Phu Quoc has been featured among the world’s top 15 islands to retire to this year in a listing released by International Living, an Irish publishing company and an authority on overseas retirement. According to the publisher, Phu Quoc “offers everything needed in a retirement haven”, including spectacular white-sand beaches, a low cost of living as well as rich culture and history.

Vietnam’s largest island off the southern coast in the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc is a popular holiday destination with many hotels and resorts dotting its palm-lined coastline. The island has been undergoing rapid development in recent years but luckily enough, more than a half of the island is protected as a national park. Phu Quoc’s interior forms a mosaic of hills, serene villages and dirt tracks criss-crossing tropical jungle, and according to International Living “discovering its many hidden gems could take years.”

A lagoon in Phu Quoc as captured by Darren Nunis.

With COVID-19 vaccination programmes now rolled out in many countries around the world, the Vietnamese government is reportedly considering Phu Quoc as a potential travel bubble for international tourists. If the plan does materialise, it will likely involve the requirement of COVID-19 vaccination certificates for all inbound travellers as well as prior vaccination of the island’s entire population.

Along with Thailand's Koh Samui, Malaysia's Penang and Bali in Indonesia, Phu Quoc was one of four Southeast Asian islands to make it to the list of world’s best retirement islands. The authors of the report claim that about 200 expats live on Phu Quoc and that as little as $1,210 a month is enough for a couple to live on the island.

“These days you don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy all that island living offers,” the company asserts, adding that all the listed islands make for an affordable retirement in a place “where you can find privacy, peace, a simpler way of life, and strong communities.” Here’s the complete list:

1. Malta

2. Mallorca, Spain

3. Penang, Malaysia

4. Ambergris Caye, Belize

5. Ireland

6. Roatan, Honduras

7. Isla Mujeres, Mexico

8. Isla Colon, Panama

9. Bali, Indonesia

10. Koh Samui, Thailand

11. Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

12. Crete, Greece

13. Cozumel, Mexico

14. Caye Caulker, Belize

15. Phu Quoc, Vietnam