The beauty of Vietnam’s natural landscape is beyond what words can describe: from the imposing mountains to the picturesque rice paddies. And it would surely be an omission if the magnificent islands towards the northern part are missed out. If you have an invaluable chance to pay a visit to the country, never forget to spend time at the below islands in northern Vietnam.
Cat Ba Island – The Must-visit Pearl of Hai Phong
Cat Ba is not only a coastal tourist attraction among islands in northern Vietnam but also a great reflection for you to get to know more about the nature and culture of Vietnam. The island is truly a pearl containing the quintessential of Vietnamese features.
Cat Ba Island is most beautiful in summer
Best Time to Visit: March to September
Where is Cat Ba Island and How to Get There?
Embark from Hai Phong:
Cat Ba Island is an archipelago of Cat Hai District, located offshore about 30-kilometers away from Hai Phong City.
To travel to Cat Ba Island, there are two popular options:
- Traveling by the high-speed ferry from Binh Wharf to Cat Ba Island, taking around 45 minutes (VND 200,000 – VND 250,000/ person)
High-speed ferry to Cat Ba Island
- Driving across the Tan Vu Bridge, which connects the Hanoi – Hai Phong Expressway with Cat Ba Island, then reaching Got Wharf and traveling to the island by ferry. The ferry costs VND 45,000/ bike or VND 190,000/ car.
Google Maps Location of Tan Vu Bridge
Embark from Ha Long Bay:
From Ha Long Bay, tourists can traverse by ferry to Cat Ba Island, costing around VND 80,000 to VND 400,000 depending on the means of transport.
You can also hire a private boat to slowly enjoy the journey from Ha Long to Cat Ba
What to Do on Cat Ba Island?
When visiting Cat Ba Island, tourists are highly suggested to opt for:
Cat Ba National Park (entrance ticket costing VND 80,000/person) will grant you access to some of the country’s best-preserved environment
When visiting this national park, don’t miss Doi Cave – a classic example of the erosive forces of nature and…
… Trang Trung Cave, which is famous for its thousands of stalagmites sparkling like diamonds
Visiting Than Cong Fortress – a witness of heroic battles of Vietnam. The place still conserves two huge cannons weighing up to ten tons.
Cai Beo fishing village, one of the oldest fishing villages in Vietnam where one can immerse in a nostalgic sense of coastal life.
Delicious fresh seafood at Cai Ba Island, which is prepared right on the spot as your request at such affordable prices.
Ti Top Island – The Natural Wonder Viewed from The Sky
If you plan to travel to the UNESCO World Heritage Ha Long Bay, Ti Top Island (also known as Titov Island) is a worth visiting destination to mark on your trip when thinking of islands in northern Vietnam. Compared to the famous Cat Ba Island, Ti Top still delivers not only a staggering view observed from the sky but also a great sense of peace since it is much less crowded.
Best Time to Visit: March to May
Visiting Ti Top Island around April to make most of your experience
Where Is Ti Top Island and How to Get There?
Since Ti Top Island is located in the heart of Ha Long Bay and a part of the sightseeing tour number 2, the island is really accessible. You can:
- Buy a single boat ticket to the island (VND 30,000 – VND 50,000/person)
- Register for a several-days cruise trip in Ha Long Bay that includes Ti Top Island as its destination (VND 1,500,000 – VND 5,000,000/ person depending on the quality and length of trip)
One of the 5-star cruise trip in Ha Long Bay
- Take the seaplane from Tuan Chau Island to admire the beauty of the island from above (VND 1,500,000 – VND 2,000,000/person)
Seaplane to Ti Top island
What to Do on Ti Top Island?
Visiting the top of the island to contemplate the stunning panoramic view of Ha Long Bay
Kayaking (VND 50,000/2 people) and parachuting (~VND 600,000 – VND 800,000/person) are one of the must-do activities in Ti Top Island
Swimming at the idyllic Vang Trang beach with the crystal-blue water all year round.
Quan Lan Island – A Charming Definition of Rusticity
Those planning to explore islands in northern Vietnam, Quan Lan should be on the top of your bucket list. As the island still preserves its pristine beauty, tourists are able to get away from the hustle and bustle and genuinely unwind.
Quan Lan Island is most beautiful in April and May
Best Time to Visit: April to September
Where is Quan Lan Island and How to Get There?
Quan Lan island is about 40-kilometers away from the center of Van Don Island District, located towards the southeast of Quang Ninh province.
To reach the islands, you can head to Cai Rong Port, then choose your transportation:
- The high-speed boat, costing VND 150,000/ person (45 minutes)
- Or the wooden ship, costing VND 60,000/ person (about 3 hours). Despite longer travel times, the wooden ship can offer an ecstatic view as Ha Long Bay along the trip.
What to Do on Quan Lan Island
Exploring every corner of Quan Lan island by electric car (~VND 35,000 to VND 60,000/ person)
Swimming at the charming Minh Chau beach
Hiring a motorbike (~VND 40,000/hour or VND 200,000/day) to visit the romantic Eo Gio
Co To Island – The Gem of Northern Sea
While Phu Quoc is considered the gem of the southern sea, that title would be given to Co To Island regarding the islands in northern Vietnam. Co To is situated towards the northeast of Quan Lan Island, which attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Co To Island is a fascinating destination
Best Time to Visit: April to August
Where is Co To Island and How to Get There?
Co To is an island belonging to the east side of Quang Ninh Province. You can catch Xuan Truong Bus at My Dinh Station to get to Quang Ninh (4 hours drive).
Transportation to Co To Island:
- The high-speed boat costing around VND 180,000 – 200,000/ person (~90 minutes)
The high-speed boat to Co To Island
- The wooden boat costing around VND 110,000/ person (~3 hours)
Google Maps Location of Cai Rong Port
What to Do on Co To Island?
Stop by the Co To lighthouse station, one of the “30 eyes of night sea” throughout the territorial waters of Vietnam.
Traveling by wooden boat (~VND 600,000/ 12 people) to explore the isolated Co To Con Island.
Visit Uncle Ho’s memorial house
Strolling along the 2-kilometers on the Path of Love on the island
Get your tickets to travel to Vietnam Northern Islands:
Pro-tips on Visiting Islands in Northern Vietnam
How to Travel around The Islands?
Paths in the islands are quite rugged
There are some options to travel around the islands such as electric cars, tuk-tuks, and motorbikes. Those longing to experience the local lifestyle by riding, don’t forget to check out whether you are allowed to ride.
What Should You Pack?
To make most of your experience in the islands in northern Vietnam, lightweight clothes and comfortable shoes that are suitable for any kind of activity should be prioritized.
Make sure to bring along your flip-flops to enjoy swimming without worrying about your shoes may get wet. Also, a couple of bug repellers and sunscreen would go a long way.
Find more about what to wear in Vietnam.
How to Get the Best Deal?
When visiting islands in northern Vietnam, remember bargain is the key to get the best price in any case, from hiring a motorbike or dealing with the locals to buy seafood. Check out our tips on bargaining in Vietnam.
Final Thoughts on Islands in Northern Vietnam
On the whole, whether dipping your toes in the turquoise water or discovering the untouched coastal caves, the islands in northern Vietnam are totally able to fulfill any tourist’s desire to look forward to a sun-soaked holiday. Let your worries and hesitation fly away and ready to embark on your journey to the islands in northern Vietnam this summer.
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