The 10 Most Beautiful Islands in Vietnam

boat in crystal blue water at Beach in Phu Quoc Vietnam

Vietnam’s stunning archipelago Islands are scattered throughout the East Sea and stretch along the country’s coastline, boasting a mesmerising display of coral-fringed beaches. Enchanting islands feature pristine sandy beaches, glistening clear waters, and abundant experiences waiting to be discovered. Regarding family vacations in 2024, Vietnam is an exceptional choice with its diverse range of experiences. Each Vietnam Islands possesses a unique allure, catering to individuals seeking peaceful, isolated beaches or vibrant, thriving coastal areas. With its diverse offerings, Vietnamese Island Resorts captivates all travellers.

Since deciding which islands to visit can be difficult, I’m here to help. Located between China in the North and Cambodia in the South, Vietnam’s coastline stretches over 1 million square kilometres. Whether starting your trip in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, consider visiting at least one of the gorgeous Vietnam Islands many individuals repeatedly return to.

The captivating Con Dao archipelago emerges from the depths of the South China Sea and is one of the best Southern Vietnam Islands to add to your bucket list. It is known for its pristine beaches, lush jungles, vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life, and fantastic diving opportunities. Besides, it is one of the best honeymoon destinations in Vietnam, so it is no wonder Angelina and Brad spent their Vietnam Island holidays there. Additionally, it is easily accessible by a short flight from Saigon.

With so many incredible places to visit and things to do on the Island, visit the Guide to Vietnam’s Con Dao, which includes everything about this hidden paradise, including when to go, how long to stay, where to stay and the best things to do.

Turquoise water on Con Dao Beaches, Best Islands in Vietnam
Con Dao Beaches, Best Islands in Vietnam

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One of the Best SouthWestern Vietnam Islands, Phu Quoc is nestled amidst glistening white-sand beaches. Although Phu Quoc has become very touristy, the breathtaking paradise boasts stunning coastlines, pristine crystal-clear waters, verdant tropical forests, and majestic mountains. Located a mere 15 km south of Cambodia and Kampot, roughly 40 km west of Hà Tiên, the nearest Vietnam coastal town. Besides the tropical forest, it features fabulous beaches and outstanding diving spots.

  • Visit the fabulous beaches for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkelling. About 25 km from Duong Dong, the capital of Phú Quốc, lies Bai Sao Beach, which is one of the best beaches in Phu Quoc. With its clear blue water and soft white sand adorned with palm trees, you might find a quiet, relaxing spot.
  • Hike in the serene Phu Quoc National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with stunning waterfalls.
  • Explore the lively night market, where you can find an array of fresh seafood, fish sauce, and exotic tropical fruits.
  • Visit the local fish sauce factory and learn about the art of Phu Quoc fish sauce production.
  • Take a trip to Ham Ninh Fishing Village, the oldest fishing village in Vietnam, on Phu Quoc Island’s east coast.
  • Savour local delicacies like Sim wine (Myrtle) and Melaleuca mushrooms. The tropical Island of Phu Quoc is home to Melaleuca mushrooms, a seasonal local delicacy. These unique mushrooms are plentiful on the Island and are harvested to be dried and preserved, allowing them to be enjoyed throughout the year.
  • Unfortunately, Phu Quoc got very busy, and the island is also home to Vietnam’s first casino. Along with the new iconic landmark, the Kiss Bridge, also known as Cau Hon (Cầu Hôn), symbolises Phu Quoc’s natural beauty and tourism appeal.
Phu Quoc best beaches in Vietnam with dense jungle and crystal clear blue water
Beach in Phu Quoc Vietnam

Deciding how many days to spend in Phu Quoc can be challenging. For a good experience, you need at least three days on Phu Quoc Island, although four days would be more relaxed. Determining the duration of your stay in Phu Quoc can be a bit of a conundrum, as it largely depends on the expertise you seek.

  • The Rova Hotel Phú Quốc has a private beach, a restaurant and free WiFi. Nestled in the tranquil setting of Phu Quoc, with a private beach, and only 20 km from the picturesque Tranh Waterfall, the Rova Hotel Phú Quốc offers a comfortable retreat with a restaurant and bar. To book, visit Rova Phu Quoc Bookings.
  • The Beachfront AND Resort is situated in Phu Quoc, 2.9 km from Dinh Cau Beach. It has a private beach area, WiFi, and a beautiful balcony with sea views.
  • Located in the Phu Quoc Fishing Village, the self-catering gem, the Cocal Home Phu Quoc, is close to Duong Dong Beach and includes a shared kitchen. It is also only 1.6 km from Ganh Gio Beach.

