Just off the coast of Ha Long City, Tuan Chau (Tuần Châu) is one of Vietnam’s “Ancient Islands”. Previously used as a guard station and once serving as a vacation home for the country’s former president Ho Chi Minh (Hồ Chí Minh), the island has shifted from a historic haven to a booming resort destination.
Boasting a range of accommodations, two beaches, and multiple attractions, Tuan Chau is the closest tropical getaway to Ha Long City. Visited by thousands of Vietnamese nationals and foreigners annually, the island has become a hotspot for extended trips, weekend getaways, and daytime adventures. It also has an international port that serves millions as they explore Ha Long Bay.
Resort Island Near Ha Long City
Covering an area of 568 acres, Tuan Chau Island has a unique shape. Internal waterways carve into it and on strips of land, resorts have been built along the beach and seafront. Although the island is natural, the two beaches on Tuan Chau are man-made and together, stretch for over 3 km (1.86 mi).
Along one strip of sand is the Tuan Chau Harbor. Functioning as an international port, its motto is “one destination, many facilities”. Transporting countless tourists to nearby destinations like Ha Long City and Ha Long Bay, the city is only 8 km (5 mi) to the northeast of Tuan Chau Island.
Connected by a bridge, tourists can drive less than 15 minutes from the city to reach Tuan Chau. Alternatively, there are also plenty of boats and ferries that take visitors to and from the island. Additionally, many local cruise companies include a stop at the harbor during tours of Ha Long Bay.
An option for tourists coming from Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi is taking a seaplane offered by Hai Au Aviation. Offering a direct flight, the 150.8-kilometer (94-mile) journey to Tuan Chau can be completed in about 1 hour.
Often called an “Ancient Island”, relics found at Tuan Chau are proof that humans have inhabited the island since prehistoric times. Throughout various sites on the island, archaeologists have found stone tools, pottery, and even human remains. Most of the artifacts have been dated 3,000-5,000 years ago.
During times of war, Tuan Chau Island was an important outpost for the Royal Army, a branch of the Vietnamese military. Its strategic location gave the military a better chance of defending against sea-based attacks. By the late 1950s, Vietnam’s former president, Ho Chi Minh, used the island as a vacation spot for personal and business-related reasons.
The transformation of Tuan Chau into a resort destination did not begin until the late 1990s. Prior to 1999, the island was mostly undeveloped, lacking electricity and clean water. Before becoming a popular vacation spot, local families relied on fishing to earn a living. With more tourists visiting the area, further structures were added including a harbor and land bridge.
- In 2019, the island hosted the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.
- Between all the resorts and hotels on Tuan Chau, there are more than 400 guest rooms.
- The name Tuan Chau comes from “Linh Tuan” (“patrolman”) and Tri Chau (“District Chief”).
On Tuan Chau Island, tourists can enjoy a variety of free and paid activities. The entrance to the island and its beaches are completely open to the public while some areas, like the park and entertainment center, do require a small entrance fee. From more casual beach days to epic performances, tourists are guaranteed to be entertained during their time on the island.
Lining each side of Tuan Chau Island are two white-sand beaches. Unnamed, both were man-made and are lined with coconut trees. With many resorts located on both, public access to the beaches is granted regardless if you’re a guest or not. Stretching for a few miles, there is plenty of space to lay out or take a stroll.
Boasting shallow, clear water that’s safe to swim in, local tour companies offer plenty of excursions including windsurfing, kayaking, and jet skiing.
Tuan Chau Park
One of the newer additions to the island is Tuan Chau Park. A massive complex built for entertainment purposes, the park has plenty of performances and restaurants for guests to explore. A few of the most popular attractions at the park include the Grand Stage, Music Water Show, and performances using dolphins and sea lions.
A family-friendly attraction that can keep you busy for an entire day, Tuan Chau Park is one of the most popular places to visit on the island.
Tuan Chau Harbor
Both an international port and recreational tourist area, Tuan Chau Harbor sees thousands of visitors daily. Designed with a unique U-shape, this modern harbor is much more than an active port. Along the waterway, there are plenty of entertainment stations, souvenir shops, supermarkets, and restaurants that cater to tourists.
Organized into multiple areas, there is a supermarket, children’s playground, and post office as well as clinics and tourist information stations. Having multiple areas for travelers to embark on their journey, including 2 ports and 1 pier, the harbor can serve 2,000 boats, ferries, and ships at the same time.
Tuan Chau International Entertainment Center
Another area where tourists can enjoy performances is the Tuan Chau International Entertainment Center. Divided into various segments, including the Crocodile Club, Circus, Outdoor Playground, Games World, and Sea Disco, this space is particularly popular amongst traveling families. Great for all ages, the center also has nighttime activities along the beach.
