Co To Island, located off the northeastern coast of Quang Ninh province, is a serene getaway from the hustles of life. With its scenic natural landscapes and peaceful fishing villages, it’s the ideal location for travelers searching for peace. Our Co To Travel Guide will take you on a journey of this tranquil paradise, providing all the information you need to make the most of your visit.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Co To Island, according to our Co To Travel Guide, is during the summer or autumn months, specifically in April and May, when the weather is pleasant and no storms are expected. The main islands of Co To, Co To Con (Small Co To), and Thanh Lan are the most popular tourist destinations on Co To Island, which is home to nearly 50 small islands. However, if you’re traveling on a budget, consider visiting between June and July, when prices are more affordable but storms are frequent. To avoid storms, always check the weather forecast and come prepared for mosquitos in the afternoon and chilly nights by carrying bug spray and a light jacket.
What to Experience
The main attraction of Co To is its magnificent beaches with fine white sand and clear waters. On Big Co To Island, you can visit Van Chay, Tinh Yeu (also known as Tau Dam beach), Hong Van, and Bac Van beaches. While on Small Co To Island, visit South Beach and East Beach, which can be reached by boat from Bac Van port, a 7-km ride from the mainland. The boat ride takes 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the weather.
For a romantic sunrise or sunset, head to Hong Van, Nam Hai, or Van Chay. You can also have a beach barbecue, either by cooking fresh seafood from the local market or arranging it through a tour company.
Thanh Lan Island, located two km from Big Co To Island, boasts beautiful beaches like Trung Tam, Vung Ba Chau, C76, and Hai Quan. The island’s ancient sedimentary rocks and primeval forests add to its appeal.
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Take a boat ride to Bat Huong, Ca Chep, Khe Trau, Tran, Ba Duc, Con Chuot, and Su Tu islands for an island-hopping adventure. Don’t miss visiting Su Tu Island, a landmark located next to Small Co To Island.
Mong Rong Stone Beach
Discover the beauty of Mong Rong Stone Beach, a 2-km-long shore made of smoothed sedimentary rocks molded by thousands of years of seawater. The beach is known for its colorful rocks and sometimes called “Dragon’s Claw” for its sharp rock formations. During calm days, enjoy activities like scuba diving and fishing, or capture the beauty of the beach’s moss season with your camera.
Co To Lighthouse
Climb the 72 spiral stairs to the top of the Co To Lighthouse to experience one of the most stunning views in all of Vietnam. The lighthouse, perched on a hill over 100 meters high, offers breathtaking views of the entire island floating in the ocean. Chat with the lighthouse keepers for a unique experience, and walk up the stairs barefoot, as the keepers collect clean rainwater from the stairs.
Take a stroll down Love Road, a red brick-paved road that runs along the Co To coast for over two km. Surrounded by green casuarina trees and the sound of waves, this road provides a tranquil and romantic atmosphere. Walk to the end of the road to see a small temple dedicated to a Vietnamese General and a love story. Love Road is a great place for a peaceful and picturesque walk, especially during sunset when the sky turns shades of orange and pink. The road is also a popular spot for photography, so don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking views.
Primordial Choi Forest
The Choi Forest, also known as the primitive forest, is a unique and pristine ecosystem in Co To Island. The forest is home to an array of plant species, including old-growth casuarinas, and is a popular destination for nature lovers. Our Co To Travel Guide recommends taking a guided tour of the forest, as the trail can be challenging to navigate on your own. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of the forest as you listen to the sound of birds and the rustling of leaves in the wind.
Memorial to President Ho Chi Minh
In tribute to one of the most important figures in Vietnamese history, the Memorial to President Ho Chi Minh is a must-visit. The memorial is located on the outskirts of Co To Island and is a peaceful and serene place to pay homage to the former President. The site is surrounded by lush green foliage and is a great place to relax and reflect on the life and legacy of Ho Chi Minh.
Truong Xuan Lake
A visit to Truong Xuan Lake is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. This serene lake is surrounded by lush vegetation, including old-growth casuarinas and other plant species. Take a walk around the lake, admire the beauty of the surrounding landscape, and perhaps even enjoy a picnic.
The Battle of Don Cao Relic Site
The Battle of Don Cao Relic Site is a historic monument that commemorates a crucial battle that took place in the Vietnam War. The site provides a sobering reminder of the sacrifices made by Vietnamese soldiers in the fight for freedom. The site is well-maintained, and there is a museum on-site with historical artifacts and information about the battle. Our Co To Travel Guide recommends visiting the relic site to gain a deeper understanding of the history of Vietnam.
