We landed in Phu Quoc, with a pronounced thud.
My eyes flew open and my heart raced as I joined in the nervous giggles of other passengers that filled the cabin.
But the shaky landing on Vietnam’s largest island wasn’t going to hinder our long weekend getaway.
We gladly arrived at Mango Bay Eco Resort and from the minute we learned that the wifi password was ‘ENJOY,’ I knew we had come to the right place.
Mango Bay isn’t like the other cookie-cutter type of resorts that are slowly taking over this region.
This resort is inconspicuously nestled within the natural indigenous forest and sits on the edge of an untouched beach.
Similar to Vietnam, Phu Quoc has had numerous nations occupying the island over the centuries, including Vietnam, Cambodia, France and America.
Up until the late 1980’s the island was an area of dispute between Vietnam and Cambodia.
But as proud owners, the Vietnamese are now cultivating the Island as a highly desirable eco-tourism destination.
Wandering up the raggedy paved path to our Plantation Bungalow it’s easy to see the eco-tourism spirit alive.
There are no ‘mod-cons’ here and that is exactly what we needed to unwind from the constant momentum of Hong Kong.
There was no television or phone and air conditioning was provided by the refreshing sea breeze.
The fridge was an old-school ice chest and we showered under the dusty blue sky overlooking lush vegetation.
We washed the sand off our feet with a ladle crafted from a coconut whilst taking in the calming ocean view from our verandah.
This was the only entertainment we required.
I am not ashamed to admit that we didn’t leave Mango Bay for the two and half days we were there.
There was really no need as you can do as little or as much as you please.
The most vigorous activity we undertook was swimming out to the little pontoon where we bathed in the sun like lethargic seals.
But if you are looking for a little more action you can visit the resort’s Activity Centre where you will find snorkelling gear, kayaks and canoes as well as badminton and beach volleyball sets.
I had planned to take an afternoon Yoga class down by the beach. But I was just so busy doing nothing that I couldn’t make it.
You also don’t need to leave Mango Bay to eat, as the produce and meals are divine.
Think beautifully baked bread and pastries for breakfast, accompanied by juicy seasonal fruit (including mangoes of course) and a cooked English breakfast.
If an English breakfast isn’t your thing, other options include an American breakfast, a ‘Healthy breakfast’, which featured muesli, and a traditional Vietnamese breakfast.
I love nothing more than a nourishing breakfast and overlooking the ocean just tops the experience off!
But there is more to look forward to than just the breakfast.
We rested on the beach and when hunger struck, I took great delight in sitting at the Beach Bar.
Bikini clad with salty hair and make-up free, I was ready to dive into lunch.
We feasted on delicious fresh crab and mayo sandwiches, pulled pork tacos and the most divine squid rings I have ever tasted.
Dinner was also a delight with traditional Vietnamese dishes such as Bun Cha and Chicken Pho filing our bellies.
But the most unexpected and enjoyable experience was discovering the famous Phu Quoc pepper.
Vietnam is the leading global exporter of Black peppercorns with Phu Quoc harvesting the best quality black pepper in the country.
The Island produces in excess of 400 tonnes of pepper every year, and there are numerous black pepper farms you can visit throughout Phu Quoc.
I have never been a fan of pepper but this pepper was impressive. I even tried their Phu Quoc pepper ice cream for dessert!
I was so impressed I even bought a bag of the local peppercorns to bring back with us.
In addition to my new love of pepper, I was even more in love with being outdoors and basking in nature.
I don’t know how many times I said to James ‘how great is it to be outside!’
I really hadn’t realised how cramped life in Hong Kong was and how it was affecting me.
I adored walking barefoot on the grass, swimming in the ocean and feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin.
As I watched the sunset create a magenta hued sky mixing into the inky indigo ocean, I reflected on my blessings of how grateful I was for the time I spent in Phu Quoc.
I look forward to my return.
Vietnam Airlines fly daily from Sydney and Hong Kong to Ho Chi Min City.
Daily flights from Ho Chi Min City to Phu Quoc are also available.
Depending on your nationality and country of residence you are required to have a visa to enter Vietnam.
Word of advice – pay the extra money and organise your visa prior to arriving in HCMC. The process is a nightmare and can take an extensive amount of time!
It’s advised that you organise an airport transfer through Mango Bay resort. The cost is approximately $10 USD per person.
Mango Bay Eco Resort is character-filled and offers an authentic island experience with all the beach-side luxuries you need.
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