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It is easy to find and book trips around Phu Quoc Island. I booked my 1 day snorkelling trip at the Thanh Kim Nga Resort which is just down a side road from the Coco Bar.
I could have booked it anywhere but, a couple of nights before I had met Michelle (an elderly Frenchman) who owned the Thanh Kim Nga Resort and he said that his Vietnamese wife organised such tours and that she would give me a good price.
These resorts work with local operators for commission. Thanh Kim Nga works with John’s Tours. John’s have a number of tours on offer:
- Snorkelling & Fishing to the South: US$17
- Snorkelling & Fishing to the North: US$17
- Sunset BBQ & Night Squid Fishing: US$15
- South Tour: US$18
- North Tour: US$21
- Adventure Day & Night Cruise: US$30
- Northern Frontier: US$30
- Trek National Park & Discover Cua Can River by Kayak: US$31
- Discover North Island & VinPearl Land: US$46
I wanted to do the Snorkelling & Fishing to the South so that I could also get a look at the southern islands.
With a smile, I asked the lady for her ‘best price’. She said US$15 (which should be, at the official exchange rate of 22000VDN=US$1, about VDN336k). It is typical for the Vietnamese to use an exchange rate of VDN20,000 (when it works in their favour) so, as she got out her calculator, I replied VDN300k then?
I smiled. She smiled… “OK” she replies. The deal was done.
Pick up was meant to be from my Hotel (the Nhat Lan Resort) at 08:25 the next morning.
At 08:35 a man arrives to collect me to take me to the John’s Tours office on the back of his scooter; it’s only about 200 meters away.
There I wait until other people arrive. By 09:00 we were on the bus and on the road.
THE PEARL FARM:
It takes about 10 minutes to get to our first stop: the Pearl Farm.
An Australian gives a presentation and demonstrates how they ‘seed’ and later ‘collect’ the pearls.
They use many different types of oyster to get different types and colours of pearl.
It was interesting. He even opened a few small oysters in front of us and extracted some pearls.
They farm over 1 million pearls each year.
THE BOAT TRIP:
By 09:40 we were back on the bus. We arrived at the An Thoi pier at 10:00.
It was a reasonable boat… but, I wouldn’t want to go on anything smaller in rougher seas. The boat had a lower deck and an upper deck. On the upper deck you can choose between sitting in the sun or under shade. But, to get up there, you need to climb a ladder – which may not suit some GRANDPAckers.
We set sail. The first thing that we did was choose our snorkelling equipment. The equipment was in good condition and there were plenty to choose from. I found some comfortable size 45-47 fins and a comfortable mask & snorkel. The equipment is provided free. You sign for the equipment and you are responsible for your equipment whilst on the trip – and have to pay for anything that you lose: US$10 for a snorkel, US$30 for fins, and US$40 for a mask.
After about 20-30 minutes at sea, we stopped to fish. We were provided hand lines and bait; again, this is provided free. Some people catch some small ones which get thrown back. No big fish were caught today.
After 30 minutes of fishing we are underway again. After about 10 minutes we are at our first snorkelling location. It is 11:00am.
We snorkel for 1 hour. You get on and off of the boat by rung ladder – which may be a bit ‘tricky’ for some GRANDPAckers but quite OK for most.
At about 12:15 we are served lunch:
- Vegetable soup
- Slices of fried tofu
- Fried fish steaks
- Beef Stew
You are given 1 large bottle of water when you first board the bus. On the boat, drinks are available but you pay extra: a can of Tiger is VDN30k and a can of Soft Drink is VDN20k. You can also try Sea Urchins for VDN20k each.
By 14:30 we are back on the boat and heading home. We are back at the pier by 14:45 and on the bus to Sao Beach.
We get to Sao Beach just after 15:00. I had already been to Sao Beach on my Around The Island By Scooter Trip; the beach was still dirty and the weather started to turn bad.
For VDN300k (less than US$14) you get good value for money and a nice day out.
But don’t expect much from the ‘Coral Reefs’. They are small and you mainly see lots of grey and brown.
Rarely you may see some small patches of colour: reds, blues, oranges, whites, and yellows.
The snorkelling locations are ‘very average’ and they are not really looked after. Some of the local Vietnamese on the trip just don’t care. They stand on the corals and rocks. One girl was sitting on top of one the the coral rocks picking the coral off of the top to look at them.
The trip is not about seeing fantastic corals. It is just a nice day out.
A trip that GRANDPAckers will enjoy.
I think that I will try the Sunset BBQ & Night Squid Fishing trip next. 🙂
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