The Nam Du archipelago is a stunning cluster of 20 small tropical islands and islets on Vietnam’s southwestern coast in the Kien Giang province. Located near Phu Quoc, the charming Nam Du Islands are rugged and rocky yet green and forested, with a beautiful, mostly calm blue topaz ocean. Despite its natural beauty, the Island faces a significant litter problem. Although Nam Du is small and has a delicate environment, the influx of tourism is already impacting. The most suitable time to visit Nam Du Island is from December to May. Visiting the Nam Du Islands on weekdays to avoid the crowds that gather on weekends.

  • Exceptional places to visit include the Ngang Islet, Mau Islet, Hai Bo Dap, and Cay Men Beach.
  • The central Island of Hon Lon, also known as Big Island, is a hotspot for Vietnamese travellers, yet some foreign travellers have already discovered it.

These beautiful islands are accessible via ferries from the mainland. It is possible to travel independently to them. Consider visiting the island sooner rather than later to appreciate the destination truly. There are boats to Nam Du via Hon Son, departing from Rach Gia at 7:30 a.m. and returning to the mainland at 11 a.m. Most travellers spend a night on the mainland in Rach Gia before taking the ferry to Nam Du Island. I recommend staying at least two nights.

Places to stay in Rach Gia and Nam Du Islands: Besides the basic accommodations and guest houses in Bai Tret or Cu Tron, there are a few resorts around the Island. Keep in mind that accommodation on the remote Islands is about 30% higher.

The Beautiful Central Islands in Vietnam, the mesmerizing Chàm Archipelago, is a collection of 8 Islands nestled in the middle of Vietnam. These untouched islets are where traditional Chàm culture’s rich tapestry intertwines with serene, unspoiled beaches and breathtaking underwater landscapes, vibrant festivals, and other adventures. 

Located about 15km off the coast of Hoi An, the Cham Islands are an awe-inspiring archipelago of granite islands. Known for its crystal-clear, turquoise waters, the Cham Islands feel like a hidden gem. Once shrouded in mystery and off-limits to the public, they now allow tourists.

  • Ancient temples across the islands add an enigmatic allure, drawing in explorers pursuing historical wonders and unblemished natural vistas. This is all part of the Cu Lao Cham Marine Park, a UNESCO-recognized world Biosphere Reserve.
  • Visitors can embark on day trips to explore the vibrant underwater world through diving or snorkelling. One of the best things to do is to overnight on Cham Island. vibrant festivals
  • Discover the unique architecture of the interesting Chàm people who left a significant cultural imprint on the islands. 
Cau Lao beach, Cham Island Vietnam
Cau Lao Beach, Vietnam

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Ly Son Island is a captivating destination with a rich volcanic legacy, mesmerizing landscapes, and a tranquil seaside atmosphere. Situated 30 kilometres from the mainland, the natural area consists of two small volcanic islands. The Island is renowned for its delectable seafood and exceptionally flavorful garlic, which thrives in its fertile, volcanic soil. For panoramic views of the lush garlic fields, visit the Thoi Loi Peak.

  • Explore the Island’s breathtaking volcanic craters on exhilarating hikes.
  • Feel the freedom of a leisurely motorbike ride along the stunning coastal roads.
  • One of the best things to do on Ly Son Island is to take a 10-minute boat ride to nearby Dao Be Island. Dao Be Island is a charming hidden gem just waiting to be discovered.
  • Other attractions include Thoi Loi Mountain, Gieng Tien, Thoi Loi, To Vo Gate, and Chua Hang Cave Pagoda.

When to Go: The best time to visit the Ly Son Archipelago is from March to September when the weather is delightful and the sea is calm. Avoid the monsoon season, which typically occurs from October to February.

To get to Ly Son Island, you have a couple of options. You can embark on a scenic two-hour ferry ride from the coastal city of Da Nang, with breathtaking coastline views. If you’re looking for a quicker journey, you can choose the 30-60 minute speedboat route from Sa Ky Port in the Quang Ngai Province, providing a thrilling and faster alternative to reach the Island.

Where to Stay on Ly Son Island: The island has dozens of mid-range hotels and places with good reviews.

