As I mentioned in my previous post, Matt and I spontaneously decided to take a trip to Phu Quoc island, which is south-west of Can Tho (on a map, it is the big island that looks like it belongs to Cambodia but it doesn’t).
Step 1: Take the bus
Matt and I thought we were being extremely cautious and overly prepared by riding our bikes to the bus station the day before our departure and inquiring about bus times and ticket costs. We arrive the next morning at 6:45 hoping to catch a 7:00 am bus to Rach Gia where we would then catch a boat to the island. We bought the tickets for 110,000 VND (roughly $5 USD) and boarded a small grey mini bus and off we went! As the morning progressed, the bus kept stopping to pick more people up and before we knew it we were both pressed up against the window fighting for leg room (see picture). A little weird, right? But whatever we assumed this was normal and la dee da went on our merry way. Around 11 we stop at a gas station and everyone piles out of the bus to get some food. We end up waiting there for about 45 minutes (Why you ask? I still have no clue) which was worrisome considering the last ferry leaves at 1:00 pm. Again, we convinced ourselves this was totally normal and away we went at 11:45! Before I know it, the mini bus has stopped again and the driver keeps pointing to me and Matt and then out the door, to me and Matt and out the door again. Ok… this is a red flag. The bus drives away and we are left in the middle of nowhere with two men on motorbikes who are supposedly going to drive us the rest of the way to Rach Gia. When the two men ask us to pay them each an extra 100,000 VND, it becomes exceedingly clear that we have been scammed. We finally talk them down to 130,000 VND for the both of us and off we go again… at this point our spirits have been a little damaged but not to worry because it only gets worse!
Step 2: Take the ferry
The bikes drop us off at a ticket window and we begin a series of outlandish arm motions and broken english to ask for two tickets to Phu Quoc island. The man informs us that the tickets for the last ferry are sold out. Before the panic sets in, a man rolls up on his motor bike and tells us he has two extra tickets which he will sell for 500,000 VND (about $25 USD) which is way more than the normal ticket price of 340,000 (about $16 USD). At this point we’re both pretty pissed off and I call my Vietnamese friend, Khoa, to talk to the guy and make sure the tickets are real. We buy them and get on the boat. Which, by the way is called “The Superdong”. LOL.
Step 3: Go to the Hotel
After getting off the boat, Matt and I made a last minute decision to cancel our current hotel reservation and show up at a different hotel located closer to the main downtown area of the island. The Eden Hotel is a breath of fresh air and the yummy ice tea the staff brings us in the lobby melts away all of our woes immediately. They even upgrade us to a better room for free! Over the course of the next 3 days, I laid by the pool, got a massage, when on a boat tour, and snorkeled. It was a fabulous trip and I highly recommend traveling there if anyone ever gets the opportunity to go to Vietnam! My one advice is to avoid the trouble we went through and simply fly to the island.
— Taylor Caldwell