For the first time on this trip, Pati and BeeBee woke up (at a luxurious 6 am) with no planned itinerary. Last night they discussed a walk on the beach following breakfast, but that’s as far as planning went. According to Trip Advisor, the number 1 attraction on Phu Quoc is the Phu Quoc Prison, which is variously described as “educational & informative” and “terrifying.” It is located very close to where they caught the snorkeling tour boat yesterday, and so is not really a casual trip. The number 11 attraction is Cao Dai Temple, which is close to the Night Market, and, according to yesterday’s tour guide, is a short 2 km (1.2 mile) walk along the beach. So the morning plan was to walk along the beach to the temple and check out whether the Night Market was worth visiting at night.
They stopped at the hotel reception desk on their way to the beach to get a map and verify directions. The receptionist told them that the beach route wasn’t practical, since there are obstructions on the way. The best route was to follow the main road to a roundabout, turn left and continue to the Night Market, then walk through that to the temple. Only 3 km (1.8 miles). Do-able, they thought.
After walking for quite a way on the main road with no roundabout in sight, sand in their Tevas from all the construction debris, sweating, they spotted some taxis. For about $1.25 USD, a taxi deposited them at the entrance to the Night Market. More than 3 km!
Walking through the Night Market, they could see some of the types of merchandise that are offered when the market is open for business: mostly pearls and pearl jewelry. They will think about coming back at night.
Turning left after the market, they found the Cao Dai Temple and climbed up thirty-some steps to peer into the small room on top.
Then they walked down steps on the other side and walked out onto the wide paved walkway on the jetty where the river meets the ocean. Breezy yet hot and humid on the jetty, the views were worth the walk.
Returning from the jetty, they saw another larger temple (Dinh Da) practically next door to Cao Dai and entered when a local man indicated that they could go in to pray. He went in with them, gave them lit incense sticks, and showed them where the sticks should go (into about ten urns with other lit sticks).
Pati placed a donation in the donation box, which resulted in the man reaching him a cup containing numbered sticks (as described for an earlier temple on this trip). Pati ended up with stick number 19, and the man gave him a slip of paper containing his fortune. Perhaps someday someone can translate it. This temple was beautiful and well worth the stop.
Leaving the Night Market again, they immediately climbed into a taxi for a $1.75 ride back to their hotel street. They were pleased to be in a taxi as they recognized landmarks from their earlier trek along the road. They rinsed their dusty sandals under their outdoor water faucet, left them on their porch to dry, and were happy to be back inside in coolness.
After cooling down, Pati enjoyed a swim in the beautiful hotel pool, while BeeBee read poolside (Last Night I Dreamed of Peace, recommended by Mr. Vinh). Neither of them can stand to think about food, and both of them have slightly sore throats from yesterday’s snorkeling. But the breeze is nice and the afternoon is restful.
After this break, they walked to a nearby restaurant for lunch: fish ban mei (in this case, fish and cheese burger with fries), nowhere near as good as the ban mei in Hoi An. They both hope that this isn’t the meal that “does them in.”
After another pool break, they ventured out to find something cool to drink. They went back to Cocobar, where they had had lunch. Both of them have a dry cough and were not ready for food. An American lady was there, from California, so they had a small taste of “home” by talking with her.
Then back to their hotel room for an early bedtime, hoping to feel better tomorrow.