After a brief stay in Ho Tram, it was off to another exotic destination, Phu Quoc. The last time I was here was before Cara and without the grey hairs. A lot has changed. From dirt roads to main roadways and 5-start hotels. It was a great place to spend the Christmas holidays with family at New World Phu Quoc Resort.
Date Visited: Overall stay in Vietnam from 15th December 2023 to 3rd January 2024
Locations: Vietnam – Ho Tram, Phu Quoc and Ho Chi Minh
Getting There: London Gatwick to Ho Chi Minh City via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. A 14-hour flight with an unfortunate long layover, albeit at the expansive Istanbul airport.
Cost: Return flights for were roughly £1,200 per person this year, booking made in March 2023. Accommodation varied depending on location. It was a mix of standard hotel rooms, serviced apartments and resort villas. Average prices varied between £200 to £450 per night, sleeping between 3 to 6 people, and made up the bulk of the overall holiday cost. Food and drinks were relatively cheap, especially while dining out.
After transiting through the domestic airport at Ho Chi Minh, we landed in Phu Quoc and made the 20-minute drive from the airport to New World Phu Quoc Resort. You always see the spacious beach side villas on Instagram, this was the first time we’d be spending time in one! Check-in was fairly swift given there were 12 of us altogether. As our two villas weren’t quite ready yet, we were whisked away on the golf buggy to the main restaurant for some lunch. The food was delicious and there was a good mix of western and local cuisine. This carries over to the buffet breakfasts and dinner options where there’s various cooking stations available to select from.
There’s another restaurant next to the pool which serves a mix of dishes again. We mainly used that restaurant as a lunch option. We did have dinner there once for some Vietnamese food. The resort is a little isolated but there is a lovely local restaurant, Cơm thố seafood & meat BBQ, just outside which has freshly barbecued seafood and meats for a fraction of the price. During the day, you can walk along the main beach and pop into one of the other local restaurants there too, some with generous happy ‘hours’!
I could get used to this…
Our villas were ready to move in to for the week and for half the price of a London hotel, we were treated to a villa that came with 3 bedrooms with en-suites – one which included an outdoor shower, living and dining areas, kitchenette and private pool. It came with most amenities you’d expect, with the only negatives being no self-catered laundry option and the use of the cooking area in the kitchen came at an extra cost (not that we were planning to cook). It was a very comfortable stay to say the least.
Housekeeping was completed every two days, mostly while we were out by the pool or beach. If we ever needed anything, such as extra towels or bedding, they were only a short call away. The resort looks bigger than it is, it’s definitely walkable. But when you can call a buggy to take you around, why wouldn’t you?
The main attraction is the beach. Although we went in December, it was still warm enough for a dip. The only complaint about the weather we had was that it was very windy on some days, so much so that the lifeguards didn’t let anyone out too far in the water due to the swell. The water at the beach was also warmer than the pool. There’s plenty of activities at the hotel’s private beach – volleyball, football, sand equipment for the kids, and a picturesque swing for the influencers. Even Cara had a go! We spent majority of our time at the beach, looking for sea life. If you borrow one of the buckets and have quick reflexes, you’re able to scoop up some of the anchovies that swim around. The kids had a little family captured before letting them go again.
One of Cara’s favourite things to do after breakfast each morning before it got too hot was to go for a bike ride around the resort. They’re available to all guests to borrow (restricted to some certain areas). There’s also a well-stocked gym and yoga room which I surprisingly visited a few times whilst there. And there is a very small kids club area available too if you needed some kid-free time. Given the size and space the resort has, they perhaps should have made this area a bit bigger for the kids.
Outside the resort
If you do decide to venture outside of New World Phu Quoc Resort, there’s plenty of other things to do. There’s the famous night market and harbour about a 30-minute drive up north, and if you go further than that, there’s the zoo and waterpark. Along the way, if you opt for a tour/driver, you may be stopped at a local pearl farm and shop. It’s interesting to see the process and shop, and it’s not obligatory to buy anything even if you feel pressured to.
If you’re into fishing, you can book a night tour to go on a squidding boat. We did this on our initial visit to Phu Quoc but unfortunately the Mrs got seasick about 5 minutes into the trip so we ended up turning back and having dinner whilst docked in the harbour. Be sure to visit the area at sunset as they’re amazing!
Closer to the resort, there’s a new tourist spot that recently opened, Kiss Bridge. We didn’t make it this visit but it looks like an interesting attraction.
We misjudged how many nights we were actually staying there after Vietnam Airlines bumped our flight out earlier in the year. This meant we had to re-book for one-night at another resort, opting for one closer to the airport, The Sailing Club. That’s up next!
ABC Dad Tips:
- If you’re up for it, there’s a seafood beachfront restaurant, Thanh Nga, about a 5 minute walk along the beach of the hotel. Father-in-law said it was fantastic, but we never ventured there.
- Situated just outside the main entrance of the complex, there’s market stalls and shops where you can stock up and fill the villa fridge. Collect a Grab to take you there and back if you don’t want to walk it!
- Maximise the inclusive breakfast, have a light lunch, then enjoy a nice dinner without feeling too bloated or heavy! Pace yourself!