Phu Quoc Prison, also known as Coconut Tree Prison, is one of the tourist attractions in the south of Phu Quoc Island. Depending on the intentions of your trip to Phu Quoc and how much time you have at hand for tours, you might want to visit the historical site.
from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and
from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The admission is free of charge.
Phu Quoc Prison is a depressing prison camp, built by the French from 1949 to 1950 and kept running during the American War. Around 40,000 people were imprisoned on Phu Quoc Island during the war alone.
Nowadays it’s a tourist attraction for those interested in Vietnamese history and the dark side of humanity.
Prisoners of war as well as everybody who was supposedly dangerous to the government was kept there and subjected to a horrible array of torture methods.
Life-sized dolls show scenes of torture and violence in the prison, from the tiger cages, small cages made of woven barbed wire for humans, to the boiling of an inmate. In the main building you can see a small museum with relics and torture devices. A movie shows footage and the conditions in the prison camp, but it’s in Vietnamese. On the walls you see artwork and pictures of prominent prisoners, as well as the recent discovery of a mass grave.
The intentions of Phu Quoc Prison nowadays is to show how atrocious the invaders of Vietnamese territory were. But it’s the same worldwide: Torture, cruelty and inhuman conditions show a good deal of the dark side in all of us.
The only scene that was able to lightens up the mood here was the scenario in the “basement,” showing prisoners digging an escape tunnel and a group of them successfully jailbreaking.
On the opposite side of the street is a monument for the roughly 4,000 people who perished in Coconut Tree Prison under terrible circumstances.
There is also a fish sauce factory right across the street from the main entrance that is open for visitors and offers souvenirs, fish sauce and a nose-full of the interesting aroma that is unique to the famous Phu Quoc fish sauce.