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Ultimate Quan Lan island travel guide 2019

Read this detailed Quan Lan island travel guide for up to date information in 2019 on things to do, where to eat and drink, accommodation, how to get there and around and so on

At a glance

Quan Lan is the most pristine and most beautiful island in Bai Tu Long Bay in Northern Vietnam. It is still an unexplored area that is yet unknown to most of the tourists. Although it is the farthest island of Ha Long Bay region, it attracts local tourists on weekends. Quan Lan is 11 square kilometers in size, and it is celebrated for unspoiled natural beauty, peaceful settings, white sand dunes, and crystal clear emerald water. The island is sparsely inhabited but it has several villages, Minh Chau and Son Hau, near the beach of the same name. Hotels and guesthouses have been built around those villages. If you are planning to leave bustle and hustle of Hanoi city for a while and take the step into something unusual, Quan Lan Island travel guide will help you to plan your next unforgettable trip.

Quan Lan island travel maps

The Best Time to Get to Quan Lan Island

We recommend you to choose September and October for your travel. They are ideal months in Northern Vietnam since summer time from May to August is the high season for domestic travelers, especially on weekends. Summertime is also the period of high heat and storms. Storms are often in July so we don’t recommend you July as the month for your travel.  However, if you are fine with high heat, know that summer is also nice on the island. Even storms will bring you a feeling of a great adventure. 

How to Get to Quan Lan Island

There are several possibilities to reach the island so everybody will make the choice that best suits to one’s preferences.

Stage 1: Limousine Car

I do suggest traveling by limousine since it is faster and more comfortable. Local buses are provided with 45 seats, and they stop to pick up other passengers along the route. It takes 3 hours to get to Halong city and 4 hours and 15 minutes to get to Cai Rong port in Van Don. On weekends or at the time of national holidays it may take longer. They do have a stopover of 15 to 20 minutes.

You have to take a good look at transport companies. There are many of them offering minivans to Halong city and Van Don Island but they differ in terms of service they provide. Limousine by Dcar is equipped with 9 comfortable seats, Van Dong Xanh limousine, Phuc Xuyen limousine, Viet Kite Travel bus, and Tam Bao Anh limousine are some other we want to recommend.

Van Dong Xanh and Tam Bao Anh are the only companies in this list that drop off right at the Cai Rong port.

Note: You shell better ask a Vietnamese to help you reserve the seat. The personnel of limousine companies isn’t good in English so the hotel staff will be of the greatest help. Ask them to leave the hotel’s phone number as a contact.

Rate: For most of the limousines companies, the current charges are per person and per trip:

–    180,000 VND for 02 front seats near the driver. Keep in mind that these seats have limited room to stretch the legs. They are not comfortable, especially for foreigners.

–    200,000 VND for 03 back seats.

–    240,000 VND for 04 middle seats.

Van Don Xanh Limousine

This company offers you a pick up by a 4 seats car from your place, 30 minutes to 1 hour before the departure from Hanoi.

Note: In the case you have a lot of luggage, you shall better call to check if they have available space or to determine the best spot to pick you up. From Van Don, they do pick you up by the minivan so it won’t be an issue if you carry a lot of luggage.

Hoang Phu Limousine

If you are staying in Hanoi Old Quarter, the van will pick you up at the hotel. In the case your accommodation is too far from their office, you are kindly asked to come to Hanoi Opera House to wait for the minivan.

Tam Bao Anh Limousine

This company offers both Dcar limousine 9 seaters and 24 seaters limousine from Hanoi to Van Don with pick up and drop off from/to the hotel. Their services are from 5.00am to 9.00pm
 
You had better reserve the seat in advance in order to get a good seat. 
In my opinion, the seat is right behind the driver is the best.
They also offer a combo of hotel and bus, , promotional information of entrance fee to Halong park and more.

Vietkite Travel 

This company offers a combo includes sleeping bus and speed boat to Quan lan island. 
 
