Van Don Island and Cai Bau Pagoda

(Updated: 1/12/2016 12:16:51 AM)

Van Don is the largest (around 30 sq km), most populated and most developed island in the Bai Tu Long archipelago. Now linked to the mainland by a series of bridges, it has a few places to stay, but you won't want to linger. It’s chiefly useful as the jumping-off point to other islands.

Bai Dai (Long Beach) runs along much of the island’s southern side and has hard-packed sand with some mangroves. Just offshore there are stunning limestone rock formations. Van Don’s main town is scruffy Cai Rong (pronounced Cai Zong), about 8km north of the bridge to the mainland. It's a bustling place full of karaoke bars and motorbikes. Here, Cai Rong Pier (Ben Cai Rong ) is the key port for boats to other Bai Tu Long islands. If you’re forced to overnight before catching a morning ferry, there are a couple of decent hotels.

Cai Bau Pagoda - an ideal destination for spiritual tourism
Cai Bau Pagoda (Giac Lam zen monastery) has now become an attractive destination for spiritual tourism in central Quang Ninh Province.

Cai Bau pagoda is located in village 1, Ha Long commune, Van Don District. The pagoda was built on foundation of Phuc Linh Tu pagoda (under Tran dynasty, 700 years ago). The pagoda is near famous Bai Dai tourism area with pristine beauty on Bai Tu Long bay coast. The pagoda backs against mountain and looks forward sea, it could be one of most beautiful location pagodas in Vietnam. Moreover, this is also Giac Lam zen monastery- one of two Buddhism monasteries in Quang Ninh.

Cai Bau pagoda - Giac Lam zen monastery is a spiritual and cultural work with beautiful architect and landscape located nearby Bai Tu Long bay coast where is associated with victories of great heroes. Through ups and downs of history, the pagoda was badly damaged. Since 2007, the pagoda has been planned on rebuilding as it should be. Abbot of the temple – Hanh Nha nun said: “In order to preserve the Buddhist sanctuary, works of order and security in the pagoda region is well implemented by nuns and Buddhists. The pagoda’s campus is not allowed for sale. Visitors, who want to stay in the pagoda or enjoy vegetarian meal here, will not have to pay money. The pagoda just has arks of merit for donating as tourists’ virtue. Be one with flock of pilgrims, you will find peaceful mind, fresh air and appealing landscape here. There are more and more tourists coming here and Cai Bau pagoda has gradually become a spiritual tourist attraction for tourists who have chance to visit Van Don, Quang Ninh province.

In springtime, beside travelling, tousits also want to go to temples or pagodas to pray for good healthy and luck in the New Year. Hence, Cai Bau Pagoda in Quang Ninh is a destination not to be missed. Although Cai Bau pagoda was rebuilt in 2009, it attracts tourists by unique construction. It stands back to back with the mountain and toward beach that create unique architecture to attract tourists. Truc Lam Giac Tam monastery or (Cai Bau pagoda) located on Van Don attracts visitors from everywhere to enjoy on spring occasion.

Located near Bai Dai beach, the space in Cai Bau pagoda is not only peaceful, but also extremely sacred and pure. Blending with the bell voice, chanting and the gong sound is wave echo that make people fell calm and stillness. In particular, visitors come to worship, sightsee can enjoy vegetarian dinner and free parking. The pagoda located about 09 km from Van Don town, so visitors can go there by bus or private vehicles.

Van Don is an archipelago around the east and northeast in Bai Tu Long Bay, but is located in the east and southeast of Quang Ninh province. It consists of 600 islands. Its population of 23,000 people belong to the Kinh, San Diu, Dao, Tay, Hoa, Muong and who are living in 20 large and small islands, including the Cai Bau, Quan Lan, Ngoc Vung, Ban Sen…Cai Bau island’s the largest,its area is about a half of the land area of the Van Don district.

Van Don have many nice limestone islands and caves to connect with Halong Bay-the World Heritage. The outside island commune is adjact to Halong Bay (Van Hai islands) .There are many beautiful beaches, delicious seafood, fresh air and the historical culture that has great potential for economic development services tourism.

Visitors to Van Don island can see lovely white-sand beaches with clear blue water, the Van mountain at the height of 445 metres o­n Ban Sen islet and the Bai Tu Long national park o­n Ba Mun island. The national park boasts a primeval forest with precious trees like erythrophleum fordii, burrettiodendrom hsienmu, madhuca pasquieri, vatica tonkinensis and podocarpus fleuryi, and wild animals such as wild boars, monkeys, nemorrhides, gibbons, varans, eagles, squirrels and deers.

Cai Rong (pronounced Cai Zong) is the main town on the island, which is about 30km in length and 15km across at the wides point. Bai Dai (Long Beach) runs along much of the southern side of the island and is hard-packed sand with some mangroves. Just offshore, almost touching distance away, there are stunning rock formations similar to those in Halong Bay.

Van Don Island is linked to the mainland at Cua Ong by bridge and frequent buses come in from Ha Long City to Cai Rong in about 90 minutes. Tourists can also get to Van Don Island by high-speed hydrofoil from Ha Long City in an hour. Noi Bai International Airport at Hanoi is the closest to the island and is linked to Cai Rong by highways 2, 18 and 304 with a journey time of about 4 hours. Venture off beaten tracks in Van Don and Bai Tu Long bay like no Other abroad Sails of Indochina Junk Cruises

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