Destination: Top 5 Halong Bay Islands
Tuan Chau Island
Tuan Chau Island is where most Halong Bay adventures begin, as most cruise companies depart from this island. Paradise Cruises maintains its headquarters here, with noticeably more space for docking and its own fleet situated in a pristine and more modern-looking marina. Paradise Suites Hotel, a land-based luxury hotel that is as much of a destination as one of their world-renowned cruises. Tuan Chau island is home to white sandy beaches that can be enjoyed year-round, though late spring and summer are the best months to soak up some rays and enjoy the hot weather, refreshing yourself in the cool, emerald green waters of the bay.
For the more adventurous there’s a wide variety of water sports available to you on Tuan Chau Island. Waterskiing, canoeing and kayaking, parachuting, and windsurfing are all among the available options for thrillseekers on this island. Tuan Chau Park is a popular destination for visitors of all ages for their water music shows, as well as various aquatic animal shows. Be warned peak domestic tourism season is from May to July, meaning the park will be especially crowded during those months.
Whether you’re a thrillseeker or just looking to relax, the magic of Halong Bay is at your fingertips on Tuan Chau Island, and though many only visits this island as a means to embark on a Halong Bay Cruise, the island itself is just as much an attraction worth visiting.
Ti Top Island
Ti Top Island is a beautiful island out near the center of Halong Bay. From here, a climb of about 400 steps takes you to a quaint wooden gazebo, from which you can gaze out in awe and wonder at the spectacular view. Halong Bay is just as much of a stunner from up high as it is cruising among the tall limestone karsts. Not to be missed, Ti Top Island is the perfect spot for a few selfies and perhaps a few panoramic shots. But most of all, it’s a rewarding view that you can sit back and take in as the cool breeze whistles by, refreshing you after a long upward trek.
For those who prefer simple relaxation, Ti Top also features a stunning beach with powdery sand and clear blue water that invites you to go for a swim. Lounge on the beach chairs and sip on an ice-cold coconut while you’re at it!
Ti Top Island was named after Russian cosmonaut Gherman Stepanovich Titov, who famously befriended revolutionary hero Ho Chi Minh during the Vietnam-American War. The pair took a tour of Halong Bay and visited this island in 1962, and today a statue erected in Titov’s honor stands to commemorate his friendship with Vietnam’s most revered historical figure. The island is by far one of the best places to relax and enjoy the beach while offering what is probably the best possible view of the surrounding bay.
Soi Sim Island
Compared to other islands in the area, Soi Sim has only recently picked up in popularity and therefore remains relatively untouched. Named for the rose myrtle plants that cover the island (“sim” in Vietnamese), the month of May is a particularly beautiful time of year to see this island, as the rose myrtle blooms and elegantly drapes the island with a purple blanket. In addition to its namesake plant, the island is a sanctuary for many plant and animal species endemic to Halong Bay.
A perfect place to relax in a tropical paradise, the serene and relatively secluded beaches here are sublime. There are also opportunities for trekking, swimming, and kayaking around this island. One important factor to consider is that this island is typically only accessible for those who book private tours of Halong Bay.
Bo Hon Island
Bo Hon Island is the king of caves! Located squarely in the middle of Halong Bay, it actually includes several closely-linked islets. This large area contains some of Halong Bay’s most famous caves, including the popular Sung Sot (“Surprise”) Cave, Trinh Nhu Cave, and Trong Cave. Countless other caves and grottoes characterize this beautiful island, which is also home to many larger animal species like monkeys and deer.
The natural beauty and geological masterpiece, this is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Halong Bay. Sung Sot Cave can be accessed with a climb of about 200 steps before entering into a series of what seem to be ordinary small caves, however, the main chamber is cavernous and enormous with stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations, as well as beautiful water-carved patterns on the walls and ceilings.
Sung Sot is just one of many gorgeous sights to behold at Bo Hon Island, which is sure to be one of the highlights of your visit to Halong Bay.
Rang Dua Island
Rang Dua Island, or Coconut Tree Island, lies in the north-east of Halong bay, about 5 kilometers from Cua Van Fishing Village. Another relatively untouched gem, this island features some of the most beautiful postcard-photo beaches in Halong Bay, verdant and lush and full of, you guessed it, coconut trees. It is said that coconut trees never grew on the island until humans first introduced the plant hundreds, or perhaps thousands of years ago.
The simple, elegant beauty of Rang Dua Island makes it a perfect stop on a private cruise. Enjoy the peaceful solitude of Halong Bay and marvel at the natural beauty of this island, as well as the gorgeous vista of mountains and rock formations dotting the horizon.
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