My morning run on Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

by Kim on January 14, 2014 · 68 comments

I haven’t been running (save a panicked sprint away from an aggressive monkey or two during our bike tour) since we hunkered down in Amsterdam (that feels like ages ago, so much has happened since then!).

A few days ago, to escape the madness of Hanoi, we flew to lovely Phu Quoc Island off of Vietnam’s south coast. We’ve rented a little bungalow on the south end of Long Beach, the island’s most popular stretch of coastline. We’re staying at the Beach Club Resort, a reasonably priced $35- $40 per night versus the $80-$250 per night the hotels around us are charging. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there, just an insiders tip if you find yourself headed to Phu Quoc Island.

Even in high season the vibe on this island is positively lazy. The sea just rolls in softly leaving those of us around it in a blissed-out trance. But the best part about this place? There’s a 2-mile stretch of gorgeous beach right at our doorstep. I’ve been waking up early, when the sun is low and warming, to go on runs down the near-empty beach. I love watching the world wake up to occupy their sun chairs and claim their little spot of paradise for the day.

I brought my iPhone along on my run this morning so that I could bring you along with me (no shoes required).

Phu Quoc Island Vietnam

My run begins right outside of our temporary doorstep amongst the colorful fishing boats bobbing in the sea.

Phu Quoc Island Vietnam

The coconut trees lean over me, huddling, as though they’re cheering me on.

Fishing boats Phu Quoc Island

The water laps at my feet. It’s warm and calm, the perfect place for a post-run swim.

Fishing in Phu Quoc

I set off down the beach in the early morning light. I see fisherman catching tonight’s dinner.

Beach dog Phu Quoc

And I see this little dog, the color of sand, curled in a camouflaged ball. He’s in the exact same spot every time I run by.

Mermaid Phu Quoc

I see this man who forgot to put his shirt on.

Phu Quoc beach bar

And I run past this beach restaurant with flimsy plastic chairs that wait patiently for customers.

Phu Quoc bar sign

I guess I know where I’m going tomorrow.

Vietnam fishing boat

I run past this rounded boat with its wooden paddle resting idly inside. Woven bamboo basket boats are common on the coast of Vietnam (this one is made of plastic but looks similar to the traditional boats.)

Runners Phu Quoc

I run past other runners and we wave and smile as we pass each other.

Running Phu Quoc

I’m so happy out here on this little island. The fresh sea air is doing wonders for my soul.

Massage phu quoc

I pass this little beach massage stand and think about coming back later.

Old school kayak

Or perhaps I’ll rent this ancient kayak and ride around on the waves?

End of Long Beach

As I contemplate how to fill the empty hours of my day I reach the concrete steps that mark the end of Long Beach. It’s time to turn around.

Beach conditions

So I turn back in the same direction that I came, jumping through the water as it rolls up at my ankles. January is prime high-tide time.

Baby footprint

I pass these tiny footprints in the sand. They’re so adorable! The kids on this island are so carefree. They come out each evening after school to hunt for crabs, shrieking and splashing in the water as they throw the crab traps into the waves.

Beach walker

I run back down the beach as it slowly comes to life. There are swimmers bobbing in the water now and vendors selling pineapples and coconut water.

Beach volleyball

On and on I run as the sun rises through the trees.

footprints in sand

My feet stamp the sand. Soon this trace of me will be erased by the tide.

Rock formations

I run past these rocks that have been pocked by the pummeling sea.


And I stop to catch my shadow in the rippling of the shore.

Long Beach Phu Quoc Island

Soon (too soon!) I am back where I started. I take a cold shower and prepare for the day.

Scooter Pho Quoc

Two hours later, with breakfast behind us, Brian and I rent a motorbike and go hunting for hidden beaches.

Scooter Pho Quoc

This red dirt road leads us out of town as we chase the dazzling blue sea.

A big change is afoot for us! I’ll tell you about it soon. But right now, today, we’re just enjoying the ride.

Thanks for coming along on my morning run with me!


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