Both the international travel community and Sonasia Holiday team have fond memories of Phu Quoc Island, one of the best destinations in the world. With its kilometers of coastline lined with palm trees, powdery white-sand beaches, and azure waters, no wonder that the island has been listed many times as one of the most relaxing paradises in the world. 

After months of not being able to visit Phu Quoc because of COVID-19, the dream of returning to the island will slowly become a reality with the project Phu Quoc Sandbox. This initiative by the Vietnamese government was launched last September 2021 and aims to revive the travel industry before the end of the year.

What is Phu Quoc sandbox?

Phu Quoc Sandbox is a reopening project by the government to welcome vaccinated international tourists on the island towards the end of 2021 and will run for 6 months. This program aims to target travelers coming from the US, Europe, Australia, Northeast Asia, and the Middle East - divided into 2 phases:

  • The first three months: Phu Quoc is expected to welcome up to 3,000 visitors per month through charter flights. The visitors can stay and enjoy their holiday in the limited locations and some private resorts. 
  • The next three months: Phu Quoc is expected to welcome up to 10,000 visitors per month through commercial flights and experience Phu Quoc on a larger scale. The attractions and places that can be visited will be expanded wider for all travelers.
  • The government will ensure that health regulations will be included as part of the conditions when visiting the island to adhere to Vietnam’s COVID-19 prevention efforts

Phu Quoc Sandbox requirements for tourists

Here are the requirements you need to know if you’re planning to visit Phu Quoc under the Sandbox program:

  1. Tourists need to provide documents to demonstrate that they have been fully vaccinated from the list of Vietnam-approved COVID-19 vaccines (two doses or one dose for the vaccine that needs one dose). The second dose (or the latest dose) must be administered at least 14 days and no more than 12 months before the date of entry. Tourists who recently contracted COVID-19 can provide a certificate showing COVID-19 recovery. The certificate should not be more than 12 months old.
  2. Before entering Phu Quoc, all tourists must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours from their entry date.
  3. Have medical or travel insurance that covers COVID-19 treatment, with minimum liability at $50,000. This is typically about USD 40.
  4. Tourists can only participate in the tours included in the Phu Quoc Sandbox program provided by travel businesses proposed by the Department of Tourism.
  5. During the first seven days after entering Phu Quoc, tourists are only allowed to enjoy activities within their accommodation. All hotels and resorts under the Phu Quoc Sandbox program must provide full facilities, entertainment, food, sports, and other activities for their guests.
  6. After these seven days, tourists with negative COVID-19 tests can continue to explore Phu Quoc as planned in their package tour.
  7. A day before leaving Vietnam, tourists will be tested for COVID-19 again before flying out of the island.

What is Phu Quoc Island like?

Phu Quoc Island is a beautiful, tropical island that lies just a one hour flight from the largest city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City. The island is actually geographically closer to Cambodia than it is to Vietnam, lying just 10km from the Cambodian coast and 12km from the Vietnamese coast.

The island is blessed with beautiful white sandy beaches, clear waters with coral reefs and accommodation to suit all budgets. The best time to visit Phu Quoc is November to March when the island enjoys cool sunny days and little rain. July to October is monsoon season on the island bringing heavy rains, high winds and rough seas.

Here is our Phu Quoc Travel Guide

Some impressive activities that you should not miss in Phu Quoc

Although the Phu Quoc Sandbox still comes with limitations, this is an optimistic signal for the Phu Quoc travel industry in particular and Vietnam travels in general. If you’re curious about the places you can visit and things you can do on Pearl Island, Sonasia Holiday has gathered some of them for you!

VinWonder Phu Quoc

VinWonder Phu Quoc is known as one of the largest amusement parks in Vietnam, with a size of over 50 hectares, including six primary subdivisions. Each of these subdivisions represents different themes ranging from fairy tales to ancient civilizations and more. It’s a great place to unwind, be entertained, and even learn!

Sunworld Hon Thom Nature Park

If you’re a fan of the extreme, Sun World Hon Thom Nature Park is a great place to visit. This unique theme park offers exciting water activities, including coral diving, kayaking, and canoeing. While here, you can also stop by Aquatopia Water Park, where you'll find jaw-dropping waterslides and six entertaining zones. Sun World is also the home of the longest sea-crossing cable car system on the planet, running from An Thoi Town to Hon Thom Island.

