Top 12 Islands In Vietnam | A Tropical Escape

Avatar photo

Vietnam‘s islands are known for their captivating beauty, attracting a significant number of visitors. These beautiful islands offer the ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, allowing you to immerse yourself in Vietnam’s stunning natural landscapes!

In this article, we will delve into the distinctive features and attractions of each of the top 12 islands in Vietnam. Additionally, we will provide valuable insights on how to reach these Vietnam islands and maximize your time there. Prepare yourself for an enchanting journey as we unravel the splendor and marvels of Vietnam’s tropical islands below.

Related Article: Best Time To Visit Vietnam 2023

Top 12 Islands In Vietnam Worth Your Visit!

Vietnam is a country rich in natural beauty, and its islands are among its most spectacular treasures. In this part, we will take you on a tour to discover the top 12 islands in Vietnam, each with its own distinct charm and attractions.

1. Halong Bay – Gathering Hidden Islands In Vietnam

Halong Bay stands as one of Vietnam’s most iconic and breathtaking destinations. Renowned for its towering limestone cliffs and mesmerizing emerald waters, Halong Bay has rightfully earned its place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, captivating visitors from around the globe. One can embark on a scenic cruise through the bay, getting an up-close look at the awe-inspiring rock formations, or opt for a thrilling kayak adventure to uncover hidden caves and serene lagoons.

Exploring the beautiful islands is a must-do among the best things to do in Halong Bay. With nearly 2,000 islands of varying sizes, each possesses its own allure. Notable among these are Tuan Chau Island, Titop Island, Cat Ba Island, and Cat Ba national park, which have emerged as prime tourist attractions, beckoning travelers with their unique features and charm.

Earlier, Ha Long Bay was ranked fifth among the ten most beautiful places around the world in 2022, according to Canadian travel site The Travel.

halong bay
Landscape with amazing Halong Bay, Vietnam // Photo by Balate Dorin

Best Time To Visit

If you are concerned about the weather during your visit to Halong Bay, consider planning your trip between September and November or from March to May. These periods offer ideal conditions for an unforgettable journey to the renowned Halong Bay. During these times, you can revel in the breathtaking sights amidst comfortable temperatures and dry weather.

How To Get There

For convenient access, it is advisable to take international or domestic flights to Cat Bi International Airport, located in Hai Phong, approximately 60 km away from Halong Bay. This airport serves multiple airline carriers, offering flights to various popular destinations worldwide. Upon arrival, you can easily reach Got Ferry Port by taxi or private car, with a travel time of approximately 40 minutes.

Concerned about how to reach Halong Bay? Book our best Halong Bay day tours, and transportation will be included for your convenience!

halong bay day tours
A day cruise is an ideal choice for travelers who have limited time to experience the best of Halong Bay!

2. Phu Quy Island – The “Little Bali” Of Vietnam

Phu Quy Island, also known as Cu Lao Thu, is located in Binh Thuan province, approximately 120 km southeast of Phan Thiet.

This small island is a true natural wonder, blessed with picturesque beaches, vibrant coral reefs, unique black rock formations scattered in its crystal-clear waters, and a delightful climate that remains pleasant throughout the year.

Additionally, Phu Quy Island is renowned for its thriving fishing industry, offering a wide range of rare and exquisite seafood delicacies. The island is also home to numerous historical, cultural, architectural, and artistic treasures, making it a highly appealing and promising tourist destination within Binh Thuan province.

Eager to learn more about Vietnamese culture? Here best festivals in Vietnam to experience its culture, history, and traditions!

phu quy island
Phu Quy Island is renowned for its thriving fishing industry // Photo by Huynh Ka

Best Time To Visit

To make the most of your visit, the best time to explore Phu Quy Island is from December to June of the following year. During this period, the island experiences calm seas, vivid blue waters, gentle breezes, and convenient transportation options.

How To Get There

Currently, the primary mode of transportation to Phu Quy Island is by ship from Phan Thiet City. Several ships operate routes to the island, including Superdong-PQI, Superdong-PQII, Phu Quy Express, and Phu Quy Island.

