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Cai Chien island travel guide

Cai Chien is a coast commune in Hai Ha Dist, Quang Ninh province which is 2.5 hours drive from Halong Bay to Hai Ha Dist, famous for its pristine natural beauty with untouched beaches, green tropical forest, and tranquil settings. The island is 15 minutes away by a local ferry from the mainland. Here is a detailed travel guide to Cai Chien island in 2019 on things to do, how to get there, where to eat and drink and so on.  

At a glance

Cai Chien island is located in Hai Ha District, Mong Cai City, Quang Ninh province, 3 hours by car from Halong Bay, 5 hours by car from Hanoi, with 2700 square kilometers and 120 families with 600 inhabitants are now living on the island. 

If you like traveling off the beaten track, then it is your perfect choice. Moreover, it is famous for untouched white sand beach, lush green pine forest, stunning natural beauty, 

Electricity is available on the island since 2015. So that there aren’t many hotels, motels and restaurants like another island nearby like Coto or Quan Lan island. 

Best time to visit Cai Chien island 

May and June is the best time to visit Cai Chien island. July is starting month of the rainy season, you might be lucky or note whilst traveling this period of time. From August to October is considered as typhoon season in Northern Vietnam. Please check the weather forecast to get up to date. 

If you are travelling during winter time from Nov to Feb, you may not have a chance for going for a swim because it is the coldest area in Quang Ninh province, even than Halong Bay.

How to get to Cai Chien island 

Instruction: Take any bus, sleeping bus or limousine Dcar from Hanoi. Get off at the intersection of Ha Coi bank then take a taxi for another 10 kilometers drive to Ghenh Vo pier for taking a ferry to the island. You might bring your own motorbike because of limited motorbike rental service in Cai Chien island 

Stage 1 : Hanoi to Hai Ha

There are a few limousines companies offer transportation service from Hanoi to Mong Cai  as followings 

Nhat Hong Limousine

Their service is from 4.00am to 22.00pm, every half an hour or one hour depending on the time

Ticket price : 350.000VND

Hotline : 0888.23.8899 

Duration: 5.5 hours includes pick up in the city center

Duc trong limousine

From Hanoi to Mong Cai : 12.30pm , 16.30pm 

From Mong Cai to Hanoi : 5.20am and 9.30 am 

Ticket rate : 300.000VND per person 

Hotline : 0378865678- – 0358778887

Mong Cai limousine

They do offer their services in both side Hanoi and Mong Cai every one hour from 6.00am to 23.00pm 

Hotline : 0888.23.8899 

Ticket rate : 300.000VND per person

By bus

There are many bus companies offer their services from My Dinh or Gia Lam  bus station to Mong Cai 

Kalong bus from My Dinh bus station 

Hanoi to Mong Cai : Departs 23.00pm on odd number date in Vietnamese lunar calendar

Mong Cai to hanoi : Departs at 20.30pm on even number date in Vietnamese lunar calendar

Contact number : 0369. 529.529

Ticket rate : 200.000VND per person for sleeping bus

There are more buses available from this company, please check at the ticket office at the station directly for further information 

Dai Phat sleeping bus from Gia Lam bus station 

Hanoi to Mong Cai : Departs at 21.00pm

Mong Cai to Hanoi : Departs at 22.10pm

Duration : 8 hours

Ticket rate : 200.000VND per person

 Stage 2 : From the ferry to the island

By ferry

Time table of local ferry to Cai Chien

There are 3 ferry to the island from both sides. From Ghenh Vo port, departing  at 7.00am, 11.30am and 17.30pm. From the island, departing at 6.00am, 10.30am and 16.30pm

The schedule sightly changes without pior notice, for further information, please call 0365752664 or 0984 019 624

Ticket rate 

+ For pedestrian : 25.000VND per person 

+ Motorbike : 50.000VND per person

+ Car up to 7 seaters : 350.000VND per way

+ Bicycle : 30.000VND per person per way

By speedboat

If you are taking a private one, it costs 400.000VND per ride, otherwise you have to wait until there are enough 12 people.

Duration : 10 to 15 minutes 

Contact number : Mr Tung : 0965228051

Note : You’d better call 1 day in advance due to limited speed boats otherwise, you might be waiting one hour at the port. 

Stage 3 : From the pier to the homestay

There are 3 ways to get to the homestay either by tuk tuk, car and electric car. Tuk tuk is the best choice for $5 ride to the homestay. 

