Quan Lan Island - A Hidden Gem

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Quan Lan Island belongs to Bai Tu Long Bay, Van Don, Quang Ninh and is about 11 km2 large. Its area stretches towards the east-west from Van Don range to Got Mount; the high eastern mountain ranges play as a protection wall to local people from calamities.

From Hanoi, tourists can take shuttle bus from Gia Lam or Luong Yen Station to Hon Gai, Quang Ninh. This takes about 4 hours. From Hon Gai, tourists can take a boat leaving at about 1:00 pm or 1:30 pm straight to Quan Lan Island. Another way route is from Hanoi to Van Don, then from Van Don taking a boat to Minh Chau Port in Quan Lan. Leaving the island is also easy by catching a boat from Minh Chay heading back to Van Don.

Upon landing on this pretty and hidden island, tourists will be impressed by a truly peaceful atmosphere and scenic natural landscape. This island is quite primitive and unpopulated, which makes its distinguished from other popular islands and beaches in Vietnam. The wildness of the island itself creates its own beauty. The most highlighted attractions of this island is 3 beautiful beaches.

The most amazing one is Minh Chau beach, about 10km from the island town. This beach has curved coastline covered with smooth white sand and evergreen pines and mountain ranges. The seawater is clear and blue with moderate waves that are ideal for swimming. Another beach to admire is Son Hao, about 6 km from Minh Chau. This beach has strongest waves of all yet more touristy with more extensive services because of its larger area and shorter distance from the center. Quan Lan beach is another so-called charming lady of the island, which is closest to the port and the market.

Another attraction can be found here is Tran Khanh Du Shrine, a small rectangle building, which was renovated in 1995 after its collapse in 1960. There is a statue of Tran Khanh Du from Nguyen Dynasty and some Chinese-engraved lacquer boards and boarded parallel sentences in honor his achievement and contribution to the country.

Quan Lan Communal House and Quan Lan Pagoda (Linh Quang Tu) are the remarks of this island’s history. Both were built from centuries ago and still maintains their magnificent structure and sophisticated patterns from its beginning. They worship ancient great persons who did devote to the local in the past.

Due to its lack of commerce, transportation on the island is limited and more expensive than on the mainland. The main mean of transport to and fro between accommodation and attractions is tuk tuk. This mean is worth trying because tourists can really enjoy the scenery of a very distinguished countryside along the way, the rice field grown from sand and soil combined, local houses sparsely nestled in the pine ranges and small gardens, wild blossoms on 2 side of the small road. Hiring local people to drive (xe om) is not cheap at all because of transfer fee of petrol to the island. Bicycles and motorbike can be hired from hostels or guesthouses; the prices fluctuate from 50,000vnd – 70,000vnd for bicycle and 100,000vnd - 150,000vnd for motorbike. Petrol is available at some convenient stores yet double-priced as much as on the mainland.

The food should be reserved in advance, especially for big group because of its restricted merchandise and cultivation. Seafood is the best option as it is the local product and can be best cooked by the native people. Fire camping and seafood barbecue by the seashore is a good idea for a tourists travelling in group.

Another tips:

     - Vietnamese dong cash is strongly suggested to bring instead of credit card or foreign cash because there’s no ATM here and most of the hotels, hostels and guesthouses are family run.
     - Tuk tuk price can be bargained for big group.
     - Food can be bought in local market open from 4:30 am – 5:30 am and 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm, and you can ask the your hotel/hostel/guesthouse host to cook it for you.
     - Public electricity is only available from 6:00pm to 11:00 pm

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