Guides & Tips

Exploring Vietnam’s Top Islands: A Journey to Paradise

Mai Anh
3 min. to read

As you set foot on these paradisiacal isles, you’re greeted by the gentle sway of palm trees, the melodious symphony of crashing waves, and the invigorating scent of sea salt carried by the ocean breeze. Each Vietnam island possesses its own unique charm and allure, offering a plethora of experiences waiting to be discovered. Join Sun Getaways Travel on a journey to explore these captivating destinations, where every moment is a testament to the beauty and splendor of nature’s creations.

Table of contents

1. Cham Island

2. Con Dao

3. Phu Quoc

4. Cat Ba Island

5. Ly Son Island

6. Hon Tre – Nha Trang

7. Quan Lan – Quang Ninh

8. Co To Island

1. Cham Island

Vietnam’s breathtaking coastline harbors many treasures, and nestled among them is Cham Island (Cu Lao Cham). Situated just fifteen kilometers from Hoi An, this archipelago is a haven for travelers in search of serenity. Life on the island revolves around a relaxed pace, offering a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle.

Cu Lao Cham

Cham Island is steeped in cultural richness, blending Vietnamese and Cham influences seamlessly. Its beaches are not only stunning but serve as a gateway to an underwater wonderland. With vibrant coral reefs thriving beneath the surface, the island beckons snorkelers and scuba divers worldwide. Here, they encounter a diverse array of marine life, from colorful fish to intricate coral formations, making it a paradise for underwater exploration.

Cham island beckons snorkelers and scuba divers worldwide

Experiences:

  • The Cornflower Road: During the blooming season, which spans from July to August, you’ll be treated to a captivating sight as fields are adorned with vibrant red cornflowers, forming a striking contrast against the backdrop of mountains and sea.
  • Eo Gio, known as the “Windy Waist” of Cham Island, presents awe-inspiring panoramic vistas, ideal for witnessing either the sunrise or sunset.

2. Con Dao

Con Dao, an archipelago situated off the coast of Ba Ria-Vung Tau in the southern region of Vietnam, presents a captivating and diverse character. Comprising 16 islands, with Con Son Island being the largest, it spans a modest 76 square kilometers. Nevertheless, its significance and allure transcend its compact size.

Con Son Island

The history of Con Dao is marked by adversity. Once notorious as a “hell on earth,” it served as a prison during the French colonial era and the Vietnam War. Vestiges of this tumultuous past endure, notably embodied in the notorious Con Dao Prison. Here, visitors encounter poignant relics and exhibitions that vividly illustrate the brutality of conflict and the resilient spirit of Vietnamese revolutionaries.

Despite its somber legacy, Con Dao has undergone a remarkable metamorphosis. Today, it beckons travelers in search of serene retreats amidst awe-inspiring natural splendor. Pristine beaches lapped by crystalline waters and adorned with vibrant coral reefs offer sanctuary to divers and snorkelers alike. Meanwhile, verdant virgin forests, brimming with diverse flora and fauna, await exploration, promising immersive encounters with nature’s wonders.

Expriences:

  • Hon Bay Canh and Hon Cau islands are paradises for eco-tourists. Here, you can embark on thrilling diving adventures to explore vibrant coral reefs, navigate fascinating mangrove forests, or witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of turtles laying eggs and the release of hatchlings back into the sea (during the nesting season).
  • For history buffs, the Con Dao Museum offers a comprehensive look into the archipelago’s intriguing past. Through over 1,000 artifacts and historical documents, the museum sheds light on Con Dao’s natural wonders, its human inhabitants, the struggles of the past, and its remarkable transformation into a thriving destination.

3. Phu Quoc

You may want to know about >>> Phu Quoc Unveiled: Your Essential Guide to Vietnam’s Island Gem

The Phu Quoc archipelago, comprised of 22 islands nestled in the Gulf of Thailand, invites explorers with its varied terrain and abundant ecosystems. Positioned about 400 kilometers west of Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc stands as Vietnam’s largest island, covering an expansive area of 589.23 square kilometers. This tropical haven caters to diverse tourist interests, presenting a spectrum of attractions including immaculate beaches, lively coral reefs, verdant rainforests, and historical landmarks.

Miniature image of Italy

Experiences:

  • Phu Quoc National Park spans 31,400 hectares, showcasing diverse ecosystems with mountains, forests, streams, and waterfalls. Explore hidden gems like Tranh Stream and Da Ban Stream, or embark on a 4-hour trek to Nui Chua Mountain’s peak for panoramic views.
  • Vinpearl Safari, located in the island’s north, houses over 3,000 animals from 175 species. Divided into two zones, visitors can explore on foot or in specialized vehicles for close encounters.
  • Ganh Dau, in the island’s northwest, offers tranquil beauty with unique rock formations and secluded beaches.
  • Dinh Ba and Dinh Cau, in Duong Dong town, are revered religious sites steeped in local legends. Festivals on January 15th celebrate Phu Quoc’s cultural heritage.

4. Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island, situated amidst the breathtaking archipelago to the south of Ha Long Bay, invites travelers in search of a harmonious mix of natural splendor, adventurous pursuits, and cultural allure. As the largest island among the 367-island cluster, Cat Ba showcases striking limestone mountains, tranquil turquoise waters, and a thriving ecosystem awaiting discovery.

Ideal Season: Summer (April to October) blankets Cat Ba in sunshine. With gentle waves and limited rainfall, this season is perfect for swimming, sightseeing, and capturing picturesque memories.

