the north of the island along its west coast you will reach one of the curiosities, which is the "Beach of red starfish". Unfortunately, I personally did not see any starfish there on the day I visited it. From the accounts of local residents, I know that this is a place where starfish come out of the depths of the sea into the shallows and you can watch them walking for hours. Maybe next time I'll be luckier.
There is a small Buddhist temple nearby. It is worth taking a look and a moment to rest inside.
Is there anything special about this island?
Yes. Phu Quoc is known for two products.
The first is the fish sauce produced here, which is considered the best in all of Viet Nam, and some believe that in the whole of Asia. Powerful barrels for seasoning the sauce are impressive.
The second treasure of Phu Quoc is black pepper grown on almost every meter of the earth.
Besides, fishing, which is responsible for the increase in the wealth of the inhabitants, is parallel to the income from tourism.
The coastal zone is considered the richest fishing area of Viet Nam.
To protect the sea from overexploitation and to preserve the local coral reef, seaweed and mangrove forests, a protected area was established in 2007 that houses rare species of green and leatherback turtles, blue crabs and dolphins.
The water around the island is warm. Completely different from the water in the Baltic Sea. Beautiful landscapes. Palm trees, warm water, golden sandy beaches.
If I was to recommend it, it would rather be a trip in the dry season, that is from November to April.
Rather shorter trip, around five or six days, than a long two-week trip.
In the second week you just won't have anything to do and a week is enough to get to know the island very well.
Of course, if you don't like sunbathing. If you like lounging on the beach, the month will also be too short. Hahaha.
All local airlines fly every hour. VietJet, EasyJet, Bamboo Airlines and Vietnam Airlines all have round-trip flights starting at $ 40. The flight itself, as already mentioned, is short, 45 minutes.
So if you want to get away from the city of Saigon, from the heat of the streets and dust, then I have two options for you.
One is a hydrofoil trip to Vung Tau, which I already wrote about in the articles here, and the second option is a visit to Phu Quoc.
Both of these attractions are close, relatively cheap and allow you to really experience sensations that in some places on the island are similar to the Caribbean or the Maldives.
After a few days of exploring the island, I decided to see the cable car ride.
Indeed, the attraction itself is fantastic. I recommend it as the last or first attraction during your visit to the island.
All because of the location of the starting station. From here you are close to the airport.
In addition, there is a water park and a fantastically prepared beach.
If you want to enjoy beautiful sunsets and enjoy nature, choose the north of the island. If you like the town atmosphere, you can stay at the airport in the island's capital.
I chose the backwoods, so for me the trip to the cable car line was a one-day trip at the very end of my stay. From here I was close to the airport.
So if you would like to spend an attractive, island holiday at an affordable price, then I invite you to Viet Nam, to the Phu Quoc island.
Here you will feel the sea breeze on your face and taste the delicious fish sauce with black pepper. Pina colada during sunset will complete the bouquet of impressions.