Located off the Gulf of Tonkin, Co To is an archipelago of 30 islands, of which a large island of the same name and Thanh Lan island is the main tourist center here. With its unspoiled beauty, this place has become the top destination of Quang Ninh province and northern Vietnam, attracting thousands of tourists every year. Please refer to the travel experiences of Co To island below to prepare for your next summer vacation.
I - Top best things to explore in Co To island
Source: @Fb Vuong Vu Viet
1 - Swimming at the beautiful beaches of Co To island
Van Chay Beach
As one of the most beautiful and famous beaches on Co To island, this destination is located in Dong Tien commune, separate from residential areas, so it is still very wild and peaceful. Despite the big waves crashing against rocks creating white foams, the water at Van Chay beach is always clear and cool, surrounded by soft sand suitable for organizing many fun activities. When swimming here, you should rent a swimming buoy and bathe in the area near the shore to ensure safety, but nơ need to be too worried as there’s always lifeguards on duty, ready to perform rescue work.
Dragon Claw Beach
Also known as Cau My, this is a rocky beach located in the south of Co To island about 3km from the town center. Dragon Claw Beach has 60 - 80m high steep cliffs consisting of many layers, formed by the erosion of sea waves. They come in a variety of beautiful colors and strange shapes, like a vivid painting created by nature, making Cau My rocky beach a top check-in destination. This is also the best sunrise and sunset viewing spot on Co To island and convenient for you to participate in many interesting activities such as fishing, or scuba diving to watch corals on calm days.
Hong Van Beach
With a long sandy beach and calm sea area, this place is gradually becoming an ideal destination that tourists shouldn’t miss when coming to Co To island. On the coast of Hong Van beach are creatively designed wooden houses, rustic and close to nature, that you can rent and stay with friends or family. To experience more of the wonder of the sea and islands, you can also try kayaking, have fun swimming with the lovely, colorful fish crept in the “seaweed forests” winding with each wave, and so on.
Bac Van Beach
As a destination that still has many mysterious and enchanting features, this beach has gradually become famous for its pristine, peaceful and romantic beauty. Bac Van has a nearly 15km long soft sandy beach, suitable place for overnight camping, BBQ party and sightseeing with a group. Staying here, you will be impressed by the tranquil beauty of the mountains, the green casuarina trees running around the coastline. Especially when coming to Bac Van beach in the early morning, you will be able to see the scene of shimmering sun lights and gentle waves caressing fishing boats.
2 - Exploring Co To island lighthouse
Source: Cinematic Travel
Located in the eastern area of Co To island, this lighthouse was built on the highest mountain here in the late 19th century. Since then, this work has still fulfilled its mission, leading ships safely to enter the wharf and orienting flight paths for aircraft. Because Co To lighthouse is located at an altitude of more than 119m above sea level, if you want to visit and explore, you will have to go through 72 stone steps barefoot so as not to contaminate the rainwater. When you reach the top, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Co To archipelago from above with boats passing by, and learn how to collect rainwater using the unique lighthouse guardrails of the soldiers.
3 - Visiting Co To Church
Placed in a central position, this religious work of Cam Pha Parish is located at the foot of a hill in Zone 4, inaugurated on May 28, 2013. This is the first and only church on Co To island, built to serve parishioners but has now also become an attractive tourist destination. Co To Church has a length of 26.7m and a width of 9.8m, with a clear Gothic style with large pillars, pointed roof and dignified gray-blue paint.
4 - The unspoiled islands of Co To
Thanh Lan Island
About 20 minutes by small wooden boat from Co To island, Thanh Lan Island has an important position in Vietnam's national defense and security strategy for sea and islands. With an area of 27km², this place still has a deserted and peaceful look with various beautiful pristine beaches such as Ba Chau beach, Navy beach, Trung beach, C67 beach, and so on. Coming here, you will surely be fascinated by extremely fresh seafood, along with the magnificent landscape of many different shaped sedimentary rocks dating back thousands of years. The beauty of Thanh Lan island is also adorned by long sandy roads winding beside clear waters, and intact primeval forests.
