Long Beach Budget Hotel Options

Phu Quoc – Vietnam – Where To Stay


NOVEMBER 2015:





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OVERVIEW:

In Phu Quoc, I rented a scooter and went Around The Island for 2 days investigating.

I concluded that the only real area for GRANDPAckers to stay in was in the 5km strip along Long Beach south of Duong Dong. It reminded me of Cenang Beach, Langkawi, Malaysia where (similarly) this was the only beach on the island suitable for GRANDPAckers to stay long term.

The rest of the island is either being built, up-market, unkempt, or not to GRANDPAcking standard.

On my 3rd day, I sat down to have breakfast, and used BOOKING.COM to create a shortlist of target hotels, guesthouses, and resorts.

Long Beach Budget Hotel Options

It was the 31st of October 2015 and these were the only places with rooms to a GRANDPAcking budget and standard. Try this yourself with Agoda:



 


My target price was a maximum of VND500k / NZ$36 / US$24 / €22 / £15 per day. I had shortlisted places offering higher prices than that as I expected to be able to negotiate them down to within my target figure for my long-term stay.

What I found was a “Peak Season’ problem. Peak Season starts on 1st November and all accommodation prices increase by 150-200%. What you could get for US$25 on 31st October is US$40 on 1st November.

This made my search a bit more interesting… and challenged my ‘negotiation skills’.

I jumped on my rental scooter and zig-zagged up and down the 5kms of Long Beach in and out of every side street. This is what I was able to achieve on a promise of an 18 night stay (I will highlight any variations from GRANDPAcking standards):

Gold Beach Hotel: US$25 including breakfast, aircon, and cable tv. The hotel room was on the 4th floor. The hotel had a small pool. It was on the coast road with no beach access.

Hiep Thanh Resort: US$20 without breakfast and US$25 with breakfast in an ‘only just made the standard’ terrace room away from the beach.

Hoa Nhat Lan Bungalows: A nice, clean, modern bungalow with patio and hammock looking out over gardens. US$18 with aircon. No beach access. But, one of the best options.

Lien Hiep Thanh Resort: The place that I was already in. US$20 for a terrace room. US$34 for a bungalow. Beach access.

Mai Spa Resort: US$40 for a garden view terrace room with aircon and breakfast.

Nhat Lan Resort: US$24 bungalow with cable tv and aircon with beach access.

Phuong Binh House: An ‘only just made standard’ terrace room US$30 down to US$25 for 18 nights. Beach access.

Son Vinh Guesthouse: On the coast road. US$20 for a nice, modern, terrace room. Including free laundry and breakfast (2 Fried Eggs, Baguette, and Black Coffee). One of the best but nowhere for a solo traveller like me to meet people.

Thanh Hai Guesthouse: US$15 for a bungalow. Average. No beach access.


Booking.com


Being able to get around like this and do a proper investigation is another perfect example of how renting a scooter can pay for itself.


ACCOMMODATION:

I was in Phu Quoc for another 18 nights, so wanted beach access and somewhere where I could meet people (so the resort needed a bar and / or restaurant).

Summary:

A good ‘target area’ for GRANDPAckers is the small group of side streets in and around the Coral Bay Resort. This is the main ‘budget accommodation’ area on the tourist strip.

In these streets you will find several options in the GRANDPAcking range… all within walking distance of each other. This makes it easy to find one that you like and negotiate a good price.

This area also has its own community of restaurants and bars as well as scooter rentals… all of which are better prices than further north nearer Duong Dong.

The end of some of these little tracks are not paved so they can flood after heavy rains. You may find yourself walking through ankle-high puddles on the way home. Alternatively, you can get to the beach and walk to your resort from there.

When I was there from late October 2015, the rains came daily. However, by mid November, these rains had eased to once every 3 days.

When I was in Phu Quoc on the cusp of Peak Season (late October to early November) it rained for at least 1 hour every afternoon / evening.

Lien Hiep Thanh Resort:

Phu Quoc - Lien Hiep Thanh - Room Outside Phu Quoc - Lien Hiep Thanh - Room Phu Quoc - Lien Hiep Thanh - Room 2 Phu Quoc - Lien Hiep Thanh - EnsuiteI used BOOKING.COM to book 4 nights in advance before arriving on the island.

I booked it for VDN356k / night.

They now wanted a ‘discounted rate’ of VDN400k / night for me to extend my stay in Peak Season (in the same room).