Exploring stunning islands in Phu Quoc

The best asset of Phu Quoc is, of course, its natural beauty. You can start your adventure at Gam Gi Island, known for its crystal-clear waters that will even allow you to see the bottom of the ocean! May Rut Island, on the other hand, is a beloved diving destination known for its colorful coral ecosystem. If you’re fonder of the beach, just pick a spot at Phu Quoc’s gorgeous coastline, relax, and enjoy a cocktail or two.

There are plenty of reasons to fall in love with Phu Quoc Island. And with the Phu Quoc Sandbox reopening program, Sonasia Holiday believes that it's a positive sign that the travel industry for both international and domestic will soon be restored. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your dream trip to Phu Quoc with numerous tips and ideal itineraries for your experience in Phu Quoc. You can also refer to our list of best hotels in Phu Quoc, resorts in Phu Quoc, homestay in Phu Quoc, and more.

Here is more on what you can do on Phu Quoc island

Can you travel to Vietnam right now?

Since the pandemic began, the country has been extremely strict when it comes to receiving foreign tourists with a straight-up ban on e-visas and visas on arrival. At the moment, only returning Vietnamese citizens and foreign investors are allowed to access the country and even then, each entry application is approved on a case-by-case basis. 

The strict entry requirements had meant that, throughout most of 2020 and early 2021, Vietnam maintained very low COVID-19 case numbers and was envied the world over. From July 2021 onwards, however, the country saw a rapid rise in community case numbers, largely due to the highly contagious Delta variant, forcing severe lockdowns in Vietnam’s major cities, particularly Ho Chi Minh City. 

At the moment, about 90% of the adults in Vietnam have been vaccinated, and the country is planning to launch the full reopening program soon within late March 2022. Once the country opens, it is the best time to visit Vietnam.

FAQs about Phu Quoc and the Sandbox Program

Here are some questions that we usually receive from travelers all over the world about Phu Quoc Sandbox. Check it out.

Insurance and visa

Q. Is covid-19 insurance mandatory?

Yes. You need to have insurance for Covid-19 that covers medical costs up to a minimum of USD $50,000 for the entire duration of your stay in Vietnam*. If you are travelling with children, they will also need to be covered by insurance.

Travelers should check the small print of any Covid-19 insurance policy before purchasing. The policy should cover:

  • The cost of treatment and other medical expenses associated with testing positive for Covid-19 or being designated as a high-risk contact (including in-patient hospitalization, hospital isolation, hotel isolation, or related quarantine).
  • The whole duration that travelers are planning to stay in Vietnam plus at least 10 extra days as a precautionary measure in case the traveler’s swab test result returns as positive. The number of days on treatment is going to be confirmed soon.

Q. Do I need a visa?

In some recent year, especially before the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam has eased it visa policy for tourists, especially from 5 main western marketing including UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. But things change fast during this situation. For the latest Vietnam visa policy update, check our Vietnam visa guide detail.

Covid vaccination and test

Q. Can it be any Covid vaccine and what proof do I need to show?

The vaccine must be approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Vietnam Ministry of Health (VMoH). The VMoH approved list includes AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer, Abdala, Sinopharm, and Sinovac. Visitors need to be fully vaccinated with two shots of the vaccine (one shot for Johnson & Johnson). Vaccination shots need to have been given at least 14 days before boarding your flight to Thailand and no longer than one year before.

Q. Do I need to have a Covid test before departing for Vietnam?

International travelers must present a medical certificate with a RT-PCR laboratory result showing that Covid-19 is not detected. The test result needs to be issued within 72 hours of departure and the time and date shown on the certificate. 

Q. After I arrive in Vietnam, how long will I have to wait before I get the first Covid-19 test result?

Results should be available within 8-12 hours.

Q. Where will the first RT-PCR test take place and how much does it cost?

The first test will be carried out at Phu Quoc airport and you will need to book and pay for your test in advance. The cost is $25 per test.

Q. What apps do I need to download?

When you arrive in Vietnam you will be asked to download the PC-Covid app as part of the Covid safety protocols:

Q. Do I need a Covid test before flying back home?

This depends on the regulations of your home country. Please check directly with the local authorities.

