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Quan Lan Island (Dao Canh Cuoc)/Vietnam

Introducing Quan Lan Island (Dao Canh Cuoc)

The main attraction on Quan Lan is the beautiful, 1km-long crescent-moon sweep of Minh Chau beach on the island’s northeastern coast. The water is clear blue and the waves are suitable for surfing. There are several other blissful beaches on the eastern seaboard, though water temperatures are a bit chilly between January and April. Note that most accommodation is only open from May to October, and that June and July are more expensive with the influx of Vietnamese domestic tourists.

The northeastern part of the island also has some battered ruins of the old Van Don Trading Port, and other island attractions include forest walks and a beautiful 200-year-old pagoda in Quan Lan Town. Apart from hanging out on the beaches, and cycling or motorcycling around this long, slender island, there’s not really much to do. It’s a very laid-back place and a terrific detour off the usual tourist trail. There’s no ATM on Quan Lan Island, so come armed with cash.

Quan Lan Town, the main town on the island, features an improving array of accommodation, from simple guesthouses to new midrange hotels, and travellers’ needs are answered with a few decent restaurants, internet access and places to rent bicycles (US$4 per day) and motorcycles (US$6 per day). Most of Quan Lan is pretty flat, but it’s a surprisingly large island, so maybe sign up for something with an engine. Quan Lan’s second-largest settlement is Minh Chau, just a short walk from gorgeous Minh Chau beach. It lacks the facilities of Quan Lan Town, but has a couple of good places to stay, both around 3km from the pier.