There’s something about the island life that’s instantly relaxing. Perhaps it’s because the rest of the world really does seem that far away. Luckily, Vietnam has an array of tourist-friendly islands, from large destinations like Phu Quoc to much tinier ones, such as Monkey Island. And no matter where you’re visiting north to south, there’s likely an island off the coast to discover.
One of the highlights in this easternmost country in the Southeast Asian Indochinese Peninsula is the long-ranging coastline with top islands found off of its shores. Take a day trip to try scuba diving or snorkeling, or stay for an extended period on one of these fabulous islands. Let’s learn about some of the best …
List + Map of Tourist Islands in Vietnam
Whether it’s for seclusion or the white-sandy beaches untouched by the masses, islands provide it. Phu Quoc is unique because you can fly into its international airport from a number of domestic cities and neighboring countries. Or take it a step further and island hop. Phu Quoc and others are often surrounded by multiple, smaller islands that are popular day trips by boat, and some even have overnight accommodations.
Guide to Visiting Islands in Vietnam
With over 40 islands in the country, it can be challenging to decide which one(s) you want to visit on your trip to Vietnam. Some of them are smaller, quieter, and provide incredible scenery for hiking and exploring quaint villages, while others are larger and trendy among tourists and locals alike.
Whichever island calls your name, you can be guaranteed to have some breathtaking sea views.
Top Islands to Visit
Even though Vietnam has what seems to be an endless list of islands, there are a few of them that are popular for a good reason. While some are suited for overnight and others for day trips, this is the shortlist of islands that you won’t want to exclude on your next trip to the country.
Travelers looking to escape the bustling cities will love Phu Quoc Island’s idyllic and romantic pristine beaches. Additionally, it’s is home to verdant forests, stunning sunsets, and an overall relaxing atmosphere that is second to none. Phu Quoc has many luxurious resorts with premium on-site features that guests love.
Still, there are also museums, exotic villages, and a safari park for travelers who like a touch of adventure on vacation. The island is the perfect place for water activities like snorkeling and swimming and offers dining options for budgets of all kinds.
Con Dao Islands
The Con Dao Islands, also known as the Con Dao National Park, comprises 16 islands surrounded by crystal teal waters. Snorkelers and divers love the variety of wildlife that can be spotted around the unoccupied islets, such as stingrays, eels, and barracudas.
On-land activities like hiking, exploring the coastal roads, and island hopping are very popular with tourists and offer opportunities for seeing something new with each visit. Getting to the island requires a short flight or ferry ride, usually from Ho Chi Minh City or Vung Tau, the closest cities.
Set off the coast of Hoi An, the Cham Islands are composed of eight islets, which are labeled as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The most common accommodations on the Cham Islands are homestays and camping in tents. Some of the most popular activities on the islands include snorkeling and diving, thanks to the area’s clear waters. The islands are easily accessible by car using the one main road from Hoi An.
Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba Island is the largest one in Halong Bay and is an excellent destination for both a day trip or spending a few nights. The island is located roughly four to five hours from Hanoi by train or bus and has numerous hotels, restaurants, and beaches to sunbathe at swim at. Travelers interested in caving will find the most naturally lit ones in the Cat Ba National Park intriguing and dark, so bringing their own equipment for that is essential.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Halong Bay is Monkey Island, which is highly recommended to travelers visiting Cat Ba Island. The island is inhabited by wild monkeys and is a popular stop among many tours in the Halong Bay area.
One of the main things to do when visiting is to make the trek to the island’s peak, a hike that should be done in sturdy footwear. The Monkey Island Resort (affiliate link) can offer guests a chance to stay on the island and soak up the tropical environment while staying in a bungalow with an ocean view.
Vung Tau Island
Vung Tau Island is considered one of the fancier destinations for Vietnam’s wealthy residents and overseas tourists. This area is regarded as one of the best beach regions in the country and offers plenty of water activity options like snorkeling, diving, and swimming, in addition to on-land sports like golfing. When the tides are low, visitors can stroll over to Hon Ba Island on foot, where a historic temple is a popular attraction.
Hon Tre Island
Home to the Vinpearl Amusement Park with an aquarium, rides, and shopping center, Hon Tre Island is a fun place to add to any itinerary. Tourists looking for some beach time aside from attractions can visit the Bai Tru Beach, which charges an entrance fee but allows all guests access to the sand, swimming, a buffet, and speedboat transfers. Visitors can quickly get to Hon Tre Island by car, motorcycle, ferry, speed boat, or cable car.
Ly Son Island
Tourists looking to spend some time on an island that doesn’t revolve around beaches, but exploring quaint towns and ancient pagodas, should consider staying on Ly Son Island. Also known as “The Kingdom of Garlic,” this island’s cuisine includes its staple crop in just about every meal at local restaurants. Another feature of this location is the sweeping views of Mount Thoi Loi, which visitors can hike and motorbike around.
Binh Ba Island
Visitors to Vietnam looking for endless affordable fresh seafood should check out Binh Ba Island, also known as “Lobster Island”. Situated just 15 kilometers/9 miles from Nha Trang, this island is also fitted with some of the country’s most perfectly white and smooth sand beaches. Another treat on Binh Ba Island is getting to shop at the Binh Ba Market, where produce and seafood can be purchased right out of the sea.
Located 100km/62mi north of Nha Trang, Whale Island is a haven for scuba divers of all skill levels. In the spring and summer between April and July, its waters are populated with whales and whale sharks that travel to the area to eat plankton.
Visitors participate in many water sports on Whale Island (affiliate link), such as diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, and swimming in the crystal clear waters with colorful reefs below. For those that enjoy hiking and animal watching, the island has an abundance of wildlife on its land-side.
Vietnam has so many islands to explore that they can’t all possibly be seen in one trip, so hopefully, you will be able to return and check more off this list, plus others throughout the country.