phu quoc beaches

The sense of Vietnam

hidden beach ong lang

Secret beaches Phu Quoc


Vietnam smells like

Fish guts in the sun
Watermelon smoothies
Smoke from a hundred improvised BBQ’s outside six seat restaurants, rallied by vigorous flapping of palm fans
Red mud drying in the dope heavy air
Condensed milk
Sea salt and peppercorns
And around and above it all the mindful wreathing of incense from the temples and everyday shrines.



Vietnam tastes like

The yum yuck of good fish sauce, gnarly and funky
Banh Mi, an airy baguette, warm and yeasty
The crisp wet crunch into the hollow geometry of lotus root
The growing as it lingers burn of chilli on the lips
Pepper tea with honey, a fragrant prickle to the nose, surprisingly Christmassy
The complex flavour layers of the dry rub on a chicken thigh, cooked to a tender wither



Vietnam looks like

The intrepid dashing of tiny ghost crabs on the fringes of a gin clear tide
Clusters of Brownian motion motorbikes at intersections where traffic lights don’t apply
Roads that end without warning at a wall of jungle, Rousseau like and languidly threatening
Hive like lanes surrounding fishing harbours with houses stacked in layers and businesses in every home
Iridescent temples joyously garlanded with gilded dragons carrying LED pearls in their jaws
Pale pink plumptious Buddhas, happy, fat and yet to come



Vietnam sounds like

Really bad karaoke
Cement mixers in the distance
The incessant language of the motorbike horns
The screaming of the jungles at noon
The chirp of the pepper plantations at night
Far off thunder rumbling in the dark punctuated by the closer deep down low grousing of the bullfrogs



Vietnam feels like

A song in a language you will never understand, alien music
Sweet bursting sweat in a climate as comforting as a quilt
The surprising sink of sand under curious feet on remote beaches
The quick humiliation of your motorbike being briskly overtaken on a rutted road by an elder on a decrepit scooter with piled high panniers swinging like hips.
A world in macro amongst the slowly spreading corals in its shallow seas