This should be – in my humble opinion – the best, the most rustic beach in the North of Vietnam where the water is crystal clear, tourism hasn’t been developed heavily. The island do not have power all the time so most accommodation here do not have Air-Conditioner yet. But things will change in the next year. At the moment we found only 1 place has AC and it’s not on the beach. Too bad the weather do not support us for any sunrise or sunset, but still, the view from our hotel is great!
The Best experience number 1:
Boat trip to the pristine beach on Small Co To island, don’t go where it’s only take 15 minutes to get to, we went to the side of island that took 45 minutes from Co To island. Should take the whole day or half day boat depends on how long you want to be on the beach. Here we could easily find the clam yourselves just a few centimeter down under the sand. And the boatman will have a small stove and cook it up for you. Lazy on a tiny fishing boat, eating clam that YOU found – must be a lovely rewarding feeling.
This is the clams we got for lunch, they are really tastier than any other same type of clams that I have eaten:
The Best experience number 2: Motorbiking on the island.
The island is small enough (if you ever been to Con Dao, it’s smaller than Con Dao island) to get around by motorbiking, if you cant drive, be at the back of someone to explore the island. The Rock Garden is worth while to visit, the stone have amazing color and prints on it that really fascinated us. Calling a Rock Garden is a bit more than you can expect, it’s more a Rocky beach to me rather than Garden.
From where you get off the boat, turn left following the road until you see residences around with rice fields, there is a small road on the left side that you can take to the Rock Garden. We were lost at first and passed this tiny turn and it leaded us to another in progress wharf.
One more photo close up to the Stone, it is fascinating just looking at this.
But also don’t forget to wander around the area, behind the main part, there is a small curvy part that you can walk in for more crazy –shaped stones. Here is aslo the place for best view of Co To island: over the hill on the right side, it’s magnificient to look down at the curves and have the further view to other smaller islands. It could be a perfect pinic spot too.
Leaving The Rock Garden, we head south of the island go to The Light House. It’s not huge, just a simple light house. The soldiers there – depends on their mood, will ask 5,000vnd/person to go up. On a clear day it’s great photo shot above for the inland of the island. One side is beautiful rice fields and the other is beach.
Continue to explore the Beaches on Co To island itself, we pass the rice fields, reaching to Nam Ha Beach, which I found bigger waves and more developed tourist’s services. The beach is really nice but we already were spoilt by the beach on small Co To island.
Hong Van beach on the opposite side of Nam Ha Beach is big, newly developed for tourists, actually is much calmer and has some deep spot and clear water.
In general, we would recommend a 4 days – 3 nights trip since the journey from Hanoi is quite far away plus the 2 hours speedboat to get to the island. The last half an hour on boat is quite rough with big waves, so if you have seasick, you may want to take a pill in advance. Normal boat will take up to 4 hours to get from Van Don wharf to Co To island.
Accommodation: There are only a few hotels in town, including Co To Lodge, To Nam Guesthouse (which has a few AC), Co To Hotel and Green Co To. Price range is fairly affordable. Eating in the hotel’s restaurant may be a better choice cause there are not much out there. Fresh seafood is fairly cheap compare to the other destinations but I think it will change very soon.
We surely had wonderful time on Co To island and hope to come back soon. For more images of our trip to the island, please visit our Facebook Page.
Or if you want to organize a trip to get there, we can arrange the permission, transports and accommodation for you on the island, simply email us at email@example.com. We are certain you will love the island as we love it. And Our suggestion: Go now before it gets too developed!