Bathing at Catba Island Resort

Cat Ba Island

Expriences:

  • Lan Ha Bay, recognized as one of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club, is a must-see destination. Experience its tranquil blue waters on a boat tour, marveling at the majestic limestone formations emerging from the sea. Explore secluded coves, kayak through hidden caves, and uncover a timeless world.
  • Monkey Island, near Cat Ba, offers a unique chance to interact with playful primates. Respect the island’s guidelines by refraining from teasing or feeding unfamiliar food to the monkeys.
  • Cat Ba National Park, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, ensures an unforgettable adventure. Trek through the lush Kim Giao forest, conquer challenging trails to Ngu Lam Peak for panoramic views, or witness the vibrant nocturnal wildlife symphony. Discover hidden caves, encounter diverse flora and fauna, and immerse yourself in the park’s rich biodiversity.
Lan Ha Bay, Cat Ba Island 3

Lan Ha Bay

5. Ly Son Island

Ly Son Island, located about 15 nautical miles off the shore of Quang Ngai province in Vietnam, invites travelers in search of a distinctive combination of volcanic scenery, unspoiled beaches, and a deep cultural legacy. This singular island district, the sole one in Quang Ngai, consists of two primary islands: Dao Lon (also referred to as Cu Lao Re or Ly Son Island) and Dao Be (Cu Lao Bai). Enhancing the allure of the archipelago is a smaller islet named Mu Cu, situated to the east of Dao Lon.

East of Ly Son Island

The best time to visit: April to August offers the best opportunity to enjoy Ly Son’s natural splendor, characterized by stable weather with sunny skies and little rain. However, this period overlaps with the peak tourist season from April to June.

From September to December, the experience changes as seas may become rough and weather unpredictable, with occasional rain and storms. Yet, this period brings a fascinating phenomenon: from late December to April, coastal rocks adorn vibrant green moss, forming a distinctive and enchanting landscape.

Experiences:

  • The Big Island: One of Ly Son’s five dormant volcanoes, offering panoramic views from its peak, Thoi Loi, rising approximately 170 meters above sea level. Its massive crater basin serves as a crucial freshwater source, marked by a towering 20-meter national flagpole, a popular spot for photos.
  • Hang Cau: Experience the captivating contrast of Hang Cau, featuring dramatic vertical cliffs on one side and a pristine beach with soft, white sand on the other. The cliffs, sculpted by relentless wind and waves, boast unique shapes, while vibrant coral reefs await snorkelers and divers. Kayaking offers a different perspective of the coastline.
  • Hang Pagoda: This historic site, nestled within a large cave halfway up a mountain near To Vo Gate, is over 400 years old. Honoring Buddha and Ly Son’s island reclamation, it features a statue of Guanyin Buddha overlooking the sea in an expansive courtyard surrounded by ancient trees. Inside, admire altars carved from natural stalactites and remnants of the Champa civilization. The winding mountain road leading to the pagoda offers scenic vistas of garlic fields and tranquil villages.

6. Hon Tre – Nha Trang

Hon Tre (Hon Rua), an enchanting Vietnam island in Kien Hai district, Kien Giang province, Vietnam, invites travelers with its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural exploration, and historical allure. Among the 140 islands adorning Kien Giang’s waters, Hon Tre stands out with its distinctive turtle-shaped silhouette, covering a total area of 428.59 hectares.

Its landscape features rolling hills and mountains, with peaks exceeding 30 meters, including two main mountains—one taller in the south and the other lower in the north—contributing to its exceptional topography. The island’s coastline is a captivating maze of winding paths and secluded coves, punctuated by flat areas like Bai Chen, Dong Dua, and Bai Dua, which are favored for picnics and relaxation amid the island’s serene ambiance.

Best time to visit: The rainy season spans from May to November, while the dry season, perfect for outdoor pursuits, graces the island from December to April.

Let’s explore Nha Trang: Vietnam’s Premier Beach City

Expriences:

  • Hon Tre Island is a popular tourist destination with a wide range of activities, including visiting Vinpearl Land, riding the cable car, swimming, and participating in various sea-related activities, such as diving and trekking.

Vinpearl Land

7. Quan Lan – Quang Ninh

Nestled far from the bustling urban landscape of Vietnam’s major cities, Quan Lan offers a serene escape within the expanse of Ha Long Bay. Despite its stunning location, this island remains refreshingly untouched by mass tourism, maintaining a tranquil ambiance and sparse population. Quan Lan Village, adorned with a solitary street lined with charming bars, eateries, and accommodations, epitomizes the island’s peaceful allure.

Beyond the village, Quan Lan unfolds in pockets of quiet activity, inviting visitors to embrace its unhurried pace of life. Whether leisurely strolling amidst picturesque scenery or unwinding on its pristine beaches, the island promises a laid-back retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Quan Lan Island

Best time to visit: Quan Lan experiences its rainy season from May to September, with the dry season prevailing from November to March. Each season presents its own advantages and drawbacks, but the widely agreed upon optimal months for visiting are March, April, September, and October.

8. Co To Island

Co To Island, located in northern Vietnam, stands out as one of the region’s most captivating destinations. While it enjoys popularity among local tourists, it remains relatively unexplored by foreigners. Its allure lies in its breathtaking beaches caressed by crystal-clear turquoise waters. Notably, the island boasts distinctive rock formations at Cau My Rock, offering a unique and memorable sightseeing experience.

Consisting of around 30 islands, Co To is an archipelago in the east of the Quang Ninh province. There is great tourist potential and it is expected that the islands will be developed into tourist zones in the near future, so now is the best time to visit as the archipelago is still unspoiled.

Cau My Rock

What to eat?

What could be more enriching than immersing yourself in the stunning landscapes of nature and partaking in captivating leisure pursuits on Vietnam’s finest islands? With an array of options among the top 8 islands in Vietnam, you’re sure to discover your perfect getaway. Sun Getaways Travel hopes you enjoy your Vietnam journey!

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