Typically, the ships depart from Phan Thiet City between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m., depending on the specific day. Occasionally, there may be an earlier trip at 5:30 a.m. or a later one at around 3 p.m.

phu quy island
Bai Nho Beach possesses black rocks and white sand with bright-blue water // Photo by Vietnam Travel

3. Phu Quoc Island – The Largest Island In Vietnam

Phu Quoc Island stands as a captivating must-visit destination in Vietnam. This tropical paradise boasts pristine white-sand beaches, lush forests, and an idyllic, laid-back atmosphere, making it the perfect place for relaxation and basking in the sun, or even scuba diving and snorkeling!

One of the highlights of Phu Quoc Island is strolling through the vibrant night market, where you can tantalize your taste buds with local delicacies. Additionally, the island’s warm waters provide a refreshing respite, inviting you to take a dip and cool off.

Recently, Phu Quoc ranked third in the list of 23 world’s best destinations to travel in 2023 by the New York-based travel magazine Travel + Leisure!

Read more about the top things to do in Phu Quoc Island!

phu quoc island
Phu Quoc Island stands as a captivating must-visit destination in Vietnam. // Photo by Phuquoctrip

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Phu Quoc Island is between December and June of the following year, as the island enjoys a fresh and cool climate throughout the year. During the spring and summer, the sea is calm and displays a mesmerizing clear blue hue, complemented by gentle winds that facilitate easy travel to and from this inhabited island.

How To Get There

To reach Phu Quoc Island, there is a small airport catering primarily to domestic flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. International flights are also available from Phnom Penh in Cambodia, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

Additionally, ferries departing from the Vietnamese ports of Ha Tien and Rach Gia offer another means of transportation to Phu Quoc Island.

Let’s explore Phu Quoc Island from a drone’s eye view:

Phu Quoc Paradise Pearl Island – Vietnam Travel Guide | Flycam Tp Phu Quoc | Traveller // Video by iTraveller

4. Ly Son Island – “The Kingdom Of Garlic”

Ly Son Island is a captivating district located in Quang Ngai Province, Central Vietnam. Spanning an area of 10 km2 and inhabited by over 20,000 people, this island lies approximately 30 km away from the mainland. Its intriguing geological history dates back 25-30 million years when it was an active volcano with five calderas.

The remnants of volcanic activity can be witnessed in the rugged cliffs and dark rocks that adorn the landscape. The terrain of Ly Son Island is both spectacular and mesmerizing, thanks to the presence of these extinct volcanoes. Visitors can indulge in delightful short hikes and feast their eyes on breathtaking vistas at every turn.

Ly Son Island comprises three main islands: Lon Island, Be Island, and Mu Cu Islet. The central island, Cu Lao Re, also known as Lon Island, boasts a beautiful beach and offers a slice of paradise. Be Island, or An Binh Island, is a haven for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts. On the eastern side of Lon Island lies Mu Cu Islet, the smallest and least populated of the three.

ly son island
Ly Son Island is a captivating district located in Quang Ngai Province // Photo by Vietnam Travel

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Ly Son Island is from May to August when the weather is at its most beautiful. The temperatures are hot but enjoyable, making it perfect for sunbathing, swimming, hiking, and exploring the island.

It’s worth noting that this period also marks the peak tourist season, so if you prefer a quieter experience, the beginning of September may be more suitable for you.

How To Get There

To reach Ly Son Island, Chu Lai Airport is the closest airport to Sa Ky Port, where hydrofoils operate transportation to the island. There are three flights available from Hanoi or Saigon to Chu Lai. From the airport, it takes approximately an hour’s drive covering a distance of about 50 km to reach Sa Ky Port.

Alternatively, you can opt for train travel. Five daily trains pass through Quang Ngai from either Hanoi or Saigon, allowing you to select the most convenient train based on your travel schedule. From Quang Ngai railway station, it is approximately 20 km to Sa Ky Port, requiring a transfer by private car or public bus.

ly son island
The remnants of volcanic activity can be witnessed in the rugged cliffs and dark rocks that adorn the landscape. // Photo by Vietnamnet

5. Cat Ba Island – “The Pearl Of The Gulf Of Tonkin”

Cat Ba Island is the largest among the 367 islands of the Cat Ba Archipelago, located approximately 45 kilometers east of Hai Phong City and 25 kilometers away from the UNESCO heritage site, Ha Long Bay. It stands out as an iconic and attractive destination for local tourism.

