Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Part Two Crossing the Cambodian Vietnam Border at Prek Chak / Xa Xia and travelling to Phu Quoc

Travelling along this route was just as much as an inspection trip as a holiday and although we never wanted to leave Nataya Resort the time had come to pack our bags and head to the Prek Chak / Xa Xia Border Crossing for our Vietnam adventure. Our destination was the incredible Island of Phu Quoc and the boat only leaves once a day at 8am from Ha Trien. This meant a very early wake up call. From Nataya Resort to the border the distance is about 62 Km. This meant an early departure and we left Nataya Resort at 6am traveling east about 15 Km to Kampot then continued east past Kep. To our surprise the last few kilometers involved us turning off onto a dirt road. Travelling down this dirt road for about 15 minutes we finally came to the Cambodian Check Point! Immigration proceedings were quite swift there were no tourists here and once we had stamped out of Cambodia we then walked the 300 or so metres to the Vietnam check point. Arriving in Vietnam the contrast was visible instantly, a large immigration office and even an X-ray machine. We filled out our forms and jumped on a mototaxi. The road was approaching that of a highway. Time was getting on and it was already 7am, but the distance to Ha Trien was only 8 Km on sealed highway. Arriving in Ha Trien we stopped to buy our boat ticket before heading to the ferry terminal and boarded our 8am ferry to Phu Quoc, everything had run smoothly and according to plan this is normally a rare occurance when scouting new routes.

The ferry now was heading back in the direction back towards Cambodia. This is the case as Phu Quoc is closer to Cambodia than it is to Vietnam but we enjoyed the 2 hour ferry ride and it gave us a chance to get some well needed rest. The ferry pulled up to the port and we had finally made it to Phu Quoc. This is where our adventure ended and our luxury holiday resumed. We were met by the Chenla Team who arranged our transfers to the stunning Island Resort of Chen La. Hardly containing our excitement we jumped in the back of the minivan and we were informed it was another 14 Km to Chenla not too far to go. The Island of Phu Quoc is stunning and a nice quite break to explore there are few cars and it has that island feel to it which is very different to mainland Vietnam with things a little slower and more relaxed. Arriving at secluded Chenla we were more than impressed this place was an exotic paradise. A top class resort and the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful. We were helped with our bags and we then spent the rest of the day by the pool and the beach! Our rooms were sea view and that meant literally on the sea, opening the balcony

we would take no more than a few steps and be on the white sands of this private beach. The water was clear and the perfect temperature to take a swim. The food at this resort was also great top quality and prepared by local as well as international chefs. On our second night though we ventured into town where we would recommend the local night market serving lots of great fish as well being a great place to pick up a souvenir a taxi ride from Chenla to downtown costs around $5 US and takes about 15-20 minutes. The next few days consisted of sun, sea and sand and of course great meals! See our complete set of photos on our facebook album

After 3 nights at this incredible Island we had to continue this “Inspection Trip”. There were two options for the onward leg one was a flight to Ho Chi Minh which took about 40 minutes or a 3 hour boat trip to the mainland of Rach Gia from where we would continue on by car to the Mekong Delta. Having come by boat we decided to take the short flight to Ho Chi Minh. Our travels continue in Part Three Ho Chi Minh and the Mekong Delta.

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