It’s not an exaggeration when one says that Halong Bay islands are the true gems of Quang Ninh Province. Even though Halong Bay has amazed thousands of tourists each year with the magnificent, out of this world beauty, from the tortoise clear water, delicious seafood, friendly service, the islands in Halong Bay still give off the best memorable beauty. So together with us, let's find out more about the most beautiful limestone islands in Halong Bay right now.
Tuan Chau Island
Where is Tuan Chau island
The first to mention in the list of Halong Bay islands is the all-time famous Tuan Chau Island. The island is 2 km far from Halong centre and 4km from Bai Chay beach. It belongs to the northwest part of Halong. You can ride your car and bike from the mainland to Tuan Chau through a 2km bridge-like-road built in 1998.
What Tuan Chau has to offer
Tuan Chau island has attracted many visitors with its luxury service. Tourists travel to Tuan Chau can enjoy their holiday with 5-star hotels and resorts, royal style restaurants, and entertainment venues. Other than that, the island also has an international port with a capacity of over 1000 cruise ships. There are many Halong Bay cruises such as Paradise cruises, Stellar Cruise, Aphrodite cruises, the harbor at this port before starting their exploration journey into Halong Bay.
However, you must not miss the beautiful mountains and beaches here at Tuan Chau island. The island holds in its hands approximately 7km of white sand beaches. The beach is not so large in size but the service is 100% on the top list. Covering the whole island is a range of green pine trees that can stretch to 200 ha. Tourists coming here will have the chance to bathe under the sunlight on the soft beach or relaxing under the shadow of the pine forest. Besides, the island is also blessed with cool weather all year around. All this contributed to make Tuan Chau island an ideal place for tourists to pay a visit when coming to Halong.
Top activities in Tuan Chau island
So what can visitors do when coming to Tuan Chau island? The island offers a range of wonderful activities, from swimming, water sport, seaplane tour to entertainment performance.
Swimming in the ocean is definitely not to miss when you arrive at Tuan Chau island. You can also dive under the clear water to see the marine life or lie down hands in hands, drinking coconut milk on the beaches. For anyone who fancies a nice water sport afternoon, then Tuan Chau island can also provide the service you want. From the intense jet ski and parachute to the sports requiring more balanced and strength skills like surfing and kayaking, Tuan Chau has it all.
Taking a seaplane tour from Tuan Chau island is one of the best ways to view Halong Bay from above. The scenic flight departs and lands at Tuan Chau harbor. The flight can last 30 minutes and it will take you above some of the most unique shape islands, green cover mountains, and other wonderful attractions.
Last but not least, you can consider taking part in entertainment shows such as the amazing animal performances and the high-tech music water show. The dome-like club has a pool for performance and can be filled with 2500 people at any time. Your family and children will absolutely love the cute and intelligent dolphins, seals, and sea lions raised here.You will never have to think about what to do in Halong Bay, Tuan Chau island got your back.
Ti Top Island
How to get to Ti Top
Another popular destination for a relaxing holiday is Ti Top island. The island is situated 8 km far from the east part of Bai Chay. A popular option to travel to Ti Top is through boat hiring. Or even better, book a cruise to enjoy your few nights stay on the island. Having just a short timetable but still wanting to take a glance at this beautiful island, you can consider the seaplane tour taking off at Tuan Chau island. You can fly above water level 300m and take a couple of memorable shots to bring home for your family.
Reasons for a visit
Ti Top island got its name after a former Soviet astronaut, Gherman Titov, who visited here in 1962. Since his visit, this island has turned from a wild and few people island into the top attractive place to visit for both international and domestic guests.
Set aside the history, Ti Top island also has fame for its poetic nature. The beach at Ti Top, also called Vang Trang beach, resembles a moon hugging the island with a long strip of white sand. The blue water here is super clear and clean and is suitable for anyone who favors a light swim as the waves are rather small. It really makes swimming at Ti Top island an enjoyable experience. Although the whole island is not quite big, the quiet atmosphere and alluring landscape have won the hearts of many tourists.
What to do on Ti Top island
As beloved by nature, Ti Top island is the ideal place for swimming and other water sports. The island provides a full service for you from swimming suits to a freshwater bath. You can also feast on some seafood dishes and tropical drinks after playing around the island. Wandering on the sandy Halong Bay beach under the moonlight is another great option for you.
Tourists coming to Ti Top island can book a cruise staying at the island for a couple of days to enjoy the crowded day view to the soothing night landscape. We strongly recommend you this choice. For a more active person or some photo-head, climbing Ti Top mountain is also a great option. The peak of Ti Top island is forever one of the most beautiful photoshoot locations in Halong Bay. What stands between you and the magnificent view of Halong Bay is just a 400 steps stair. After some sweating, you will see right in front of your eyes, a full view of Halong Bay. Standing at the top view and feeling yourself immersed in nature is definitely worth all the steps you took. This is truly the best way to see Halong Bay.