Rate : 450,000vnd includes sleeping bus and speed boat with 7.5 hours trip. They do offer midnight trip for those who want to save time and money.
The bus departs from Hanoi at 00.30pm, 01.00am, 5.30am, 6.00am, 6.30am and 7.00am
 
From Van Don :  13.30pm, 14.30pm

Stage 2: Speed Boat or Wooden Boat

 

Quan Lan island speed boat

Boat schedule could be changed based on the season or weather condition. During the high season, from May to August, there will be more reinforcement boat added in the schedule. Please do the double check with the boat company in advance for the exact schedule on your departure date.

In Halong city, you have an excellent opportunity to take a nice walk and visit nearby Long Tien Pagoda or Halong Market if you have arrived earlier than the departure time. The wharf is well provided with few restaurants and convenient stores.

Note: It is necessary to get to the wharf 30 minutes to 1 hour earlier than the departure time. It happens that the boat departs earlier than scheduled if it has enough passengers.

How to Get Around Quan Lan Island

Motorbike Rental

Motorbike is an excellent choice to get around the island or between tourists attractions if they are not to distant from each other. Rental services near the Ann Hotel and near the T-Junction to Minh Chau beach offer motorbikes. Two kinds of motorbike are available – great and scooter. If you are a foreigner, I recommend you to hire a scooter. It is a lot easier to ride and it costs around 150,000 VND to 200,000 VND per day, excluded petrol. 1.5-liter bottle costs around 30,000 VND to 40,000 VND. The road condition is pretty good but it still has some hidden potholes.

Note: Please check the motorbike’s condition carefully. It may not start or its breaks might be broken. You should also ask for a helmet since the rental services rarely provide them.

Bike rental service in Quan Lan Island

Cycle along the island is a great alternative if you aren’t able to drive a motorbike. It costs around 4 USD per day for the rental, and you can hire it at the hotels, motels or in some shop near the place you stayed in. The distance from Quan Lan center to Minh Chau beach is around 12 kilometers. Cycling along this path is the unique experience.

Tuk-Tuk

Local tuk-tuk in Quan Lan island

If you are traveling in a group from 6 to 8 persons then you can hire a tuk-tuk which gives you a feeling of being both, scared and enjoyed. Tuk tuk drive from the quay to the center of Quan Lan costs around 50,000 VND. It is important to know whether you arrive at the wharf of Quan Lan or Minh Chau.

Note: I suggest you to ask the hotel staff to arrange a pickup by tuk-tuk at the quay to avoid over charge. Most of the drivers speak only Vietnamese so you’d better ask a Vietnamese who is able to help you or book with the hotel if they offer you a good rate.

What to See and do in Quan Lan island

Beaches in Quan Lan island

Quan Lan is known for the three main beaches but there are also some other beaches.

Quan Lan Beach is the closet, near the wharf and the market as well. Just 4 kilometers further is Son Hao Beach, and after another 8 kilometers, you will find Minh Chau Beach.  All of them are beautiful and long with the white sand. I honestly do like Quan Lan Beach for it is really pristine. You will experience the pure sense of freedom when swimming here. Two other beaches provide many different hawkers stalls. The huge advantage is that you may stay on one beach as long as you want, then hire a tuk-tuk or a bike to get to the others.

Son Hao Beach

It is located between Quan Lan and Minh Chau beaches. Van Hai Xanh Resort is placed at this beach. When it comes to the high tide, there is a small shore and crystal clear water, a bit sloped.

It is a bit harder to find the way to this beach. You have to pass a factory on the right side, and follow the right road after you passed a 4-way intersection. The road passes sand dunes and rocks before it finally reaches the beach. This beach is distant, and it is not properly maintained.

Note: Admission is free but you keep an eye out for the litter and broken glass.

Minh Chau Beach is the most famous one on the island with white sand and green emerald water. It is just perfect for swimming. However, it is really busy in the summer. Its location is in accordance with the direction of the wind. It happens sometimes that the wind inflicts litter to the shore. If you love water sports you can rent kayak or tube.

Note: If you want to hire a locker to put your belongings in, it may cost 60,000 VND.

On the other hand, there are few other amazing beaches which aren’t listed in guide books you should pay your attention to.

