Cai Chien Island – Mini Paradise In Mong Cai (Near Halong)

Halong Islands & Islets

Rachel Tran
Rachel Tran | Published: December 28, 2019

Halong Bay (Ha Long Bay), the World Natural Heritage of Vietnam recognized twice by UNESCO, has always been famous in the world for its various islands, unique-shaped islets, the impressive stalactites caves and the stunning beaches. Among those, it is safe to announce that Cai Chien Island is the most popular one. With its refreshing air and magnificent sceneries, Cai Chien Island has long been considered as the heaven on Earth of Halong Bay.

    Location: Hai Ha district, Mong Cai city, Vietnam

Highlights of Cai Chien Island

1. The Ideal Position of Cai Chien Island

Cai Chien currently is the only island of Hai Ha district, Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam. Blessed with ideal natural conditions and rich natural resources, Cai Chien Island processes numerous impressive scenes and beauty.

Cai Chien Island is located 15 kilometers from the mainland, so tourists have to travel by canoe or boat to get to the island. The journey will take an average of 20 to 40 minutes based on the means of transport you choose and the weather conditions of that day. The ocean area near Cai Chien Island is quiet and calm, making it easier to travel as well.

With such a position, Cai Chien Island promises to be the ideal place for relaxing, chilling and getting rid of the daily stress. If tourists are looking for a quiet and unspoiled destination with a peaceful atmosphere and calming aura, Cai Chien Island is the perfect place to be.

2. The Unspoiled Beauty of Cai Chien Island

As mentioned above, Cai Chien Island has certain unspoiled and natural sights that will surely satisfy your heart. For those who are already tired of the busy city life, with dusty roads, loud noises, and constant moving life, Cai Chien Island is the exact kind of peace that you need.

Cai Chien Island has an area of 2.500 hectares, with the main topographic are mountains and beaches – the two most significant and wonderful beauty of nature. Cai Chien Island consists of 2 kilometers of shore, creating a wonderful area for swimming, sunbathing, relaxing and sightseeing. The ocean of Cai Chien Island has blue, refreshing and clear water which is absolutely perfect for vacations. 

The mountains of Cai Chien Island have a lot of beautiful and stunning species of plants, which bloom magnificently when the right time comes. Each season, Cai Chien Island is drenched in a different kind of attractiveness, especially in the summer, when various types of flowers start blooming at the same time, creating a breathtaking sight of colors all over the island.

3. The Distinguished Weather of Cai Chien Island

Located in the Northeastern area of Vietnam, Cai Chien Island has the characteristic climate: it has 4 different seasons in a year, each season also has its own weather and temperature. Based on the preference and needs of tourists, they tend to choose the time that is most suitable for them to visit Cai Chien Island, Vietnam.

The two most significant seasons of Cai Chien Island are summer and winter. During the summer, the weather is quite hot and humid, the sun shines brightly and the wind blows aggressively, making it the ideal time to visit the beach on the island. From June to October, each year is the time when Cai Chien Island is most crowded with both domestic and international visitors. Another thing to remember is that in Cai Chien Island, July is when it rains the most, so visitors should be careful when traveling during this time.

Cai Chien Island also has the coldest winter among all the large and small islands of Quang Ninh Province in particular and in Northern Vietnam in general. However, the peaceful, a little bit gloomy and deep beauty of the place have never stopped tourists from stopping by to admire. Despite not being able to swim, travelers can still hang out at the wonderful destinations on the island as well as take astonishing pictures.

What To Do At Cai Chien Island?

1. Swimming at Van Ca, Cai Chien and Dau Rong Beach

Cai Chien Island is always famous for its astonishing beaches, and Van Ca, Cai Chien, Dau Rong beach are the three astonishing ones that have been attracting thousands of tourists to Cai Chien Island. Relaxing in the blue saltwater of these beaches will bring you such chilling and unforgettable memories.

Cai Chien beach is the main swimming area of the island. The beach consists of a huge number of resorts, homestays and hotels as well as seafood restaurants and other services. Tourists can swim in the spectacular beach while enjoying the hospitality and friendliness of the local people here.

Dau Rong beach is considered as the most famous beach of Cai Chien Island. The place has charmed travelers with its shining white sand and long lines of casuarina trees, which brings the peacefulness and calming sense to the beach. After swimming, tourists can come and relax under the shade of the trees, enjoy the salty wind breeze or walk along the 1-kilometer foreshore. 

For those who are looking for a calming, quiet place to swim and relax, Van Ca beach is the perfect destination. Located only 2 kilometers from Cai Chien beach, but Van Ca beach is less crowded, a little unspoiled and wild due to the lack of tourists. Around Van Ca beach, there are not many services too. But if you are trying to escape from the stress and looking for time to yourself, Van Ca beach is the ideal solace heaven.

2. Exploring Thoi Xanh Island

Thoi Xanh is another island in the area of Cai Chien commune. It is located 3 kilometers from Cai Chien island by sea, so visitors will have to rent a canoe or a boat to get to Thoi Xanh island.

Comparing to Cai Chien island, Thoi Xanh is a lot quieter and calmer, because, in fact, there are not many people come to the place. Thoi Xanh tourism is not as developed as Cai Chien tourism, there is only a small number of travel services available on the island. Many may find Thoi Xanh island boring, however, it is the quiet atmosphere that makes Thoi Xanh island so beautiful and worth visiting.

