Phu Quoc Welcomes First European Tourists After 2 Years of Covid Closure

The southern island city will host the first group of European travelers with vaccine passports after nearly two years of Covid-related restriction, marking an important milestone for both the national and local travel industry

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Phu Quoc Welcomes First European Tourists After 2 Years of Covid Closure
A corner of Mövenpick Resort Waverly Phu Quoc where the European tourists stay. Photo: VTC News

The tourists from England and Poland, have reportedly chosen the 5-star resort Mövenpick Resort Waverly Phu Quoc for their 12-day holiday (Dec. 23 – Jan. 3) to celebrate Christmas and New Year, according to VTC News.

Mövenpick Villas & Residences Phu Quoc is part of the Mövenpick Resort Waverly Phu Quoc, facing Ong Lang beach with the most gorgeous sunset view in Vietnam. The tourists will also enjoy 5-star services as well as experience scuba diving and visit famous local places such as Phu Quoc Pepper Farm, Ham Ninh fishing village. A special private New Year Party will also be on offer.

Mövenpick Resort Waverly Phu Quoc has recently been honored as “Asia’s Best Island Resort” and “Vietnam’s Most Luxurious Private Pool Villa” at the prestigious Haute Grandeur Global 2021 awards.

Phu Quoc Welcomes First European Tourists After 2 Years of Covid Closure
Photo: VTC News
Phu Quoc Welcomes First European Tourists After 2 Years of Covid Closure
Mövenpick Villas & Residences is currently the only 5-star resort in Ong Lang beach. Photo: VTC News
This is the first private travel flight to take off from Europe to Phu Quoc after nearly two years since Vietnam imposed international travel restrictions to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The event marks an important milestone for Vietnam’s and Phu Quoc’s travel industry. Both local authorities and accommodation organizers have been working together to ensure tourists’ safety during a complicated pandemic time.

On Nov. 17, Vietnam welcomed its first 30 foreign tourists to local destinations under a pilot program to welcome back foreign travelers after a hiatus caused by Covid-19.

Upon their arrival, the tourists were transferred to New Word Hoiana Hotel in Duy Hai commune where they plan to take a tour of local destinations in the coming days, VOV reported.

That was the first group of foreign travelers who had booked package tours to Vietnam under a pilot program for vaccinated visitors.

Vietnam closed its doors to foreign tourists and canceled all international flights in March last year as a Covid containment measure. Only Vietnamese repatriates, foreign experts, and highly-skilled workers are allowed in with stringent conditions.

The country recorded a 79% decline year-on-year in the number of foreign visitors in 2020 due to travel restrictions amid the pandemic.

The nation welcomed just 3.83 million foreign visitors against a record 18 million in 2019, according to official data.

5 best places to visit in Phu Quoc

Fishing villages

Fishing villages are one of the unique features of Phu Quoc Island in which tourists can understand more about the life of fishers here. One of the most well-known fishing villages here is Ham Ninh fishing village, according to Phu Quoc island.

The fishing village still retains its simplicity and pristine condition, which has not been affected much by tourism activities.

People here mainly live on sea fishing, crab and shrimp catching, and nudibranchs and pearl catching.

Phu Quoc Welcomes First European Tourists After 2 Years of Covid Closure

Ham Ninh Fishing Village. Photo: Phu Quoc island.

Nobody knows when this village has been there. A long time ago, residents came here to exploit seafood, then set up a village when Phu Quoc island was still deserted. Coming to Ham Ninh, you can also visit Bai Vong wharf or swim at Ham Ninh beach.

The best moment to enjoy the beauty of Ham Ninh fishing village is in the early morning, the sunset or moonlit nights. Moreover, tourists can see Hai Tac archipelago in the southeast, Nghe Islet looming over the water or Ong Doi Cape – the last point of Phu Quoc island when standing from the Ham Ninh.

Hon Thom, Cua Can, Ganh Dau or Rach Tram fishing village are also famous ones in the pearl island.

