Halong Bay, a world heritage in the North of Vietnam, is well-known for its pristine beauty adorned by thousands of limestone islands in various shapes and sizes. Coming to Halong Bay, you will be overwhelmed by the natural picturesque scenery of sea, sky and islands here. If you have a chance to go on a cruise tour in Halong Bay, don’t forget to stop in Hon Co Island, one of the most stunning islands there.
I. Overview of Hon Co Island
Halong Bay, one of the 7 new wonders of the world, is not a stage name with foreign travellers to Vietnam. This bay is considered as a geopark with both cultural and natural values which has existed up to millions of years. Hon Co Island is not an exception in Halong Bay with a lot of impressive things that are worth your visit.
Located in the Cong Do Area of Halong Bay, Hon Co Island, aka Grass Island, owns a spectacular appearance with the green color of grass and trees and the white color of limestone. It is named Hon Co due to the grass cover and other flora species perched on the imposing mountain cliffs.
In comparison to the surrounding islands of Halong Bay, Hon Co Island is not too familiar to many tourists, especially those who come to Halong for the first time. It was not until Thien Canh Son Cave was opened for tourists that Hon Co Island became an appealing attraction to more visitors.
II. Highlights of Hon Co Island
Hon Co Island is located in Cong Do Nature Reserve; the surrounding area is the crystal-clear sea and numerous beautiful islets. The Mother of Nature favored this island with a white sand beach, a magnificent cave and a diverse plant system. All the factors blend together as a harmony of ocean, sky and rock, which for sure will immediately captivates any tourists coming to Hon Co Island.
Due to the fact that Hon Co is less popular than the others in Halong Bay, the island almost preserves its untouched beauty with the green vegetation that attracts the eyes of tourists from far distance.
There is no doubt about the beauty of Hon Co Island. The island is like an emerald adorning the natural beauty of Halong. Hon Co has a diverse and lush greenery which covers from the ground to the top of the limestone mountain. Each step of tourists on Hon Co Island is one more step to reach a miniature majestic world.
The reason most tourists come to Hon Co Island is the beauty of Thien Canh Son Cave. The name of the cave means “a mountain with a heavenly view”. To serve visitors, a system of paths inside the cave and the stairs to the top of the cave are built. Thien Canh Son Cave does not only comprise various magnificent stalactites inside but also a picturesque scenery from the top of the mountain.
Following the path leading to the mountain top, walking out the cave and inhaling the cool air of the sea, you will be overwhelmed by the magical view of Halong Bay from above. The charming appearance that the Creator has bestowed on Hon Co Island will give you a delightful journey to this small corner of the world.
III. What to See and Do in Hon Co Island?
The white sand beach of Hon Co Island is an ideal place for you to immerse yourself in the cool and clear water of Halong Bay. Or if you want a more exciting feeling, you can jump from the cruise ship into the sea water; this is such a thrilling experience. Besides, you can enjoy sunbathing by laying down on the white beach and sipping coconut water.
Editor’s note: Pay attention to the warning sign in the swimming area. Do not swim too far from the shore to ensure your safety. Check out the detailed guide on swimming in Halong Bay here.
2. Kayaking to Explore the Island
Kayaking is an interesting activity in Hon Co Cave in particular and in Halong Bay in general that you are advised to try with your friends or groups. Sitting on a boat, hooking the paddle and listening to the murmuring sound of wind and sea are must-trying activities for you. The view of Hon Co Island from the kayak boat is completely different from what you have seen before, so this activity is worth joining.
Editor’s note: Don’t forget to wear a life jacket when you are participating in this activity. If you try sailing a kayak boat for the first time, you should do it with a professional guide.
3. Enjoying a Sunset Dinner
Hon Co is becoming more and more popular to tourists, so you can find some restaurants on the seashore. If you like the charming beauty of the sunset on the sea, why don’t you choose to have a meal with your lover right on the beach of Hon Co Island? The wonderful atmosphere of the transitional time of day and night will not disappoint you.
Editor’s note: You should also pay attention to the itinerary of your cruise ship so that you do not miss any intriguing things with your ship.
4. Going on a Night Cruise in Halong Bay
Many tourists choose to stay overnight on their ships in the middle of Halong Bay to fully contemplate the impressive beauty of Halong Bay. You can admire the stunning sunset on the sea, feel the cool breath of the ocean at night, and then see the glorious sunrise the next morning. The night sea of Halong Bay has a mysterious appearance like in a thrilling narrative that is waiting for your exploration.
5. Conquering Thien Canh Son Cave
Setting foot on Hon Co Island without discovering Thien Canh Son Cave may be the most regretful thing you have done in Halong Bay. This splendid cave has another name as Grass Cave. After passing 100 steps, you will reach Thien Canh Son Cave. This cave is a wonderland with colorful stalactites and stalagmites in various shapes and sizes. Due to that majestic beauty, Thien Canh Son Cave is considered a theater in the middle of the Northeastern sea.
IV. How to Get to Hon Co Island?
Halong is about 160 kilometers to the east of Hanoi. To get to Halong City, you should go by car or by coach. The ticket price ranges from 120,000 to 200,000 VND. Thanks to the new highway, it only takes you about 2 hour to travel from Hanoi to Halong City.
From Tuan Chau Harbor, you hire a cruise ship to visit Halong Bay. Each cruise ship here includes a list of destinations in Halong Bay that the ship will stop. If you want to visit Hon Co Island, don’t forget to check whether the itinerary of the ship has the name Hon Co Island.
V. Extra Tips
The best time to visit Halong Bay and Hon Co Cave is from October to April, when the weather is the most favorable for your journey. At that time, the sky is blue with a lot of sunlights, which is the ideal condition for outside activities.
You should follow the safety guide and the instruction of the tour guide on the cruise ship to guarantee the safety of you as well as others.
Don’t forget to take gorgeous photos as the reminders of your trip to Halong Bay.
As a small but important part of Halong Bay, Hon Co Island is getting more and more attractive to both domestic and foreign visitors. The island contributes to the natural value of a world heritage as well as becomes a wonderful stopover for many cruise ships. If you have an opportunity to get to Hon Co Island, don’t hesitate to share your unforgettable moments there!