Home > Blog > Ultimate Coto island Travel Guide 2019

Ultimate Coto island Travel Guide 2019

Coto island is a rising destination for beach escape in Northern Vietnam. Famous for its white sand beaches and off the beaten track with untouched insland, friendly local, fresh seafood. Here is detailed travel guide for Coto island in 2019

At a glance

Coto Island is situated in Dist, Quang Ninh Province; is 170 kilometers, to the northeastern part of Hanoi, has arguably the most beautiful beach in North Vietnam. If you visit the island, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the pale sandy beach, experience the beautiful dusk from the Coto light house. This piece furnishes you with all the knowledge you will need for a travel plan to Coto Island like the Coto Island travel guide, recommended itinerary, housing including lodgings, motels, resorts and homestays, a guide on getting a boat to Coto and the best places to go  and sights to see in Coto.

                                                                                  Coto island travel maps

Translation from Vietnamese to English on the travel map above

Bãi tăm : Beach

Thị trân : Town

Câu cảng : Harbour

Bãi đá : Reef rock

Con đường tình yêu : Love road

Khu : Zone

Đài tưởng niệm Hồ Chí Minh : Uncle Ho memorial monument

Bãi tăm Băc Vàn : Bac Van military port 

Câu cảng Thanh Lân : Pier for taking boat to Thanh Lan island 

Best Time to Travel to Coto Island

It is usually better to travel to Coto between early august and early November because the season is lower than for the locals. A lot of Vietnamese tourists travel mostly during summer between May and July especially on weekends from Fridays to Sundays.

How to Get There

Van Don Xanh limousine services offer small scale van from Hanoi to Cai Rong port, they also make hotel pickups for pre booking. You can approach a Vietnamese to help you with the booking. You can call (+84) 0964.240.240 to book a seat, it costs 10USD/per seat. Some minivans leave from Hanoi at 8.00am, 10.00am, 15.00pm, 17.00pm, 19.00pm, 20.00pm. The drive takes about 5 hours plus an extra 20 minutes for any stopovers on the way. It is advisable to take the 8.00am bus so you can arrive at Cai Rong Port around 13.00pm.

Where to eat around Van Don area

Eat in a nearby eatery for 2$/per plate of rice noodle soup and seafood (Bun Hai San) an assortment of dishes is also available here.

How to get to Coto island from Van Don

There are several companies offer speed boat to Coto island from Van Don such as Hoang Vy, Quang Minh, Kalong, Manh Quang, Nguyen Viet, Hoang Quan, Phuc Thinh and so on

Speed boat to Coto island

Quang Minh speed boat

Cai Rong – Coto : 6.30 am, 8.00am, 11.00am, 14.00pm, 15.00pm

Coto – Cai Rong: 8.00am , 11.00am , 14.00pm, 15.00pm 16.00pmContact number: 0203 3793 793 – 0973 755 222 – 0984 727 333

Rate : 230.000VND per person

Havaco speed boat

Route : Van Don (Cai Rong port) – Coto : 6.00 am, 6.30 am, 8.30 am, 9.00am, 10.00am, 11.30 am, 12.30pm, 13.30pm, 15.00pm, 15.30pm, 16.30pm

Coto – Van Don (Cai Rong port) : 7.30am, 8.00am, 10.00 am, 10.30am , 11.30pm, 13.00pm, 14.00pm, 15.00pm, 16.30pm , 17.00 pm Duration : 70 minutes

Contact number : 0946.193.193 – 0979.222.111

Rate : 200.000VND per person

Notes

+ If you get seasick please refrain from taking a speedboat.

+ It takes 70 minutes to get to Coto Island via speedboat. When you get to the island,

+ Take a tuktuk from Coto pier to your accommodation , it will cost 1USD/per kilometer. Each outing is under 2 kilometers will be charged no less than 2 USD.