Mat Rong Island
About Mat Rong island
Different from the two above Halong Bay islands. Mat Rong (Dragon Eye) is a small island, just about 30ha in size, and till this day, it does not have people living. The island, also known as Bai Dong island, is located at the farthest south of Halong Bay, very close to Lan Ha Bay. You can not travel to this island by yourself, so the only way for you to get there is to take a boat from Halong harbour. The whole trip would take around 30 to 45 minutes by boat. You can contact Le Hoang Truong Sa company first to make a booking or directly come to Doan Port or Bai Chay Harbour to hire a boat.
Why should you go to Mat Rong island?
In recent years, Mat Rong island has drawn the attention of many young people who like to explore the mysterious nature. The island has not been crowded with tourists, so it is a perfect place for anyone who prefers a private and peaceful weekend. In order to view the whole island and be able to see the dragon eye trademark, you should take the seaplane tour of Hai Au Aviation. Flying across the sky you will know the reason behind the name of this island. The island floats on the surface of the ocean, covered with a range of majestic mountains. At the center of the rocky mountains is a crystal clear aqueous valley. With the eyeball shape and the visible to the bottom water, looking from above, Mat Rong island does not fail its name.
Another reason to pull tourists to Mat Rong island is its gorgeous beaches and green primary forest. The island is featured by a white sand beach and inside the island is the heaven of many types of tropical trees. With their strong roots, the trees stand hardly on the rocky cliffs since long ago.
Although the service on Mat Rong island is not entirely developed. There are no freshwater and signals on the island. But this is precisely one of the reasons why the island day by day gets more visitors. Everybody loves some pristine and peaceful beauty.
Experience on Mat Rong island
When you arrive at Mat Rong island, you will have the chance to relax in the most amazing scenery. Camping and throwing a BBQ party is a good choice to enjoy this experience. You can hang your hammocks between the trees or set up the tents next to the blue lake. Walking around the central lake, taking some nature photos, eating the fire-grilled dishes, and chilling among the beautiful sounds of thousands of birds is the best weekend memory you ever get. However, do remember to bring fresh water and all the necessary cooking tools with you.
You can not miss the chance to be at the heart of this beauty all by yourself right? You can swim or take on a kayak ride to the central lake. The blue sky is right above your head, the clear water is touching your skin and the untouched forest and mountains are right before your eyes.
The majority of tourists come to Mat Rong just for a day and choose to return to the mainland when the sun is setting down. With just a day's time, you still can try to explore the rich ecosystem here. Crossing the paths behind the huge trunks is a whole new different view. You can also climb those high and sloppy cliffs to get a better view of the island. Read some of our recommendations for an incredible adventure to Mat Rong island right here.
Bo Hon Island
The location of Bo Hon island
Located in the inner center of Halong Bay, Bo Hon Island is the largest island of Halong Bay and is formed by many little islets. The number of islets can reach almost 2000. You will have to take a boat from Bai Chay harbor to arrive at this island and the whole journey will take you approximately 1 and a half hours. If you choose to enjoy Halong Bay on a cruise ship, then the time to reach Bo Hon island will be longer for about an hour as you slowly explore the surrounding attractions.
The natural home of stunning caves and exotic species
There are many famous caves belonging to Bo Hon islands, such as Sung Sot (surprise) Cave, Luon (go under) Cave, Trinh Nu (virgin) Cave and Trong (drum) Cave. All the grottos and caves on this island have a long history dated more than a thousand years. Many tours and cruises have chosen Bo Hon as one of the resting places for their discovery route.
Looking from your cruise ship far across the ocean, Bo Hon island looks like a travel through time citadel hover over the ocean surface. The citadel’s wall is made of the most vertical cliffs of those high limestone mountains and the greenest forest. The green sea wraps its hands around the wall and tries to break it with gentle waves from time to time.
Bo Hon Island is famous for a diversity of fauna and flora. You can find some rare kinds of cycads and orchids all around the island. Wild animals such as deer and chamois are also frequent to be seen here.
Discover thousand-years-old nature
The caves at Bo Hon island are unique in shape, size, color, and pattern. You will feel like these caves are the works of the most gifted craftsman but not a creation of nature. This would make your tour never get bored and you even wish to return here sometime soon. As you pass each place, you will gain more knowledge about the history and the process of how the caves were formed. Behind every cave stands an emotional story. You can walk through these hidden cave systems and listen to the thousand-year-olds legend through your guide voice. One special way to explore some typical grottos is to travel by boat. A small boat will take you under the wonderful world of mystery caves when the water level is high enough.