Thom Island

Thom Island is a large island belonging to the An Thoi archipelago – Hon Thom commune. It is home to the clear sea water, beautiful beaches filled with smooth white sand, natural rocks and mysterious old wild forests.

Coming to Thom island, visitors will be fascinated by colorful coral reefs, fine white sandy beaches, the shadow of coconut trees stretching over the sand, clear and fresh sea. This is also an ideal place for visitors to participate in activities such as swimming, fishing, snorkeling, visiting pearl culture areas.

Phu Quoc Welcomes First European Tourists After 2 Years of Covid Closure

Cable car to Thom Island. Photo: Phu Quoc Island

Thom Island has a colorful coral reef. Here, tourists who want to experience a wonderful Phu Quoc tour can dive into the sea and see the beauty of multicolored coral reefs. But do not touch them because they are very vulnerable and take a long time to recover.

Many of the islands in the Thom island group are home to cultured pearls that bring great economic benefits to Phu Quoc island district. Traveling to Thom island, Phu Quoc, tourists definitely have to buy for themselves the very sophisticated pearl jewelry or buy it as a gift for relatives.

Phu Quoc Prison

Phu Quoc Prison was once known for jailing political criminals and communists during the French colony and the Vietnam war. It is located in An Thoi town in the south of Phu Quoc island. In the period of the Vietnam war, this prison was known as the Coconut Tree prison.

Phu Quoc Welcomes First European Tourists After 2 Years of Covid Closure
Inside Phu Quoc Island. Photo: Alo Trip

Along with Con Dao prison, Phu Quoc prison is one of two terrible hell-on-earth places where over 40,000 prisoners were confined during the period of the Republic of Vietnam, whereas most of them are political prisoners. During the periods of the French colony and the Vietnam war, thousands of prisoners were jailed and tortured to death by many non-humanity methods.

Nowadays, this is considered a historical museum to remind the young generations about the cruelties of war as well as teach them the contributions and sacrifices of Vietnamese people against the invaders who aim to separate the solidarity of Vietnamese people.

Tranh Stream

Tranh Stream is a marvelous spot that visitors should not miss. Just taking 15 minutes to drive a motorbike from Duong Dong town, you will reach Tranh Stream. From the main entrance to Tranh stream, tourists can slowly walk on the road with moss rocks on both sides and enjoy the refreshing feeling under the evergreen canopy as well as the cool breeze.

Tranh stream looks like a beautiful painting that is given to the Pearl island by Mother Nature. It is not large and rapid is not steep, high or pounding. The stream drizzle onto the stone blocks, sometimes sluggish, sometimes murmuring. Some parts of the stream flow through the rapids, creating a slight white waterfall in the evergreen floral background. It’s a good idea to immerse yourself in the cool water of a tiny lake, where Tranh stream runs through the high rapids before pouring down.

The stone blocks along the streambank which are covered with green moss have a charmingly wild beauty but it’s a bit challenging to pass them since they are fairly slippery. Therefore, visitors must take caution and follow the instruction of tour guides before they like to try climbing on them.

Phu Quoc Welcomes First European Tourists After 2 Years of Covid Closure
Photo: Phu Quoc Island

Dinh Cau Temple

Dinh Cau temple, which was built in the 17th century, owns a unique location of a majestic rock edge overlooking the ocean where the great waves lap, creating a spectacular view. The rooftop terrace is the spot where visitors can contemplate numerous large rock blocks in monstrous shapes that can make the human imagination run wild.

Going along Duong Dong beach, travelers will climb up stone steps to reach Cau temple and enjoy the stunning sea view. The inner part of the temple is a masterpiece of ancient sophisticated and intricate architecture. The front zone looks over the wide sea. The left is a boundless soft white sandy beach, dotted with lines of oblique coconuts while the right is the harbor of densely moored boats. Especially, from the position of the stone slab, visitors can sightsee the sunset on Duong Dong beach – a wonderful painting that can’t be mostly seen from beaches in the land when the dark yellow color of the sunlight on the late daytime embellishes silver high waves.

Jasmine Le