Vietnam – It’ll Always be Home

With two of my three weeks done and gone, I figured it was time to talk about my country a bit.

This is my third time coming back and each time, I’m impressed by the sheer number of tourists that are flocking to South Vietnam and how the infrastructure has improved. They still have a long way to go, and if it were up to me, I’d educate the populace about the environment and not throwing trash everywhere.

As you’ve surmised, I’m from the south and have spent most of my time here in Bac Lieu, my birth town, and in Can Tho, my mom’s hometown. Each one of these cities is my home away from home. It’s hard for me to describe the peace and tranquility I always feel when here. It grounds me in ways that living in Toronto never could. I’m not saying that I’d ever live in Vietnam permanently, Toronto is my home; but I’ll always come back here.

This trip is a short one but I’ve done quite a lot with it. My dad has built a house in Bac Lieu and we’ve been busy with visiting family and finishing some personal things. Everytime I do make the trek to the far side of the world, I try to visit at least one place I haven’t before. This time, I went to the resort island of Phu Quoc. Which is nestled in the Gulf of Thailand, the largest island that belongs to Vietnam but is geographically closer to Cambodia.

Up until a few years ago, Phu Quoc was a best kept secret, a place only those tourists in the know knew about and wanted to keep it that way. But, with tourism the way it is, an airport was built and now has millions of visitors annually.

Sao beach (best on the island) is further but worth the trip. A white sandy beach and crystal clear blue water awaits you. Whereas Long Beach is, well, as it’s name suggests, long. It’s also part of the main strip and has a serviceable and highly accessible beach.

I’m a bit of a shopaholic and foodie so each night I eagerly awaited sundown so I could race to Cho Dem (night market) for the day’s fresh caught fish and seafood. And of course the shopping. I had a pearl necklace made just for me for $150,000 dong ($7.50 CDN) and other assorted nicknacks.

With Phu Quoc being such a large island, it’s smart to sign up for the various tours offered so that you won’t miss all the attractions. Snorkeling and diving are great as the coral reef is something not to be missed. And if that’s not for you then there’s always night fishing….for squid.

My favorite stop was the Myrtle farm where they harvest the myrtle fruit to make Ruou Sim, myrtle liquor.  I also visited a fish sauce factory but the aroma was too much.

If you’re a tourist in Phu Quoc or anywhere in Vietnam, don’t forget to haggle when shopping. I never pay what they ask and often will buy multiples to get the best price.

For those of you missing me (that’s you, Ashley), I’ll be back on March 14. Until then.

images (c)CityGirlScapes
1. Myrtle Flower
2. Phu Quoc mornings
3. Sao Beach panorama
4. Fish Sauce Factory
5. Long Beach sunset