Located within the popular new wonder of the world – Ha Long Bay (Halong Bay), Tuan Chau Island has all the natural advantages to turn itself into the brightest pearl in Northern Vietnam, offering various recreational activities and idyllic seashore resorts. Not only does it boast spectacular view and beautiful spots, Tuan Chau also contains rich archaeological and historical values.
Traces and relics have revealed that prehistoric people occupied this area around 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. In wartime, Tuan Chau was a key outpost for the army to defend Vietnam’s borders because of a strategic position on the sea. The name, which basically combined two words ‘Linh Tuan’ (the patrolman) and ‘Tri Chau’ (district chief), came from that.
Location: north-west of Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh province, Vietnam
Opening hours: daily 24/7
Entering the island and relaxing by the sea are totally free. There are only tickets for personal entertaining activities.
- Tuan Chau International Entertainment Center, which offers an endless range of outdoor rides and games, costs 250,000VND per person.
- Tourist Recreation Tuan Chau International, home to animal circus and 5D cinema, requires tickets which cost 200,000/person and free for children under 1 meter. There will be 50,000 VND plus on weekends and holidays.
Best Time to Visit Tuan Chau Island
In fact, Tuan Chau Island has four separate seasons. Winter time is from November to February when it is slightly chilly and humid, the low season is suitable for someone enjoying low pace style and quietness. The rest of the year is typical for a tropical country like Vietnam. Warm spring sounds so exciting and busy after Lunar New Year, blazing summer with splendid shades of blue sky and emerald water is impeccable for swimming and sailing, romantic autumn is extremely suitable for walking along the beach with your loved one or discovering the mystical beauty of Tuan Chau.
In general, the best time to visit Tuan Chau Island, Halong Bay is from early May to the end of September. During this time, the weather is pleasant and cool, suitable for activities like sightseeing and enjoying the beaches. This is also the budget traveling time to visit Tuan Chau.
Editor’s Tip: Avoid going to Tuan Chau island at the weekend and on holidays like around 30th April (Reunification Day and Halong Carnaval) and summer holiday for students (June to August), since the prices are generally higher.
What to Do in Tuan Chau Island?
History must have witnessed a magical development: from a poor area without power and clean water in an isolated island to the most modern attractive beauty spot in Ha Long City, visitors can see the network of international standard including entertainment complex, hotel and restaurants. All of them are designed for the sake of amusing tourists, both children and adults to the best. It seems like never is enough for you to know each small corner of Tuan Chau, so check out the most outstanding ones below.
1. Enjoy the Beaches
There are two beaches, one on either side of the island. They are gorgeous sandy beaches stretching into horizon embraced by crystal-clear sea in such a fresh and quaint atmosphere. Some coconut trees are waving their hands in accordance to the tune of breezes. Then you can find yourself somewhere diving under the clear water, lying under the shades of those coconut trees, playing with soft sand and strolling along the shore holding somebody’s hands.
However, the list of activities you can tick off on the seaside never stops there. For whom seeking more intense, higher-demanding and more thrilling exercises absolutely should try out something like jet skiing, windsurfing, canoe parachuting or kayaking- just be with cool clear salty water and challenge your balance and strength.
2. Go Camping, Hiking or Mountain-climbing
If you are adventurous and sporty enough, you will definitely love the nature here. Most of the island is hilly and lush, but not too huge and steep, which offers the best conditions for green forests-lovers to spend up to one day exploring the mystery of nature there. You will chill out by the calmness and temporarily get out of the hustle and bustle of the city.
3. See Animal Performances
Known for the diversity of ecosystem, Tuan Chau island is the home to a number of animals. Tuan Chau hosts many amazing shows with seals, dolphins, sea lions and crocodiles together with a high-tech water fountain music performance with laser lighting and film showing on the water screen. There is also a martial arts show and a circus of monkeys open from Tuesday to Sunday. The whole club is designed in a typical dome architecture, can contain up to 2500 people and a huge salt water pool where cute friendly dolphins and sea lions are raised and protected.
4. Get in Some Rides and Party Overnight in Tuan Chau International Entertainment Center
It is basically a complex of boundless entertainment with fun, modern and attractive establishments scattered throughout the parks. The outdoor parks are large and colourfully decorated, so each and every corner can give you a perfect photo. The miniature of Wonders of the World and Walt Disney cartoon, thrilling rides swinging in the air and the authentic game maze filled with the large coinops screens and Crocodile Club promise to bring out all sense of entertainment, from screaming in fear to cachinnating out.
