Phu Quoc Prison in the Idyllic Torture Island of Vietnam

Coconut Tree Prison History & Relics in Phu Quoc Island

Rachel Tran
Rachel Tran | Published: February 3, 2020

Vietnam is famous for not only the variety of food and cuisines but also the uniqueness of tourist destinations. Among a host of appealing attractions, Phu Quoc is regarded as a Pearl island of Vietnam where almost all travelers want to come in their holiday. Indeed,  Phu Quoc is not only the largest island in Vietnam, but it is also an evidence of the colonial regime, which is shown in Phu Quoc Prison, located on provincial road No. 46, and far 2km from Bai Khem resort. This is a place capturing the inhumanity of French and American troops towards Vietnamese soldiers.

    Location: 350 Nguyen Van Cu, An Thoi commune, Phu Quoc island district, Kien Giang province.
    Opening hours: from 8:30 am - 11:30 am and from 13:30 pm to 17:00 pm.
    Recommended visiting duration: 1-2 hours
    Entrance fee: Free but the tip for tour guide (100-200,000 VND) is encouraged, depending on the number of tourists.
    Website: phuquocprison.org

History and Meaning of Phu Quoc Prison

Phu Quoc Prison – The Hell on Earth – is also known as “Coconut Tree Prison” in An Thoi Town, Phu Quoc District, Kien Giang Province. This tourist trap is a powerful testament to the hard struggles and indomitable spirit of Vietnamese people in the battles against the French colonialists and the American Empire.

History and meaning of Phu quoc prison
Photo: phuquoc.city

During wartime, the colonial government, the empire, as well as the minions imprisoned hundreds of Vietnamese prisoners with brutal and barbaric forms of torture. It was also the prison of central prisoners throughout the Republic of Vietnam, where once imprisoned more than 32,000 Vietnamese prisoners. When visiting Phu Quoc today, visitors can deeply understand more about the sacrifice of the voluntary martyrs through artifacts. Thereby the tourists are more impressed by the tenacity and patriotism of the soldiers sacrificing for building independence and dominion and defending the country today.

In Phu Quoc Prison, war prisoners were subjected to severe punishments and tortures such as nailing on hands, feet, and even head; stabbing the burned copper wires into the skin, drilling teeth, throwing covered-by-bag imprisoners into boiling water; burning alive, and burying alive… Only in 6 years (from June 1967 to March 1973), there were 4000 deaths and tens of thousands of disabled people in Phu Quoc prison.

Best Time to Visit Phu Quoc Prison

The best time to visit Phu Quoc prison is from November to June annually because Phu Quoc island has a relatively cool fresh climate and little rain during this period, thereby facilitating your trip to visit most attractions here. 

What to See in Phu Quoc Prison?

Visiting Phu Quoc Prison, travelers would be extremely surprised by the structure and design of this prison. Phu Quoc Prison is very wide with an area of ​​up to 400 hectares. There are nearly 500 houses divided into 12 zones and each one has a tiger cage and solitary confinement to keep prisoners.

In Phu Quoc prison, you should go and visit the following well-known places:

  1. Prisoner graveyard;
  2. Kien Van church;
  3. Exhibition house of relics;
  4. Monument to martyrs; and
  5. B2 Section. 

B2 Section is the place to recreate the ancient Phu Quoc prison with the mannequins of prisoners and soldiers, which creates truth for travelers. Visitors can see, hear and feel the physical and mental pain of the prisoners who were imprisoned there. Here, the colonial government used more than 40 types of brutal torture to punish prisoners and revolutionary soldiers.

What to see in Phu Quoc prison - Human-Sized Dolls and Re-enactments
Photo: justgola.com
What to see in Phu Quoc prison - Relics
Re-enactments at Coconut Tree Prison in Phu Quoc
Photo: theculturetrip.com

In addition to a host of deaths and disabled people, there is also a martyrs cemetery where the communist soldiers have heroically sacrificed before suffering from the brutal torture.

Phu Quoc Prison is not only a historical monument marking the evil during wartime in Vietnam but also a tourist destination where travelers cannot ignore when traveling on this venom island. Indeed, amidst the surpassing development of Phu Quoc “Pearl Island” today, tourism plays an extremely important role. They come to this prison to contemplate the statues and remaining artifacts. Artifacts inside and outside are still preserved well in their original locations, allowing visitors to imagine and visualize the most brutal torture scenes at Phu Quoc prison – The Hell on Earth. Nowadays, the prison has upgraded the indoor and outdoor exhibition areas with more valuable artifacts.

Besides being a tourist trap, Phu Quoc Prison Historical Site has sponsored the diversification of products of the province. This is also a “hot address” where Vietnamese young generation are educated with the tradition “Drink water to remember the source”. This Prison is described as a statue for the spirit of freedom and independence that will continue to be raised and empowered in every Vietnamese heart.

Although existing in 6 years only, Phu Quoc Prison witnessed hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries of Vietnamese soldiers, leaving lots of emotions for locals and tourists after their journey. 

How to Get to Phu Quoc Prison?

Phu Quoc Prison is located on Provincial Road No.46, far 28 km from the South of Duong Dong town center and 2 km from Khem Beach Resort. To make the most convenient sightseeing trip, you should choose the motorbike rental service or rent a car in the center of Duong Dong town instead of walking or using the public transits. There are many car rental shops here serving visitors at a reasonable price.

Tips on Visiting Phu Quoc Prison

  • Because of being a historical site, visitors should wear elegant and formal clothes when visiting Phu Quoc Prison. 
  • Do not touch and move any display objects so as not to break or damage artifacts. 
  • Avoid traveling to Phu Quoc in August and September because it is used to raining during this time. 
  • Don’t forget to bring the sunscreen and jacket to visit more places outside Phu Quoc Prison.

Phu Quoc Prison is an interesting and meaningful destination for both domestic and foreign visitors. Enjoying your life with a–several-day trip in Phu Quoc to gain more new experience. Phu Quoc Prison is the most realistic picture of the brutality of enemies in the battles because this place presents the patriotism, courage and indomitable will of thousands of prisoners here. Hopefully, with the sharing about Phu Quoc Prison above, you will have useful experience when visiting this historic site.

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