A number of tourists choose a different route to discover Hon Bo island. You can go sightseeing around the island, taking photos of the varied ecosystem here. Trekking over the high cliffs of the island is also a great choice. We recommend the best time for Bo Hon activities and photography is around 7am and after 4pm in the afternoon.
Ngoc Vung Island
The route to Ngoc Vung island
If you have the chance to visit the Halong Bay islands, do consider taking a few days off to travel to Ngoc Vung island. The island stands between 2 islets, Hon Net and Phuong Hoang, and is 34km far from Bai Chay. Far away from the mainland, the island is separated from the crowd and the noise of the bustle tourism city.
The legend of Ngoc Vung island
The total area of Ngoc Vung island can reach 4000 ha. Looking from the sky, the island resembles a silk band crossed by the ocean. Standing in the centre of the island is Van Xuan mountain and surrounding it is a 2km beach. Among other close Halong Bay beaches, Ngoc Vung beach is truly the charm champion. The life here still remains the gentle and peaceful beauty as the locals still live off by fishing and raising pearls. The first thing you will see when arriving at Ngoc Vung is a large area full of fishing boats and floating pearl farms.
The island has been called Ngoc Vung - Luminescent Pearl - according to an old story. The locals here said the island used to have many rare pearl oysters. The oyster had made the coastline shine with the light from the pearls. Even fishermen from afar can see the island with this light signal. Because of the verbal legend, the island gets the name Ngoc Vung to this day.
Archaeologists also found many historical sites here on Ngoc Vung island, from relics of Halong culture to trails of one of Van Don’s commercial ports from the 12th century. Other than being a tourist attraction, this island also holds in its hand a great historical value.
The few ways to explore Ngoc Vung island
The best way to enjoy the enchanted world and gentle life at Ngoc Vung island is to cycle. The island is small and the locals’ village still left untouched with many small roads that only allow walking and cycling. You can slowly ride your bike around the island to feel the breezy wind and be astonished at the simple yet glamorous mountain and beach landscape. It will take no time to finish a round of the island.
The population here is low. There are only about 1000 inhabitants on the island but they are all friendly to outsiders. You can stay at the residence's homestay for a few nights to know more about their daily life. Hiring or even borrowing a bike here to stroll around the island are both possible. After a cool cycle round, how about sitting down to relax and enjoy some fresh seafood newly caught by locals.
Soi Sim Island
Reaching Soi Sim island
Visitors wanting to come to Soi Sim island can ride a boat 12 km from Bai Chay or just 700m from Ti Top island. It is one of the southern groups of Halong Bay island. The island is rather small and is covered with the plant “Sim” all year round. That is also how the island got its name Soi Sim. There are still just a few tours coming to Soi Sim, so if you want your holidays to be as relaxed as possible, you should book a few days cruise.
How special is Soi Sim island
If your summer holidays are still available, you should take this chance to come to Soi Sim island. The island is colored with the Sim flower purple in summer. And if you are lucky enough, you can find yourself a nice and ripped Sim fruit. The fruit is so juicy that the locals here have started to develop Sim business. Other than Sim, due to the soil condition of the island, the flora and fauna here are also very rich and varied.
The pristine nature is also a feature of Soi Sim island. Compared to other Halong islands, this hidden gem is said to be the most tranquil island. The clean beach is covered by steep mountains that stretch out and meet the sea. There are two beaches on the island, an ideal place for chilling under the sun. Still got your energy, then you can climb to the top of those hills on Soi Sim island. The view on the highest peak is truly spectacular and you will see a part of Halong Bay from every corner.
Moreover, Soi Sim has a primitive forest with a lot of valuable and rare tree species. Nature has blessed Soi Sim with the most long-lasting shield. To protect this natural shield and promote tourism, the government has built a conservation area on the island.
What to expect when coming to Soi Sim island
You can choose from a variety of activities to enjoy your stay at Soi Sim island. First is the top favorite sport on Soi Sim, swimming. The sea here is so blue and clear that you will not hesitate for a second to jump in the water. And after a dive, what is better than a fresh meal full of Halong bay specialties. Many tours have offered on sand dining for visitors to enjoy the charming atmosphere to the fullest. For a more intense sport, you can choose to surf the waves out of the ocean or climb 400 steps to get a panoramic view of the island.
Exploring the lush ecosystem is a must when visiting Soi Sim island. The island is still not put into full-time tourism, so the plants are still rich and the animals are still freely living on the island. But soon in the future, tourists will have the chance to experience ecotourism right here at Soi Sim.
Halong Bay islands are truly the gifts of mother nature to her precious child. If you have a chance to visit Halong and still wonder what to do in Halong Bay, do not miss out on these beautiful islands. Let yourself immerse on the beauty of the land and also feel the high standard and friendly service that Halong Bay has to offer.