Getting to Phu Quoc and away
Getting to Phu Quoc is nowadays fast, straightforward and easy. There is a solution for all types of visitors, from young backpackers with plenty of time and low budget to affluent corporate types, with plenty of credit cards but often only a weekend to squeeze between busy working weeks.
Considering time, rather than budget, as the main factor to reach Phu Quoc, let’s explore what is available in terms of flights, starting obviously from Vietnam and neighboring countries.
Flights from Vietnam
There are direct flight from Hanoi, HCMC, Haiphong, Dalat and Can Tho, with different schedules throughout the day, operated by Jetstar, Vietjet and Vietnam Airlines. In total, about 15 flights land daily at Phu Quoc Airport, quite many for a small island. And these are the domestic flights only. What about the international ones?
Flights from Asia
Bangkok Airways, the self-proclaimed “boutique airline”, is at the moment the only operator offering an (expensive) Bangkok-Phu Quoc direct flight. Looking at how fast things are rolling for Phu Quoc, it’s only a matter of time before low-cost companies like Thai Smile and Air Asia will jump on this lucrative route.
And what about the Chinese, the Koreans and Japanese tourists? After having flooded virtually every destination with something to see in S.E. Asia, they are heading to Phu Quoc too, en masse, with direct flights from Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Kunming, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul. Hopefully there will be enough space on Phu Quoc beaches for all of us…
Flights from Europe
The Europeans have noticed Phu Quoc too: the dream-like image of a palm-fringed, white sandy beach lapped by a sea the color of jade is on every brochure offering a week in paradise. To break a cold, miserable long winter nothing works better than a short holiday. After the Scandinavians, the Russians and the British, also the Italians have managed to organize a weekly chartered flight directly from Milan, starting on December 19, 2017. The forthcoming high season is going to be the busiest ever.
The fulcrum of all this activity, handling an estimated 7 million travelers per year, is obviously Phu Quoc Airport, inaugurated in 2012. With a runway of 3000 m, it can now accept the largest planes, like the Boeing 747s, and absorb a volume of air traffic that can only grow.
Perhaps not everybody knows that this is actually the second airport on the island. The first one, called Duong Dong, was built by the French in the 30s and became strategically important during the war. It was developed as an air force facility and after the fall of Saigon in 1975 it returned to its original purpose of serving commercial flights. It was further developed in 1995, when a new terminal was built, and it was operational until it closed down in 2012. The runway where Vietnamese Air Force fighter planes once landed and took off is now a large road where locals sometimes use as a short cut leading to the town center of Duong Dong.