Children and young adults under 18

Under 6 years old

Travelers under 6 years old, travelling with parents/guardians with a negative RT-PCR test result within 72 hours before travelling, are not required to have a pre-arrival negative RT-PCR test result and can have a quick test* when entering Vietnam.

*We are waiting for confirmation from Vietnamese authorities whether this is still the case or if a RT-PCR test is now required on arrival instead.

6-11 years old

Travelers 6-11 years old, travelling with parents/guardians, must have a negative RT-PCR test result within 72 hours before travelling.

12-17 years old

Travelers 12-17 years old, travelling with parents/guardians, are not required to be vaccinated but must have a negative RT-PCR test result within 72 hours before travelling. Those unaccompanied must get vaccinated with at least one dose of an approved vaccine and must have a negative RT-PCR test result.

Flights and hotels

Q. Can I book my own flights and hotels, or do I have to use a travel agent?

Now, you need to book with a travel agent in Vietnam for the travel services in Phu Quoc. But things are expected to change soon. We will keep updating this page once there is new information from the government.

Q. Where can I find a list of approved hotels on Phu Quoc?

At the moment, there is no such place, please contact us for more detail.

Q. Do I have to stay at the hotel I booked?

You need to stay at only one hotel for the first seven days before you can change to another one.

Phu Quoc Questions

Q. How long do I have to stay in Phu Quoc? Can I travel to other areas of Vietnam?

You need to stay in Phu Quoc in the first 7 days before you can travel to other areas which also join the sandbox program including: Kien Giang, Quang Ninh (home to Ha Long Bay), Hoi An, Binh Dinh, Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang, and Khanh Hoa.

Q. Will everything be open as usual on Phu Quoc?

Many businesses throughout Vietnam have been impacted by the absence of international tourism. Sadly, some businesses on Phu Quoc haven’t been able to survive while others are operating with a limited number of staff. Although not everywhere will be fully open, venues that are will be extra welcoming. As tourists start to return it’s hoped that more businesses will be able to reopen. 

Q. Will I have to wear a mask?

All visitors are kindly asked to observe local rules which may mean wearing a mask in public areas. Although it’s unlikely you’ll be required to wear a mask on the beach if you are adhering to social distancing, you are requested to observe any local rules that may be in place which include wearing a mask in taxis and minibuses. Please also observe any signs that ask you to scan your temperature and wear masks inside shops or malls. 

Q. My partner lives in Vietnam and wants to meet me in Phu Quoc. Can my partner stay with me in my hotel?

Your partner can travel to Phu Quoc if they follow all the local rules regarding inter-provincial travel and entry requirements for Phu Quoc that are in place at the time of travel. This includes having medical insurance. We also advise double-checking with your hotel for any additional information they may require.

Q. I usually live in Vietnam but have been going abroad for the past few months. Can I travel to Phu Quoc under this scheme or is it just for tourists?

Anyone can apply to enter under this scheme if they meet all the requirements.

Q. I live in Vietnam, do the same travel rules apply to me?

There are different rules for domestic travel within Vietnam. These local rules are also subject to change depending on which province you are travelling from. Check the latest information with local media in Vietnam and the official website of Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Vietnam.  

Covid regulations for domestic travel in Vietnam

Visitors in Vietnam are encouraged to take sensible precautions against COVID-19 during their trips.

The World Health Organization outlines these basic practices to keep yourself and your loved ones safe:

  1. Avoid traveling if you have a fever and cough. If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, alert health care services and share with them your recent travel history.
  2. Maintain social distancing. Stay a meter or more away from others, especially those who are sneezing or coughing, or have fever. 
  3. Wash your hands regularly with soap and running water. You can also use an alcohol-based hand-sanitizer to spray your hands as often as you like.
  4. Cover your mouth and nose with tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of dirty tissues immediately and wash your hands after coughing or sneezing. 
  5. Avoid contact with live animals. Wash your hands with soap and water if you touch live animals or animal products in markets.
  6. Eat only well-cooked food. Make sure your meals especially animal proteins and dairy products are thoroughly cooked and prepared in a sanitary environment. 
  7. Discard single-use masks. If you choose to wear a single-use mask, ensure it covers your nose and mouth, avoid touching the mask, and wash your hands after removing it.