Little Co To island
As a small island of the Co To archipelago, this place is likened to a paradise with wild and unique beauty, due to its pure military nature with no people living there. Little Co To island owns the most beautiful beach in the area, where you can immerse yourself in the cool water, snorkel to watch the coral and the colorful ocean world. You will also have the opportunity to experience walking through the primal forest, breathing in the fresh air and learning about precious animals, woods, birds,...
5 - Choi primeval forest
Located in Nam Dong Village of Dong Tien Commune on Co To island, this is the most unique and largest primeval choi forest in Vietnam, with an area of over 10ha. Discovering this place, you will have the opportunity to learn about the rich vegetation, and watch the extremely majestic and poetic sand-blocking forest on the coast. The hundreds of years old trees here are more than 20 meters high, blooming every April to tiny green flowers, growing in clusters like mini fireworks.
6 - The road of love
Source: Cinematic Travel
Located in the primeval forest, there is also an area called “Road of Love,” which is more than 2km long paved with red ceramic tiles — the most romantic check-in point on Co To island. This is a breathtaking painting featuring green casuarina trees on both sides swaying with the sea breeze, golden sunlight creeping through the foliage, and next to the waves crashing on the sand. On a summer afternoon, holding hands with your lover walking on the road of love, enjoying the wind, sightseeing and taking photos — it is no different from a movie scene in a Korean drama.
7 - Monument to President Ho Chi Minh
Located in the center, this is a national historical relic complex recognized since 1997, built to commemorate President Ho Chi Minh’s visits to Co To island in 1961 and 1962. The relic area includes a stele, a commemorative house, and a monument in the middle of the whole work, built in the style of a square wall, 47m long and has an area of 2209m². The statue of Ho Chi Minh is placed on a dignified podium, engraved with the words “Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom”, with an incense bowl at the foot. Inside the memorial area, there are relics associated with the places that he spent time at during his previous visits to Co To island district.
8 - Monuments of the Battle of High Fort
Recognized as a provincial historical relic, this place is located on an elevated terrain with a panoramic view of Co To island, which is why the French stationed troops during their invasion of Vietnam. With an area of about 300m², High Fort marked the bravery of Ky Con Company - one of the first main units of Dong Trieu War Zone - in an unequal battle with the French Army on the night of November 13, 1945. In town, there is also a street named Ky Con to pay tribute to the merits of the martyrs who contributed to the cause of liberating the island from French colonial rule.
II - How to get to Co To Island Vietnam?
1 - Location of Co To island
Co To is a part of the archipelago of the same name in Quang Ninh Province, with an area of about 50.1 km2 and a population of 6,285 people scattered over 1 town and 2 communes. The island is located about 60 nautical miles offshore from the mainland, so if you want to go there you have to go to Cai Rong port first, which is located in area 9 of Cai Rong Town, Van Don District. This port is open from 6am - 7pm daily, you should arrange your schedule so you don't miss the boat, and don’t forget to bring your personal documents for buying tickets because you are foreign.
2 - From the mainland to Co To island Vietnam
Next, when you arrive at Cai Rong port, you will continue to board a ship to move to Co To island, with 3 types of transport activities including: speedboats, wooden boats and navy extra ships. Among them, the latter usually operates in the peak season only and does not have a fixed time, while the speedboats are the most popular with tourists because the speed is much faster than the wooden boats.
This is the most convenient and fastest means of transportation, it only takes about 90 minutes to travel by speedboat from Cai Rong port to Co To island.
- Ticket price: 180,000 to 200,000 VND / person ($7.25 - 8.05)
- Departure time: Depends on the operators
+ Kalong boat: 6am, 7am, 10am and 12:15pm
+ Havaco boat: 6am, 8:30am, 9am, 11am, 12pm, 2:30pm and 3pm
+ Manh Quang boat: 6:30am, 8:30am, 11:30am and 2:30pm
The time to travel by wooden boat to Co To island will be longer, lasting about 2.5 - 4 hours and fewer trips, departing at 7am on weekdays, so you should book in advance to avoid missing your schedule. The advantage of this type is that it gives you the experience of wobbling on the waves, watching the beautiful sea, and the ticket price is cheaper, ranging from 110,000 - 150,000 VND / person ($4.43 - 6.04).
