Somewhere not in the Lonely Planet exists an island 100km off the coast of Vietnam called Phu Quy ("foo-eee"). It takes 7 hours on an overpacked boat to get here. The boat is so absolutely crowded with people, cows, pigs, chickens and various goods that once you've chosen your place you can't move. The boat looks like a refugee boat from Africa and its amazing that it runs, but thank God it holds together. On this ride people are puking over the sides or where they sit as waves wash over it. Upon arriving in harbor though everyone is glad and the whole island comes out to meet you. In 2009 including ourselves there were only 59 western tourists who have visited here. The army here reports that less than 270 Western tourists have ever visited, so as a white person "Falang" you are looked at like an alien.
Phu Quy is undiscovered paradise. There are about 5 different kite spots here all featuring big waves outside the reef and flat water within. It blows 7m to 9m everyday and did so for the 8 days I was there. To get to the kite spots one rents a motorbike and drives 15 minutes or so. After launching, hundreds of locals come out to see the kiting show, and once you've landed the people analyze your strange kite gear and are perhaps thinking "How could I build one of these?". No one speaks english, so we've gone to the markets to buy squid, fish and live chickens for dinner which is cooked in a local lady's house.
Phu Quy is composed of the remains of a series of connected volcanic calderas (one of which we kite in). The geology is largely basalt and pyroclastic flows. The island takes 40 minutes to circle on a motorbike riding at a fairly fast pace. The people here earn thier living from fishing, raising cattle and farming herbs. Every meal is served with large helpings of fresh mint, basil, coriander, water cress and various other herbs which I've never seen nor tasted before.
In 10 years I believeve this island will become an international kitesurf destination. The only thing preventing that now is the horrendous, unpredictable boat ride out. But once here this place is a bit of unspoilt, untouristed tropical paradise (although. much like the rest of SE Asia, the beaches are strewn with trash). In total with hotel, motorbike rental in food costs about $12 a day. With good food, coconut trees, wind and surf what more could one want?
Our small crew of 7 consiting of a Spanish couple, a Russian, an Australian, an Italian, an Englishman, a Swiss and myself rode 2m to 3m high waves and 1m deep flat water everyday. In fact, the Spainiard ended up staying one month. If you ever come to Mue Ne, make sure to come to Phu Quy island. There's better much better kiting, fewer people and real adventure.
Phu Quy island Tips:
- There are 2 guesthouses on the island. Make sure to stay with the one owned by the island Pharmacist, she's really got a nice place and wants kitesurfers to be there.
- It is reuqired that as a foriegner you register with the Army post immediately after disembarking the ferry, which is to your left from the dock. Phu Quy has a large military base so some spots no go zones.
- Learn some Vietnamese before you go. No one on the island speaks any English except the local doctor.
- Learn to cook. There are restaurants on the island, but you'll have better food if you go to the market in the morning and buy yourself some fresh seafood. It's cheap, for example one day we bought a 10kg Tuna for less than $10usd.
- There is an ATM on the island in the main town that accepts US debit cards!
- Near the gas station, there are a couple of ladies who make fresh pastries, such as coconut bread, in the afternoon. They have a blue umbrella.
- At the location known as "Skate Park" do not kite towards the north end of the bay. That's where the locals like to spearfish and they've warned us not to kite up there. Instead kite closer to the village.
- Watch out for the big fishing nets that can be found right in the where the waves are breaking on the reef. Before getting too confident make sure you scope out where you are riding.
- The flat water areas do have hidden boulders on the reefs, so make sure to scout the area you are riding before you start to jump.
- 20 oz Saigon beers only cost 30 cents each, so drink up.
Last edited by KitesofFury
on Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.