Mai Chau beach late afternoon

Robinson Beach is the most beautiful one in Minh Chau area. It is famous for the unspoiled natural beauty, strong sea wave, plenty of rocks and the reef. There is also a nice and comfortable motel on the beachside.

Turtle Beach is known as an empty paradise. One side is a large road and the other is a dreamlike beach. It is the favorite beach for magic selfies. 

Note: Most of the beaches in Quan Lan may not be well cleaned during the off-season from September to April.

Other Attractions in Quan Lan Island

Mang River is a historic site. The famous battle happened on this waterway in 1288. between Tran Dynasty and the Mongolian invaders.

Quan Lan Lighthouse

Van Don used to be a bustling port in the 11th century with a large number of boats and ships from all over the world. It was a trading hub and it was of the great strategic importance in the East Sea. French have built the lighthouse in the 19th century. It is considered to be the oldest one in Vietnam and in South East Asia. To reach the top of the lighthouse, you need to hike 184 steps. The breathtaking view of the sky, rocks, and water is worth every effort.

Quan Lan Communal House

Quan Lan temple

Quan Lan Communal House is dedicated to the tutelary god of a village and the ancestors who gave a contribution to establish it. The inhabitants worship general Tran Khanh Du, who provided great support to defeat Mongolians invader traveling by vessels which carried food in order to support the battlefield. Next to it, you will see Quan Lan pagoda to worship Buddha, and a “Nghe” Nghe, a small temple dedicated to worship of Pham brothers who took part during the resistance war against Mongolian invader in the 13th century.

Tran Khanh Du Shrine

A shrine is dedicated to general Tran Khanh Du. It was said to be rebuilt on his old palace. It was damaged during the 1960s, has just been maintained in 1995. There is a statue of the general dated back from Nguyen Dynasty (19th century) Horizontal lacquered board and parallel sentences in old Chinese character honor his contribution.

Minh Chau Dock

Situated in Minh Chau Commune, 2 kilometers from Minh Chau Beach, this is the place where a lot of boats anchor. With a great viewpoint, you can see the sunrise at its best.

Eo Gio (Wind Strait)

It is located around 10 minutes by tuk-tuk from the center. Spectacular scenery with the view to the ocean is surprising. Sky and sea are endless.

Ba Mun National Park

Since 1997 it carries the name Bai Tu Long National Park. This natural beauty is located in Minh Chau Commune, about 15 kilometers from the mainland. It is famous for the rare fauna and flora such as rosewood, sindoer, lauan meranti, apitong and other old trees. Ba Mun Island is also the place where people preserve rare animals, such as chamois, fawn, monkey, golden-headed langur and sea bird.

Quan Lan Market

Morning wet market in Quan Lan island

It is located in the heart of Quan Lan village, opposite the Quan Lan Communal House. Most of the seafood here is fresh and caught by the local fisherman or it originates from the mainland. You are able to buy the most famous specialty of the island – Sa Sung (peanut worm) for 100 USD per kilograms. Don’t prepare it by yourself! You better ask locals how to process it because it is pretty complicated, and you don’t want to ruin it.

Where to stay in Quan Lan

Accommodation in Quan Lan island

Accommodation in Minh Chau Area

Khai Mai Hotel

is located in the heart of Minh Chau, only 100 meters to Minh Chau Beach. In short, swimming and entertaining are just around the corner. Seaside restaurant is also available for serving food, entertaining or organizing camp fire.

Contact number: 0969.001.899 và 0969.001.898

More info available at http://khachsanquanlan.vn/

Price: 500,000 VND room/night.

 

Yen Nhi Hotel

This motel offers a cottage restaurant on the beach that provides some free services: bathing with fresh water, life vest, and lounger. 

Contact number: 01696620163.

Price: 600,000 VND room/weekday.

Hung Thinh Motel & Restaurant

Price: 700,000 VND/room

Contact number: 01692767526

Manh Long Motel

This motel is only 200 meters far from the famous Minh Chau Beach. It has 20 rooms.

