Hong Kong in early March is perhaps not the best time of the year to catch a bit of warm sunshine, enjoy the many beaches around the island, or just simply enjoy gently being touched by the sun on your skin. March is usually too cold and gloomy for most of the day. It is somewhere between winter and spring time in Hong Kong. So why not take a quick flight to nearby South-East-Asia? Vietnam hasn’t been on our travel itinerary for the very first time, not at all, in fact Vietnam is one of those destinations that you would like to experience all over again since it has so much to offer, so many locations to explore, things to do or simply to enjoy the peaceful nature in all its beauty and variety.
Previously we explored the very popular east coast, with Da Nang and Nha Trang as popular tourist destinations. So now it was time to look at the west of Vietnam, to be precise, the island of Phu Quoc which is very close to Cambodia. Getting there from Hong Kong is rather straight forward, take an international flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and continue from there using a domestic airline. The flight from Hong Kong just takes about 2 hours and the flight from Ho Chi Minh City adds another short forty minutes to the total flight time. Our choice were Cathay Pacific and Vietnam airlines respectively. On our way to the island we had to endure a rather long transit time at Ho Chi Minh international airport, which was not that bad after all thanks to the hospitality, cappuccino and choice of snacks available at Starbucks just across of the road from the domestic terminal.
The beachfront of the resort is sandy and free of stones allowing easy access to the water. It was generally clean besides ugly cigarette butts in the sand here and there. We also noticed plastic bags and plastic bottles floating on the sea or stuck in the sand. We have experienced much cleaner beaches during our travel across Asia, still, overall it appears clean and may just require guests to be considerate as well as the resort’s management to remind guests not to throw their waste, mostly cigarette butts into the sand. The water quality is fine as well, making floating in the sea a welcoming alternative to the large pool experience. While staying at the Mercury resort the pool was not too busy including the pool bar and sunbeds. There was plenty of available space at the pool for the guests.
We have not really explored other popular destinations of the island including popular spots such as the Sao Beach or any of the other spots said to be beautiful and peaceful, so my perception of the island may not really do it justice.
All in all I had the genuine impression that the east coast of Vietnam is my favorite in terms of beach quality and available resorts. Still, the east coast is fast gaining new resorts which may in a long run change the travel experience.
The resort itself was fairly well maintained taking under consideration that the resort does not belong to any of the major hotel and resort chains. It is more or less locally managed. What counts is that everything that should work, actually did work including bathroom installation, air-conditioning, TV and a the freezer. Despite mostly everything functioning as it should, one could notice that maintenance can still be improved including minor issues such as the pool light, outdoor light, or, what concerned me most, exposed cables at the outdoor shower.
The resort offers a good choice of activities for everyone, the large pool, a spa, a small gym area, a restaurant and beach “club” as well as a playground for the kids and decent event entertainment. Breakfast buffet was fully satisfying, providing a wide choice of good food, including Asian selections, fruits, flakes, bread and cheese selection as well as egg dishes such as various type of freshly made omelets. I only missed the option to enjoy a soy cappuccino since all warm drinks were out of a coffee machine instead of freshly brewed. Still, the breakfast was more than sufficient, still receiving a score of 8 from 10 possible points.
The very same restaurant where breakfast was being served, was popular for evening dining with a rather wide choice of Vietnamese, Asian and Western cuisine; and they all tasted good if not even very good. The resort’s staff was friendly and helpful in trying to make our stay as pleasant as possible. Overall, there wasn’t any real reason for any complain or whatsoever. I certainly won’t mind to recommend the island and resort if ever asked. Vietnam has once more not disappointed my expectations.
on the ground, just judge for yourself.