Quan Lan Island: Precious Gift Of Nature
by Nguyen Chi Thanh
Belonging to the vast archipelagos on Bai Tu Long Bay, Quan Lan Island is naturally endowed with lots of advantages. The island not only features full factors of an imposing natural site but also preserves many historical and cultural values. Quan Lan Island covers an area of 11 square kilometers, west-eastern oriented spreading from Van Don Range to Got Mountain, with lots of high mountains making a great wall against oceanic wave and wind so as to protect the island residents.
Quan Lan lies in the potential marine area of Bai Tu Long Bay, Quang Ninh. In recent years, tourism services has been increasingly promoted here to take advantages of this pristine island. My business trip to Quan Lan lasted just three days but it is enough for me to feel the pure beauty of nature and the peaceful life of people here, and to discover the most beautiful beach of Northern Vietnam – Quan Lan Beach.
Departing from Hanoi, it takes 170 kilometers to reach Halong City. You then can approach Quan Lan by many roads. Of which, the popular one is traveling by express boat departing from the quay nearby Bai Tho (Poem) Mountain and Long Tien Pagoda. The cruise lasting 1.5 hours on Bai Tu Long Bay makes good time for you to catch the spectacular vista of Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay and the animated Halong City nearby. If you choose to travel by wooden boat, it will take up to four hours. Another choice is taking a 1.5 hour bus trip from Halong City to Cai Vien – Van Don Harbor, then 40 minutes of express boat trip to reach Minh Chau Harbor.
Upon arrival in Quan Lan Island, in front of your eyes appear lines of green poplar and pine breezing in the wind. You are transferred to the commune center by tuk tuk, a typical vehicle in Quan Lan.
Quan Lan comprises of two communes, namely Minh Chau and Quan Lan. Quan Lan used to be the trading hub of thriving former Van Don Harbor. Currently, on the island remain many relics related to this trading harbor. This is also the reason why in this immense oceanic area exist so many large pagodas and archeological sites.
Quan Lan Communal House is a must-see here. The house, which was built in 18th century, still keep its former beauty with sophisticated engraved patterns. Beside Quan Lan Communal House lies Quan Lan Pagoda (also Linh Quang Tu Pagoda) worshiping Buddhism and God Lieu Hanh. Quan Lan Pagoda also keeps the statue of Hau, a local resident who had made great contribution to its construction. The statue describes a rustic old Vietnamese woman with her warm-hearted smile, making the highlight of Quan Lan Pagoda. Quan Lan Temple worships Pham Cong Chinh, who had sound dedication to the historical Van Don battle against Yuan invaders and is honored as a God by local people.
Quan Lan Island possesses two famous beaches, namely Minh Chau and Son Hao, both of which belong to Quan Lan Commune. Green Van Hai and Red Van Hai are two tourism areas that have adjacent beach. Minh Chau Beach lies in Minh Chau Commune and is under management of Minh Chau Resort. There are many hotels and mini guest houses at the commune center, such as Le Pont, Blue Ocean, Huy Hoang and Viet Hang, to serve tourist accommodation demand. Room rates vary by seasons and by week days, ranging from VND600,000 to VND1,800,000/room/day. Food on the island costs more than that in the mainland. As Quan Lan Island has not been covered by the national power grid, some hotels must resort to oil-powered generator. This is the reason why room rates are quite high.
The trip lasting 3 days and 2 nights in Quan Lan is ideal for tourists to enjoy pretty climate, pristine beaches and rich culture of the islanders. The peace and quiet of Quan Lan Beach give tourist the feeling totally different from what other popular and busy beaches such as Bai Chay, Sam Son, Cua Lo and Danang can offer. See our proposals in Travel to Vietnam
As many tourists coming to Quan Lan have shared their feelings, it is much hoped that should there be a tourism boom in Quan Lan in the near future, the island will still remain its today natural beauty – the beauty of a natural pearl.