Van Don Archipelago is about 50 km northeast of Halong City. It belongs to the island district of Van Don – one of the four key economic-tourism areas in Quang Ninh Province.
With over 600 islands and islets which are arranged as a great wall in Bai Tu Long Bay, next and connected to Halong Bay, Van Don is considered as a nature wonder. In addition, it was one of the first wealthy commercial ports in Vietnam under the Ly and Tran dynasties (from the 11th – 13th century). Unspoiled natural beauty and cultural, historical values make Van Don as a buffet of sightseeing for tourists.
For nature lovers, they will be attracted by charming white-sand beaches with clear blue water such as Long Beach (Bai Dai) in Cai Bau Island, Ngoc Vung Beach in Ngoc Vung Island and Quan Lan Beach, Minh Chau Beach, Son Hao Beach in Quan Lan Island. All the beaches here are really fascinating for tourists with their pristine beauty and pure environment. Some beaches spread over several kilometers and some of meters away from the beaches stand the very green wild casuarinas, which further add to its original charm. Some other notable landscapes in Van Don are the Van Mountain (the mountain is covered by cloud) at 445 metres high on Ban Sen Island, the Bai Tu Long National Park on Ba Mun Island and so on.
Van Don also can satisfy the culture and history lovers with a range of cultural and historical relics in the whole archipelago such as Quan Lan Communal House, Quan Lan Pagoda, the traces of the large scale of Van Don ancient commercial port which are scattered in Cong Dong, Cong Hep, Cong Yen, Quan Lan,… They are old wharfs, pieces of ceramic clotted a thick layer of tens centimeter.
A famous festival is Quan Lan Communal House Festival which is taken place at Dinh Wharf in Quan Lan Commune. The festivities are organized yearly on the 18th day of the sixth lunar month, but the celebration lasts from the 10th to the 20th day of month. The festival is organized to commemorate the victory against the Mongol invaders in 1288, as well as the feats of Tran Khanh Du, a famous general under the Tran Dynasty. They also pray for good “harvest” from the sea.
Visitors to Van Don, can witness the wealth and diverse of seafood. The islands of Quan Lan, Ngoc Vung, Cai Bau… where are residents of thousands of fish, of which 730 species was named.
Van Don is well-known for mother-of-pearl cultivation. It boasts four kinds of pearls: Ma Thi, Vo Day, Canh Dai and Jamson, which have high value. Tourists can go boating to visit different “sea farms” of mother-of-pearl cultivation and pearl-gifts will be one of meaning souvenirs for them.
Van Don is the address that attracts many scientists, domestic and international tourists. Various kinds of tourist activities are offered such as trekking, relaxing, exploring caves. The old wharfs are lively crowded with ships and fishing boats. Tourists can stay in fishing villages and join with local residents activities.
With a new bridge linking Van Don
The popular transport mean to discover island
to the mainland, tourists can get
there by frequent buses run between Hon Gai (Halong City) and Cai Rong Town, the major town of Van Don, in Cai Bau Island. However, getting to Van Don with hydrofoil or boat from Halong City is still choice of many people. From Ha Noi, tourists can go directly to Cai Rong Town by bus both at Luong Yen or My Dinh bus stations.
In recent years, changes have been seen with the increasing flow of tourists to Van Don. In addition, a project to build an airport and upgrade infrastructure facilities is going to be operated. Van Don is expecting to attract many more tourists comes to visit this lovely archipelago in near future.