Last but not least, for free travellers, nothing more remarkable than at the end of the day, you set up a BBQ party, board games, dance or magic laser effects in a stunning background overlooking the picturesque sea view and raise your voice with wind’s breath.
5. Get on Cruise Halong Bay
Located next to Halong Bay, Tuan Chau is a great departure point for your day-long Halong discovery, but not in a normal traditional way, but enjoying a panoramic view of thousands of lush and shape-varied limestone islets from a cruise. Dozens of docked cruise ships and junks, which are fully equipped and luxuriously furnished, are always willing to take you further into the sea. Waking up in a cruise floating on an appealing bay, waiting for sunrise and filling your stomach with scrumptious seafood are all once-of-a-lifetime experience.
Some suggested cruises are Aclass Stellar Cruise, Carina Cruise, Glory Legend Cruise, Rosa Cruise, and Pelican Cruise. You can opt for the most suitable one based on your budget, decoration style preference and location.
How to Get to Tuan Chau Island
Tuan Chau Island covers an area of 2.2 square kilometers in the north-west of Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh province. It is easily accessible through a 1.86 km road from the land.
A plus point of Tuan Chau Island is that it’s not far from land and can both reached by road (through National Route 1) and waterway (from Ha Long Bay).
1. By coach
From Hanoi to Tuan Chau island, you can choose to go by coach (My Dinh- Quang Ninh route which costs just 200,000VND) to get to Bai Chay, then from Bai Chay, you follow the road linking to Tuan Chau. You have two options to get to Tuan Chau island, either catching a taxi or motorbike taxi, or renting a car/ motorbike for a few days and go by yourself, both take up to 2 hours only.
2. By Plane
From Ho Chi Minh City, it’s the most convenient to land in Cat Bi airport by air first, then travel by car/bus on Hai Phong – Tuan Chau Highway in just a 30-minute drive. The other choice is going to Van Don airport and then take a boat from Mong Cai to Tuan Chau, which takes about 2 hours.
3. By Motorbike
If you want something adventurous, then using a motorbike to travel to Tuan Chau island is an interesting idea. If you depart from Hanoi, it takes about 160km to travel through Hai Duong and Bac Ninh provinces through the Highways. Choosing this way, you need to prepare the map and acknowledge the route clearly.
You can follow the National Highway 1A (through Bac Ninh province) or the Highway 5 (through Hai Duong province).
4. By Train
The safest means to get to Halong Bay and Tuan Chau island is probably the train. You can buy the Halong Express train ticket at Gia Lam station and it takes about 5 hours to arrive at Halong. Ticket price is about US$15/person (for foreigners) and US$5/person (for Vietnamese).
Where to Stay at Tuan Chau Island?
As demands for various kinds of accommodation service increase, local people on Tuan Chau Island provide a myriad of choices, from little lovely homestays, reasonably- priced hostels, 4-star hotels and international-standard heaven-like resorts; of course, besides opulent cruises mentioned above.
Halong Paradise Suite Hotel has been on the top recommendation for high-end visitors for years, which satisfies anyone with a beautiful bayside pool, a luxury spa and beach-overlooking plush suites. It is in walking distance of 1958 Restaurant, which is well-known for incredibly delicious authentic Vietnamese food, especially seafood.
Tips on Visiting Tuan Chau Island
- Once deciding to go there on the high-season, remember to book hotels, coaches or cruises in advance, they will be sold out very quickly.
- Schedule of performances
Crocodiles and Monkeys performances: Each lasts for 20 minutes in various periods: 9am – 9h20am; 11am – 11:20 am; 14:30 pm – 14:50 pm; 16:40 pm– 16:50 pm; 19: 30 pm – 19:50 pm; 20:15 pm – 20:35 pm (Only for holidays and festivals)
Lions and Seals performances: Each lasts for 30 minutes in various periods 10:00- 10:30; 15:30 – 16:00; 20:15 – 20:55; 21:15 – 22:15.
Those are all highlights and recommendations for a trip in Tuan Chau Island. It’s time to plan and indulge yourself by an unforgettable and amazing experience in one of the best islands in Vietnam. Please comment below if you want to share yours or any concern about this beautiful spot.