Ky Con Walking Street
Ky Con Walking Street is a lively and bustling street in Co To Island, filled with shops, food stalls, and street vendors. The street is a great place to buy souvenirs, try local street food, and experience the energy of the island. Our Co To Travel Guide recommends visiting Ky Con Walking Street in the evening when the street comes alive with music and light. This is a great place to relax, unwind, and soak up the island’s unique culture.
Where to stay
Accommodations on Co To Island come in various forms, with most of them being family-run hotels and homestays with basic amenities. Electricity is available on the larger main islands, but may not be available on some of the outer islets. Some popular and highly-rated options are Coto Eco Lodge, Co To Starlight Hotel, and Haki Coto Homestay, with prices ranging from VND700,000 to 1,200,000 (US$30 to 51) per night. With all the information and recommendations you need, our Co To Travel Guide is the perfect resource for planning your stay on the island.
What to eat
Co To Island is known for its diverse seafood options. Restaurants on the island serve affordable seafood, while those near the beach may have higher prices. Some of the most popular restaurants include Sua, Thanh Uy, Hai Au, Bien Dong, Son Hai Quan, Bep Binh An, Coto Hotel Group Restaurant, Van Chay, and Ngoc Quynh. If you want to make the most of your food experience on Co To Island, be sure to check out our Co To Travel Guide for recommendations and information on the local cuisine.
Don’t miss out on trying the local delicacies like stone crab (Cu Ky), peanut worms (Sa Sung), and sea urchins. Stone crab is a species of crab with a larger claw and a slightly smaller body, and its meat is only found on its two claws. It can be cooked in various ways, including grilling, steaming with tamarind sauce, or roasting with salt. Peanut worms are a type of mollusk found only on sandy coastal beaches, and they have a naturally sweet flavor. They can be prepared in different ways, such as stir-fry, deep frying, or making noodle soup. Sea urchins can be found in underwater reefs and caverns and have a pleasant, flavorful taste. They can be made into sea urchin porridge, grilled with scallion oil, fried with eggs, or even eaten raw like sushi. For more information on the local delicacies and the best places to try them, make sure to consult our Co To Travel Guide.
How to get there
To reach Co To Island, visitors will need to take two journeys. The first journey begins with a flight to Hanoi, Hai Phong, or Quang Ninh’s Van Don Airport, followed by a road trip to Cai Rong Port in Van Don District. From Hanoi, visitors can take a passenger car from My Dinh or Giap Bat bus station to Cua Ong Commune in Cam Pha Town of Quang Ninh. A one-way ticket costs roughly VND150,000 to 200,000 ($6.39 to 8.52), and the travel time is approximately 4 hours. From Hai Phong, it takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, with a one-way passenger car seat ticket costing VND120,000 to 150,000 ($5.11 to 6.39).
The second journey is from Cai Rong Port to Co To Island by boat. Speedboats and wooden boats are the most popular modes of transportation, with speedboats taking more than an hour and wooden boats taking almost 3 hours. A one-way ticket on a speedboat costs VND250,000 ($10.65), and popular speedboat lines include Ka Long, Phuc Thinh, Co To 68, Co To 01, Havaco, Nguyen Viet and others. Wooden boats are slower but more affordable, with a one-way ticket costing VND100,000 ($4.31). The boats depart from Cai Rong Port in the morning and return in the afternoon, with schedules varying based on the weather and number of passengers. It is recommended to check the boat schedules ahead of time and book your tickets in advance.
Once on the island, visitors can explore the island by bike or by foot, as there are limited taxis available. Bikes can be rented at various places on the island for around VND50,000 ($2.15) per day.
Overall, traveling to Co To Island requires careful planning and preparation, but the journey is well worth it for the stunning scenery, relaxed atmosphere, and diverse activities available. Be sure to consult our Co To Travel Guide for all the information and recommendations you need to plan your trip to Co To Island.
In conclusion, Co To Island is a serene and tranquil destination that offers visitors an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With its magnificent beaches, pristine forests, historic monuments, and lively walking street, there is something for everyone. Our Co To Travel Guide is the perfect resource for planning your visit to this breathtaking island, providing you with all the information you need to make the most of your time on Co To Island.
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