One of the outlying islands of the Ha Long Bay region and technically in Bai Tu Long bay, Quan Lạn has been sparsely inhabited for quite some time. There are a few thousand residents and an influx of local tourists from Hanoi on weekends and holidays. The island itself is pretty sandy and has little in the way of forest, unlike others nearby such as Ban Sen. Today, ports exist both at the northern and southern tips of the island. It is a less developed and less touristy alternative to the more popular Cat Ba Island.
There are two larger villages on the island with some scattered houses and guesthouses on the roads in between. Minh Chau village is in the north and has a strip of hotels, guesthouses and cabanas along the white sand beach. Quan Lan village is in the center of the island with a street of guesthouses, restaurants, and karaoke venues. The Son Hau beach area has a few resorts and guesthouses near its white sand beach. The beaches of Minh Chau and Son Hau have been claimed to be some of the best in northern Vietnam, if not all of Vietnam, by locals and foreigners alike.
How to get there
1/ From Halong City: The boat departs from Hòn Gai pier at 14:00. This route gives you a scenic boat ride through Bai Tu Long bay and drops you off at the port just south of Quan Lan village.
2/ From Hanoi/Halong City: Take a drive to Cai Rang port and there is a ferry at 7 AM (or 6:30 AM in the summer) and 2 PM. Boats from Quan Lan going back to Cai Rong leave at 7 AM (or 6:30 AM in the summer) and 2 PM. The ferry takes two hours. There is a speed boat that makes the trip in 45 minutes that leaves at 7 AM, 8 AM, 1 PM and 2 PM from Cai Rong.
Things to do
1/ Rent a motorbike, bicycle or tuk-tuk for driving around the island and to Quan Lan village.
2/ In the evening, you can join camp-fire at Quan Lan beach which will be very interesting that you can't do at other beaches.
Quan Lan is not a touristic beach and just well-known for some years which make the whole island very quiet and natural. There are only local restaurants available in Quan Lan beach which cost around 5 - 8 usd per person per meal.