The resort is pleasant and well maintained with a daily maid service which includes 2 small bottles of water every day.

The restaurant prices were ‘OK’ but not fantastic. The restaurant food was ‘average’. A big Saigon Green was VDN25k.

Phu Quoc - Lien Hiep - 1 - Eggs VDN30kFried Eggs & Baguette was VDN30k and a small Black Coffee VDN15k.

Nhat Lan Resort:

Phu Quoc - Nhat Lan - Bungalow Bed Phu-Quoc-Nhat-Lan-Bungalow-Ensuite Phu Quoc - Nhat Lan - Bungalow Inside Phu Quoc - Nhat Lan - Bungalow OutsideI chose this resort for my next 18 nights.

It had what I was looking for and offered the best bungalow price for a resort with beach access and a restaurant. It was 2 resorts further south from the Lien Hiep Thanh (about 30 metres walk).

It is a small resort with a terrace of 4 rooms, 6 small bungalows, and 16 larger bungalows. I chose one of the smaller (and cheaper) bungalows.

The resort is pleasant and well maintained with a daily maid service which includes 2 small bottles of water every day.

I checked into my bungalow at noon. I noticed a few mosquitoes flying about. I ALWAYS travel with a big can of bug spray… so, when I popped out to find an ATM that afternoon, I closed all of the windows and sprayed the room. With these sprays you spray and leave the room for AT LEAST 15 minutes. When I came back later that afternoon there were about 100 dead mosquitoes on the floor. I didn’t get bitten once that night. Thank god for my bug spray!

Phu Quoc - Nhat Lan - Beach North  Phu Quoc - Nhat Lan - From Beach Phu Quoc - Nhat Lan - Ginger Chicken VDN80k Phu Quoc - Nhat Lan - Sea Front NightThe resort has a nice beach front but there are a lot of mosquitoes around at dawn and dusk. You need to protect yourself at those times of day.

The restaurant prices were ‘OK’ but not fantastic. The restaurant food was ‘average’. Fried Eggs & Baguette was VDN35k and a large Black Coffee VDN15k. An “OK’ Chicken & Ginger with rice was VDN80k. A big Saigon Green was VDN18k.

I was a bit ‘disappointed’ with the resort. The cleaning ladies were very friendly and I had many a laugh with them… but the guys down at the beachfront restaurant were a different story. They were ‘indifferent’ and I did not find them very friendly. Many a time they did not even respond to me saying ‘Good Morning’ to them. Maybe it was just me they didn’t like.

In fairness, there may have been a good reason for this… I usually work on my blog for 4-5 hours every morning and I had chosen Nhat Lan because I wanted to sit down in the beachfront restaurant and have that nice atmosphere during those hours. However, the internet connection was so bad that I could not work… so, for breakfast I went to the nearby Bao Quy Restaurant (they have an excellent internet connection). During the day (and for lunch) I am always out and about investigating. In the evenings I am doing the same and ended up at the Palm Tree Restaurant a lot for dinner. I wasn’t, actually, at my resort very much. The guys back at Nhat Lan may have thought that I was the one being unfriendly and shunning them. Funny how people can misinterpret things.

Anyway, I found the food in the Nhat Lan restaurant very average and the service poor too. On 2 occasions I sat at a table on the beach to have a last beer before retiring to bed. I sat for over 10 minutes each time trying to catch a waiter’s eye to order a beer… without success. Both times, I got up and left to go somewhere else.

Long Beach Restaurant:

On the second occasion I walked south along the beach for 50 metres to another resort ( I think that it is called the ‘Ngan Sao Resort 2’). They have a restaurant at the front called Long Beach Restaurant. Here, it was a completely different story…

There were only 4 people sitting around one of the tables. The German owner with her Vietnamese husband and a German lady with her 23 year old daughter.

They welcomed me in and I joined their table. We talked and laughed for about 2 hours. I had a big Saigon Green, and bought a few rounds for the table (a couple of house white wines and at least 6 Gin & Tonics – I think… things started to get a bit ‘murky’… I know we all drank at least half a bottle of gin).

When I wanted to leave and asked to pay, the lady owner only wanted VDN120k! I gave her VDN150k, thanked her, and left with a smile.

VERY FRIENDLY, and a lovely evening. Thank you ladies!

I believe that you can rent a Bungalow here for VDN750k / night. Alas, at that price, it would be out-of-GRANDPAcker-range (unless you can do a really good deal on a room at the back).


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