QUAN LAN Island → Travel Guide + TIPS ☀️

Quan Lan Island in Quang Ninh province – beaches, transport, travel tips.

ℹ️ Information about Quan Lan
🛵 How to move in Quan Lan
☀️ Weather in Quan Lan
Questions + Travel Tips
📸 Photos of Quan Lan

Quan Lan Island: A Tranquil Paradise Amidst Vietnam’s Northern Shores

    • First of all, this article and photos refer to my several-day visit, which took place in November 2018 (non-tourist season). In the near future, the island should become a tourist resort and the island was just in front of wider urbanization. Quan Lan Island in Quang Ninh Province is one of many hundreds of islands (up to 600) that is part of the Van Don Archipelago. Another nearby tourist island is Co To Island.

Quan Lan Island in the non-tourist season is not so visited by foreign tourists.

    • Most of the islands of Van Don are uninhabited, but Quan Lan is inhabited. The island of Quan Lan is further away from the tourist and visited Ha Long Bay (the most visited place in the north of Vietnam), and foreign tourists come here in significantly less than to Ha Long. Quan Lan Island can be reached by boat from Cai Rong (cruise takes about 1 hour) or from Hong Gai port in Ha Long (about 1.5-2 hours).
Quan Lan beach (Thai Hoa), in my opinion the most beautiful beach in Quan Lan Island, about 4 km from Tan Phong.

Some beaches abandoned, in the low season clogged with garbage and mess.

    • Quan Lan Island has about 5 smaller settlements, 1 small town in the south-central part – Tan Phong and then the town in the north – Quang Trung and in these 2 places it is possible to stay. There are cheaper smaller guesthouses / hotels and in the north one high-quality hotel. The island is not a concert of historical monuments and only in the town of Tan Phong you can see the temple and the prayer place, but the main attractions are beaches. There are about 6 very nice and large beaches.

How to travel to Ha Long from Hanoi?

Quan Lan Beach (Thai Hoa), Sơn Hào Beach, Minh Châu Beach, Robinson Beach.

    • The biggest beaches are Quan Lan (Thai Hoa), Sơn Hào Beach, Minh Châu Beach, Robinson Beach from the smaller ones. These beaches are very nice, but it should be added that garbage can be clogged off-season (October-April) (you don’t want to see these photos below) and you can’t buy anything on these beaches. There are a few other smaller beaches on the island, eg Got beach (Bai Got) in the south of the island.
Đình Quan Lạn in Tan Phong – Quan Lan Island.

Practically the only way to move around the island is by motorbike or foot.

    • Quan Lan Island is not so large, at the widest points it is about 4 km, but the length of the island is about 18 km. You will probably not walk every day on foot, so you only have the possibility to rent a motorbike (or a bicycle) and do it best if you ask the hotel directly to rent a motorbike. I haven’t seen a single functional bus on the island in just a few days (just one rusty wreck). Please note that the situation may be different during the tourist season (May-September).

Quan Lan pier or Minh Chau port – the main boat ports in Quan Lan Island.

    • There is also a pick-up of tourists to the harbors on the island, at certain times / hours there is a tiny minibus for several people, who will drive around the guesthouses / small towns, stop it by waving hands and go to the port. This minibus is goind to Quan Lan pier or Minh Chau port, for the exact times of depratures you have to ask at your hotel, they usually know this information. This also applies to boat departures from the port back to Cai Rong, you have to find out on the spot. This minibus go about 1 hour before departure of boat to Cai Rong.
Fishermen in Quan Lan Island build a new fishing boat.

What are the roads and what is the weather on Quan Lan Island?

    • From the north to the south of Quan Lan Island, there are 1 main highway and several other side roads. Motorbike transport is not difficult at all, the whole island is flat, with some exceptions, the roads are quite passable. Even on a motorbike, you can get to the nearby 3 largest beaches on the island by small side roads.

