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Why This Lesser Known Island In Asia Is The Next Tropical Vacation Hotspot

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Southeast Asia (SEA) is one of the world's go-to tropical getaways due to its diverse tourist offer, warm weather, and affordable prices, but this year, it's grown even further in popularity as normality resumed across the region and entry curbs were lifted.

Though all of SEA's most famous resort destinations have been posting impressive recovery figures since, it's a lesser-known island yet to be tarnished by over-development that has been gaining ground, fuelled by its off-path appeal and unspoiled nature.

Cable Car In Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam, Southeast Asia

You might not have heard of it yet, but this is why Phu Quoc could become the next tropical vacation hotspot:

What Does Phu Quoc Have To Offer?

The largest island in Vietnam, on the Gulf of Thailand, a stone's throw away from the neighboring country, Phu Quoc is the definition of a hidden paradise, home to approximately 179,000 people but still largely underdeveloped.

Unlike its immediate Thai competitors, however, Phu Quoc has always seen more limited tourism, firstly due to its agriculture-based economy, which places it at odds with tourist-ridden Phuket and other tried-and-true holiday islands, and secondly as a result of Vietnam's once-restrictive visa policies.

Aerial View Of The Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam, Southeast Asia

Tourism has always been a secondary contributor to Phu Quoc's economy, yet now, the balance is shifting as several infrastructure projects are carried out, and numerous five-star properties open their doors to foreigners on the island.

An Off-Path Gem

In the post-pandemic scene, where countries are being flooded with tourists again, the average traveler is seeking less crowded, cheaper alternatives that are just as great.

In this regard, this up-and-coming Vietnamese island continues to be very much an undiscovered gem, with only 4.7 million arrivals recorded this year so far, a majority of those hailing from other Asian departure points.

Aerial View Of A Chinese Temple In Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam, Southeast Asia

This may not sound like much, but in reality, arrival figures have tripled in only nine months, proving Phu Quoc is getting trendier by the minute.

A Tropical Paradise

The island is characterized by a hot, humid climate, a palm-lined, white-sand coast hugged by bright-blue waters, a mountainous inland full of hiking trails and jungle areas, and its thriving wildlife.

Duong Dong is the largest settlement, home to over 60,000 inhabitants:

Phu Quoc Beach In Vietnam, Southeast Asia

It is a favorite among visitors not only for its sandy crescents and lively night markets but also its nightlife, better-than-average tourism services, considering the island's developing status, and cheap overnight rates.

Affordable Hotel Rates

Within short driving distance of Downtown, staying at the luxurious La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc will only set you back by $164 per night this winter, while The Shells Resort and Spa Phu Quoc has even lower rates starting from $78 on TripAdvisor.

Further away from the regional capital, straddling the quaint Ong Lang Beach, the charming Ocean Bay Phu Quoc Resort and Spa is a very reasonable $141, offering five-star accommodation and an outdoor swimming pool facing the ocean.

Young woman traveler relaxing and enjoying the sunset by a tropical resort pool while traveling for summer vacation

If it's ultra-luxurious you're after, the landmark JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa is a recluse property in the An Thoi province, surrounded by lush vegetation and boasting exclusive sea access, with average nightly rates at $307 on Booking.com.

All in all, Phu Quoc is an incredibly affordable tropical getaway, and much like the rest of Vietnam, you can get by on $61 per day when traveling in a moderately luxurious manner.

Phu Quoc's Main Points Of Interest

Outside Duong Dong, some of the main points of interest in Phu Quoc include:

@visit Can you believe this is #Vietnam 😍 You can find this #Venice look-a-like at the island of 📍#PhuQuoc 🎥 @EMILIE • TRAVEL & DRONE #visitvietnam #vietnamtravel #littlevenice #traveltiktok #traveltok ♬ original sound – Visit
  • Grand World, a commercial complex modeled after the streets of Venice and a popular selfie spot for visitors to the island
  • The Sun World Hon Thom Nature Park, an entertainment islet linked to the main Phu Quoc island by a mountain cable car, transporting tourists to and from a water park
  • Dinh Cau Temple, built in a scenic harbor in homage to an Asian goddess of the sea, easily recognized for its striking, adjacent blue-and-white-striped lighthouse
  • The Vinpearl Safari, an open zoo housing a variety of rare species you would find in both Southeast Asia and the African continent
  • The VinWonders Phu Quoc, a vast amusement park ranking as Vietnam's largest and most impressive, and guaranteed fun for the whole family
  • Sao Beach, a public bathing zone with soft white sands and calm, crystalline waters, perfect for relaxing after an adventure-packed day
  • Phu Quoc National Park, comprising a large section of the island's protected jungle, and your best bet at spotting animals in the wild
stunning beach on phu quoc island in vietnam

You Can Visit Phu Quoc Visa-Free As An American

Foreigners have only been allowed to enter Vietnam without undergoing strict checks when international relations normalized between the country and much of the world in the early nineties, and even then, visa rules made it incredibly hard for most Westerners.

Unfortunately for Phu Quoc, as a result of the island's inaccessibility, very few tourists attempted a visit, at least up until 2014.

During that year, the island was made into a visa-free zone, with most travelers being eligible for a 30-day visa waiver when landing directly at Phu Quoc International Airport from outside Vietnam – this includes U.S. passport holders.

Customs Agent Stamping A Passport

In order to visit other parts of Vietnam, Americans must first obtain an eVisa in advance.

On the bright side, the eVisa duration has recently been extended from a mere 30 days to up to 3 months, enabling foreigners to travel the large national territory, which comprises Phu Quoc offshore, as well as South, Central, and North Vietnam, without hurrying.

If you intend to couple your visit to Phu Quoc with other destinations in Vietnam, such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Hanoi, or any other tourist spot on the mainland, you will be required to apply for an eVisa beforehand.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Patic

Sunday 31st of December 2023

I spent a month in Vietnam and many days on Phu Quoc and NOTHING about this article is even close to truthful. Phu Quoc is a wasteland and a steaming dump of a place with toxic sewage runoff ocean water, terrible food, traffic and these weird abandoned fake European cities built for Chinese tourists that never came. Avoid at all costs. You have been warned.

long tran

Monday 1st of January 2024

@Patic, I am vietnamese and I agree with you.