Address: Minh Hai Village, Minh Chau Commune, Quan Lan Island

Hotline: 0984.750.293 (Mr. Long)

Price: 400,000 VND/standard room with in-house toilet and A/C

Huy Hoang Hotel

Twenty fully equipped rooms are available in this hotel only 100 meters from the beach.

Price: 600,000 VND room (2 persons)/week days

           800,000 VND weekends

Surcharge: 150,000 VND/extra person.

Mobile: 0904 704 666 – 01699 540 340

Email: contact@huyhoangminhchau.vn

Web: http://huyhoanghotel.vn/

Le Pont Hotel

Walking distance to Minh Chau Beach, It has 34 rooms.

They do offer restaurant and bar

Hotline: 0969 732 568

Email: lepontminhchauhotel@gmail.com

Minh Chau Beach Resort

This large resort has comfortable rooms. A dining area is only 50 meters from Minh Chau Beach. They serve coffee, food, and other drinks. Bikes for rent are also available.

Price: 550,000 VND – 1,500,000 VND (72USD) depending on the room type and duration of stay.

Amazing Container

This unique assembly is only 10 meters from the beach. They provide you with a restaurant, campfire, team building, BBQ.

There are 3 different sections.

Section 1: 2 rooms, each room can accommodate 8 persons, in-house toilet, and glass door toward to the sea.

Price: a 1,000,000 VND/room/night.

Section 2: 5 small double rooms, in-house toilet

Price: 500,000 VND/room

Section 3: 3 rooms, no glass doors, in-house toilet. It looks not as nice as 2 other sections but there are a few tables and chairs outside.

Price: 600,000 VND/room

Hotline: 0902221886

Accommodation in Quan Lan Area

Mr. Bui’s Homestay

Right on the Quan Lan Beach. It is suitable for backpackers who like simplicity since it is made of the bamboo. 

Contact number: 0230877255; 0984573725.

Price: 120,000 – 200,000 VND /dorm bed.

Mrs. Nhan’s Homestay

Just opposite the Ngan Ha Hotel. There are two rooms on the second floor with air-conditioning from 8.00 am until morning, 1 twin room and 1 double room. If we arrange more mattress, up to 10 persons (Vietnamese) can stay here.

Contact number: 01236833760.

Price: 45 USD /both rooms.

Mr. Bui’s Homestay

Mr. Bui offers still house so you will be sharing with others. It is 7 minutes walk to Quan Lan Beach. Food can be ordered and a set menu includes squid, prawn, clam, mussels, sour soup

Contact number: 098 457 3725

Price: 150,000 VND/person, group of 2 persons.

Phuong Hoang Hotel

Located in the heart of Quan Lan Village, 600 meters from Quan Lan Beach. There are 27 rooms.

They also offer speed boat from/to Quan Lan by Hao Thinh Company and tuk-tuk for transfer.  Restaurant and campfire are available.

Email: phuonghoanghotelql@gmail.com

Mobile: Mr. Hien 0977 925 384; Mrs. Nga 0978 743 426; Mr. Hao 0125 888 986

Price: 600,000 VND – 800,000 VND /room.

Ngan Ha Hotel

Located in the heart of Quan Lan, near the temple, pagoda and Communal House, 300 meters from Quan Lan Beach. There are 25 rooms in this hotel and 1 restaurant.  

Price: 400,000 VND room / night for weekdays

           600,000 VND weekends.

Contact number:  (+84)02303 877 296 – 0912 326 997; English Speaking: 0916 513 144

Email: nganhahotelquanlan@gmail.com

Ann hotel

It is located in Quan Lan, only a few minutes walk to the beach. All rooms have a balcony and amazing sea view. The hotel offers speed boat from/to Quan Lan, restaurant, karaoke.

Price: 650,000 VND room/night.

Contact number: 203.3877 889 – Hotline: 0913.072.072

Email: sales@annhotel.com.vn

Web : http://annhotel.com.vn/

Paloma Hotel

3 stars new hotel, launched in April 2016. The ideal location is only 300 meters to the beach, 12 kilometers to Minh Chau Beach.

