Known For : Vinpearl Safari Hon Thom Cable Car Phu Quoc Prison
Phu Quoc Island is the biggest island in Vietnam and boasts of the most beautiful white-sand beaches, surrounded by palm and coconut trees. It is the perfect spot for a long weekend getaway and you don’t need a visa if you directly fly in from another country, no matter what your nationality is. However, if you’ll be taking a ferry from Vietnam, then you need to have a valid Vietnam visa to enter the island. There are hundreds of resorts to choose from, most of them with private beaches and facilities that ensure you relax and unwind. It is also one of the few places in Vietnam where you can legally gamble.
Best Time: November to March
Cat Ba Island is a popular island located in the bay. Anyone who visits Ha Long Bay tends to visit the Cat Ba Island. Many tour companies include this as a part of their itinerary. You would find all of the amenities such as drinks, hotels as well as restaurants in this place. Also, here you will find the local people carrying out their prime occupation of fishing.
Known For : The Prison Museum Bai An Hai Chua Van Son
Con Dao is a group of islands lying off the southern coast of the country. There are a total of 15 islands of which Con Son is the largest and the only inhabited island. Having served as the prison islands- first during French colonial era and later by the US supported South Vietnamese government, Con Dao is one of the key destinations to visit in Vietnam.
Best Time: November to February
Encircled by the crystalline South China Sea and a ring of reefs, Ly Son is a gorgeous dormant volcanic island with five craters. This secluded Vietnamese weekend jaunt captivates visitors for its white-sand beaches flanked by black stone abysses, the Hang Pagoda, mountains, and onion and garlic fields. Satisfy your wanderlust with snorkelling, trekking, cave expeditions and panoramic sunset cruises.
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If you’ve heard of Hon Tre Island, it’s not long before the name Vinpearl Amusement Park pops up! This island houses one of the most popular amusement parks in the country and a unique cultural village. With stunning natural beaches, aquariums, shopping areas, amusement rides, water sports, resorts, and more; Hon Tre is the ideal destination for children and adults! Be sure to visit in the dry season of February until May for the best experience. It has excellent connectivity as ferries are one stop away from Cao Da Port, and scenic vacation apartments and hotels are there for your comfort.
A group of 8 spectacular islands, Cham Islands located off the coast of Hoi An in Central Vietnam, has been garnering much interest since it was declared as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2009. The inhabitants of the charming islands are recognized as a distinct community with the entire area being governed by the local Tan Hiep commune.
Time Required : 4-5 hours
Entry Fee : VND 70,000 is charged for entering the beaches at the Cua Dai Pier before entering the waters of the protected area
The Nam Du Archipelago is a chain of islands drifting west of Ra Chi in the Gulf of Thailand. Touted for its thriving fishing and tourism communities, Nam Du consists of 73 smaller tropical islands with lush rocky beaches, boat piers, sandy lanes and mountains flaunting trekking trails. In addition, there are several quaint villages with mini-wet markets, seafood shacks and guesthouses.
Located about 60 km from Nha Trang in Khan Hao province, Binh Ba island offers a peaceful getaway with just the sun, sand and sea to keep you company. Binh Ba is great for picnicking, snorkelling and sunbathing. A speciality you should not miss out on is the big and delicious lobster preparation.
Home to raw and organic beauty, Binh Hung is the one stop shop for untouched landscapes and pure serenity. Located 30kms by road from Cam Ranh City, the island is quite accessible as the connectivity ranges from flights, trains, ferries, to bus rides. Not housing any hotel or resort, visitors prefer to stay at the islanders’ house. It offers unique delicacies, magnificent beaches, lobster farms, the beautiful South Sea Temple, and a must-see Hon Chut Lighthouse. While you’re there, do not miss the freshwater beach hidden inside a cave!
