Phu Quoc Diaries Day 3: Don’t Fly With Jetstar

The jet lag hadn’t quite kicked in yet, as tiredness had cancelled it out, and we slept through the night. Plus the bed at Ciao Saigon Hotel was comfy, so that was a bonus.

This was our first morning in Vietnam. We had arrived in Ho Chi Minh City the previous day after 21 hours of travel and we still hadn’t reached Phu Quoc, our final destination. That’s where we were going today.

To read about our first afternoon/evening in Ho Chi Minh City, click here: Phu Quoc Diaries Day 2: One Night in Saigon

Phu Quoc Diaries Day 3 spring rolls

[Spoiler: we had amazing spring rolls!]

Ciao Saigon Hotel

We went for breakfast at 8am, which was included in the room rate.

Breakfast was an elaborate Western-style and Vietnamese-style buffet. There was a very fussy head waiter tripping over himself to attend to us, but despite that it was a relaxed affair.

We had a feast of the most unlikely combinations as often happens with buffets: rice with fried egg, sausages and fish balls with coffee and passionfruit juice. The breakfast was wonderful but I was glad of my scarf because the A/C was set to Arctic mode.

After breakfast we spent the morning on the roof at the pool. While yesterday had been pleasant with cloud and wind, today was bright, sunny and seriously hot.

phu quoc diaries view from ciao saigon

That view from the rooftop pool

We had the pool to ourselves for the entire morning but we had to leave at 11.15 because we were checking out at 12.00. We couldn’t have handled more time in that heat anyway.

After checking out of the hotel we took a taxi to the airport. It was less than 10 minutes in the taxi and we were very early for our flight with Jetstar Pacific to Phu Quoc. Our flight was at 14.35. As we were standing in the queue waiting to check in I said to Toni: “I hope our flight is on time.” We already didn’t trust Jetstar and we both had our fingers crossed.

I hate Jetlag Pacific!

Alas when we got to the counter the boy told us: “Your flight has been changed to 18.45.”

I don’t think so! That Jetstar flight had been changed four times since I booked it. And I was not spending another four hours at Saigon Airport when I had just left a relaxing pool area to come here.

“So is this okay for you?” he was saying.

Errr no!

We told him it was unacceptable and that we needed an earlier flight. He looked at us like we were being unreasonable. He sighed and sent us to the ‘supervisor’ desk where there were three agents behind the long desk and a crush of people at the other side, all jostling to get to the front, pushing passports and papers across the desk.

Soon we were at the desk and it was our turn. We said our piece to the one person who seemed to be doing any work and she smiled sweetly at us and told us there were no other flights.

Yes there bloody well were! There were flights all day to and from Phu Quoc.

I was so annoyed. With myself as much as anything for booking with Jetlag Pacific. I should have known better.

Long story short (oops, sorry, too late for that) they put us on a Vietnam Airlines flight that was departing at 16.10. We thanked our lucky stars that we had gone to the airport so early, because it was just us and eight other people that got the last seats on the Vietnam Airlines flight.

Saigon Airport Domestic Terminal

Phu Quoc Diaries Day pho sgn

Amazing pho at Saigon Airport

One positive thing came out of this delay was that we had a fantastic bowl of pho at the airport! Cheap too. The domestic terminal at Saigon Airport is really nice: modern, full of restaurants, plenty of seating, decent toilets. It was a bit chaotic though due to the volume of people. It’s hardly surprising that there were so many people when every other announcement was to say that a flight was delayed.

Luckily there were no further mishaps with our flight and, after just forty minutes in the air, we touched down at Phu Quoc International Airport. The time was 16.55.

Welcome to Phu Quoc!

I’d arranged a taxi through Kiki, the owner of the first place we were staying on Phu Quoc. The driver was waiting for us with a smile on his face and a sign in his hand displaying my name. Within 60 seconds we were in the car and on our way. Dusk was falling rapidly.

We made good progress on good roads and I thought that perhaps we would arrive before dark. But then we turned off the main road onto a total disaster of a road and our speed was reduced to under 10km per hour.

This ‘road’ consisted of orange muck and was like driving on the beach. There were potholes that could swallow your car if you weren’t careful.

We were about 40 minutes on this track and if it hadn’t been for the terrible dust we would have been tempted to get out and walk. It would surely have been faster.

There were huge trucks and heavy machinery working on this ‘road’. Apparently the plan is to make it an actual driveable road. Having said that, I’ve read blog posts from years ago that mention the same roadworks and they say the same thing. I can’t honestly see what progress has been made.

Kiki Coconut Beach
Phu Quoc Diaries Day fish kiki coconut

A nice meal at Kiki Coconut Beach

Needless to say it was after dark when we arrived at Kiki Coconut Beach. But it was to the warmest welcome imaginable. Kiki and George, the owners, welcomed us like long lost friends.

The place was just as I had hoped: remote (it was certainly that), charming, rustic and basic with just enough mod-cons to be comfortable.

We were shown to our bungalow right on the beach and after a quick shower we sat at the large communal table for a dish of delicious fish and a beer while we listened to the sound of the ocean, which we were looking forward to actually seeing the next day.

Have you flown with Jetstar Pacific? How was your experience?

I would like to remind you that all the photos used on InMyShoesTravel.com are my own unless otherwise stated.
You can see my whole collection of Travel Photos here.

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