+ Then again, please contact your hotel to arrange a pick up spot. Remember to send speed boat company name and its schedule

+If you are travelling on a motorbike, stop at Cai Rong port. Ask someone to load your motorbike on board around 2 to 5USD or just park it somewhere which offers parking service for $1 a day.

There are also junk wooden boats cruising to Coto island departs at 7.00am and 13.00pm from Cai Rong port. There is something you need to know. Firstly, the boat only runs if there is a certain amount number of people. Secondly, there is something like cargo boat than for passenger. You may have small room for your leg and luggage. Lastly, when it comes to windy  weather, it will be a real challenge because of strong wave.

Ticket rate : 110,000VND per person with 3.5 hours trip

Things to see int Coto island

See this beautiful island with plenty of things to do see in Coto island, tons of lovely attractions, a new destination for foreigners. Come and experience Coto island with us!

Distance from tourist attractions to Coto town

Coto town– The port = 1 kilometer (0.62 mile) 

Coto town – Uncle Ho Statue = 100 meters (328 feet)

Coto town  – Romantic love road = 150 meters ( 492 feet) 

Coto town – The light house = 4 kilometers ( 2.48 miles) 

Coto town – Hong Van = 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) 

Coto town – Bac Van military port = 8 kilometers ( 4.97 miles) 

Coto town  – Vang Chay beach = 9 kilometers . There is a newly built road with a distance of 6 kilometers (3.72 miles) only 

Coto town – Cau My Reef rock : 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) 

Coto town – The pier to little Coto island : 7 kilometers ( 4.34 miles) 

Cau My Rock Reef

Cau My Reef rock

This natural monument carries thousands of years in genes that are all visible on the surface. With the first step, you will see how sea water has shaped colorful layers of sediments. If you decide to visit the reef at the time of the sunset, the scenic view will imprint in your memory as a trace of the unforgettable beauty.

Uncle Ho’ Memorial House

Uncle Ho Statue in Coto island

The historical complex was built in 1968. Uncle Ho agreed during his lifetime that his statue finds its place in this memorial. For that reason, this monument is a unique place to visit. It is located in the town center, close to the shore. Nowadays, this memorial serves as the place of cultural exchange between local people and visitors, especially during festivals.

Little Co To Island

Little Coto island beach

This island is the most popular uninhabited island in the area of Co To. The distance between this and the main island is about 1 km or up to 30 minutes by the wooden boat. During summer, boat trips to the island are daily available. In off-season from September to April, private boats take tours on request. You can share your costs with other visitors since boats are mostly suitable for 12 people. Keep in mind that you will need to carry with you all you think you might need there, from food and water to accessories. The island is recognizable for its ancient beaches that offer a unique experience of being one with nature. It is especially recommended for those who are willing to experience the sleep under the starry sky.

Thanh Lan Island

Thanh Lan is your next stop in the search for wild unspoiled beaches. You will need just half an hour by boat from Co To Island to reach there. White sand and blue ocean meet here to make you feel romantic. Even if you are far from being romantic you will feel just the opposite. You can reach the splendid beaches such as Ba Chau also in the trekking tour through the ancient forest. You can enjoy one of many aquaculture areas as well.

Hong Van Beach

Hong Van beach coto island

One of the Co To highlights lies just 8 km from the town center to the east. It is easily reachable by motor taxi for an affordable price. If you like swimming in 100% natural surroundings, this is your choice. Here you will find emerald sea water, white sand and a variety of Casuarina in the background. What will really draw your attention is the hospitality and kindness of local people. You will end your visit to this beach but during your stay, you will return for more.

Van Chay Beach

Van Chay beach

Every beach in Co To archipelago has soft white sand and crystal clear sea in common but every each of them is special in its own way. Vang Chai Beach ends the island in the shape of an arch. Here you can relax or play in the long friendly waves. The sunset is something you must not miss when you get here, and when the moon rises up you will see the tide. It will leave an endless smoothness on its way.

