Posted by: @kingceejay

After several postponements of our trip to the largest and southernmost island of Vietnam, wifey and I decided -just 5 hours earlier- to reach the farthest of Vietnamese territory in the Gulf of Thailand. PHU QUOC, which I pronounce ‘Foo Wak’, can be reached by bus although it is not the most popular way of doing it.

How? By Bus (HCMC to Rach Gia)

Wifey phoned FUTA Busline’s ticketing office and reserved 2 seats for the sleeper bus that leaves at 9pm. Due to some work constraints, we arrived at the ticketing station a quarter to departure time. Probably for business purposes, the ticketing personnel had decided to sell our tickets to the other passengers who had been there earlier and he conveniently moved our reservation for the 10pm bus. “Fine” we thought as we weren’t in a hurry anyway. Come 9.10pm ,a small bus picked us up and took us to the main station. After 20 minutes of cruising through districts 5, 10 and 6 we arrived at the massive bus station which I thought was like a FUTA Busville but in Vietnamese they call it Ben Xe Mien Tay. Together with hundreds of nocturnal travelers, we waited until the Rach Gia-bound sleeper coach came and that was 5 minutes to 10. Then I understood why we had ‘missed’ the 9pm bus. So, for TIPS on going to Phu Quoc by bus:

a.Choose the sleeper bus. You only pay about $2 more compared to the ordinary bus.

b. Book the ticket in advance.

c. Arrive at the station an hour earlier.

d. Choose Phuong Trang- For just 150,000VND ($7.50), I think they got the best service. We’d tried big names in bus service industry but FUTA’s is by far the cleanest, safest and most well-lit. Here’s their website:
http://futabuslines.com.vn/
In case it’s full, there are other reliable reliable bus companies like Phuong Nam, Mai Linh etc.

How’s the experience?

As soon as the bus arrived, passengers with luggage queued to deposit their stuff to the bus’s trunk. A staff was literally under the bus receiving additional weights, sorting them out and giving owners coded tickets. At the time, wifey had already hopped on the bus because I took charge of the 10kg-stuffed backpacks. Funnily enough, I was the last passenger to board the bus and the driver had to tell me to hurry up.

Driver: “Dung Lai, Dung lai! Troi oi!”
Me: “Oke oke”

I grabbed the mini-bag designed to keep the passengers footwear, showed my bus ticket, put my 2-year old BITI’s sandals and tried to find my bed. The bus started running at 15km/h so it added to my confusion because for the longest time, I couldn’t find my number and my wife! Good thing wifey was as panicky as I was; she called my name, after seeing me check from bunker to bunker to locate her.

So my tips would be:

a. Check in your luggage as quickly as possible.
b. Wear flip flops. It’s saves time!
c. Read the numbers so you’d know if you’re looking down or up to find your seat/bed.

How’s the bunk bed?

Very comfortable, tidy and clean! It was a reclinable cushioned 6-footer bench with hand rails on both sides and a built-in pillow. The width is just about 2 feet so it was a bit too small for the overweight like myself. If not for the seatbelt (yes, there’s one strong one for each!) and the handrails, I wouldn’t have felt confident dozing off. Every single bed has a deposit box for the valuables and an area where you could put your hand bag or probably a bag of snacks. And there’s a set of buttons just over every passenger’s head: one for the lights, the other for the AC. Like most buses in Vietnam, the bus driver’s assistant gives everyone a bottle of mineral water, wet tissue and a blanket.

After 6 hours, we arrived at Rach Gia, the capital of Kien Giang province. We would take the ferry there to finally reach Phu Quoc island.

Overall, the journey was smooth and comfortable. If you’re not in a hurry, a great way to get to the southern tip of Vietnam is by bus.

Phu Quoc Island

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