A Week of living Sustainably in Vietnam
After a week spent in transit and in cities (Singapore, and then Ho Chi Minh), we were so excited to finally get out to an island – our one true love is, without question, the tropics. We took a quick hopper flight to Phu Quoc Island, off the coast of Vietnam at the Cambodian border and found a little piece of eco-paradise. Our stay at Bamboo Cottages was enlightening – this area of the world, and Phu Quoc especially, has a huge problem with trash – the influx of tourism in the last 15 years and underdeveloped waste management services have left huge amounts of waste, with no where for it to go. One of the main missions of Bamboo is create a zero waste establishment, and help clean up the island at the same time. The resort is 100% solar powered, and I appreciated all of the little choices they made to eliminate trash – reusable glass water bottles being one of the first I noticed, since I hate that I use so many plastic bottles when I travel. This was the first tropical place we had ever stayed without Air Conditioning, which took some getting used to, but a small price to pay for a week of helping being pat of the soution.
Unfortunately, rainy season is REAL in Vietnam – we got rained on every single day, but when the sun did come out, the turned turned bright blue (I hear during January/February it is the same glistening aqua water as there is in Thailand) and the sunlight came through the palms so beautifully.
I loved it here. The entire place felt like a garden in a palm grove.
The funniest thing about Phu Quoc is that it is so close to Koh Mak and Koh Kood, Thailand where we stayed last christmas. The Thai islands are on the Cambodian border, closer to Cambodia than Thailand, and Phu Quoc is exactly the same on the other side of the border with Vietnam. Both are in the Gulf of Thailand, and getting in the water here instantly reminded me of my first time – the extreme saltiness is the same.
A little beach jungle dream. Even though it had been a couple of months since we left our “regular” jobs, it felt like we have hd nothing but work, moving, and nonstop stress to deal with. It was so nice to just take a moment here and relaxxxxxxx.
So. I LOVE Vietnamese food. To be honest, I love almost all Asian food, but what we had here was amazing – more than just Pho and Banh Mis, but the curries, the spices, and all of the fresh seafood (crab is an island specialty) made a menu that we just could not get enough of.
Speaking of the food, I love cooking classes. Brandon and I have done a few of these now – in Spain, in New York, in Indonesia, and we would always learn a couple of things that we took home (one of the dishes we learned in Spain, a Spanish Tortilla became a staple at our apartment.) The cooking class we did here was very classic – Pho, spring rolls, and a banana tempura. There is always something about seeing the whole dish come together that makes you appreciate it so much more.
We ventured on a scooter ride over to a fishing village on the other side of the island, Rach Vem. From the photos I’ve seen here, it looks like this could be a lovely little village – but the only word I could accurately use to describe it here is eerie. Most likely because of the heavy rains, but the water here was stagnant and smelled strongly, the walkway seen here was disorientingly narrow, and seemed to go on for miles, and the entire village had a ghost-town feel. Maybe this is one of those places that only comes alive during high season, but it was a strange sight to see, to say the least.
One of the coolest experiences I had here was while we were wondering the beach and taking photos, we ran into this man and a couple of other local villagers sitting in the breakwater, digging for clams. We gestured for us to come over and join him, and showed us how to dig in the sand right as the water came over it, when the clams were easier to grab. It reminded me of doing the same thing on the beach as a child, trying to catch sand crabs.
A venture to the Northern most point of the island, Gahn Dau beach.
Mmmm more food.
Sun Down in Vietnam, and on to the next one – Kuala Lumpur!