Cruise off beaten paths in Van Don Bay abroad Sails of Indochina Junk to Ban Sen Fishing Village

(Updated: 1/4/2016 2:16:14 AM)

Ban Sen is located on Van Don Island, the most populated and most developed island in the Bai Tu Long Bay). It’s absolutely a potential destination for tourists to discover other spectacular landscapes of Halong Bay. Comparing to other communes of Van Don Island, Ban Sen is the closest island to central of Van Don Island. It takes about 1 hour to get to Ban Sen Island by boat, or few tens of minutes by cano. Ban Sen has an area of around 139km2, including 72km2 of floating land, the rest of Ban Sen is water surface and rocky islands.

Recently, a road linking from Ban Sen to Tan Lap village (Quan Lan Commune) and a bridge from Tan Lap Village to Mo Cat area (Minh Chau Commune) are under construction since February 2008. It is expected that the route and the bridge will be completed respectively in 2009 and 2015. When this road, bridge are completed, they will connect 3 islands: Ban Sen, Minh Chau, Quan Lan together and form a closed tourist routes. The Ban Sen’s limestone island is still uninhabited and has many beautiful caves. According to local people, at least, this area has 6 caves can be exploited for tourism business (this figure may be even greater, since many existing offshore rocky islands undiscovered). Only in Quyet Tien area, there are 5 caves carrying not only value of aesthetic beauty but also archaeological value. This is also an advantage to Ban Sen attract more tourists if travel services is developed here. Beside the tourism potential of the cave, Ban Sen is very close to Minh Chau, Quan Lan. As people may know, Quan Lan Island has beautiful beaches, has been developed sightseeing tours, resort for many years; and Minh Chau has the largest and most unique primeval forest in Vietnam. These communes also has huge peanut worms farm. It used to feed 50% fisherman on these island.

At that time, Ban Sen will contribute a significant role to attract tourists to visit the caves. Moreover, Ban Sen also provide local specialties such as Van tea, Sen Oranges etc. According to local people, Sen oranges have unique flavor, unlike oranges of the other provinces because it is grown in limestone valley. Currently, local development is growing oranges on an area of 300 hectares.

Ban Sen also provide several seafood species are farmed like geoduck, snails, sea oysters etc on thousands hectares area. It can be said that when Van Don economic zone was established and developed in the future is “golden opportunity” to Ban Sen promote existing potentials, become an attractive tourist center of Van Don Island Tour. Sails of Indochina offers a private authentic cruises to Ban Sen village like no other in Van Don and Bai Tu Long Bay

Quan Lan Island
    •    Quan Lan Beach (20°53′42.42″N 107°31′09.76″E) Beautiful beach with a few huts filled with Hammock. Cold beer can be purchased near these huts however, it is mostly abandoned during the off season. Admission to this beach is 20,000VND.

    •    Son Hao Beach (20°55′07.57″N 107°32′24.01″E) The entrance to this beach is well hidden, but well worth it. This beach is very secluded with no marked entry. There are no buildings along the beach and you will most likely be the only inhabitant. When coming from Quan Lan Village look for an industrial factory on the right (typically moving sand or dirt into piles). Immediately after is a 4 way intersection. Follow the road on the right. It will pass along sand dunes and rocks until finally reaching the beach. Because the beach is so remote it is largely not maintained. Keep an eye out for litter and broken glass. Admission is free.

    •    Minh Chau Beach (20°56′41.14″N 107°33′06.87″E) Located on the northern side of the island. Kayaks and tubes are available for rent. This beach tends to be a bit more littered so be careful of broken glass. Admission is free.

Since the 11th century, Quan Lạn had been one of the centres of the ancient commercial port of Vân Ðồn, which was animated and prosperous at the time. Today, there are still many vestiges linked to the ancient commercial port. This also explains why the island, lying deep in the sea, has the large pagodas and archaeological sites seen today. On the island there is the Quan Lạn Communal House built in the 18th century; exceedingly beautiful and almost entirely preserved. Next to it is Quan Lạn Pagoda (Linh Quang Tự), which is dedicated to Buddha and God Liêu Hạnh. The pagoda also worships the statue of old Hậu, a local person who made lots of contributions to the construction of the pagoda. The statue features a gentle and cheerful old woman, which adds an original character to the pagoda. Beside Quan Lạn Pagoda lies Nghè Quan Lạn (Ðức Ông) Shrine, which is dedicated to Phạm Công Chính, a local people who participated in the historical Vân Ðồn battle against the Yuan invaders. He was later honored as a god. Quan Lạn has many valuable sea products such as octopuses, butterfish, mackerel, holothurian, shrimp, and sái sùng.

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. Quan Lan Island is located within the area of Bai Tu Long Bay, stretching on a total area of 11 square kilometers, from Van Don mountains to

Giot Mountain
The island lies on a very important marine gateway connecting Vietnam and other countries such as China, Japan, Thailand, and The Philippines. Spreading along the coast of the island are numerous white sand beaches and this is also the sea where fishermen get high quality seafood such as squids, butterfish, mackerel, prawn, sea cucumber, etc.

During the 11th Century, Quan Lan was a busy port for international trade between Vietnam and other countries. A lot of vestiges related to trading activities have been discovered here. The outstanding tourist attraction of this island is Quan Lan Temple, which was built in the 18th Century with impressive architectural design with finely carved patterns, and is still preserved nearly 100% until now.

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