Hon Khoai is the largest island located close to Ca Mau. It has some of the best beaches and beachside views. Hon Khoai is a three hour boat ride from Ca Mau, but the boat ride is absolutely worth it! Hon Khoai Island greets you with its rolling rocks, carpet of primitive untouched forests and beautiful beaches. On the highest peak of Hon Khoai, there is a lighthouse built during the nineteenth century by the French.
A mosaic of tourism, culture, and spirituality is what Hon Ba will offer to you. Best known to be a romantic spot for couples and a religious attraction for visitors, it houses a small Buddhist temple and intriguing history. Reaching this island is relatively simple as one can hire a boat or walk across the strait, and hotels are easily accessible. You are certain to find white horses gracing the cliffs, fragrant flowers, clear waters, colourful shells, and a breathtaking sunrise. Small Buddhist temples are scattered across the island, and the local culture is one of a kind.
Located in the Gulf of Thailand, Ba Lua is a collection of 45 islands, connected through straits which you can walk across! You will find people residing in only 10 of these islands, and while some are beautiful tourist spots, others house just one family. Visitors can rent a boat from Hang Pagoda to explore the Ba Lua. Few islands offer accommodation managed by family owners, where travellers prefer to stay; while some opt to camp out! These islands have spectacular caves such as the Money cave, rich biodiversity, delicious seafood, rare dolphins, and stunning sunsets.
Yen Island is known as the ‘Couple Beach’ due to the different sea currents that make one side of the water cold and the other warm. The island is said to be a heaven on earth due to the panoramic views it offers. What makes Yen Island a special one is the construction of the bamboo brides, which allows the visitors to walk around the island.
Also known as Cu Lao Xanh, this island is the perfect spot for taking part in different water sports. The name of this island translated to ‘Green Island’ because of the fantastic colour of the seawater. Located 24 kilometres far from Quy Nhon City, there is also a 119-meter lighthouse on the island that offers stunning views of the clear water and the whole island.
Listed among the nation’s 15 marine reserves Son Cha island, Hon Son (also known as Lai Son) is a perfectly proportioned island located between Hon Tre Island and Nam Du archipelago. Situated 235 meters above the sea level, it offers scenic views of the landscapes. The island is also home to coral reefs that hold over 144 species, 135 different types of seaweed, and 162 different types of colourful fish.
Quan Lan Island offers a picturesque retreat resplendent with white sand beaches. Quan Lan houses the beautiful Minh Chau beach. This beach is the most famous tourist location in Quan Lan Island. The beach has white sands and the calm blue waters are ideal for surfing. Other water sports include Kayaking and Beach Volleyball. There are a number of beach cafes along the beach that serve authentic seafood and local beer. It is the perfect place to unwind.
Timings : All day long
Time Required : 3 - 4 hours
Entry Fee : Nil
Located in Bai Tu Long Bay, Co To Island lies towards the northeast of Quang Ninh Province of Vietnam. It is part of the larger archipelago of the same name in the Gulf of Tonkin. Co To Island features one of the most serene white sand beaches around Ha Long. Turquoise blue waters, a tranquil ambience around the beach, lovely sunsets, breathtaking landscapes, mouthwatering seafood options and a number of interesting attractions make Co To Island a must-visit on your trip to Vietnam.
Timings : All day long
Time Required : 2 - 3 hours
Entry Fee : Nil
Tuan Chau Island is a perfect tourist destination of Halong Bay with a two kilometre artificial beach. There are multiple villas and luxury resorts, international restaurants, shops and roadside food stalls. The island offers various activities like jet ski, kayaking and mountain climbing. Being a popular tourist attraction, there is a dolphin, seal, circus and a martial art show almost everyday here.
Inhabited since the French-Indo-China era, Phu Quy Island is on the cusp of a tourism boom offering diving reefs, white-sand beaches with coconut and almond groves, and marvellous traditional villages. Besides ports, ferries and roads lined with seafood vendors, some attractions here include Cam Mountain Lighthouse, Vinh Trieu Duong beach, Linh Son Pagoda and an abandoned military bunk on the east coast.
Let us know about your favourites in the comments below!