Quan Lan Island is a quiet place just north of Halong Bay. Temperatures can be quite cool during the winter months and there isn’t a whole lot to do either. That being said, it isn’t all bad. The hotels in Quan Lan City are all fairly nice, reasonably priced, and often have a balcony overlooking the main street if not the water. The fact it is quiet also means there are very few horns from traffic and not a lot of noise from construction. Most locals ignore tourists to the island except for the hotel owners at the ferry dock and the curious kids playing the the streets around Quan Lan City. There are several restaurants and corner stores in Quan Lan City that are open year round and a 200 year old temple that is worth checking out next to the local fishing port in the city center. In the late afternoon there are usually pickup games of football being played a few blocks away from the temple.
The best way to see Quan Lan Island is to rent a motorbike and cruise up to the old ruins of Van Don trading port though there isn’t much to see of it anymore and in the winter the place is a bit of a ghost town. In the summer Vietnamese tourists beach it up and if there is any time to surf on the island it must be in the summer too although there are no signs indicating surf board rentals. It is a nice ride up the island and there are a few scenic detours to take off the main road. At the north end there is a small fishing port and temple for mariners. There are also some tall sand dunes on the eastern shore and a commercial port for bigger ships on the west side. The beach southeast of Quan Lan City is also a nice place to take a day walk, it stretches several miles and can be done in a loop to avoid back tracking. There are no ATM’s on the island so come loaded with cash and be aware there may not be a ferry running everyday. On days the ferry service does run it is possible to catch a boat to the mainland at either Cai Rong or Halong City.