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Phu Quoc
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This beautiful island in Vietnam is opening up to tourists soon

The country is introducing a ‘sandbox’ scheme for vaccinated visitors hoping to visit Phu Quoc

Huw Oliver
Sophie Dickinson
Written by
Huw Oliver
Sophie Dickinson

As a great deal of the world comes out of lockdown, many countries are going all-out as they look to reboot their tourist economies. Thailand, for example, is already welcoming visitors from nations across the globe.

Others are taking a markedly more cautious approach. Most of Vietnam is only open to visiting diplomats and businesspeople, who have to quarantine for seven days on arrival. Domestic flights have been grounded, too, effectively banning travel between regions.

Ho Chi Minh City is also under lockdown. That means there are no buses or taxis running, and non-essential businesses remain closed.

Flights have been slowly resuming between the major airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and South Korea, Japan, Australia, Taiwan and Thailand, but only for Vietnamese residents and expats. 

There are, however, plans for a ‘sandbox’-style experiment on the island of Phu Quoc from the end of October. Which is to say that travellers might soon be able to enjoy a beach getaway – as long as they stay in designated Covid-safe areas.

Only double-jabbed tourists will be able to take part, and they will have to undergo a series of PCR tests starting on arrival at the island’s airport. Officials have also said that the scheme will only go ahead if more Phu Quoc residents are vaccinated. Currently, only 36 percent of adults have got the first jab, while only 6 percent are fully inoculated. 

Until more details emerge, travel to Vietnam is probably off the cards. And it’s likely going to be a while before you can jet off to that dreamy archipelago you’ve been eyeing up since… pretty much forever. See you there in 2022?

In the meantime, here are the 19 best things to do in Vietnam on your next trip.

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