Sep 20 2011
Living the resort life on Phu Quoc can be rough. You have to hang out all day on the beach then reluctantly drag yourself somewhere for food; then it’s back to the beach. While this repetition may not actually be that bad, it can get a little boring after a couple of days. If you do happen to break free of your resort and you’re not off hiking around a waterfall, or on a snorkelling tour, swing by the Phu Quoc night market. At the market you can do some souvenir shopping and fill your belly.
There are two main entrances to the market: one off Bach Dang Street and the main entrance off Long Beach’s main drag of Tran Hung Dao Street. Entering the main through the main archway you are greeted by several temporary restaurants selling a variety of seafood, which is available for purchase in individual servings or by the kilo. Browse through their display table of fresh seafood and pick your night's meal. Choose from prawns, squid, scallops, crab, elephant snails and a variety of fish then sit and wait as it is cooked to order. I got some of the biggest, and most delicious, prawns I’d ever had and they were only 20,000 VND apiece. If you want something more than just grilled seafood, the restaurants have menus full of more advanced choices. Also, for those out there who aren’t seafood fans, there are plenty of beef, chicken, pork and veggie dishes to choose from.
After dinner, walk off some of your meal and shop through the souvenir stands in the other half of the market. Although you can get a variety of Phu Quoc knick-knacks, postcards and T-shirts, this half of the market is dominated by pearls. Booth after booth is lined with hanging necklaces and boxes of earrings.
While the authenticity of the pearls is a little suspect, a set of earrings and a necklace can be purchase for around 100,000 VND. The vendors are eager to show you that they are real by putting them under a lighter’s flame, as pearls don’t melt, or rubbing them on glass, as they don’t easily scratch. Although they gave me their pearl performance the price for my earrings has me convinced they’re faux pearls, but they are still totally awesome.
Unlike other night markets in the region, the Phu Quoc night market is only a market at night; during the day it is just an empty street. From your Long Beach hotel head north on Tran Hung Dao until you reach the first roundabout and the market will be on the left. It's open daily from 18:00 to midnight. The market isn’t huge, you can walk from end to end in about 10 minutes, but it is packed tight with vendors, so there is plenty to choose from.