Book your tour in Vietnam online

Tourist season in Quan Lan Island starts from May to September.

    • The tourist season is from the middle of May to September and temperatures are about 30 °C, exceptionally higher. Of course, this period is also the best for swimming, while in a non-tourist season, swimming may not be safe and, as already written, there can be some garbage. At the time of my stay, in November, the temperature was about 25 °C. Tourist season – more tourists, more services, non-tourist season – limited services, less tourists.
Quan Lan budhist temple in Tan Phong (Chùa Quan Lạn).

Where to eat and where to stay, what is the accommodation in Quan Lan Island?

    • Accommodation in Quan Lan Island is a bit limited, it is a small island. But even so, you will find some cheaper guesthouses mainly in the aforementioned small towns. Prices are usually about 12-30 USD / room for 2 persons. Some beaches, such as Quan Lan and Son Hao, also offer accommodation in apartments / cabins, but at the time of my stay they were all closed. It is necessary to add that there were construction works on the island and new accommodation facilities or hotels will probably open in several places in the near future.

Book your cruise in Halong Bay

Urbanization on the Quan Lan Island is underway.

    • The whole island actually looked like before preparing for the large urbanization of the entire island, some new construction of roads, in several places were already built foundations of buildings, etc. when theses changes of the island will be fully in the stars. You can visit some restaurants and buy some food mainly in Tan Phong and Quang Trung. If you go out somewhere, buy a snack, drink.

Minh Chau beach in Quan Lan Island.
Beach in the south of Quan Lan Island – Bãi Gót.

Frequently Asked Questions about Quan Lan Island:

1. Where is Quan Lan Island located?

    • Quan Lan Island is a part of Van Don Archipelago, Quang Ninh province, Van Don district. It is about 200 km from Hanoi to Cai Rong and about 20 km by boat from Cai Rong port to Quan Lan Island.

2. How to travel from Hanoi to Quan Lan Island?

    • You have to travel first from Hanoi to Ha Long or to Cai Rong. There is also a public local bus between Ha Long (Bai Chay bus station) and Cai Rong (Van Don) and this bus costs about 1.50 USD, the journey takes about 1-1.5 hours, the bus often stops and ends just outside Cai Rong center. You can also use a taxi between these cities.
    • Boats from Ha Long to Quan Lan depart from Hon Gai port, ticket costs about 9-10 USD, exact times you need to find out on the spot, it may change over time and boats from Van Don (Cai Rong) from Cai Rong port, ticket costs about 7-9 USD, again, times you need to find out on the spot. Recently, there have been about 4 boats every day from each port. Boat tickets could be booked online at Baolau, but it has not been possible lately, but you can try Baolau or you can buy tickets in the port.
    • Boats from Cai Rong Port go to Minh Chau (north of the island) but also Quan Lan pier, boats from Ha Long go to Quan Lan pier. I recommend – go to the port of Quan Lan, it is only about 4 km to Tan Phong town.

3. How to get from Quan Lan pier to Tan Phong town?

    • From the pier of Quan Lan to Tan Phong you can travel by a small local minibus for tourists or use mototaxi, ask on the spot. I have noticed several times that the minibus is already waiting for tourists before the boat arrives (but I cannot guarantee this situation).

4. What is the nearest airport from Quan Lan Island?

    • The nearest airport is Van Don International Airport, this airport was opened in the end of 2018. Located about 10 km from the port of Cai Rong. So you ca get to Cai Rong by plane from some destinations of central and southern Vietnam.

5. How large is Quan Lan Island?

    • Quan Lan Island is approximately 18 km long (from Minh Chau Port to the south of the island to Bai Got beach) and the width of the island at its widest point is about 4 km. From the north to the south of the island it takes about 1 hour by motorbike.

