Coto island is a well-known travel destination in Quang Ninh province, near Halong bay in Northeastern Vietnam. Just beyond Coto island, is the hidden travel gem, Thanh Lan Island. If you want to learn more about local living, explore a deserted beach, discover the unexplored area,s and trek through the tropical forest, Thanh Lan island is the perfect choice for to get off the beaten path. This is an ultimate Thanh Lan island travel guide with everything you need to know about traveling Thanh Lan island, Coto Dist.
Best time to visit Thanh Lan island
The weather in Coto island and Thanh Lan island is pretty much the same. From May to August, the ocean color is at its best, providing great opportunities for outdoor activities like swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and so on. Be wary of high temperatures over 30 degree Celsius. If possible, avoid traveling over the weekend to sidestep the many Vietnamese tourists. Also be aware of typhoon season, from late June to late September. Please check the weather forecast before traveling.
From September to December local fishermen go off-shore for night squid fishing. A great chance to enjoy an authentic, hands-on fishing experience!
How to get to Thanh Lan island
Option 1 : With local transportation companies
There are several companies that offer limousine cars, which allow for a faster and more comfortable trip. The drive is about 3.5 hours on a new Express way to get to Van Don. A personal car won’t pick up passengers along the way like other local bus companies. Van Don Xanh, Tam Bao Anh, and Hoang Phu limousine are all good choices. Van Don Xanh and Tam Bao Anh also offer drop-off service in Cai Rong port. Please ask your hotel’s staff to arrange the car service for you to avoid any issues with language barriers.
The rate is $10 to $12 USD depending on which seats you are taking.
Viet Kite Travel is a good choice for more budget conscious– they offer seats on a sleeping bus, which helps you save time and money.
Vexere is a good online platform to book a ticket with an English page.
Option 2 : Speed boat to Coto island
This is the only choice to get to Thanh Lan island from Cai Rong port. You can take a wooden boat to Coto island and stay a night there, then take a local boat to Thanh Lan island the following day.
Duration : 90 minutes
Ticket rate : 230.000VND ($10 USD)
Schedule : 13.00pm from Van Don port
Option 3 : Pick up from the dock to your accommodation
The best way is to contact your accommodation for a FREE pick up by a tuk tuk.
There is no direct speed boat from Halong city to the island. The best way is to take a private transfer or local bus to Cai Rong port. If you are taking a halong bay cruise, a private car or taxi (which costs around $50) to Cai Rong port is best for convenience. Then take a speed boat to the island.
From Ninh Binh
From Ninh Binh bus station, take any bus to either Cam Pha or Mong Cai. Be sure to purchase tickets from the ticket booth to avoid potential scams. Get off the bus at Cam Pha, and take a 20 km taxi ride to get to Cai Rong port. A private car or taxi from Ninh Binh to Cai Rong port is $140 per trip. A private transfer may be more cost effective if you are in a group of 4 or more people.
Where to stay in Thanh Lan island
There is are limited choices for accommodation on the island– just a few motels and guest houses. These are simple accommodations with clean rooms, hot running showers, and air conditioning. The room rate ranges from $20 to $25 USD.
Quoc Tam Guest house ; phone no : 02036291685, Van Anh guest house. Little Sweet Thing home (Book on Airbnb)
Why Thanh Lan island is so special ?
- It’s off the beaten path– You might be the only foreign tourists on the island!
- Get a sense of authentic local culture
- Stunning views from every angle! You’ll be able to see the sea, boats and sunset from your hotel or homestay.
- There are deserted, beautiful beaches to find
- Friendly locals with warm hearts will greet you along the way. Everybody you meet waves and says hello, they are not used having European people on the island (yet?) so you’ll be quite the attraction!
