Pretending to be Robinson Crusoe on Cái Chiên Island
Relaxing: Sandy beaches, transparent water and gentle waves indulge tourists.
Viet Nam News
By Minh Đức
If you are fed up with city life and the heat of these summer days, I can recommend an ideal place to escape to. This one is definitely isolated. A small island of Hải Hà District, in Quảng Ninh Province.
The island owns a pristine beach of white silky sand surrounded by thick lines of casuarinas. Also on the island is a primeval forest of 270sq.km, which is home to numerous species of birds and animals.
Cái Chiên Island is around 330km from Hà Nội. From Hải Hà Port, tourists can reach the island by ferry or by canoe, which takes 40-50 minutes.
The boat surfs the silver waves, slicing through the wind far from the mainland. On the way, we had the chance to enjoy the beauty of the Hải Hà Sea with its many varied islands. Suddenly, Cái Chiên Island appeared in front of us like a giant dragon lying in the sea.
Our eyes are feted with fertile hills of tea, terraced fields, and dense areas of sugarcane, acacia and cinnamon forests. The poetic island with its hidden beauty is waiting for visitors to come and discover it. We were eager and excited to set foot on the land.
Isolated: The pristine beach and wild nature give you a Robinson Crusoe-like feeling.
With no electricity, no shop, no market and no hotel, the most interesting and exciting way to explore the pristine island is by camping. Preparing food by yourself, burning a camp fire and dancing around it, and sleeping in tents. Visitors can experience a very much Robinson Crusoe-like life by the sea.
The island has a romantic long beach with gentle waves and white sand. As the island is shaped like a dragon, people call the two beaches on the east and the west of the island as Đầu Rồng (Dragon’s Head) and Đuôi Rồng (Dragon’s Tail).
Time seems to stop here as we swim, lie on the silky beach, relax on hammocks and listen to the birds singing all day. You may fall asleep as the atmosphere is so peaceful with the sea rhythms whispering in our ears.
Ecological: A new concrete road has been built to serve tourists. The vehicles are environmentally friendly.
Visitors are advised to prepare food and drinks for camping before getting to the island. A barbecue feast on the beach serves us well. Certainly, we have to clean up after ourselves before leaving.
Although the tranquillity and neglected beauty of the island brings you a Crusoe like feeling, you are not the only one on the island.
At present, around 120 households live on the island. Most of the locals catch seafood to earn a living, while others work in the fields. They are friendly and hospitable.
Visitors are advised to contact islanders prior to visiting for services during their stay. Besides camping, home stays still remain a popular form of accommodation for travellers here and service prices are affordable.
Apart from the self-prepared food, tourists shouldn’t miss a chance to go fishing with the local fishermen. After a day discovering the island, fishing at sunset is a wonderful experience for any tourist. The fruits of our labour is so sweet with various types of snails, clams and squid. I’m sure that you will be surprised by some seafood you haven’t seen or heard of before.
The seafood is for a BBQ party by the sea that you can prepare by yourself or ask locals to cook for you. It’s an unforgettable moment for tourists.
Cosy: Tourists can sleep in tents or in container apartments in the pine forest. — Photos wanderlusttips.com
The island is not as wild as the first time we visited. A newly-built concrete road and the island’s recent access to the national electricity grid have made sight-seeing activities more convenient.
Tourists now have another option for accommodation on the island: staying in colourful containers that look like self-contained flats. Each container lies within pine trees and has a double bed and a restroom.
Both nature and the people on Cái Chiên Island are friendly. The responsibility of protecting the forest ecosystem is considered a top concern by all the people and commune officials here.
Cái Chiên Island is a wonderful place to escape from busy city life and makes for an enjoyable summer retreat. Spending a weekend on the island helps tourists forget all their worries and anxieties. Just enjoy being in wild nature and the hospitality of the local fishermen. — VNS
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