There was a time when a typical island paradise was seen as somewhere in the West Indies, perhaps the South Pacific or the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. For a number of reason travellers’ horizons have broadened. In the case of South East Asia, it has been the lovely images on film shown around the world and the fact that peace has come to the region. The Vietnam War finished forty years ago, and its welcoming people have been happy to meet overseas tourists wishing to see their lovely country. Their lovely country has well over 3,000 kilometres of coastline and suddenly Vietnam holiday packages are showing its islands are a match for any. If you are thinking of a Vietnam holiday and wanting some time to relax as well, then here are some islands which will help you do just that.
Cat Ba island
One of the real highlights of Vietnam is Halong Bay which is situated about 4 hours due east of Hanoi. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a number of fishermen living in their villages on stilts dotted around the Bay. There are many, many islands within the Bay and Cat Ba is the largest of them. All Vietnam tour packages are likely to include Halong Bay and a visit to Cat Ba.
Half of the island is a national park wherethe seriously endangered Cat Ba Langur lives. There are just 60 or so left in the wild. Other fauna includes civets and oriental giant squirrels. There are great beaches and caves to explore while nearby Monkey Island is worth a trip.
Cannon Fort was built for defence and there are impressive views over the area from the Fort. There isaccommodation on the Island. Some visitors to the Bay sleep overnight on boats on the sea.
These islands are offshore from Hoi An in Central Vietnam; Hoi An was an important trading port during the Champa Kingdom from the 7th Century. Cu Lao Cham - Hoi An is a UNESCO Biosphere that includes the town and the islands.
Bai Lang is the capital of the 8 Islands which are largely mountainous and forested. Six leaved tea is a product produced on the islands and is used to de-tox the blood. However, the reason for going to the islands are more to do with the coral reefs and species of fish. It is a great place for diving or simply relaxing. The seas tend to be rough from late autumn until the spring so the peak period for visitors is April to August.
Ly Son island
On a coastline with many lovely sandy beaches, few can compare with Ly Son Island. White sand, beautiful reefs and a clear blue sea sum up Ly Son. It is a place to relax, an island where Duc Pagoda looks down over the valleys and sea below.
There are more than 50 temples and pagodas with the An Hai Temple the oldest in Quang Ngai Province in South Central Vietnam. It is certainly worth doing some exploring but also worth meeting the friendly locals who live a simple but happy life. If you are feeling active, then climb to the peak of Thoi Loi to look down over a stunning region.
Con Dao island
These islands have just been identified by Travel & Leisure magazine as one of the best kept island secrets in the world.
There are 16 islands in the group which were used by the French colonialists for political prisoners. Saigon also used them in the same way in its struggle with the North and the history of the islands is contained in a small museum on Con Son, the largest of the islands. Tourists on a Vietnam holiday will find lovely sandy beaches, forested hills and a divers’ dream; coral reefs. Divers can see a vast array of reef fish as well as barracuda, cuttlefish, rays and turtles.
The numerous beaches are not always busy. The best ones to visit are An Hai, Lo Voi, Dat Doc, Ong Dung and Dam Trau.There is no doubt that Con Dao is the best place in Vietnam for snorkelling and scuba diving. The dugong lives in the seas but are very rare.
The tomb of national heroine Vo Thi Sau has become a shrine and thousands go to the cemetery each year where 20,000 former prisoners are buried. Tourists who decide to visit these sites dress respectfully.
Phu Quoc island
Phu Quoc is an island in the South China Sea off the coast of Cambodia. It has its own airport and the Vietnamese Government has declared its intention to develop it in order to attract even more tourists. Vietnam’s 10 millionth overseas tourist of 2016 was welcomed at the airport during the Christmas holiday period. Incidentally, the government’s initiative also includes continuing the Vietnam visa easing for some West European countries.
Phu Quoc itself is often the final stop on Vietnam holiday packages; a great place to relax and think about the wonderful experience that is Vietnam. Next year the aim is to attract 300,000 overseas visitors and a total of 1.8 million in all. That is an increase of 25% in overseas visitors but that is far from realistic based upon the annual growth that the Country is receiving of travellers wanting a Vietnam holiday.The increase between 2015 exceeded 20%.
The island is mountainous and largely forested. However, the main appeal is the coastline, the sandy beaches and beautiful sea. Resorts have developed on an island that was once used to imprison North Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War.
Note: No need to apply Vietnam visa if you stay in Phu Quoc only within 15 days.
The coastline of Vietnam is becoming increasingly attractive. Overseas tourists are coming in ever increasing numbers and the more they hear about the offshore islands, inhabited and uninhabited, and the wonderful beaches, the more tourists on a Vietnam holiday will decide to visit them. Good Vietnam tour operators will make it possible for everyone.