Sunday, August 10, 2014

Beautiful Sun and Sea at Cô Tô Island

5-7 August 2014

Situated in Quang Ninh Province of Vietnam, the Cô Tô archipelago comprises about 50 islets, including the Cô Tô Island and Thanh Lan Island we visited.

Getting to the island from Hanoi requires a 5-hour bus ride and a 1.5 hour ferry journey. Lots of touts and hagglers at the bus terminal. Fascinating marketplace of buses and passengers amidst the chaotic traffic flow. The long distance buses pick up passengers from any spot along the journey.

My Dinh Bus Terminal in Hanoi

First Challenge: Walking the Plank

Co To Island was only plugged onto the national power grid since 2013, but wireless internet had been made available since 2012. All households also have access to digital TV via satellite. The tourism is largely driven by local visitors. There aren't many cars around and there are no taxis. While locals travel by bikes, tourists commute around via electric carts or bicycles.

We bunked in at Starlight Lodge, which looked like a tram carriage. The carriage can be towed towards inland during stormy weathers.

Safety pins for snail meal

Bonfire by the waters

Timely wefie with Buffalo

Lots of development projects ongoing around Co To island. The local government actively encourages the local populace to adopt new ideas to promote tourism. This includes converting houses to homestay hotels, like the following house located at a land previously used as a poultry farm.

A random house

Cows and the green pastures

Some photos at Co To Lodge, a colourful and romantic place to stay at:


And this is how it looks like at night, with pleasant English music

The late Ho Chi Minh visited the island and gave the approval for the one and only statue to be built after him when he was still alive.

Uncle Ho's statue overlooking the sea. A temple to worship the revered leader is in the vicinity.

A construction site with the wharf in the background

Beautiful rock formation at Cầu Mỵ:

Photo with Mr Nguyen Duc Thanh, Secretary of the Co To district Party Committee, Chairman of Co To district People's Committee

A resting spot for visitors down the cliff

A 15-minute ferry ride brought us to Thanh Lan Island, which is a far more quiet place. The island is occupied by military camps, where tourists can experience life as a soldier for a day.

Jellyfish farm

The beautiful and serene beaches are a relaxing spot for visitors.

Photo with Chairman of Thanh Lan People's Committee

Probably the Cutest Dog on the island

That weighing scale

The moon shines bright

Okie, time to pack and leave

Market at the the central

Zzz along the bus journey back to Hanoi

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