Go to Phu Quoc Prison (Hell on earth) to review the nation’s once-glorious history
Phu Quoc Prison is a historical proof of the resilient struggles of the Vietnamese people as well as the crimes of the colonial empire. Up to now, when the war has passed, this place is still the haunt of revolutionary soldiers and many tourists.
Phu Quoc has long become an attractive tourist destination not only for domestic people but also for international tourists. Referring to Phu Quoc tourism, you will probably think of peaceful green beaches, bustling fishing villages, and world-class entertainment areas.
But not only that, this archipelago is also a place to keep relics of a heroic but also painful period of the nation, that is Phu Quoc Prison.
- 1. General introduction about Phu Quoc Prison
- 2. How to get to Phu Quoc Prison
- 3. Experiences not to be missed at Phu Quoc Prison
- 4. Some notes when visiting Phu Quoc Prison
1. General introduction about Phu Quoc Prison
Phu Quoc Prison is a prison located at 350, Nguyen Van Cu street, An Thoi commune, 28km from the center of Duong Dong town, Phu Quoc.
During the Indochina war, this prison was also known as Cay Dua prison. This is the central prisoner of war camp in the whole Republic of Vietnam, having held more than 32,000 prisoners. In 1995, this place was recognized by the Ministry of Culture and Information as a national historical relic, and since then, the prison has been open to visitors.
Address: 350 Nguyen Van Cu street, An Thoi commune
Opening hours: 8:00 – 11:30 and 13:30 – 17:00
2. How to get to Phu Quoc Prison
First, you need to move to the Phu Quoc archipelago. The most popular means of travel to the island is by air.
From the airport, you continue to rent a motorbike or self-drive car, move down Phu Quoc Highway to Nguyen Van Cu Street to the south, about 30 minutes to reach the monument. On the way, you can also stop by Bai Sao, about 5km from the prison. This is one of the famous beaches in Phu Quoc
3. Experiences not to be missed at Phu Quoc Prison
Phu Quoc prison has a total of 12 zones, each holding about 3,000 prisoners. In addition to ordinary cells, there are also solitary confinement areas with an area of just under 30m2. During peak times, they could hold up to 180 people, and prisoners had to shift from one another to share the cramped space.
This place is guarded extremely strictly, surrounded by barbed wire fence, above with protective lights. The watchtowers and patrols are fully armed.
By April 1954, the prison had about fourteen thousand inmates, mostly men. Under the brutal torture of the French colonialists, 99 communist soldiers died.
3.1 Watch a re-enactment of the torture scene in the B2 zone
Section B2 is an area being reconstructed, with an area of more than 17,000 square meters including the prison gate, guard guard, tiger cage, barbed wire fence, and political prisoner torture area.
Here, visitors will clearly feel the fierceness and barbarity of the wartime prison through the effigy of prisoners and soldiers. The images and methods of torture in the past have been faithfully reproduced through historical documents and stories of former prisoners:
- Barbed Tiger Cage: This is a type of cage fenced with barbed wire of different sizes. Prisoners were forced to go topless, kept lying or crouching inside these tiger cages for days.
- Crucifixion: Soldiers tortured by nailing a 3-inch or 7-inch nail to the prisoner’s body, from the hands and feet to the knees and neck. Prisoners were tortured with their wills until their bones were broken.
- Chisel and break teeth with hammer: Prisoners are chiseled close to the roots of the teeth and hammered.
- In addition, there are other forms that are also extremely barbaric such as: taking a sack over the prisoner and throwing it into a pan of boiling water, using a high-powered floodlight to shine in his eyes, pressing it to two boards, and even burying them alive.
3.2. Visit the martyrs memorial at Sim hill
The memorial is built in the relic area with the shape of a wave 5m high on both sides and in the middle is a pointed block hollowed out in the shape of a human figure – representing the people who have passed away from that place. The station area has an area of over 12,000m2.
Next to the memorial is a martyr’s cemetery to honor and remember the indomitable soldiers who sacrificed in the process of fighting for the independence and freedom of the nation.
3.3. Visit additional artifact galleries
The additional exhibition house of the relic is divided into 2 rooms:
Room 1: is a place to display more than 43 artifacts along the formation and existence of the prison along with the history of battles.
Room 2: Presents 100 documentary photographs of cruel forms of torture and enduring struggle as well as memorabilia left by prisoners.
4. Some notes when visiting Phu Quoc Prison
Phu Quoc Island Prison is a special attraction, so every visitor who comes here should also pay attention to avoid damaging the artifacts here:
- Dress politely.
- Do not touch the exhibits on display.
- Need to bring food and water because the prison is built on a fairly large scale. While sightseeing, it is difficult to find food and drink.
- Do not throw garbage indiscriminately to avoid affecting the hygiene of the relic site.
- The prison is open from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Ticket entrance is completely FREE.