6. What are the most beautiful beaches in Quan Lan Island?

    • In my opinion, the biggest ones – Quan Lan (Thai Hoa), Son Hao and Minh Chau. Please note, in the non-tourist season, the beaches may be dirty and clogged by trashes, but it is not yet a total disaster. The advantage of visiting outside the tourist season is a significantly smaller number of tourists, but the services are limited.

7. Where to rent a motorbike in Quan Lan Island?

    • Where do you see a bigger number of motorcycles in a row, so I recommend to ask at this spot. You can also ask at the hotel, they will help you and the y can rent a motorbike. Motorbike for 1 day costs about 7-12 USD.

8. How much is Quan Lan Island visited?

    • There are significantly fewer tourists in the non-tourism season. E.g. at the time of my stay, in November, there were as many as 30 foreigners on the island. However, the situation may be different in the tourist season. Tourism in this island will be growing in the future, beginning changes and initial construction have already been seen.

9. Is it possible to buy some snack right on the beaches?

    • At the time of my stay, all the restaurants and stalls at all the beaches were closed. Rather, I recommend to take at least a drink on your way.

10. Where to stay in Quan Lan Island?

    • I recommend to choose Tan Phong town, about 4 km from Quan Lan pier. Here you will find a few cheap guesthouses/hotels. There are also a few restaurants and cafes. Personally, I had accommodation in Tan Phong via Airbnb (owner of guesthouse came for me on a motorbike to the port of Quan Lan)

11. Is it necessary to travel to Quan Lan Island with a tourist guide?

    • No, it is not necessary, you can travel to Quan Lan Island on your own. The island is smallthe island is small and you can’t get lost there. For the orientation use your Google maps.

12. Which islands you can also visit in Vietnam?

13. How to travel solo in Vietnam?

    • Discover the wonders of solo travel in Vietnam as you explore ancient temples, cruise through scenic landscapes or karst sceneries, hike various national parks and ethnic villages and connect with the warm-hearted locals, creating a personalized journey of cultural immersion and breathtaking experiences.

14. What are the most interesting things or facts about Vietnam?

    • Vietnam, a country with a captivating allure, is celebrated for its breathtaking landscapes, including the mesmerizing limestone karsts of Halong Bay, the terraced rice fields of Sapa, and the bustling waterways of the Mekong Delta. Its rich history unfolds through ancient temples in Hanoi, the imperial city of Hue, and the Cu Chi Tunnels, providing a glimpse into Vietnam’s resilience during wartime. The country’s vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, and warm hospitality further enhance the allure of this Southeast Asian gem. Read this: 15 Interesting Things of Vietnam.

15. What to expect from Vietnam Culture?

    • Expect a vibrant cultural tapestry in Vietnam, characterized by traditional values, a strong sense of community, and a deep-rooted respect for family. You’ll encounter a fusion of French, Chinese, and indigenous influences in art, architecture, and cuisine. Traditional water puppetry, folk music, and dance performances showcase the country’s artistic flair. The importance of rituals and festivals in daily life adds a colorful dimension, while the warmth and friendliness of the Vietnamese people make for a welcoming and enriching cultural experience.

Accommodation in Quan Lan Island – Guesthouses / Hotels (online booking):
▶️ Quan Lan Nam Phong Hotel ▶️ Tuan Thuy Guesthouse ▶️ Link Homestay Quan Lan ▶️ Thanh Thuy Guesthouse ▶️ Hung Thinh Hotel ▶️ Phuong Hoang Hotel ▶️ Mina House

Quan Lan Island – Map of piers/ports + Co To Island.

