Phu Quoc's Tranh Stream
What we say:
The low season on Phu Quoc can mean rain, and lots of it. Sometimes it can rain for several days in a row, non-stop. The sea is rough, the winds are strong, and you may find yourself in your less than $20 a night bungalow more than you thought. But there are good things about Phu Quoc’s low season besides the budget friendly prices. One of these things is the hike along side Tranh Stream, near the centre of the island, where the low season rains cause the water levels of the stream to rise high; creating impressive rapids and waterfalls. The journey to the falls is a tough one, especially if you’re new to the island, so here is a quick guide to make your day a little easier.
To get to Tranh Stream from Duong Dong, call a taxi, or rent a motorbike from your hotel, and head east on 30 Thang Tu Street. This is one of the island’s main roads — most locals refer to it as a highway — and it is paved the majority of the way to the stream. Stay on the road for roughly 5km until you reach what looks like an entrance to Jurassic Park on the northern side. It is a large, ivy covered gate, which probably used to say the name of the stream but now has its words obscured by vines.
Go through the gate, pass the gardens filled with sculptures and live cows, and head back to the small carport filled with motorbikes. Pay the man at the desk and up the path you go.
The stone path is well maintained and follows alongside the stream. There are several stops along the way on the trail. First, immediately upon your start, are some food and souvenir stands. Here you can grab a quick snack of corn on the cob, potatoes or deep fried bananas for your trip. Many Vietnamese families pack their own meal and eat it along the way, so be prepared to dodge the occasional family picnic. About half way up the path, a 15-minute walk, there is a 7m-high fall that is a little hard to see from the trail. But there is a small path down an embankment that provides a good view.
The final stop on the trail is a large waterfall, and the pool it spills into, where the adventurous can take a quick dip and go under the falls. The water is still pretty warm here and, if you stay toward the path side of the waterfall, fairly gentle.
Tranh Stream is only worth a visit from May to October, as it can become fairly dry in the high season. This won’t stop the man at the door from collecting the entrance fee, 2,000 VND per person and 4,000 VND for motorbike or 10,000 VND for car parking, and then telling you it is dry. But if you find yourself in Phu Quoc in the low season, Tranh Stream may be one of your highlights.Last updated: 4th October, 2014
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