Beautiful Rach Vem Beach Phu Quoc with white powdery beach, swaying palms and turquoise ocean.
Rach Vem Beach Phu Quoc

I recently discovered the enchanting Dao Be Island, a small but charming islet located north of Ly Son Island. I stumbled upon this gem while reading a post by Tom from Vietnamcronicle, and I was instantly captivated. Dao Be Island is so tiny that it can be easily explored on foot.

“Garlic and peanuts are the main crops, but tropical fruit trees, such as coconut palms, banana plants, and screwpines grow in clusters here and there. There’s only one settlement on the island, a tiny hamlet of squat, angular concrete homes bisected by sandy alleyways on the south coast, where the boat pier is. Many of the houses have colourful murals painted on their external walls, which makes strolling around the hamlet an interesting experience.”

“The only outlying island is Dao Be (also known as An Binh or Cu Lao Bo Bai), which lies just north of Ly Son. Little passenger speed boats leave the Ly Son pier every morning between 7am and 10am for Dao Be Island. The journey only takes 10-15 minutes, but if seas are rough boats won’t sail. Ticket prices are good value at 80,000vnd return per person. Tickets are easily arranged through your accommodation the night before departure (or just show up at the boat pier and try your luck, but this probably isn’t a good idea during high season or on a weekend).”

Tom from Vietnam Coracle

Overnight stays at one of the Dao Be homestays are highly recommended for those planning to visit. Among the options, Go Bien Homestay and Camping stood out to me. I can’t wait to experience the warm hospitality, the serene atmosphere, and the unique blend of homestay and camping at Go Bien.

Hon Lao, also called “Monkey Island,” is situated in Nha Trang. Renowned as a haven for monkeys, Hon Lao draws numerous tourists. The island is about 18 kilometres north of the city centre and covers 25 hectares.

Con Son Beach, Southern Vietnam
Con Son Beach, Southern Vietnam

With untouched natural beauty characterized by a wide variety of fauna and flora, creating a peaceful and serene environment.

The facility houses monkeys primarily for conservation efforts and to cater to tourists. Visitors can observe, learn, and interact with these playful and endearing creatures. The environment is ideal for nature enthusiasts and families with young children who enjoy adventure and entertainment.

While the prospect of interacting with wild monkeys may be alluring, it’s crucial to remember that the Monkeys on Vietnam Islands are untamed creatures. Refrain from feeding them to minimize the risk of aggressive reactions.

Besides captivating activities like swimming in pristine waters and exploring hidden coves by kayak, there are also invigorating treks. Enjoy the island’s natural allure and revel in its serene ambience, teeming with vibrant wildlife.

A visit to Monkey Island is essential for nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike. Travelling from Cat Ba Island, accessible by boat from Hai Phong or Tuan Chau Island. The scenic boat ride from Cat Ba to Monkey Island lasts about 30-45 minutes and promises breathtaking views.

The Whale Island Resort is located on the stunning Van Phong Bay and is known for its beautiful serene white sandy beach, and exceptional diving sites. Located approximately 100 kilometres north of Nha Trang, the island is only reachable by sea.

  • The Whale Island Vietnam owes its existence to the presence of whales.
  • Enjoy the beach, relaxing and swimming in the warm water.
  • Snorkelling and Diving above the spectacular reefs.
  • Whale Island offers various water sports activities, like kayaking and scuba diving.
  • Trekking exploring the Vietnam Island.

To book, visit Whale Island Resorts, Vietnam. Motorbikes are ideal for adventurous travellers who want to explore independently. I can only imagine a fantastic motorbike journey to Dam Mon Pier.

If you’re planning to travel from Hanoi to Whale Island, there are several options available:

  • For those seeking a swift journey, the most time-efficient route from Hanoi to Whale Island Resort, Dam Mon, is a flight from Noi Bai International Airport to Tuyhoa. With a travel time of approximately 1 hour 45 minutes, it is ideal for travellers with a tight schedule. The cheapest way to travel from Hanoi to Whale Island is by train, which takes approximately 26 hours and 54 minutes. The ticket prices for this journey typically range from $26 to $60.
  • Bus travel to Dam Mon Pier from Nha Trang City Centre, with Nha Trang to Van Gia to Van Gia station.
  • Another viable option is the Hanoi Travel Bus, which provides services between Hanoi and Cat Ba. The buses pick up passengers from designated offices in the Hanoi Old Quarter. To reach the Got ferry, take the Hanoi-Hai Phong Express.
  • Bus and Speedboat Combo: If you prefer a more scenic and diverse journey, consider taking a bus from Hanoi to Cat Ba town. It takes about four hours, and then you board a speedboat to Whale Island Resort in Dam Mon. This option allows you to experience both land and sea travel.

