Phu Quoc: Pearls, Pepper, and Pristine Beaches

Phu Quoc left its indelible mark on me on our first visit in 2011. The memories of the rustic feel of the province, the fresh seafood, and the warmth of its people make me want to go back. And luckily, our office chose PQ as it’s destination for this year’s 2015 retreat. 🙂

We stayed at the newly opened Salinda Premium which was just a quick 10-minute ride away from the PQ International Airport. But more on that later.

After devoting the whole of Saturday to office events, Sunday gave us an opportunity to explore the island. And since I brought my whole family plus mom, we decided to check out what PQ is famous for — 3Ps – pearls, pepper, and pristine beaches.

 photo 20150426_091145_zpshce2hspl.jpg

Salinda helped get us a taxi with an English speaking driver, anh Xuan to take us around town. And first stop was the Ngoc Hien Pearl farm. Outside the showroom were a couple of people explaining the pearl development process.

 photo 20150426_091150_zpsq8mt94nj.jpgAn actual oyster was shown and out came the pearl from its gonad. 😛

 photo 20150426_091439_zpscc051odk.jpgThe color of the pearl can be guessed from the color of the oyster’s shell.

 photo 20150426_094219_zpsr2ldweqy.jpgThe pearls are cultured anywhere from 3 to 6 years or longer. The larger the pearl, the more expensive it is, of course! Just check out their prices above!

 photo 20150426_094255_zpscbtcnicq.jpgYou can also have your own accessory customized for you as Ngoc Hien is able to do so on site.

 photo 20150426_094525_zpsto1con4z.jpgPrices start at 500,000 VND for a pair of earrings.

Pristine Beaches

There was a perfectly good beach out front Salinda which is Long Beach. But people visiting PQ ride to the white sands of Sao Beach. Unlike our first encounter of Sao Beach in 2011 — where the beach and waves were quiet, this weekend was the complete opposite!

 photo 20150426_103849_zps2f12hvia.jpgThere were tourists, tourists, and more tourists!!! Even the sudden rain showers didn’t scare them away.

 photo 20150426_103853_zps1iim6sgg.jpgThe furious waves were a stark contrast from our last visit.

 photo 20150426_104956-1_zpspxu7epqb.jpg

I just hope the tourists would take care of this beach. I’ve seen some trash here and there, but otherwise, the place is still beautiful.

 photo 20150426_104824_zpsgqvwizmv.jpgSee how clean the sand is? You can hardly see my writing of Phu Quoc 2015. 😀


 photo 20150426_113925_zpst50hieru.jpg

The kids — especially my youngest hates sand, so we didn’t get to spend much time at Sao Beach. Nor were we able to eat a sumptuous meal at the beach. Sigh. Kids.

 photo 20150426_114410_zpsvvghwjce.jpgSo we were off to the Pepper Farm.

 photo 20150426_114342_zpsskdit8bq.jpgAnh Xuan said that it was the off season so as you can see, the vines were not that thick but we did spot a lot of pepper.

 photo 20150426_114207_zpsjz0uie73.jpgIt was a treat for the kids —

 photo 20150426_114258_zps11q5imfw.jpg

The lady in the farm was sorting pepper for selling — must be an arduous process!

 photo 20150426_114719_zps1xpsnete.jpgAnd of course we had to buy some for home.

 photo 20150426_115043_zpswogmwh9a.jpgThey also sell other condiments too!

 photo 20150426_115342_zpsky8ytgxu.jpg
The friendly Vietnamese lady let us eat all the green mangoes we want dipped in their special fish paste blend.

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Phu Quoc is also famous for its fish sauce, but sadly, we didn’t get to visit the factory. Oh well, all the more reason to go back!

You can read about our PQ adventure in 2011 here.

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