Any travelers experiencing symptoms of the virus − fever, cough and difficulty breathing − should immediately call Vietnam’s health hotline: 1900 3228.

Vietnam has appointed 180 authorized testing facilities to carry out testing and diagnosis of COVID-19 disease. See the full list.

For a full overview of the COVID-19 situation in Vietnam as it relates to travelers, as well as daily updates, please see our Vietnam’s updated travel advisory.

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Hello, my name’s Jordan and I’m obsessed with travelling overland. Seeing how cultures change while travelling slowly captivates me; and doing so in an eco-friendly way, preserving the cultures and landscapes that so many travellers yearn to explore, has given me my travelling purpose.


"Should I visit Thailand or Vietnam?" is some of the most frequently asked questions that we have from our travelers

Well, Vietnam and Thailand are the most popular holiday destinations in Southeast Asia. They are similar in climate and food, though obviously different in culture, lifestyle and travel experience.

Below we list 13 major differences between the two countries, to give you a quick overview and help you decide which to visit first. These are based on our own travel experiences, investigations, and partnerships with local operators.


How long to spend in Vietnam may seem like a ridiculous question to address, but if you have plenty of time and aren’t sure how much to dedicate, this blog will definitely help you out.

You can find here and there that you should spend 10 days, 2 weeks, 20 days, or 1 month to best explore Vietnam. So what is the best Vietnam tour duration for you?

Well, as long as you like! From 10 days to a month, there are various ways you can travel across Vietnam and uncover its secrets. Advising an ideal trip length for Vietnam is a bit of a complex challenge, as it depends on several factors such as the places you wish to visit, the activities you plan to join, or if you want to combine Vietnam with its neighbor countries. 

Stay tuned! We are going to sort all these things out including the step-by-step guide to create the best itinerary in Vietnam.


Vietnam currently approves 9 COVID-19 vaccines, and everyone 12 years of age and older should get fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before travelling to the country, while rules differ for those under 12 years. Here’s an update to our guide to COVID-19 vaccines for international travelers to Vietnam.


Since the start of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Vietnam has closely monitored the situation and installed a series of proactive, comprehensive measures to combat the spread of the virus within the country and prepare its public health facilities. Past experience with other epidemics places Vietnam in a strong position to protect its population as well as visitors passing through. 

Travelers in Vietnam may have questions about the spread of the virus in Vietnam, as well as which policies are in place in Vietnam. Below is a full overview of the COVID-19 situation in Vietnam as it relates to travelers. 


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian countries has taken the cautious approach to inbound travel and has had some of the strictest border restrictions and closures. At the moment, the nations of the region are in the beginning stages of reopening their borders for tourism, with every country introducing its own regulations.

The “unlocking” statuses vary widely. Travelers entering Asian countries may be required to do everything from going into quarantine, submitting negative COVID-19 test results, presenting proof of health insurance, and proof of vaccination (known a vaccine passports).

There is an understandable uncertainty with how you should travel to the Asian region if you are planning to. This is why we present you the list of 19 Asian countries, along with details on the current travel situation. As each country applies precisely defined regulations, you should always check the official websites listed in the article below for the latest government announcements.


Vietnam is now fully open for tourism with no more testing required (both pre and on arrival). Vietnam allows visa-free entry for up to 15 days for citizens of 13 countries and e-visas for citizens of 80 countries (below).


We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below the detailed information for our different destinations, our plans by travel theme or time frame to learn more before moving forward...

places to visit in Vietnam
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Ha Long Bay
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bee-white Thailand
Friendly and food-obsessed, hedonistic and historic, cultured and curious, Thailand tempts visitors with a smile as golden as the country's glittering temples and tropical beaches.
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There's a magic about this charming yet confounding kingdom that casts a spell on visitors. In Cambodia, ancient and modern worlds collide to create an authentic adventure.
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It's a new era for this extraordinary and complex land, where the landscape is scattered with gilded pagodas and the traditional ways of Asia endure.
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Vivid nature, voluptuous landscapes and a vibrant culture collide with a painful past and optimistic future to make Laos an enigmatic experience for the adventurous.
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