Co To Light House

Solar Panel in Coto island

This symbol from the late 19th century is located on the highest point of the island, around 5 km from the town. Reaching the light house is possible by foot and you should decide to take this pleasant challenge. The rocky path through the forest will introduce you the great diversity of plants. Once on the top, your eyes will comprise the amazing panoramic view of the whole island. The best time to visit the light house is before 5.00 pm.

Forest in the Island

Co To Island is famous for its forests and zigzag lianas that hang from the trees or that are lying on the ground. The forested paths lead to the coast and it is the right choice to take them for an interesting and exciting walk. Meet the forest firsthand. Be the part of it. You will like it.

Uncle Ho’s Beach

This beach is 15 km long and you can see it from the harbor. It is close to the town with a large number of various restaurants, hotels, and shops. This is the favorite beach of the local people and occasionally it is crowded. Just like some distant beaches, this too is covered with smooth white sand beside crystal clear water.

Love Road

This road is certainly not the ordinary one. It is tiled with red bricks in the length of 2 km and surrounded by the poplar trees on both sides. Whether you walk, ride a bike or maybe run, be prepared for the unique romantic experience. The colorful green waving trees and sunlight mix here with the sound of a wind and birds song. This is the precious memory you will recall long after.

Coto church

Coto church was built in 2013, it is the place for prayers at the weekend. It is European Catholic architecture with colorful windows made of glasses, the wall painted with dark colors, round window porches and bell house’s porches attached with a Jesus Christ statue

There are 400 Catholic people living in the island. In 1978, when Chinese living on the island left, those from Nam Dinh province went to the island , develop new economic zones and settle their lives. That’s how Catholic was introduced to the island.  

Morning market in Coto town

Morning market Coto island

This is interesting early bird things to see to see real local living in Coto island, you are going to see tons of fresh seafood caught from night fishing boats and have local breakfast in a stall will be a cool experience!

Note: In off-season, it may happen that some parts of the seashore are not properly cleaned. However, the list of Co To attractions and the astonishing beauty of the island during the whole year overshadows the occasional cleaning problem.

What to do in Coto island

+ Soak up on Vang Chay and Hong Van beach

+ Take a scooter ride around the island

+ Wander around Love road for romantic moment

+ Enjoy BBQ seafood on the beach

+ Explore remote little Coto island by boat

+ Experience fun sea kayak

Things to eat and where to eat in Coto island

Enjoy cuisines and specialities in Coto island. This is a detailed guide for eating and Coto island. Find out the best things to eat in Coto island

Coto island – A paradise on earth

The beautiful picturesque CoTo Island is located 80 kilometers from Halong Bay in the northeast of Quang Ninh Province, only 3.5 hours drive from Hanoi. CoTo Island is characterized with pristine white sandy beaches lined with trees, and clear blue waters of the sea reflecting the cloudless blue sky. All this is a great setting for a romantic getaway or a tranquil holiday. Besides enjoying the peaceful atmosphere and amazing scenic beauty you should try the unique and delicious Coto cuisine. Hynam Travel will provide the best solutions on what to eat at the CoTo Islands.

Coto Peanut Worms (Sa Sung)

Coto peanut worms look like earthworms or pink caterpillars and might look unappetizing at first but when cooked properly are quite tasty. These can be either cooked with broth to make a delicious dish or can be dried and eaten as snacks with a glass of beer. Coto peanut worms have to be cleaned carefully before cooking as they are full of sand. It is a very expensive dish as the dried peanut worms costs around $140 -$180 per kg.

Coto Echini (Cau Gai)

This seafood dish has a distinctive taste high in nutrients and beneficial for your health. It can be eaten in three forms either Omophagic, grilled or cooked. This dish is a ‘must try’ dish because of its delectable taste.

Coto Jelly Fish (Sua)

 

CoTo Islands is the best place to try out the various varieties of good yet cheap seafood like half dried cuttlefish, dry squid, clam, sea horse, abalone, sea escargot, sea cucumber, tuna fish, lobsters, prawns, crabs and much more. But jelly fish is a delicacy that is most famous on the island being cool and crunchy and very delicious with a unique taste. The season for jellyfish is very limited lasting only a couple of months from February till the end of April. Be sure to try this delicacy if you visit CoTo Island at this time.

