The Last Days of Flashpacking

7 01 2011

We got an early morning taxi to the airport and said our last goodbyes to Rohit (he was heading home to India) and then Becky and I boarded our flight for our final flashpacking destination, Phú Quốc – the largest and apparently most picturesque island in Vietnam. It is right down in the southwest of the country: I was practically back in Cambodia. We were both worried about our hotel reservation at the Long Beach Ancient Village Resort – there weren’t many hotels available, so I’d booked the only one I could find – the latest review on Tripadvisor was titled “This resort should not be open!” and was extremely damning.


Long Beach Ancient Village Resort

I was pleasantly surprised with the rooms however – they were made of dark wood and it was like being inside a boat cabin. There was a huge wooden tub in the bathroom and a great little veranda overlooking a pond. The resort did indeed look like an ornate small village with little gazebos and bridges amongst well-tended gardens. Some of the other criticisms of the Tripadvisor reviewer were valid, however: there were indeed not enough beach chairs; the restaurant was always empty and overpriced; and the resort was still under construction (although we never saw anyone working on it).

But it was a great place to hang out for 3 days: we lounged on the beach; ate in beach front restaurants with our feet in the sand (food always tastes better that way); drank lots of beer, cocktails and Dalat wine (no surprises there really); shot loads of pool (my game was finally improving but obviously Becky still beat me); and generally had some great last days together.


Becky cleaning up at pool


Our hotel was a bit further out from the main bars and restaurants and our choices were walking along the darkened main road, praying that we wouldn’t get run over; or scrambling along the beach and wading into the water past what we affectionately referred to as garbage rock. Suffice to say that, apart from during the day when we were more suitably attired for wading in the ocean, we took our chances with the road route.

Eventually it was time to head back to Saigon for one final night together before Becky’s evening flight back to Europe. Somewhere along the line we both managed to get serious food poisoning; our last evening involved us taking it in turns to rush to the bathroom and feeling like crap. It was very romantic! The next day the bell boy at the hotel organised a taxi to the airport – he’d wait for me for an hour and then bring me back to the city. After a final tearful farewell, I went in search of my ride back but he wasn’t where he was supposed to be and eventually I had to take another taxi back. I paid the bell boy the money the taxi driver should have got for the outward journey – I don’t know if the driver ever got it – and headed off to bed. The bell boy shocked me a little by offering me a woman for the night now that I was on my own again – I didn’t think it was that type of hotel!

The next morning I would get an early morning bus to Dalat in the central highlands of Vietnam: I was backpacking on my own again; my flashpacking days were over.