Want to enter Vietnam without a visa? Go to Phu Quoc!

Most nationalities need a visa in order to enter Vietnam. Although the visa process is very simple and you can easily get yours within just a few business days, there’s a way for you to travel to Vietnam without having to acquire a visa. You can go to the idyllic island Phu Quoc in the south of Vietnam. Although you’ll need a visa if you want to travel onwards to mainland Vietnam, it’s not necessary if you’re only planning to be on the island. The Ministry of Public Security in Vietnam wants to pass a regulation that will allow visa exemptions for foreigners entering Phu Quoc Island with a 30 stay period. It’s nothing new – in fact, it’s been applied for five years already, but has yet to be legalised. But this is about to change.

More than 2,2 million visitors came to the island in the first half of this year, and out of those, 400,000 people were foreigners. This is an increase of 35,5% year-on-year. Tourism in Vietnam keeps on rising and Phu Quoc Island is becoming more and more popular to travel to. And it’s not hard to see why so many people are drawn to the island.

Phu Quoc district is made of 28 islands, most of which are uninhabited while others are planned for development. The most popular of them all, and the one where most of the tourism action takes place, is Phu Quoc Island. A few years ago, this island was almost uninhabited, but these days, tourists and locals alike flock to this site to get a slice of paradise. The big island is home to more than 20 beaches and everyone has their own opinion on which beach is the most picturesque. What’s so great about Phu Quoc Island is that it’s also very scooter friendly. If you want to get around the island, the best way is to do so by scooter. The roads here are much more calm though than in the mainland so if there’s a place you should try to ride a scooter, it’s here.

While the northern parts of Vietnam gets chilly in winter, the south remains hot. If you’re looking for a place where the sun always shines, Phu Quoc is probably your best bet. The hottest month of the year is usually in April but the island offers warm weather all year round with an average temperature of around 27 celsius degrees.

Besides lounging by the beach, you can also take your scooter to visit waterfalls, pepper farms, fish sauce factories, go visit the famous night market where you can eat some delicious seafood or even go party. Yes – there’s a few bars you can find on the island. In fact, you can find almost everything here! Roy’s Beach Bar is one of the most popular beach clubs on the island and is a great place to stop by for a cocktail, beer, or whatever you like. Take a seat, enjoy the sunset and look at the beauty that is Phu Quoc Island.

How to get here

The fastest and smoothest way to get to Phu Quoc Island is by plane. The airport is in fact quite new and opened in 2013, in order to boost tourism to the island. You can fly directly from Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc just within an hour. If you book it in advance, flight tickets tend to be fairly cheap. Do remember that if you have extra luggage, you’ll have to pay more for that so your flight ticket might not end up being as cheap as you wished for.

Bus and then ferry

Another popular way to get to Phu Quoc is by taking the bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Ha Tien and from there continue with ferry. The ferry takes about 2 hours and costs around 10-11 USD. During high season or holiday season, the ferry tickets tend to sell out fast, so try to book it in advance as soon as you know how you want to get there.

Front view of Phu Quoc International Airport on Phu Quoc island
Front view of Phu Quoc International Airport on Phu Quoc island
If you want to enter Phu Quoc visa free, you cannot fly or take any sort of public transportation from Vietnam since you have to enter the country in order to do so. The only way to enter Phu Quoc visa free is by flying in from another country.

However, if you do wish to travel around Vietnam, you can easily apply for an online visa and get it within a few business days. It’s affordable, easy to apply to and quick to get. The online visa is called ‘Visa on Arrival’. You can apply for either a 1 month, 3 month and even a 12 month visa. Do note that the Visa on Arrival is only valid for air travelers. If you wish to enter Vietnam by land or boat, you’ll need to apply for a visa with the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate.