Quan Lan Island
Quan Lan Island is located within the area of Bai Tu Long Bay, stretching on a total area of 11 square kilometers, from Van Don mountains to Giot Mountain. The island lies on a very important marine gateway connecting Vietnam and other countries such as China, Japan, Thailand, and The Philippines.
Spreading along the coast of the island are numerous white sand beaches and this is also the sea where fishermen get high quality seafood such as squids, butterfish, mackerel, prawn, sea cucumber, etc.
During the 11th Century, Quan Lan was a busy port for international trade between Vietnam and other countries. A lot of vestiges related to trading activities have been discovered here.
The outstanding tourist attraction of this island is Quan Lan Temple, which was built in the 18th Century with impressive architectural design with finely carved patterns, and is still preserved nearly 100% until now.
Quan Lan Island belongs to Bái Tử Long Bay; part of an island range on the outside of the gulf of Bắc Bộ. It has an area of 11 sq. km, and features eight populated hamlets. Quan Lạn Island stretch toward East – West from the foot of Vân Đồn Range to the Gót Mount with many high mountains to the east barring waves and winds, protect the villages. The island is situated on an important navigation route that connects China, Japan, Thailand and Philippines to Vietnam.
Along two sides of the island are tens kilometres of sand beaches. This is the endless resource for glass making which the sea gives to man and it is also the extremely interesting tourism
Since the 11th century, Quan Lạn had been one of the centres of the ancient commercial port of Vân Ðồn, which was animated and prosperous at the time. Today, there are still many vestiges linked to the ancient commercial port.
This also explains why the island, lying deep in the sea, has the large pagodas and archaeological sites seen today. On the island there is the Quan Lạn Communal House built in the 18th century; exceedingly beautiful and almost entirely preserved. Next to it is Quan Lạn Pagoda (Linh Quang Tự), which is dedicated to Buddha and God Liêu Hạnh.
The pagoda also worships the statue of old Hậu, a local person who made lots of contributions to the construction of the pagoda. The statue features a gentle and cheerful old woman, which adds an original character to the pagoda. Beside Quan Lạn Pagoda lies Nghè Quan Lạn (Ðức Ông) Shrine, which is dedicated to Phạm Công Chính, a local people who participated in the historical Vân Ðồn battle against the Yuan invaders. He was later honored as a god. Quan Lạn has many valuable sea products such as octopuses, butterfish, mackerel, holothurian, shrimp, and sái sùng.
Quan Lan has 3 beaches: Quan Lan Beach, Son Hao Beach and Minh Chau Beach. All three beaches have white sand and are quite pristine compared with other beaches near Halong Bay. Quan Lan Beach is the one that is closest to the pier yet also the most beautiful of all three. Go further into the island another 4km you will reach Son Hao and another 10km is Minh Chau beach.
Due to its remoteness, accommodation facility is slowly emerging in Quan Lan and the majority remains small hostels or homestays. They do not need to be booked in advance as they are readily available year round. Price varies from $10-40/room/night.
How to get there
You can get to Quan Lan either from Halong Bay or from Cai Rong Pier (near Cua Ong). Ferries from Halong would take about 1.5 hours while speedboat from Cai Rong pier takes about 45 minutes.
How to get around
Quan Lan remains a less motorized island than any others in Halong Bay area. To get around you can either rent a bicycle or take tuktuk (available for booking from most hostels).
Situated 15 km from Quan Lan Beach, the famous Minh Châu Beach is proud of its white sand which do not stick to one’s foot. Visitors can go to the camping site there to stay overnight. Tourists can go there via Cam Pha, crossing Tài Xá Ferry (near Cua Ông Temple), to Cái Rong Town. After this 9-km road, tourists catch a boat at Cái Rong Port. The trip to Quan Lan Island takes about 3 hours. On the way, one should visit some other islands for sightseeing. On reaching Minh Châu Beach in Quan Lan Island, tourists can enjoy swimming and taste delicious seafood.
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