More photos from Quan Lan Island:

Quan Lan beach – Thai Hoa, about 4 km from Tan Phong.
Quan Lan budhist temple (Chùa Quan Lạn) in Tan Phong town.
Quan Lan beach – Thai Hoa, in the no-tourist season.
Quan Lan pier in Quan Lan Island, tourist boat is waiting for tourists.
Son Hao beach in Quan Lan Island, empty in the no-tourist season.
At the Son Hao beach, preparing for the urbanization.
Minh Chau beach – Quan Lan Island, in the no-tourist season.
Quan Lan beach – Thai Hoa, empty in the no-tourist season.
Tourist minibus in Quan Lan Island.
Minh Chau beach in the north of Quan Lan Island, empty in the no-tourist season.
Near the Tan Phong town, at the Quan Lan beach.
Trần Khánh Dư – budhist temple in Quan Lan Island.
It is a part of Son Hao beach in Quan Lan Island, in the no-tourist season.
The road on Quan Lan Island, which connects the northern and southern part of the island.
The western part next to Quan Lan Island – a view to Tra Ban Island (Đảo Trà Bản).
Quan Lan Island – Urbanization, preparing for tourists.
Quan Lan Island – a small village in the central part of the island.
Quan Lan Island: A Hidden Paradise in Northern Vietnam Description
1. Unspoiled Coastal Beauty:

Quan Lan Island is a pristine gem nestled in the Gulf of Tonkin. Located in northern Vietnam, this island remains unspoiled by mass tourism, offering visitors a chance to experience unadulterated coastal beauty. With its long stretches of white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush greenery, the island provides a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.

2. Part of Bai Tu Long Bay:

Quan Lan Island is part of the Bai Tu Long Bay archipelago, which is often considered a less-crowded and quieter alternative to the nearby and more famous Ha Long Bay. Its inclusion in this picturesque bay ensures that visitors can explore the stunning natural landscapes, limestone karsts, and emerald waters that define the region.

3. Historical Significance:

Quan Lan Island boasts historical significance, with ancient pagodas, temples, and French colonial-era architecture. Among the notable sites is Quan Lan Communal House, a well-preserved structure that reflects the island’s cultural heritage. Visitors can immerse themselves in the island’s rich history while enjoying its natural beauty.

4. Unspoiled Beaches:

The island’s beaches, including Quan Lan Beach and Son Hao Beach, are known for their pristine and untouched nature. Quan Lan Beach, with its soft golden sand and gentle waves, is a perfect spot for swimming and sunbathing. It’s a haven for those seeking tranquility and relaxation by the sea.

5. Van Don Garlic Specialty:

Quan Lan Island is part of the Van Don district, known for its garlic production. The island’s fertile soil and climate are ideal for growing high-quality garlic. Visitors have the opportunity to taste the renowned Van Don garlic, often used in local cuisine, contributing to the island’s unique culinary culture.

6. Tranquil and Remote:

The island’s remote location and limited accessibility have helped preserve its tranquility and charm. A slower pace of life prevails, making it an ideal destination for those looking to escape the stresses of modern life. The absence of large crowds and commercial development adds to the island’s allure.

7. Endless Cycling Adventures:

Quan Lan Island is perfect for cycling enthusiasts. The island’s flat terrain, scenic routes, and quiet roads make it an ideal place for cycling adventures. Exploring the island on two wheels allows you to get up close and personal with its natural beauty and charming villages.

8. Island-Hopping Opportunities:

Quan Lan Island is part of an archipelago, and island-hopping is a popular activity. Visitors can explore nearby islands such as Minh Chau, Ngoc Vung, and Ban Sen, each offering its unique charm and attractions. These excursions provide a chance to discover more of the region’s natural wonders.

9. Bioluminescent Magic:

Quan Lan Island is known for its enchanting bioluminescent plankton. At night, the waters around the island come alive with the mesmerizing glow of these tiny organisms. It’s a surreal experience to take a night swim or kayak in the bioluminescent waters, creating a magical and unforgettable memory.

10. Sustainable Tourism:

Efforts are being made to promote sustainable tourism on Quan Lan Island. Local communities and authorities are committed to preserving the island’s natural environment and cultural heritage. Sustainable practices and eco-friendly accommodations ensure that the island’s beauty endures for future generations of visitors to enjoy.

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