Coto Squid

Dry squid and half dried cuttle is caught and processed in a particular way and cooked with fresh ingredients by the local chefs to give a distinctive taste that has been appreciated for years.

Coto Stone Crab (Ghe)

 

Although Stone crab looks like a sea crab, its shell is harder and thicker. Its meat is tasty and smells good and is very popular with the local people in CoTo Island. It is comparatively cheaper than green crab or sea crab.

Coto King Crab 

CoTo Island is renowned for a large variety of seafood with King Crab being a very favored choice with the local people. There are many ways of cooking King Crab but steamed and grilled King crab is more popular. Its taste is unforgettable, if you have tried it once you long to have it again.

Abalone (BaoNgu)

Abalone is a sea food for the rich and the royal family due to its high value not only in terms of money but also in terms of rich nutrients. This dish is a favorite amongst the local people.

Razor Clams

Razor clams are a specific form of escargots i.e. a kind of murex snail with two shells found in the oceans of CoTo Island. Razor Clams are supposed to be expensive with many health benefits. It can be cooked in several ways.

Sea Cucumber (Hai Sam)

CoTo Island has a large fishery for promoting aquaculture like Abalone, Sea cucumber and cultured pearl. Fishery jobs are promoted for bringing in economic returns.

Sea cucumber once caught is cleaned and then dipped into potassium alum. There is a specific way of cooking this dish. It is cut into thin slices and cooked with carrots, celery and fresh beef and made into an exotic dish. Sea cucumber can also be made into a soup or stewed with Chinese herbs. There are many health benefits of sea cucumber. It protects you from depression, kidney stones and for building man power.

Mantis Shrimp

Mantis Shrimp is also called sea mantes by the people of Vietnam. This is a type of seafood that has a chewy sweet taste and can be grilled, steamed or roasted with salt and tamarind.

I hope this food guide helps you some ways to find best foods and best things to eats in Coto island. 

Some of the good restaurants in Coto island

Restaurant in Coto Center homestay

This is a family run restaurant inside Coto Center homestay. They serve fresh and high quality seafood because the elder brother of the homestay owner is a fisherman. When it comes to high season from May to August, especially weekend, you had better resever a seat in advance.

Address : 66 Vu Van Hieu street, Coto island

Contact number : Mr Linh : 036.587.1479

Coto Sea Star Restaurant

This is one of the best restaurants in Coto island, 300 meters from Coto town. With a variety of food choice from set menu to alacarte. 

Address : Zone 3, Roundabout Intersection , Coto town Vietnam
Liên hệ: Mr Tuấn: 0868 139 888

Pearl island restaurant Coto

This is a casual and afforable restaurant in Coto island serves Vietnamese food with seafood dishes also. 

Contact number : 097 365 92 19

Uy Thanh Restaurant Coto island

This is a long history restaurant in Coto island with experienced staff, premier location, with walking distance from Coto town. They do have big tank for fresh alive seafood. 

Contact number :+84 203 3889 040 or 0967.049.443

Address : Le Quy Don street, Zone 3, Coto town

Tuan Vu restaurant Coto

This is an onside restaurant of Tuan Vu hotel locates in Coto town. This restaurant is suitable for group travellers who would like to have a comfortable stay and restautant in one location. The restaurant serves set menu range from $7 to $15 (applied for a group over 10 guests) 

Contact number : 0981.366.888

Address : Zone 4, Coto town

Recommended Itinerary for Coto island Tours

Day 1: Minivan from Hanoi – Coto Island

To get to the island, follow the instructions above. You will arrive at the island around 3.00pm then take a rest at your lodging. If you desire to gaze upon the beautiful sunset you can get a motorbike which cost 10USD/every day without fuel to get to Coto Light house.

