Sunset Town – a journey to love on Vietnam's Phu Quoc Island
Phu Quoc – located in the Gulf of Thailand and southwest of mainland Vietnam – was once a remote and rather sleepy fishing island. Blessed with beautiful pristine beaches and year-round tropical weather, the tourism potential of the island, which is roughly the same size as Singapore, was always clear.
Kem Beach in a southern area of Phu Quoc island.
Some years ago, a handful of resorts had started to lure travellers from all over the world, but until recently the island lacked a cultural centre point — a place where tourists could happily amble around, shopping, admiring contemporary art and iconic architecture, savouring delicious cuisine, writing postcards in a chic cafe…
That's now changed with Sunset Town. Inspired by the romantic style of European coastal destinations, such as Venice, Santorini and Monaco, the designers behind Sunset Town have conjured a new cultural hub with a 'postcard perfect' beauty. Just as they would in a quaint and historic Italian or Spanish town, tourists coming to Sunset Town can wander around picturesque streets with brightly coloured shophouses, visit galleries, enjoy fabulous meals and delicious coffee…
Sunset Town - the town of love and romance. Credit: Nguyen Minh Tu
As the region reopened to travel in a post-pandemic world, this enchanting town has turned the heads of tourists, industry observers and travel writers. With its soft terracotta bricks, and pedestrianised pathways, in many ways it feels like a heritage town that has existed for centuries.
It's also most definitely a destination for lovers — you will see young couples, newly weds, and married partners celebrating an anniversary, all walking hand in hand, soaking up the romantic Mediterranean vibes…
A romantic vibe in Sunset Town. Credit: Vien Dieu Phat.
As you would expect from the name, this is the place on Phu Quoc to watch the sun go down. Towards the end of the day, the sun bathes the townscape in a honey-hued shade and casts a warm golden glow over the sea. This magnificent spectacle places Sunset Town on par with the world's best sunset spots, such as the Ipanema Beach in Brazil or Key West in Florida.
Strolling around the town, visitors can check out the art museum, where you will find the Clock Tower (inspired by the famous St. Mark's Campanile in Italy with a height of 75 meters) and the King of the Sun, a sculpture created by the talented artisans from the Frilli family of Italy. Another centrepiece is the Sun Signature Gallery, a festival and event space with the appearance of a midcentury art museum in Europe, designed by the architectural genius Bill Bensley.
There is also a stage which hosts Kiss the Stars, a multimedia art show which incorporates lights, lasers, music, fireworks and more into a dazzling theatrical display. Last but not least, lovers will all want to wander up to Kiss Bridge, a new iconic symbol of Phu Quoc, which features two long walkways that run over the sea and almost meet in the middle – as the name suggests, you can lean over for a kiss! It's especially photogenic at sunset (if you are an early riser, you can also experience the bridge's beauty of dawn). The bridge in Vietnamese is 'Cau Hon' which means both 'Kiss Bridge' and 'proposing marriage'! If anyone is looking for a truly breathtaking spot to ask for their lover's hand in marriage, well, this really is the place. It's already become a pop culture phenomenon – the well-renowned pop group 911 and the V-Pop singer Duc Phuc used the bridge as the setting for filming a music video for their ballad 'I Do'.
The Kiss Bridge
The Kiss Bridge was brought to life through a visionary collaboration between the renowned Italian architect Marco Casamonti and Sun Group, the premier Vietnamese developer of luxury tourism projects, real estate and infrastructure. Indeed, Sun Group is the mastermind behind some of the most transformative projects that have helped to out Vietnam on the tourism map for travellers all over the world. The Golden Bridge in Bana Hills, Danang became an instant icon when it was unveiled in June 2018. It was voted as one of the World's New Wonders by the Daily Mail (UK) while the HuffPost declared it to be 'Hands-Down The Coolest Bridge Ever'. Other 'modern day icons' developed by Sun Group include the truly stunning InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort and Sun World Fansipan Legend from where travellers can go from the mountain town of Sapa to the 'roof of Indochina' by cable car.
Sao Beach on Hon Thom Island.
While visiting Sunset Town, travellers can easily explore many of the other iconic spots on Phu Quoc Island — one absolute 'must do' activity is taking the cable car over the sea to Hon Thom Island. It's another breathtaking experience that has helped Phu Quoc earn a reputation of being one of the world's most romantic destinations.