How to get around Cai Chien island

By your own vehicle

There is limited choice for transportation on the island, you can bring your own vehicle if you want to 

By bicycle

Bike for rent is available at $5 per day.

By motorbike

Motorbike rental service is available at the homestay for about $8 per day. You fill in gasoline on your own

By tuk tuk or electric car 

If you are going on a group from 6 to 10 people, either tuk tuk or electric car are the best choice, each of them can fit 8 to 10 people, the rate ranges from $5 to $10 bases on quality and distance. 

Where to stay in Cai Chien island 

There are 13 homestays and 01 motel on the island. Two homestays below provides both food and accommodation services

Homestay and Motels in Cai Chien village

Mr Nhuc homestay 

Contact number : 0366.128.628

Mrs Thanh homestay 

Contact number : 0397 036 607

Mr Phong homestay

Contact number : 0988.387.368

Rate : 400.000VND for a double room per night

Mr Hoan’s homestay

It is fully booked very often because it has become a popular place. 

Double room costs round 500.000VND per night

Dorm bed : 70.000VND per person

It is quite clean with friendly and helpful owner. 

Contact number : 0

Phi Vung homestay Cai Chien

Contact number : 0988.387.368

Address : Cai Chien beach 2

Container homestay

Colorful, sea view, convenient homestay  with air conditon, fan and in house wash room. 

Conact number : 0334.051.883

Rate : 350.000VND for 4 people per night

Address : Cai Chien beach 2 

Huong Truong Homestay

Spacious room, well-equipped facilities (Vietnamese concept) . There is also a range of pine tree which is really beautiful which is good for photo shooting

 Address : Cai Chien beach 2 

Contact number : 0386.526.389

Bao Phong motel

This is one of the favorite motels in Cai Chien with well-equipped facilities

Contact number : 0389.608.147

Address : Cai Chien 1 beach

Hong Ha motel 

Only 50 meters from the beach, which is very convenient for swimming, night party, sunrise watching and other activities on the beach  

Thanh Hung motel Cai Chien

Contact number : 0977.361.958

Motels and Homestay in Dau Rong (Dragon head) village

Mr Duyen homesay
Contact number : 0386 867 672

Mr Sanh 
Contact number  : 0379 380 605

Hung Loi motel

This motel is recommeded due to its cleaness and their hearty service. They only organise event, wedding, gala dinner and meeting for company trip . 

Rate : 400.000VND per room per night

Contact number : 0984.104.474

Things to see in Cai Chien island

Dong Rong beach 

This is the most well-known beach in Cai Chien island with white sandy beach, lush green pine forest. You can stroll around 1 kilometer seaside road or relax on a hamock in pine forest and listen to the sound of ocean wave

Cai Chien beach 1 and 2

Together with Dong Rong beach, those two beaches are other choices. There are homestays for food and accommodation service which is really convenient

Van Ca beach

At the end of the island, 3 kilometers from Cai Chien beach 2. There is no service there

Vung Bau Beach

500 meters long in Dau Rong village with white sand beach.

Khe Rong Lake

The biggest fresh water lake on the island with 18 hectares 

Khe Dinh Lake

5 hectares lake, with an average depth 4 to 6 meters, which provides fresh water for rice farming by concrete canal

Thoi Xanh island

This is another island belongs to Cai Chien commune, you can only get there by boat, 3 kilometers by waterway from the island. There is no one living there but it has beautiful untouched white sand beach. 

Things to do and activities in Cai Chien island

+ Watch beautiful sunrise and sunset on the beach

+ Enjoy BBQ Dinner on the beach with a few candles which is really romantic for couples

+ Take a boat trip to Soi Xanh island with untouched beaches

+ Explore eco-system of pine forest with animals which you may see in the zoo. 

+ Hire a boat to Con islet for catching snail and sea-corn

+ Fishing with rod and cast net

+ Enjoy sea kayaking ($12 for a double kayak for 3 hours) 

+ Squid fishing at night (500,000 for 2 hours and a trip over 2 hours is 200.000VND per hour) . They also help with cooking on board. 

+ Soak up on white sandy beaches : Dau Rong, Cai Chien 1 and 2

+ Enjoy cool ride on a motorbike/bicyle around the island

What to eat in Cai Chien island 

There is not much food available on the island. You’d better book with your homestay owner in advance. 

BBQ may be the best choice for food here. Moreover, there is some good foods as following

Cai Chien Freerun chicken

According to locals, this type of chicken has been living for years, are raised in organic way with rice, vegetable. They are all freerun so their meat is a bit chewy

Sea-acron congee

This is a must-try dish in Cai Chien island 

Fresh seafood

There is a lot of fresh seafood available such as sea snails, squid, sea fishes, crab, stone crab, shirmp and so on.

