Van Don Halong has been receiving investments that are worth thousands of billions VND to improve the local infrastructure and various conditions to grow the local tourism. Aiming to make Van Don District the tourist center with the high-quality and international-standard services, Quang Ninh Province has plans to make this place the Special Economic Zone in the near future, with Van Don Airport, the Highway (estimated 3 hours driving from Hanoi to Van Don), Sungroup’s Casino, and community-based tourism and eco-activities in Banh Sua Island.
Van Don Halong – The Potentials to Be Special Economic Zone
This destination has advantages of sea transportation, adjacent to the well-known Halong Bay and on the main routes of Mong Cai – Halong – Hai Phong, following 18A Highway. Van Don District owns various natural resources, with more than 600 islands of different sizes and terraces. Amongst these, there are only 20 inhabited islands, leaving hundreds of other uninhabited and captivating islands for the off-the-beaten-track adventures. Other highlights include special limestone grottoes, lengthy exquisite beaches, rich flora and fauna with some rare species present on Vietnam’s Red Book.
The natural forests of Van Don are mostly in Bai Tu Long National Park. Besides, the place preserves the relics of history, culture, and architecture such as the national heritages of pagodas and temples in Quan Lan Island, the antique Van Don Port, the areas to commemorate Uncle Ho on Ngoc Vung Island, etc. What’s more, this district has the traditional villages specialized in producing fish sauce, raising sea cucumbers and other seafood species, growing the special plants, etc. With so many big potentials, Van Don District is attempting to be the Special Economic Zone in the near future. And, such attempts are done by the actual projects and constructions.
Actions to Make Van Don More Attractive and Popular
#1: Complete Building Electronic Systems in 5 Islands
Five islands of Minh Chau, Ngoc Vung, Ban Sen, Quan Lan, and Thang Loi have been upgraded with the electronic systems, offering the good base for building other infrastructural projects to serve the economic and social development as well as tourism. With electricity, the growth of tourism in this place becomes easier and faster. While the service charges decrease, the quality of the services increases much, attracting more and more tourists to the land. In particular, Van Don greeted more than 220.000 traveler arrivals in early 2018. Thanks to this implementation, the district is confident in celebrating the cultural and spiritual activities beside the ecotourism advantages. Notably, Cai Bau Pagoda, Truc Lam Giac Tam Zen Monastery, Cap Tien Temple, Ty Anh Tong Temple, etc., make up the beautiful cultural settings to discover.
#2: The Project of Quang Ninh International Airport in Van Don
The mega project of 5.1 trillion VND (242 million USD) will be made to build Quang Ninh International Airport in Van Don Island District. The projected airport will have an area of 285 hectares in Doan Ket Commune, in size to fit the Boeing 777s Aircrafts. The construction is expected to do in two phases, with the Phase 1 is from 2012 to 2020. By 2030, the airport should be able to have a capacity of 5 million passengers and 30,000 tons per year. Note that this is the BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) project, under the Prime Minister’s approval. Looking forward to the completion of this airport, the locals hope it can improve the provincial social-economic development, making Van Don the economic hub in the North of Vietnam.
#3: The Projected Highway Hanoi – Van Don
At present, it takes around 4 hours or longer a bit to drive from Hanoi to Van Don District, but if the projected Highway Hanoi – Van Don is launched, the direct ride will only take 3 hours or less. Connected to the Highway Halong – Hai Phong – Hanoi, the new Highway will make it easier than ever to reach Van Don from the Vietnamese capital, which calls for more travelers. At present, Sungroup and the local authorities have pushed the process of this project to get it finished as soon as possible.
#4: Sungroup’s Casino Project
There will be the Premium Tourism Complex in Van Don, including the Casino to entertain the visitors. With the vision toward the year of 2030, it’s believed that this island district will develop in the modern and stable directions, making it the “attractive – precious – and new” destination.
#5: Community-based Tourism in Banh Sua Island
Amongst the top charming and pristine sites to see, instead of the celebrated Halong Bay, Banh Sua Island enchants the visitors, thanks to the ultimate peace, spectacular landscapes, and nature-friendly activities. Also, the island is now dedicated to the community-based tourism which means you will mingle with the local villages to learn about their culture and lifestyle. There are the floating houses and farms to visit.
After a boat trip from Cai Rong Port of Van Don District, you travel to Banh Sua Island and set foot on the lovely hideaway. While the transparent blue sea inspires you to swim, enjoy scuba diving, and kayaking, the beautiful sceneries are for sightseeing, watching the faraway Bai Tu Long Bay, etc. What’s more, the community-based tourism in Banh Sua Island provides activities for interacting with the local fishermen who will teach you how to use the dip-nets to catch fish, how to raise clams and “Tu Hai” (geo-duck), how to catch sea cucumbers and snails, etc. Then, you practice the ways and return with the baskets full of fish, sea cucumbers, or snails.
There will also include the time to visit the floating villages which preserve the tradition of fishing. When it comes to the mealtime, expect to have meals together with the hospitable villagers who treat you as the family members. Eating in the floating houses amidst the scenic seascape brings the unforgettable joy and story to tell.
With various noticeable attempts to grow the position of Van Don Halong on the Vietnam tourism maps, get there soon to see if the destination appeals to you. While Halong Bay surely wins excellent comments, other improvements and particularly Banh Sua Island are praiseworthy.