Price: 1,200,000 VND / room

Services: Speed boat from/to Quan Lan, bike, and motorbike rental, elevator, karaoke.

Contact number: +84 913 266 252

Email: thanhhung2510@gmail.com

Web : http://www.palomahotel.vn/

Song Chau Villa

Nice and comfortable. A couple of hundred meters to the beach but far from other beaches: 4 kilometers to Son Hao Beach, 12 kilometers to Minh Chau Beach.

Price: 600,000 VND room/night

Contact number: 0230 3877566; 0984481973

Email : songchauvilla@gmail.com

Viet Hang hotel

Thai Hoa, Quan Lan near Ann Hotel. Only 200 meters to Quan Lan Beach, 500 meters to the town. Established in 2011, offer 30 rooms.

Price: 500,000 VND /weekday and

           700,000 VND / weekend.

Accommodation in Son Hao area

Van Hai Xanh (Green Van Hai) Resort.

300 meters to Son Hao Beach. They do offer a restaurant, garden view & ocean view residence. 

Price: 650,000 VND room/night

           800,000VND /room

         1400,000 – 2,000,000 /ocean view villa.

Contact number: (+84)203.387 7316

Hot Line: 0986.25.66.88/ 0968.648.648

Lam Hung Resort

Right at Son Hao Beach. Villa room for 2 person

Prise: 850,000 VND room/weekdays

        1,000,000 VND /weekends (Fri – Sun)

Hotline: Mr Lam 0979.366.159

Email: luuhunglam@gmail.com

Website: www.hunglamresort.com

Tuan Thuy Motel

Centrally located in the town with affordable lovely food and coffee available in the restaurant downstairs. They offer motorbike and bike to rent at a reasonable price (Bicycles: 60,000 VND).

Little to no English spoken but English menu is available, and the food is of remarkable quality.

Address: Dong Nam Village, Quan Lan Commune.

Contact number: 02303877329; 0948145148

Price: 120,000 VND / AC room (for a few days stay)

Fan room: up to 200,000 VND /in high season.

Mr. Chuong’ Homestay

Standard room, reasonable rate, good food, friendly owner

Contact number: 0982380644.

Where to eat in Quan Lan island

Most of the staffs in the restaurants do not speak English or they speak very little. Basically, body language is an excellent communication but have a calculator in your pocket.

Where to eat in Quan Lan village

Bang Xuan restaurant with good food and affordable rate

Contact number: 0919.176.559

Ngan Ha Restaurant

Contact number: 0916 513 144 – hotline with English speaking operator.

There is also a local restaurant at the end of Quan Lan Village 

Van Thuong  Floating House in Dong Nam Village, Quan Lan

Offers dining, karaoke, and coffee. 

Contact number: 0986204126.

Where to eat in Minh Chau beach area

Cat Trang Restaurant offers buffet lunch, dinner and set menu with seafood. Good food but a bit pricey for backpacker standard, no vegetarian choice. 

Email : cattrang.minhchau@gmail.com

hotline: 0982 534.657/ 0913 257.230

Food in Quan Lan island

Dinner in Quan Lan island

Food is more expensive on the island than in the mainland. In the small family run guesthouses, you will find excellent food at an affordable rate. Keep in mind that you will have to bargain and negotiate about prices, and you will also have to inform staff timely of future meals.

There are many variations of noodles or rice soups in Quan Lan Village for the price of 25,000 to 50,000 dong. At the late afternoon, the price is even higher. Seafood dishes are easy to find but they are more expensive in comparison to rice dishes.

Food in Minh Chau is of the highest rate of up to 200,000 dong. French food and some other of Western origin are available at Le Pont Hotel.

Note: Always ask for the price before you order the meal. If you like Vietnamese food, you will have a wider choice in compare to humble English menus.

Common Frequently asked questions for travelling Quan Lan island

Quan Lan travel guide 2019

How to get to Quan Lan island?

How to get around Quan Lan island

What is things to do and see in Quan Lan island?

Travelling tips and advices for Quan Lan island

Where to eat in Quan Lan?