Navy extra ship
The extra ship of the Navy usually departed for Co To island at 6am on Monday.
3 - Traveling on Co To island
In addition to traveling between islands by boat, you have a lot of diverse choices of means of transportation to move on Co To island. You can rent a motorbike for 150,000 - 220,000 VND / day ($6.04 - 8.86) without gas, which is about 25,000 - 30,000 VND / liter ($1 - 1.2). You can also use a 7-seat tram for 1,200,000 VND / day ($48.3), call a taxi or rent a limousine if going with a group, or a bike for 30,000 - 50,000 VND / hour ($1.2 - 2). But no matter what type you choose, you should ask for the price and bargain, research and determine the destinations in advance.
III - Other Co To island tourist information
1 - The best time to go to Co To island Vietnam
The most beautiful time to travel to Co To island is summer and autumn, in which April and May are the most ideal because there are no storms or rain, sunshine is bright but not hot. June and July often have bad weather, while September and October are still beautiful but it starts to get colder and rainy - the advantage is that the prices will be less expensive than the peak season. Regardless of the time you choose to visit Co To island, you should check the weather forecast before departing, to avoid being stuck for a long time because boats are prohibited from sailing during storms.
2 - Which Co To island hotel to stay at?
Most accommodation on Co To is opened by locals, so it only has simple equipment, but there is electricity so you don't need to worry too much about the basic comfort level. Here are some highly rated places to stay that you can refer to:
Having a cool and clean space, this homestay includes 28 houses designed and decorated in a unique style, alternating between shady trees. In which, 12 rooms are designed in the form of a train carriage, 14 are stilt houses and 2 rooms are duck tents, each with a capacity ranging from 4 to 6 people.
- Address: Nam Dong Hamlet, Dong Tien Commune, Co To island.
+ Weekdays: 800,000 VND / room / night ($32.2)
+ Weekend: 1,000,000 VND / room / night ($40.24)
+ Extra: 150,000 VND / person ($6.04)
- Contact: 083 226 1996
Coto Eco Lodge
Ignoring the rustic wooden houses, this is a rather fancy homestay with the main white color combined with glass doors, looking like mini villas. The special thing about Coto Eco Lodge is the beach BBQ parties with open night space, wooden tables and chairs, silk curtains, seafood, music and wine.
- Address: Hong Hai Hamlet, Dong Tien Commune, Co To island.
- Rates: 600,000 - 750,000 VND / room / night ($24.14 - 30.18)
- Contact: 098 807 11 00
Starlight Hotel Coto
Located in the heart of Co To town and near the jetty, this is one of the most beautiful and convenient accommodations on the island. With the perfect combination of classic and modern design, Starlight Hotel has a total of 22 rooms of various types, along with a series of services such as spa or massage. This place also prioritizes the use of wooden furniture, brown tones and yellow lights to create a very cozy space.
- Address: Area 4, Co To Town - Island.
- Rates: 675,000 - 1,156,000 VND / room / night ($27.16 - 46.52)
- Contact: 034 650 0500
3 - Co To island’s specialties to try
Co To island has many extremely attractive specialties, mainly rare seafood, which are hard to find anywhere else but the price is not too expensive. It can be mentioned as dishes from nutritious abalone, delicious sea urchin, safflower in the past used to advance the king, sweet surface meat, succulent sea cucumber,… You can visit Ky Con walking street in Area 3 to have a food tour, convenient shopping and having fun in the evening. More than 205m long, this space operates from 7pm - 11pm daily. In addition, you can also enjoy specialties at restaurants and eateries right by the sea.
Co To island Vietnam is a wild and attractive destination off the coast of Quang Ninh province, belonging to the archipelago - district of the same name and surrounded by many equally beautiful islands. Tourism here is developed in a modest way, mainly relying on the people and minimizing the impact on the environment, allowing you to relax in the pristine natural space. Hopefully with the above article, you have understood why this place attracts many people, and note for yourself the information about transportation, services and destinations not to be missed in Co To Island.