- Peaceful, quiet, off the beaten path and less touristy
What and where to eat in Thanh lan island
It’s hard to find a proper restaurant with Western tourist standard. I recommend to enjoy your meal with the local family. The food is nice, fresh and affordable. I do recommend to try seafood which is local specialty on this beautiful island
On the other hand, there are several cafes on the island where you can enjoy a yummy cup of Vietnamese coffee.
Top things to do in Thanh Lan island
- Enjoy night squid fishing with local fishermen from October to December
- Enjoy a BBQ dinner on the beach
- Soak up pristine white sandy beaches
- Trek through untouched forest to reach C76 beach with a local guide
- Cycling or taking a scooter ride around this beautiful island and never worry about traffic
- Take a boat trip to Coto island
- Check out the incredible floating houses and learn more about local living on the water
- Take awesome sunrise photos on Ba Chau beach
- Walk to a morning local market to buy fresh seafood
Tourist attractions in Thanh Lan island
Ba Chau Beach, C76 Beach, Ang Ten beach, Hai Quan beach
All beaches in Thanh Lan island are beautiful and sparsely populated, with white sand beaches, clean crystal clear water, and gentle waves
Primeval forest in Thanh Lan island
Trek through a pristine forest and see locals working along the way. You can also see a fresh water lake which used to supply fresh water for the island along the trekking route.
To catch the dawn, wake up early in the morning to hike up the hill. There is a panoramic view of the water, forest, and beaches. Consider going with a local guide to be sure you find your way.
Stream of love
Located in the forest in Thanh Lan, the stream of love is a bit of a trek, but once you arrive you won’t want to leave. Fresh air, tranquility, the gentle sounds of the stream and singing birds will make you feel like you are in paradise on earth.
Practical information and travel tips – Thanh Lan island travel guide
- From the main dock, take a motorbike-taxi, which costs around $1 USD, to the main town. From here, you can find a guest house, hotel or a homestay
- There are only 2 speed boats to Thanh Lan island from Cai rong port at 7.00am and 13.00pm. Make sure you are on time!
- Scooters are available for rent at your accommodation. The cost is 200k per day, excluding fuel. Fuel is usually 35k for a liter of gasoline, which is a bit more pricey, but they have to transfer from the main land. Please note that there is no gas station on this island.
- Book your accommodation in advance to guarantee availability, especially during the high season (May to August), plus National holidays on April 30th, May 1st, and September 2nd.
- There is no ATM machine on the island, so make sure that you bring enough cash (in Vietnam Dong)
Things to bring – Thanh Lan island travel guide
- Sun glasses
- Swim suits
- Snacks, cookies etc
- Changes of clothes
- Thongs (flip flops)
- Walking shoes
- Water proof bag
- Insect spray
- Flashlight or torch
- Essential medicines
- Cash in Vietnam Dong
Questions about traveling to Thanh Lan island
In there anyway to go to Coto island?
Yes, take a wooden boat to travel across Coto island.
Schedule : From Thanh Lan island : 6.30am, 8.30am, 12.30pm, 16.00pm
From Coto island : 7.00am, 11.00am, 15.30pm
The rate is 30.000VND per way
Duration : 20 minutes
How big is Thanh Lan island?
The island is 27 square kilometers. It is 4 kilometers from Coto island by sea, which hosts 2000 hectares of primitive forest.
What is the population ?
There are 1500 inhabitants living on the island. There are quite a few minority ethnic group, such as San Diu and Hoa. But Viet(Kinh) makes up the majority of the population.
What is the main income of locals?
Fishing, tourism, and forestry
Is there any military camp on the island?
Yes. there is a military camp. It is in a strategic location to protect the Northern East sea of Vietnam.
Which is the closest airport?
Van Don is the closet airport, which is 4 miles away from Cai Rong port. There are flights from Central and Sourthern Vietnam to get there.
Best photos, pictures of Thanh Lan island
Read more about travel destinations near Thanh Lan island
I hope this ultimate travel guide to Thanh Lan island will help you plan a better, longer and cheaper trip!
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