Notably, Cat Ba Island holds the distinction of being Vietnam’s third biosphere reserve. Covering a vast area of over 26,000 hectares, it boasts a rich biodiversity. Recognized by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve Zone in 2004, the island’s allure is further enhanced by its limestone mountains, mesmerizing caves, and pristine white sand beaches.

cat ba island
Cat Ba Island stands out as an iconic and attractive destination for local tourism // Photo by Serenity Cruises

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Cat Ba Island is between April and October. During this period, the gentle waves and favorable weather provide an ideal setting for swimming. Moreover, the lower number of tourists compared to the rest of the year makes it perfect for exploring the island’s natural wonders.

How To Get There

To reach Cat Ba Island from Hanoi, you can opt for a private car or tourist bus transfer. If you are traveling from the southern region of Vietnam or other countries, you have the option of taking direct or indirect flights to Cat Bi International Airport in Hai Phong City. From there, you can arrange a private transfer or take a public bus to reach Cat Ba Island.

Join this one-day luxury cruise specially designed to witness the best parts of Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay!

6. Cham Islands – “The Pearl Of Hoi An”

Cu Lao Cham, also known as the Cham Islands, holds significant historical and cultural importance, being intricately linked to the creation of Hoi An. This cluster of islands spans 15 square kilometers, comprising one main island and eight surrounding small islands.

Located approximately 20 kilometers from Hoi An, Cham Islands have become a favored tourist destination due to their diverse flora and wildlife, as well as their pleasant year-round climate. The coral reefs surrounding Cu Lao Cham are particularly cherished by nature enthusiasts and are included in the list of endangered species.

An extraordinary accolade was bestowed upon the Cham Islands when they were designated as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2009, further solidifying their appeal as an exceptional day trip destination from Hoi An.

Related Article: 6 Best Beaches In Hoi An For Unreal Relaxation | 2023 Guide

beach on cham island
Cham Island has some of the most beautiful beach options with white sand and coconut trees lining the shore. // Photo by fionatravelsfromasia

Best Time To Visit

The optimal time to visit the Cham Islands is from March to August, when the warm weather prevails. During this period, the sea remains calm, and the weather is generally sunny, creating ideal conditions for activities such as swimming, scuba diving, and sunbathing.

Conversely, the months from September to February experience frequent rainfall and large waves, leading to limited boat availability for transporting tourists to the islands.

How To Get There

To reach Hoi An, various transportation options are available. International travelers can fly into Da Nang International Airport and then take a taxi or arrange a private transfer to Hoi An.

Or, if you are already in Vietnam, you can opt for a train or bus journey from major cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh to Hoi An. From Hoi An, you can embark on a ferry boat ride to the Cham Islands. It is worth noting that the speedboat is the quickest mode of transportation, taking only around 20 minutes to reach the islands.

Love the nostalgic atmosphere of this old town? Take a look at our hand-picked Hoi An day tours!

best beaches in hoi an
Ong Beach on Cham Island, Hoi An // Photo by fionatravelsfromasia

7. Nam Du Island – “The Wild Pearl Island” 

Nam Du Archipelago, located approximately 40 kilometers from Phu Quoc Island, is emerging as a captivating destination for visitors exploring Kien Giang province. This pristine island boasts a total of 21 islets, with 11 of them inhabited while the others remain untouched.

The archipelago’s striking beauty lies in its vast expanse of blue sea and sky, with majestic mountains rising from the ocean. Additionally, visitors can venture into the evergreen ancient woods, discovering endless natural wonders such as magnificent rock cliffs and imposing mountains.

nam du island
Nam Du Archipelago is emerging as a captivating destination for visitors exploring Kien Giang province.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Nam Du is during the dry season, which spans from December to March. During this period, the seas are calm, the weather is stable, and the temperature is pleasant. It offers an ideal climate for various activities and exploration.

