Sometimes you want to be in the hustle and bustle of big cities and other times you just want to be somewhere secluded. Like an island. Luckily, Vietnam is home to many gorgeous islands where you can sit back and relax in the white sand beaches, swim in the crystal clear water and enjoy a cocktail or two whilst watching the sunset. Sounds pretty nice, right?
The islands in Vietnam are still quite unspoilt, although the more popular ones such as Phu Quoc, is quickly starting to become a tourist hub. Nevertheless, whatever you are looking for – quiet and chill or crowded and lively – you can find an island to your suiting here in Vietnam.
1. Phu Quoc
This tropical island has already established itself as a favourite amongst both locals and expats looking to escape the chaos in Ho Chi Minh City. The island has become so popular that it is undergoing massive amounts of construction, to be able to cater for all the tourists coming here. There are still some spots where you can find privacy though – head up to the beaches in the north to avoid the bigger crowds. Since Phu Quoc is gaining so much popularity, you will easily find accommodation, restaurants, bars and luxurious resorts here.
2. Cat Ba
If you are traveling up north and going to Halong Bay, make sure that you do not skip the bay’s biggest island. It also offers pristine beaches, but perhaps most of all it is the nature surrounding it that is the big highlight. You can go hiking, swimming, rent a motorbike and ride across the island or why not visit some of the many caves.
3. Con Dao
This unspoilt island is bound to become a hit amongst tourists. However, today you can still ride around in a motorbike on empty roads and have the beaches to yourself. This archipelago is located in the south of Vietnam and is famous for the Con Son prison, which housed multiple French political prisoners during the Indochina War. But these days, Con Dao offers visitors more than prison stories – here you have spectacular landscape, wild beaches which you have to hike to, incredible seafood, chill ambiance and the chance to discover a place in Vietnam that has yet to be hit by tourism. Hurry up before others start finding out about Con Dao!
4. Nam Du
This stunning island is approximately 40 km away from Ho Chi Minh City and is accessible with speedboat. Nam Du has yet received as much attention as its neighbour Phu Quoc, but it has just as much to offer. It is a bit more “off-the-beaten-track” so you will not find massive crowds here. You will truly live island life here though – the WiFi is not good, there are no ATMS on the island and the island is more made for reading a book by the beach rather than partying.
5. Ly Son
Just an hour’s ferry ride from the south-central coast of Vietnam lies this small island Ly Son. You can go visit the many shrines and temples – over 50 to be precise – here, if you feel tired of the beach. Otherwise, enjoy the sandy beaches that the island has to offer. You can also visit their garlic fields, which Ly Son is famous for. It is quite a popular island because of its accessibility, but still incredibly beautiful and worth a visit.
6. Binh Ba
Another of Vietnam’s more unknown islands, it lies just 15 km south of Nha Trang and you only have to pay less than a dollar to get there from Cam Ranh port. It is small, but full of charm, beauty and wild landscapes. It used to be a military island and it still has some restrictions, but nowadays tourists can visit it. However, in order to keep the rustic nature, be sure to always clean up after yourself and leave the place just as when you arrived. There are some really nice snorkeling spots here as well, where you can see the incredible coral reefs. Sometimes, you do not even have to snorkel – just wait for the low tide and the coral reefs will be exposed to you.
So if you are interested in living the island life in Vietnam, know that you have plenty to choose from. There are the less accessible ones, which are generally more quiet and relaxed, and then you have the more crowded islands, that are perhaps more social and where you can meet more travellers. There is basically an island for everyone’s liking!
Do not forget to apply for a Vietnam visa before you enter the country. You can get a Visa on Arrival, which is the most preferred and fastest method, or you can go to your nearest Vietnam Embassy or Consulate. There is also the E-Visa, which is another online visa. However, only certain countries can apply for this type of visa.