What to eat or specialities of Quan Lan island?

Good accommodation in Quan Lan island

What is the good hotel or homestay in Quan Lan island?

Nightlife in Quan Lan island

Is it worth visiting Quan Lan island

Shopping guide in Quan Lan island

Off the beaten track travelling to beaches in Northern Vietnam

Other essential information for travelling Quan Lan island

The Quan Lan Market is open from 4.30 am to 6.30 am and 14.30 pm to 15.30 pm. If you are a bit late you will have to go to some store.

There is only one health station that belongs to Van Don Hospital in the center of Quan Lan Commune. Those who are staying in Minh Chau must also go to the health station in Quan Lan.

Money market: There’s no ATM on the island. Most of the hotels and restaurant accept only cash. Some of them accept credit card and visa card payment.

Laundry: Some hotels offer Landry service. 1-kilogram costs from 1 to 4 USD based on where you stay. If you are looking for “local” shop, then it might be available in Quan Lan Village only.

The Internet is free of charge in most of the restaurants, cafés, and big hotels or resorts.

Telephone

There is plenty of local stores which sell sim cards. Please double check which sim card you are going to get. Phone call only with an internet connection with 4G or both of them.

Safety

If you are going to the beach in a busy day, remember to take care of your belongings and don’t forget to bring a waterproof bag for your electronic devices.

Things to know

During the high peak season in summer time from May to August, the boat will run earlier than schedule if it has enough passengers. You should depart from Hanoi soon to reach either Hon Gai Port or Cai Rong port. Otherwise, you need to stay overnight in the mainland and wait for the boat trip in the following days.

If you just want a free and easy holiday, then we suggest you book your accommodation either in Son Hao Beach or Minh Chau Beach for your convenience and money savings.

Note: Tuk-tuk is going fast and it can scare you a bit. Remember to ask the price for every service you use to avoid overcharge. Actually, the locals are friendly but just in case.

The room rate based on the low season (Sept to April), is pretty cheap, especially on weekends. Lots of hotels/motels won’t include breakfast in the room rate. Please check when making a reservation.

Distance from tourist attractions

Quan Lan Quay to Quan Lan Beach: 800meters, to Quan Lan town: 1 kilometer, to Son Hao Beach: 5 kilometers, to Minh Chau Beach: 10 kilometers

Son Hao quay to Son Hao Beach: 2 kilometers

Minh Chau Quay to Minh Chau Beach: 1,5 kilometers.

What to bring

Sun-cream, sun-glasses, changes of clothes, swimming suit, insect spray, umbrella, waterproof bag, go pro, cash in local currency (Dong) are a must.

Suggested itinerary for Quan Lan island tour

Stunning beauty in Quan lan island

Day 1: 7.30 am – take limousine van from Hanoi (as recommended above), arrive in Halong city at 11.30 am. Have lunch at the restaurant and take a speed boat at 13.30 pm (See the schedule above). Arrive in Quan Lan. Take a tuk-tuk to the hotel. Take a rest. Go for a swim at Quan Lan Beach.

Day 2: Hire a motorbike for around 200,000 VND without petrol to drive to the beaches such as Son Hao Beach and Robinson Beach. Have lunch in Minh Chau Beach. Hire a kayak to get around.  Go to Wind Strait (Eo Gio). Back to the hotel.

Day 3: Visit early morning market in Quan Lan Village from 4.30 am to 6.30 am. Have breakfast. Walk around to visit the temple, pagoda, Communal House and old Van Don port. Have lunch. Take the latest speed boat at 13.00 pm. Take Van Don Xanh limousine at 14.30 pm. Back to Hanoi.

Suggested Budget for a trip to Quan Lan Island

It is always better to calculate some extra costs. If you are a water sport fan, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to enjoy kayaking. You can also decide to take an island tour by bike. That is a great opportunity to meet Quan Lan from the inside and make this amazing trip more as your personal experience.

If this travel guide will help you some ways to plan your trip to Quan Lan island. If you find it helpful, please click the button below to share it.

We also offer tours to Quan Lan island from Hanoi. Check it out!