How To Get There

When it comes to reaching Nam Du Island, there are three transportation options available.

You can choose either a swift 2.5-hour fast ferry or a leisurely 3.5-hour slow ferry from Rach Gia Port. Alternatively, flights from Tan Son Nhat Airport (Saigon) or Phu Quoc Airport (Phu Quoc) to Rach Gia Airport are also available. From Rach Gia, you can proceed to the port by bus or taxi and catch a ferry to Nam Du.

8. Con Dao Island – “The Paradise Of Nature”

Con Dao is an ideal vacation destination in Vietnam, thanks to its pristine beaches. The island boasts numerous beautiful white sand beaches, including Lo Voi Beach, An Hai Beach, Dam Trau Beach, Nhat Beach in the Shark Cape, and Suoi Nong Beach.

If you choose to visit Con Dao by waterway, you’ll be treated to two expansive coastlines accompanied by the soothing sound of waves and refreshing sea breeze. Notably, Lo Voi Beach features a picturesque seascape, crystal-clear blue waters, and a long stretch of clean white sandbank, adorned by stretches of poplar trees.

con dao island
Con Dao is an ideal vacation destination in Vietnam, thanks to its pristine beaches. // Photo by Aleksander Kaczmarek

Best Time To Visit

The most enjoyable time to visit Con Dao is between March and September when the sea is calm, and the weather is pleasant.

How To Get There

Flights from Ho Chi Minh City arrive daily at the island’s airport. Alternatively, you can opt for a bus journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Soc Trang, followed by a two-hour ride on the Superdong Ferry to reach the island.

9. Ky Co Island – “Maldives Of Vietnam”

Ky Co Island is situated on Nhon Ly Island, just 25 km away and a short 20-minute boat ride from Quy Nhon in Binh Dinh province. Renowned as the “Maldives of Vietnam”, Ky Co Beach captivates visitors with its velvety golden and pristine white sand beaches, shimmering jade-blue waters, and vibrant coral reefs, creating a haven of relaxation and exploration.

Related Article: 10 Dreamy Beaches Vietnam Has To Offer

ky co island
Ky Co Beach is renowned as the “Maldives of Vietnam.”

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Ky Co is between March and September when the weather is sunny, rainfall is minimal, and the region is free from storms, making it perfect for engaging in outdoor activities such as strolling along the shore, capturing picturesque moments, and indulging in refreshing swims.

How To Get There

To reach Ky Co Island, you can follow the Suoi Ca bridge road and continue along the mountainside of Phuong Mai to the South, where the island rests at the foot of Phuong Mai mountain in Nhon Ly commune, Quy Nhon, Binh Dinh province, Vietnam.

10. Binh Hung Island – “The Raw Pearl”

Binh Hung Island, also known as Ty Island or Chut Island, is located in Cam Binh Commune, Cam Ranh, Khanh Hoa Province, approximately 82km away from Nha Trang City.

The island is renowned for its mesmerizing freshwater rock caves, pristine blue beaches, and silky white sand. Additionally, Binh Hung Island is a true haven for seafood lovers, offering an abundance of fresh and delectable seafood options.

binh hung island
The island is renowned for its mesmerizing freshwater rock caves, pristine blue beaches, and silky white sand. // Photo by disantrangan

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Binh Hung Island is during the summer months, from March to August. During this period, the weather is sunny and the sea remains calm, allowing visitors to fully enjoy swimming and explore the breathtaking natural scenery.

How To Get There

To reach Binh Hung Island, you need to make your way to Bai Kinh, which serves as the departure point for the boat that will take you to the island.

11. Binh Ba Island – “The Lobster Island”

Binh Ba is a small island located in Cam Binh Commune, Cam Ranh City, Khanh Hoa Province, approximately 60 km south of Nha Trang. This picturesque island allures tourists with its pristine beaches, crystal-clear seawater, and renowned local delicacies such as lobster, Huynh De crab, and sea urchin.

You could also make time for a visit to Whale Island, located just an hour’s drive north of Nha Trang!

binh ba island
Binh Ba is a small island located in Khanh Hoa Province // Photo by reatimes

Best Time To Visit

While Binh Ba Island can be visited throughout the year, the optimal time to plan your trip is during the dry season from March to September. During this period, you can expect sunny days and hot weather, perfect for enjoying the island’s offerings.