The Overnight Disco Party gives visitors a chance to enjoy a beachside BBQ while playing games and socializing. Throughout the night, there are various musical performances, laser light shows, bikini competitions, and artistic showcases.
Recreational Hiking and Camping
Heading slightly inland, and away from the developed resort areas, small portions of the island have been left forested. In these areas, tourists can break away from the massive crowds to enjoy outdoor activities. Although there aren’t any mountains on the island, there are a few paths that wander through the verdant forests.
Some tour companies even offer overnight camping excursions for travelers who want an experience that’s different from the services of the luxury resorts.
Ha Long Bay Cruises
For many travelers, Tuan Chau Island is another gateway to Ha Long Bay. Although most tourists leave from Ha Long City, the Tuan Chau Harbor has plenty of local cruise companies docking in the ports and piers. Travelers can arrange for tours of Ha Long Bay from the Tuan Chau Harbor with packages ranging from day trips to overnight adventures and weeklong cruises.
Although Ha Long Bay is clearly visible from Tuan Chau Island, tourists are encouraged to book a boat or cruise tour of the bay, which has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
With hundreds of guest rooms between all of the resorts and hotels on Tuan Chau Island, tourists won’t have to worry about finding a place to stay the night. Though, during peak tourist season, travelers will need to reserve their bookings well in advance of their trip. Most of the resorts and hotels on Tuan Chau Island appear very luxurious and flashy, but travelers shouldn’t get too worried.
The good news is that accommodation on the island suits any budget. Tourists can stay at the high-class resorts or find a more affordable boutique hotel. A few of the best accommodation options on Tuan Chau include the Paradise Suites, La Paz Resort Tuan Chau, Moon Bay Halong Hotel, Sun Bay Hotel, Halong Harbour Hotel, and the Tuan Chau Kingly Villa.
Paradise Suites – One of the fanciest hotels on Tuan Chau Island is Paradise Suites. Providing a high level of luxury, tourists can indulge in modern rooms, a contemporary-style restaurant, and an excellent location next to the Tuan Chau Marina.
Halong Harbour Hotel – Centrally located in the marina, the Halong Harbour Hotel has 112 guest rooms and excellent facilities, like a swimming pool, gym, karaoke room, and duty-free shop. Directly in front of the hotel is a large grass courtyard for tourists to enjoy.
Tuan Chau Resort Ha Long – Offering guests a front-row view of Ha Long Bay in its seaside villas, the Tuan Chau Resort is a family-friendly accommodation that offers guests a 4-star experience with exclusive packages. Featuring a minimalistic, French-colonial-inspired design, guests can enjoy on-site amenities including multiple outdoor swimming pools, a restaurant, and private beach access.
Sun Bay Hotel – A budget-friendly, the Sun Bay Hotel is located next to the Tuan Chau Marina. Having excellent views of the sea and bay, rooms at the hotel are modern and come with an outdoor balcony. An on-site restaurant offers multiple menus including buffet, à la carte, and set courses.
Moon Bay Halong Hotel – Another budget-friendly option for tourists hoping to save is the Moon Bay Halong Hotel. Located on the seaside, this hotel offers 50 modern rooms with affordable nightly rates. Balconies overlook the sea and the hotel is just a 1-minute walk to the beach.
Tuan Chau Kingly Villa – A small but luxurious property that offers state-of-the-art facilities, the Tuan Chau Kingly Villa is a gorgeous seaside hotel with only a handful of rooms. Located on the property are various recreational facilities including an outdoor swimming pool, gym, children’s playground, and billiards.
Every hotel and resort on Tuan Chau Island will have a restaurant located on the property to enjoy, however, there are plenty of options on the island to explore. If you’re looking for options that specialize in local cuisine and seafood, a few options to consider are Yolo Tuần Châu, Huong Beo Cu Ky Noodle Restaurant, and Sen Hà Thành Hạ Long.
With lots of roads, getting around Tuan Chau Island is easy. Tourists looking to get around the island can hire a mototaxi or rent a bicycle from their hotel. The streets on Tuan Chau are well maintained and the extensive network of roads ensures that guests can hop from their resort to all of the nearby hotspots.
Tuan Chau Island has two seasons – wet and dry. The wet season is the least popular time for tourists to visit the island because heavy rain and monsoons can make for dangerous conditions in the water and along the beaches. The best time to visit Tuan Chau Island is during the dry season months, which are from November to March.
During the dry season, the weather in Tuan Chau is cooler and there’s little rain to interfere with tourist activities. Travelers should keep in mind that the island is particularly busy during the months of December and January because of the major holidays that fall during the end and beginning of the year.
Season: Year-round | Best during the dry season