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Pottering around Vietnam's tropical islands

14th December 2011

Oh how I love to potter through tropical islands on a moped! For $7 hire and $5 fuel I was winging my way due south at a steady 35kph, on a wide red dust track running along next to the beach. Phu Quoc is about 45 kms long and tear-drop shape, and on the east coast lies the lovely white sand Ba Sao beach. It's a 2km sweep of stunning Tropicana, with only one small bungalow resort for accommodation a tiny bar and a larger 'posh' restaurant for tourists at the other end. The food there was about four times the price of the food on Long Beach, but if it's seclusion you're after this is the spot. What it is missing is the vibe and variety of the wonderful quiet bars along Long Beach.

After a Pho (the classic Vietnamese noodle soup) I made the return 1 1/2 hour trip, whilst becoming increasingly red on all exposed surfaces. Luckily I'd opted for my hush puppies rather than my 'asking for it' sandals leaving my white feet exposed for incineration as is my normal trick. Researching three or four guesthouses on the way home I had a quick snooze and showered up ready for sunset. Next it was out to the lantern lit beach bars where the tables brim with fresh seafood, tantalisingly displayed on chunks of ice in the glowi of the BBQs. After a feast of crispy noodles and seafood with extra chill and lemongrass, I watch couples and small groups of westerners ramble along the beach, Vietnamese kids played in coracles in the sea and their families laughing and chatting with the tourists.... bliss.

Peter O'Sullivan

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