How To Get There

To reach Binh Ba, the recommended route is from Cam Ranh City. Starting from Ba Ngoi port in Cam Ranh, you can embark on a journey to Binh Ba Island by boarding a wooden boat or a canoe. This transportation option will allow you to conveniently access the island’s scenic surroundings and captivating attractions.

12. Co To Island – “The Green Pearl”

Co To Island is located in the Quang Ninh province of Vietnam, and it is a pristine and captivating destination that showcases natural splendor. This island is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and serene atmosphere.

With its idyllic beaches, Co To Island serves as a paradise for beach lovers, offering them a haven of tranquility. Moreover, the island presents opportunities for snorkeling and diving, allowing visitors to explore the vibrant marine life that thrives beneath the surface.

co to island
Co To Island is a pristine and captivating destination that showcases natural splendor. // Photo by Phuotcafe

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Co To Island in Vietnam is during the months of April to October, when the weather is pleasant and favorable for outdoor activities and beach exploration.

How To Get There

To reach Co To Island, one can embark on a ferry or speedboat journey from Cai Rong Port, which is located in Van Don District, situated approximately 40 kilometers away from Ha Long City.

Insights For Island Travel In Vietnam

Traveling to an island destination can provide an incredible experience filled with relaxation, adventure, and unforgettable memories. Here are five essential tips to keep in mind when embarking on your island journey.

Plan Ahead

Ensure you make the most of your time on the island by conducting thorough research and planning your itinerary. Look into popular attractions, activities, and local customs. It is advisable to make reservations for accommodations, transportation, and any guided tours or activities in advance to secure availability.

Pack Appropriately

Consider the climate and activities you’ll be engaging in when packing for your island trip. Opt for lightweight and breathable clothing, swimwear, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and insect repellent. Don’t forget to pack essential items such as a first aid kit and any necessary medications.

Traveling with kids? Discover these top 10 travel tips to make the most of your family trip!

phu quoc island
Bai Dai is located in the northwest of Phu Quoc Island, in the area between the Gulf of Thailand and Vietnam.

Protect The Environment

Islands often possess delicate ecosystems and limited resources. Take care to minimize your impact on the environment by practicing responsible travel habits. Dispose of waste properly, respect wildlife and marine life, and reduce the use of single-use plastics. 

Stay Hydrated 

As island destinations can be hot and sunny, staying hydrated is crucial. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration. Additionally, remember to regularly apply and reapply sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s strong rays. 

Understand Local Culture

Embrace the local customs, engage with the residents, and indulge in the local cuisine. By respecting and immersing yourself in the local culture, you can enrich your travel experience and foster meaningful connections within the community.

Related Article: Vietnamese Culture: Etiquette, Tips And Traditions

island in vietnam
Embrace the local customs, engage with the residents, and indulge in the local cuisine. // Photo by Hieu On The Go

Ready To Explore Islands In Vietnam?

In conclusion, the top 12 islands in Vietnam above provide a wide spectrum of natural beauty and cultural experiences. Each island has its own distinct personality, from the lively coastlines of Phu Quoc to the isolated tranquillity of Con Dao.

Whether you’re looking for leisure on pristine beaches or adventure among breathtaking scenery, Vietnam’s islands are an outstanding destination for tourists looking for a slice of paradise in Southeast Asia.

Excited To Visit Vietnam?

Discover the beauties of Vietnam on this fantastic day tour. Immerse yourself in its fascinating history, colorful culture, and breathtaking scenery.

Our tour will take you on a memorable adventure from the busy streets of Hanoi to the majestic splendor of Halong Bay. Indulge in delectable food, visit local markets, and absorb the serenity of old temples. Allow us to lead you through secret villages and magnificent rice terraces, showcasing Vietnam’s true beauty!

Make lifetime memories by booking a day tour to explore the wonder of Vietnam now!

Avatar photo
Tiffany Hoang
Brand Representative - Vietnam Is Awesome

You might also like