After spending so much time in the busy city with a never-ending lifestyle of the people, the peaceful and solace feeling of Thoi Xanh island is exactly what you need to refresh your mind and get rid of all the tiredness. You will be charmed with the untouched beauty here.

Not only that, but standing on Thoi Xanh island, visitors will actually able to watch other astonishing islands nearby as well, such as Co To island, Hon Trui island, Sau mountain at Van Don and Vinh Thuc islet at Mong Cai, etc.

3. Squid Fishing During the Night

Almost always, when traveling to the beaches and ocean areas of Vietnam, visitors will try to catch some squids at night, and at Cai Chien island this is also a popular activity. If you want to try squid fishing, you will have to use a local boat to travel to the middle of the ocean. 

Once you have arrived at the right area where squids are usually found, the locals will carefully instruct you on how to use the fishing rod, how to use the bait as well as the right techniques to catch squids. Once you have caught the squids, you can even ask the locals to cook them right on the boat to enjoy too.

4. Visiting Khe Dau Lake and Khe Dinh Lake

Khe Dau is a large sweetwater lake on Cai Chien Island, with an acreage of 18 hectares. Around the lake, the green plants and wildlife create such poetic and peaceful scenery.

Similar to Khe Dau, Khe Dinh is also a sweetwater lake but significantly smaller, only 5 hectares large. However, its beauty and appearance are just as impressive as the huge Khe Dau Lake.

What to Eat at Cai Chien Island?

A wonderful thing about Cai Chien Island cuisine is that: the food is normally cheap. Unlike most other beaches tourism sites, the seafood in Cai Chien Island is not too expensive, the other dishes are quite affordable but still have such deliciousness and refreshing flavors that charm all the travelers who have tried. 

A tip for you is that before ordering seafood, you should deal with the restaurant about the price to avoid having to pay more than you are supposed to. If you want to taste the seafood of Cai Chien Island in the most simple way, you can come to the sailing boats of local people, ask to buy their fresh-caught seafood and ask them to cook for you right on the spot. It may not live up to restaurant quality but it surely will leave a deep impression in you.

Other local dishes of Cai Chien Island are also appetizing, from normal side dishes that the Vietnamese usually have with rice to the simpler street food. Cai Chien Island doesn’t actually have any specific dishes, so when you travel to Cai Chien, you should try all the food you see to feel the unique and wonderful cuisine of this land.

How to Get to Cai Chien Island?

From Hanoi, you can reach Cai Chien Island via Ghenh Vo wharf, Hai Ha, Quang Ninh Province. To get the wharf you can buy car tickets to Mong Cai, remember to tell the driver that you will get off at Hai Ha. 

Once you arrive at Ghenh Vo wharf, there will be two ways to get to Cai Chien Island. The first one is that you travel by speed canoe. This means of transport will only take you a short amount of time, depending on the weather condition. Each ride of the speed canoe will take you about 400.000 VND per person. If you are looking for a short vacation, traveling by canoe will save you a lot of time.

The other way being you travel to Cai Chien Island by ferry. The ferry, of course, will take longer to arrive at the island, compared to speed canoe. However, the price to travel by ferry is much cheaper, so you can save some money. A person will have to pay 20.000 VND for a ride, plus an extra fee if you want to take your mean of transport with you. The slow and tender pace of the ferry will give you a quality relaxing time as well as help you to admire the peaceful scene of the ocean too.

Keep that in mind that every day, there are only three ferry rides available for tourists, one at 06:30 AM, one at 10:30 AM and one at 04:30 PM. During weekends and holidays, there might be more rides to meet up the need of travelers. 

During your stay at Cai Chien Island, you can rent a motorbike, a bicycle or an electric car (for large groups of tourists) to explore every corner of the island. Enjoying the salty wind breeze while taking in the stunning beauty of the island will surely be an unforgettable experience.

Tips When Traveling In Cai Chien Island

  • The best time to explore Cai Chien Island is from May to June every year, which is the beginning of the summer. During that time, the weather is extremely nice and the warm sun rays make it easier to swim and enjoy the refreshing seawater. Located in the Northern area of Vietnam, so the winter in Cai Chien Island can be really cold, and from June to October there will likely to have storms and hurricanes – which is not safe to travel. 
  • Try to stay in the container area of Cai Chien Island. Those are the homestay areas which were built with the shape of the containers, making its unique and one-of-a-kind style. The colorful walls are what capture the attention of young tourists, and you can take amazing, impressive pictures in the area as well.
  • Bring enough sunproof types of equipment. The summer in Cai Chien Island, although beautiful, can do quite harm to your skin. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, a hat, a pair of sunglasses, some thin coat to avoid the sun and slippers in your suitcase.
  • Everything on Cai Chien Island is quite unspoiled. The whole island has no more than 1000 residents, making it a peaceful and wonderful place to stay and hang out. If you are into somewhere bustling and buzzing with energy, Cai Chien Island may not be the one for you.
  • For those who don’t know how to swim: there are not many places in Cai Chien Island that you can hire a life jacket or swimming floats, so if you feel like you need those to stay in the ocean, bring them from home.

Cai Chien Island is compared to an “untouched gem” that is waiting to be explored and adored. This is definitely the safe haven for those who are stressed out and looking for a secret hideout. Come to Cai Chien Island to feel your life slowing down, regain the energy you have lost and calm your mind in the most relaxing and comfortable way. This poetic island is a tourism site of Northern Vietnam that you should visit at least once in your life.

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