It’s true people I took a SuperDong to Phu Quoc (Foo Cock) Island in Vietnam. If this doesn’t make you giggle, well then you’re a lost cause. I’ve been saying it, probably too many times, to anyone who would listen. I think it’s hilarious and I bust up laughing every time. I finally left Koh Rong Sanloem island off the southern coast of Cambodia and went back to Kampot and stayed one night there. The next morning I loaded a bus to the Vietnam border.
There were only three other people on the bus with me into Vietnam. When we got to the border a local hopped on the bus and asked for our passports. He disappeared into the building and we waited outside. I don’t know why they have someone else do this process for you at this border, but I don’t ask questions. It freaked out the other girl in the group that someone took her passport. I try not to worry about things like this, it just causes unnecessary stress and no one needs that. I just figure this is how they do things and it will all work out. I’m not the first person to cross the border like this so they have their ways and I can respect that.
Anyways, he did come back and we hopped back on the bus. We crossed over to the Vietnam side, where we took all our stuff and headed inside. We filled out paperwork asking about our health and someone took my temperature and made me pay them a dollar. What a load of crock that is, but whatever. Then we sat waiting while the dude with our passports waited in line to get our visas stamped. I found it very strange that they never saw my face. That could have been anyone’s passport other than my own. No pictures taken, no finger prints. Apparently it’s a really relaxed border.
After we got our stamps, we got in a minivan that drove us to the dock where we boarded the SuperDong (I’m laughing again as I write that). The ferry is a large size and really nice inside. The seats were comfortable and there was leg room, two things I am not accustomed to here in SE Asia. I thought the trip would take longer than it did but it was a quick hour or so ride. I wasn’t really paying attention. When we got off the ferry we were approached immediately by about 100 Vietnamese taxi drivers fighting for our business, which is always so stressful for me. They will be yelling and waving me down before I even step off the boat or bus. I asked the couple, who were on the bus across the border, if they would like to share a cab because we were going to the same part of the island and they agreed.
I checked into my hostel which was huge and really nice. Might be the nicest hostel I have ever stayed in. The beds were large, comfy and had curtains (my fav) and the AC in the room worked almost too well. It came fully equipped with a pool and a laundry mat where you could do your own laundry free of charge. This was the best feature for me, it could have been a dump and I would have loved it just to be able to wash my own clothes. The pool area was beautiful and although I never went in (I’m not really a pool person), I used the area as my daily call center to catch up with the fam. The entire downstairs area of the hostel was a bar/ dining/ hang out area. They played good music, aired the world cup every night, had tons of comfy lounge furniture as well as pool and foosball tables. They also serve free breakfast every morning. You know I’m all over free anything.
The first thing on my agenda was to get some Vietnamese dong, which is the local currency. I headed into the little city to find an ATM. To my complete surprise every ATM would only allow me to take out $2,000,000 Dong, which is about $87 USD. The ATM charged me $1.25 USD and then my bank at home charges me about $8 USD for non Chase ATM’s. So basically what I am saying here is that for 3 days worth of money I am charged almost ten dollars. Which means more than $3 dollars a day in bank fees. Not cool my friends, not cool. I take my money after testing withdrawal limits on 5 different ATMs and I’m perturbed. At this rate I’ll be out of money in a few months, or I can just eat one meal a day instead of two??
I was in serious need of some food. I had a sad excuse of a breakfast and was starving after traveling all day. I found a local side walk restaurant and got my first Vietnamese noodle soup and a beer of course. I didn’t feel like doing much because travel days always leave me exhausted. I knew they had a good night market so I headed down that way. On my way, I was rewarded by the most beautiful cloudy sunset that I have ever seen. I stopped at the beach to take some photos. I also stopped and got myself a one month unlimited data sim card for $6 USD. You read that right. I’m shocked every time at how cheap it is.
The night markets, well any markets here, are so fascinating. You can swindle and haggle your way into cheap everything. It’s almost overwhelming. I wasn’t in much of a shopping mood but I can always eat. I got myself some coconut ice cream, which let me tell you, has changed my life. It’s seriously the best thing in the world. I also got a “coconut candy”, which is the most amazing coconut dessert. It has fresh coconut, condensed milk syrup, chocolate syrup and a stringy coconut goodness slapped in between two thin wafers. Obviously, I brought my sweet tooth. The market had tons of seafood everywhere, as well as mystery meats and other things I couldn’t identify. They also have several vendors set up throughout the market offering peanuts of all kinds of flavors that they give you endless amounts of samples of. You don’t really need to eat before coming because you can have a meal of free nuts. Who buys them when you can just walk around and have endless free samples? Think Costco on Sundays, but just peanuts.
After the market I walked back to the hostel and did some work on the blog and tried to make a plan for the following day. I was thinking the best way to explore the island is via motorbike and my hostel rented them at the front desk for a reasonable price, so I decided it was time to get back to being a motorista.
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