From limestone archipelagos to tropical hideaways

Vietnam has round three thousand islands, mostly clustered in large and small groups. They vary from tiny rocky pinnacles that scarcely break the floor to massive land areas supporting substantial populations.


The Gulf of Tonkin


The Ha Long Bay archipelago is big: nicely over a thousand islands stretching from Hai Phong virtually to Vietnam’s border with China and contains Cat Ba Island, an important National Park and wildlife reserve within the extreme west of the Bay. Most of the Bay’s rocky peaks are composed of limestone ‘karst’, a particular pattern of abrasion creating massive ‘towers’.


Ha Long Bay is certainly one of Asia’s most essential vacationer destinations attracting well over two million visitors a year. Nonetheless, the majority of the vacationer visitors is concentrated within the central World Heritage Area, leaving the extra remote, however equally enticing, areas more or less deserted. Gia Linh Travel makes use of conventional wooden boats to take visitors on non-public cruises that keep away from the crowds.


Off-limits to guests


Two archipelagos, Truong SA (the Spratlys – about 500km the Cam Ranh coast and the most important archipelago in the Vietnam East Sea) and Hoang SA (the Parcels – about 300km from Da Nang) are the subject of a territorial dispute between Vietnam and China, and are subsequently off-limits to visitors. It is a pity, for both are richly bio-various with an abundance of coral reefs – greater than 600 within the Spratlys alone. Even more sadly, the battle over its


Ownership has blocked conservation measures and led to over-exploitation and environmental degradation.


Nha Trang


There are simply over 70 islands scattered off the coast in Cam Ranh Bay. They stretch from Nha Trang City far into the Vietnam East Sea. A few have small populations, however most are uninhabited. Organized boat journeys concentrate on 4 of the islands closest to Nha Trang and, though very commercialized, they are great fun. Nonetheless, if you want to escape the vacationers we can organize non-public cruises to take you wherever you wish to go.


The Con Dao islands


The Con Dao archipelago’s reference to the mainland was by way of a ship from Vung Tau, about 190km to the north of Con Dao; however a brand new Vietnam Airways service has made it more accessible. Con Son, its largest island, was as soon as a lot-feared penal colony however is now house to a couple of thousand individuals who fish, dive for pearls and develop fruit.


Con Dao’s unspoilt beaches, clear water and ample bio-diversity make it an interesting possibility for a ‘get away from all of it’ holiday. Nevertheless, its infrastructure is rudimentary, and only restricted accommodation is available.


Phu Quoc and past


The possession of the 2 archipelagos in the Gulf of Thailand, currently part of Vietnam, are also contested, Phu Quoc by Cambodia, and Tho Chu by Cambodia and Thailand. However, the claims relate to territorial boundaries in the distant past and should not energetic disputes.


Each are south of the Rach Gia coast in the extreme south of Vietnam. Phu Quoc, a large island that gives its name to the archipelago, is about 70km from the mainland, and Tho Chu, a cluster of smaller islands, is about 130km additional into the Gulf.


Around 60,000 folks dwell on Phu Quoc. The normal activities of fishing, rising cashews and black pepper, and manufacturing fish sauce are actually being supplanted by a nascent vacationer industry. It boasts a small airport, a hydrofoil service and some primary hotels.


The islands in the Tho Chu archipelago (200 km off the Rach Gia coast), can solely be reached by a protracted sea voyage. Although it might change into a practical proposition in the future, it is too remote and undeveloped to support tourism at present.


  •   In VIETNAM: No. 4, Alley 604/33/2, Group 22, Ngoc Thuy Ward, Long Bien District, Hanoi, Vietnam

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  •   In WASHINGTON: 116 Forest Lane, Bellingham, WA 98225

  •   In TEXAS: 4654 Highway 6 North, Suite 101N, Houston, TX 77084

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  •   In THAILAND: No. 25/A2, Nak Niwat Soi 21, Lad Prao 71, Bangkok 10230

  •   In CAMBODIA: Sala Kanseng, Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap

      In MYANMAR: 109, Sinh-oo-dan Street, Latha Township, Yangon

      In LAOS: Hom 07 Ban Nasamphan, 13th North Road, Luangprabang


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