Note: if you get a motorbike anywhere apart from your hotel, you have to show your passport

Day 2: Coto Island Discovery

It is better to stroll early in the morning, perhaps 5.00am to experience dawn. Get a motorbike to these attractions. Mong Rongrock area, My Bridge, and Mr. Minh Cape are the most magnificent wonders in Coto Island. You can peruse the wares available at the local market in Coto Island. From there, you should continue riding, visit Bac Van Military Port, get a boat trip to little Coto island which costs at least 25usd, depending on your negotiation skills. I simply say the island itself is a magnificent heaven with completely clear emerald water. On the off chance that you are traveling in the low season then the island is only for you. In the event that the waves are too strong for the boat to pass through, you will have to make do with a swim. It would be much better if you bring some personal towels from your hotel rooms. Then again, there is no latrine on the little island.

You can also bring your picnic to the island too. Later in the afternoon, you can take a swim in Hong Vang, long white sand beach. Particularly, the water hue is usually blue. But, when there is sunlight, the color will change.

Vang Chay beach is a unique amongst the most wonderful beaches in the island with long and fine sandy beaches and huge waves. It is perfect for playing beach games, building sand castles and simply watching the waves. Last stop today is Coto Lighthouse, a symbol of the whole island, which offers the most wonderful scene of Ha Long Bay. The vacationers will have a great view of the northern gulf, the arrangement of little islets on the blue water by the bay, the sparkling white color of the beaches, the lushness of the surrounding vegetation and the rice fields from a distance.

Day 3: Morning market – Speed boat to Cai Rong port – Hanoi.

Get up in the morning to see nearby market then have great breakfast in the market. Enjoy your leisure time at the island. Have your lunch and take the 13.30am kalong company speedboat (Hotline: +84 0354.156.156, 200,000/per individual) back to the wharf around 14.30pm for Van Don Xanh limousine back to Hanoi. You will get back to Hanoi around 19.30pm

Where to Stay In Coto Island

Coto starlight boutique Inn

Locates in the heart of Coto town. Star lights is a new three stars boutique ill, grand opening in April 2019. The deluxe and grand room on high floors with better view. The room rate ranges from $63 to $105. There is a restaurant inside the hotel. Walking distance to the main port, Coto Church, love road and many nearby restaurants. When it comes to tourist season from May to August, especially weekend, it is busy during the night with many Vietnamese

Thai Ha hotel Coto

Thai Ha hotel locates in Coto town, only 500 meters from the main port, well-equipped rooms with modern facilities. There is a onsite restaurant with its capacity over 150 guests.

Coto hotel group

Known as one of the biggest 3 stars hotel in Coto town with premier location, 500 meters from the main port, right on the coastal line and Uncle Ho statue. They offer free pick up service from the port, boat and car rental service.

Coto Center homestay

It is a very comfortable home away from home is approximately one mile away from Co To town. Uncle Ho beach is just around 400 meters away and is easily walk able. The homestay has roughly around seven rooms. Three of those rooms are old but the remaining four rooms are brand new and were built in 2017. The cost is around 25USD/new room and 15USD for old room. All of the rooms have hot showers and air conditioners. The right side of the homestay has a very beautiful garden so you can always take aesthetic pictures of the flowers in the garden.

Hai Mai motel

is about 50meters from Vang Chay beach. Its rooms have state of the art facilities and are very spacious. You can get food at the hotel at reasonable price. The price of a room ranges from 20USD to 30USD/every night, depending on the season. Coto Eco Lodge is 200m away from Hong van beach. Coto Eco Lodge gives superb rooms and a calm scenic location for weary travelers that just want to relax after a long trip.

Coto Life

is a scaled down resort with 100% cabin room by wood, this is a genuine romantic utopia for couples. It is easy to get a BBQ dinner on the beach for just 15USD/per individual. The rooms cost around 40USD from Monday to Friday and 50USD/per room on Saturday and Sunday. Thai Ha inn is one of the best inns in Coto Island, which is situated in the middle of the island, around 500 meters from the wharf.