Also known as Ile de la Baleine or Hon Ong, Whale Island Resort is a low-key resort with tropical landscapes. The traditional, bamboo-thatched bungalows provide a comfortable stay with spacious rooms, workspace, and seating areas. Guests can also enjoy free Wi-Fi in the bar lounge. To book, visit Whale Island Resorts, Vietnam. 

Nestled within the stunning Cat Ba Archipelago in Hai Phong, Cat Ba Island is the largest among 367 Southeastern islands in Northern Vietnam. Lush tropical rainforests, mangroves, vibrant coral reefs, and expansive seaweed bedeck this exotic paradise.

Positioned 45 kilometres east of Hai Phong City and 25 kilometres from the UNESCO heritage site of Ha Long Bay, Cat Ba Vietnam is a beacon in local tourism. Discover the mesmerizing allure of Cat Ba, a hidden gem off the coast of Halong Bay in Vietnam.

This enchanting island is famed for its towering limestone cliffs, mystical caves, and diverse marine life. Explore the rugged beauty of Cat Ba Island by delving into Cat Ba National Park and embarking on a kayaking expedition through picturesque bays.

Engaging with the traditional lifestyle of local fishing villages. Cat Ba National Park is renowned for its dense jungle and diverse wildlife, including the rare Cat Ba langur. Nearby, Hai Phong offers attractions such as Hon Dau, Long Chau, and Bach Long Vy Islands.

Despite the over-development of Cat Ba Town, the park still boasts stunning hiking trails. Adventurers can trek to Viet Hai village and enjoy the panoramic view of Ngu Lam Peak. Visitors can also relax on Cat Co Cove beaches.

Long Bay’s limestone karsts and Lan Ha Bay’s 300 islands attract kayakers, rock climbers, and travellers seeking a peaceful retreat.

With swaying palms and boats on ocean at Phu Quoc Vietnam
Phu Quoc Vietnam

The majestic popular Ha Long Bay, with its limestone karsts and stunning emerald waters, is a must-see destination for travellers exploring Vietnam. Many visitors opt for immersive overnight cruises through Ha Long Bay, while others experience its beauty on a day trip. Located in Quang Ninh province, Ha Long Bay was one of the highlights of our trip to the Islands in Vietnam. This stunning destination boasts limestone islands within the Gulf of Tonkin, approximately 170km from Hanoi.

Surrounded by Bai Tu Long Bay, Cat Ba Archipelago, and Lan Ha Bay, it’s a must-visit for both domestic and international travellers. For essential trip planning information, make sure your guide to this captivating “land of the descending dragon. The unique shapes and sizes of the limestone rocks and the occasional passing boats added enchantment to the scene. The UNESCO World Heritage Site surpassed all expectations, leaving us with enduring memories.

Also known as Titov, the charming Ti Top Vietnam Island is a cosy gem in Ha Long Bay. Visitors can swim at Crescent Beach and climb 400 steps to the island’s summit for breathtaking panoramic sea views. Consider an overnight cruise to Ha Long Bay for a more in-depth exploration of the islands and to witness the beautiful sunset over the bay. We had a great time, although it was too short. Read about our 2-day Ha Long Bay Cruise in Our amazing Three-week Trip in Vietnam.

These are valuable tips for keeping Vietnam islands beautiful for future generations. 

  • Do Not Stand or touch coral reefs when diving or snorkelling, and do not take anything from marine protected areas.
  • Be responsible for waste: Vietnamese islands need waste treatment plants. Unfortunately, the problem is expected to persist as the private sector seems interested in something other than investing in this field. Garbage washes ashore on the beaches daily. Don’t throw any waste into the sea or the forest. If you can’t dispose of it responsibly, take the rubbish back where you can dispose of it if you cannot recycle. WWF-Vietnam has more valuable tips on responsible tourism.
  • Sustainable Reef-safe Sunscreen: Most traditional sunscreens contain toxic chemicals harmful to humans, the planet, and marine life. link: https://lowimpactlove.com/best-zero-waste-sunscreen/
  • Bug Spray: Some beaches on Vietnam Islands have problems with sand flies and other pesky insects.

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  1. makes one think of the Maldives islands. Lovely .