You can also get regular food such as stir fried water morning glory with garlic, fried egg, stewing pork

Suggested set menu and rate

Set menu lunch : Steam rice, stirfried water morning glory with garlic, stewing pork and fried egg : $8 for 2 people

Set menu dinner : Stir fried instant noodle, BBQ squid, two can of beers : $16 for 2 people 

Where to eat in Cai Chien island

There is a few homestays, local eateries and motels offer food. So basicly, just have all meals in the homestay or on Cai Chien beach 1 or 2 

Nightlife in Cai Chien

If you are travelling in a big group of 10 above, enjoy BBQ dinner on the beach or night squid fishing or camp-fire and karaoke singing.

Things to bring for Cai Chien island trip

+ Food (Fruits, snacks, water bottled and so on)

+ Clothes : 3 to 4 set of clothes, together with a bikini for swimming

+ Other personal belongings such as hats, sung cream, sung glass, insect spray, flashlight and tent if you want to go camping, medicine for stomach upset

Suggested budget for Cai Chien island

2 nights homestay : 800,000VND 

Taxi from Hai Ha to Ghenh Vo port : 150.000VND

Speed boat (2 rides) : 800,000VND

Motorbike rental with fuel for 2 days : 400.000VND

Dcar limousine round trip : 700,000VND per person

Food : 02 lunches, 02 dinners and 02 breakfast : 920,000VND for 2 people

Total amount : 2.235.000VND per person (100 

Suggested itinerary for Cai Chien

Day 1 : Hanoi – Hai Ha – Cai Chien – Dau Rong beach 

Take a morning Dcar Limousine from Hanoi for 5.5 hours . Get off at Hai Ha Intersection. Take a taxi ride ($7) to Genh Vo port

Mong Cai taxi : 0333 884 885, 0333 883 883 ;
Mai Linh taxi: 0333 770 770

Take a speed boat ride around 15 minutes to the island and transfer to the homestay around 1.30pm. Have lunch at the homestay. Take a short rest for an hour. 

Take a motorbike ride to Dau Rong beach to hang out in the afternoon.

Overnight in a homestay. You might ask for BBQ dinner on the beach 

Day 2 : Cai Chien beaches – Thoi Xanh island

We are going to check out a few beaches in the moring: Cai Chien 1,2 . Have lunch in a restaurant on the beach. Then ride to Khe Dau lake for a quick look. Board a traditional wooden junk to Thoi Xanh island for swimming and snorkeling to see coral reef.  Back to the island. to the homestay

Note: Bring your own towel, swimming suits, 

Day 3 : Cai Chien – Hanoi

Watch the sunrise on the island. Then have breakfast at the homestay. Clear your bill. And take local ferry back to Genh Vo port. Then jump on a taxi again to Hai Ha Dist for 5 hours journey back to Hanoi. Trip ends

Common frequently asked questions for travelling Cai Chien island

Cai Chien travel guide 2019

How to get to Cai Chien island?

How to get around Cai Chien island

What is things to do and see in Cai Chien island?

Travelling tips and advices for Cai Chien island

Where to eat in Cai Chien?

What to eat or specialities of Cai Chien island?

Good accommodation in Cai Chien island

What is the good hotel or homestay in Cai Chien island?

Nightlife in Cai Chien island

Is it worth visiting Cai Chien island

Shopping guide in Cai Chien island

Off the beaten track travelling to beaches in Northern Vietnam

Pro tips for Cai Chien trip

+ There is only Vietel provider for 3G internet on the island and its signal isn’t stable

+ There is no ATM and money exchange on the island, you are advised to bring cash (in Vietnam Dong) , 3 milion VND per person would be enough

+ Book the homestay, speed boat and motorbike in advance. You’d better ask some Vietnamese who help you with a reservation.

+ Write your homestay name and address in Vietnamese and show it to your tuk-tuk driver on the island

+ Check weather forecast before planning your trip

+ Winter from Nov to Feb may not a good time to see the island. 

+ Before hiring a motorbike, check where to fill up gasoline or check if it is included or not. 

+ There is a few convenience stores on the island with some essential things only so you should bring your own stuff. See checklists above for details.

Hynam Travel hopes this travel guide help you some ways on planning your holiday to Cai Chien island. Hynam Travel also offers tours to Cai Chien island, if you would like hassle-free, feel free to contact us for best travel advice.