Khanh Linh Hotel

A 2 stars hotel is situated in the middle of the town. This is a decent decision for backpackers and solo travelers.

Golden Coto Hotel

is another inn in the middle of Coto Island. It has 40 rooms that are completely outfitted with hot shower, aerating and cooling et cetera.

What to Eat In Coto Island

Local breakfast in Coto island

To be frank, it isn’t easy to locate a decent eatery that has great customer service. Usually the meals are just palatable and the service is average. It’ll be advisable to get your lunch and dinner at your hotel. Homestay is far better with fresh seafood, competent cooks and sensible cost too

See also : Eating guide in Coto island

Frequenly asked questions for travelling Coto island

Co To travel guide 2019

Indepent travel guide Coto island

How to get to Co To island?

How to get around Co To island

What is things to do and see in Co To island?

Travelling tips and advices for Co To island

Where to eat in Co To?

What to eat or specialties of Co To island?

Good accommodation in Co To island

What is the good hotel or homestay in Co To island?

Nightlife in Co To island

Is it worth visiting Co To island

Shopping guide in Co To island

Off the beaten track travelling to beaches in Northern Vietnam

Other information you should know

Nightlife: There is just a single renowned café which is in the town. I can’t remember its name. The drinks are cheap, which is just 2 USD/per drink, depending on what you order.

ATM: There is just 1 Agribank ATM situated in the town. Most you can withdraw is just 2 million VND which is equivalent to 90USD.

What To Bring: Sun screen, sun-glasses, insecticide, cap, umbrella, some cash in the local currency, warm garments from late November to late March, valid international ID for Non Vietnamese citizens.

Useful tips for Coto island trip

+ For the individuals who will want to check out Coto island from the Halong bay. There is a speed boat leaving for Halong city (old Vinashin portat 4.00pm. The ticket is around 15USD/per individual.

+ It is better not to travel to Coto Island on national occasion, for example, 30th of April, first of May, amid Vietnamese independence day second of Sept. Frankly, there will be too many Vietnamese tourists for you to enjoy your holiday.

+ You are likely to encounter dogs if you go out in the early morning and evening time. Try to be watchful of them.

+ Check the weather forcast carefully. When it comes to typhoon, you should change your departure date because all boat ride was cancelled in case of bad weather.

+ If you got sea sick, take some tablets half an hour before going on the boat.

+ Always get contact number of your accommodation in Coto island in order to arrange a pick up from the pier to your place. Please inform how many pieces of luggage you have. Some of the homestays pick up their guests by motorbikes.

+ Check the price in the menu in the restaurant If no menu, please check the price in advance

+ The best way to get around the island is by motorbike or scooters. As a foreigner, you’d better get a scooter. Gear motorbikes seem to be difficult to drive.

+ If time permits, hiring a boat to little Coto island about 700.000vnd per ride. If you would like to save your money, ask someone near the pier to share with you but I am not sure you will find someone to share all the time. Get prepared with swimming suits, sung glasses, sun scream, insect spray and water bottled.

+ For photo hunters, Mong Rong rock area seems to be the best spots for a cool sunrise picture. Try to get there before 5.00am for the best position because there is lots of couples going there early.

+ Check with your homestay if they provide breakfast . If not, check if there is somewhere nearby for having breakfast.

+ Enjoy a BBQ dinner on the beach with some candels will be a memorable experience for honeymoon couples.

+ There is a bank for money exchange. Working hours usually from 8.00am to 4.00pm (Monday to Friday). I do recommend bring Vietnam Dong with you for your convenient. Credit card isnt widely accepted, only in some big hotels.

+ Please note that seafood is the best choice in the island. If you are vegetarian, vegan or non seafood, inform the homestay in advance for better preparation.

If you need any further assistance, or any questions about planning a trip to Coto island, please contact Hynam Travel

If you like ultimate Coto travel guide, click the button below to share it. Thanks a lot!