1. Phu Quoc Island
The most famous Vietnam island, located in the Gulf of Thailand, is home to some of the best beach resorts in Vietnam. Being the largest island in Vietnam, it's famous for luxurious resorts and the mesmerising Long Beach, which stretches over 20-kilometres (more than 12 miles).
The best way to reach this island is by air. The flight takes an hour from Ho Chi Minh City or just over two from Hanoi on one of the regular flights with Vietjet Air or Vietnam Airlines. Phu Quoc is also the choice for divers, especially in the southern part of the island. You can explore Phu Quoc by motorbike or join one of the many excursions. Rentals are available for as little as $10 per day, and you can expect the roads to be clear and safe.
2. Con Dao Islands
Con Dao Islands are famous for being a prison during the French colonial era. This is one of the few Vietnam islands that has an extensive coverage of surrounding forests, which makes an excellent place for hiking and wildlife spotting. Out of the archipelago, Con Son is the largest and only inhabited island and is the location of the airport. Regular flights arrive and depart from Ho Chi Minh City.
The best way to get around, again, is to rent a motorbike or bicycle. You can also walk to see the main sights and attractions, though it isn't recommended under the hot midday sun. If you do want to explore on foot, it’s best to go out early in the morning or in the early evening. One of the biggest attractions is visiting the former prison. You can sign up for the prison tour and a range of other excursions to see the wildlife on the island.
3. Whale Island
Whale Island is one of the smallest Vietnam islands, also known as Hon Ong, on the Hom Gom peninsular connected by a dune causeway, an excellent place for divers to enjoy the clear waters. It’s difficult to find reliable information about visiting if you don’t make a reservation at the resort. However, if you do stay at one of the bungalows, the resort offers a pickup service from Dai Lanh, Nha Trang or Tuy Hoa. The island itself is a further 20-minute boat ride from Dam Mon Village.
4. Cat Ba Island
If you're looking for an island to visit from Hanoi, the best is probably Cat Ba. This island is famous for being a national park and the nearby Monkey Island. Trekking, kayaking, pass through the mangroves are a few of the favourite activities. You can also go mountain biking around to island. Cat Ba is an excellent place to enjoy seafood at one of the many restaurants around the harbour. Although the beaches don’t reach a world-class standard, you can still find decent accommodation.
5. Tuan Chau Island
Another one of the more interesting Vietnam islands in the north of the country is Tuan Chau. A road connects to the island to the coastline, which makes getting there more convenient. Taxis or private drivers can take passengers from both Hanoi and Halong City. There’s a complex on this island with dolphins, seals, crocodile shows and a musical fountain for visitors to enjoy. A few Vietnam beach hotels are around here too if you want to spend a couple of nights enjoying the views of Halong Bay.
6. Binh Hung Island
One of the less-touristy Vietnam islands is Binh Hung, a tiny rock island about 10 minutes by ferry off the coast of Cam Ranh. Most of the island is uninhabited apart from a small fishing village on the western side. The Hon Chut Lighthouse is one of the landmarks in this tiny rocky island. There are lots of seafood restaurants on Binh Hung, and you’ll find the owners trying everything they can to get you to eat in their place.
The best way to get here is to first travel to Cam Ranh and then take the speedboat. Despite having a white sandy beach and clear waters, you won’t find any high-end resorts on this island. Various homestays and guesthouses are the primary type of accommodation, which are all at a reasonable price. Binh Hung is an excellent place to visit for a day trip or a single overnight stay, but not for anything longer.
7. Binh Ba Island
This small Island was once a military base. The nearest city is Cam Ranh in Khang Hoa Province, Central Vietnam. Binh Ba Island is accessible by a ferry service from Ba Ngoi Port. Visitors will be rewarded with crystal clear water and an empty beach making it an ideal spot for a day trip. Highlights include the numerous opportunities for snorkelling, diving, and some of the best and most affordable lobster in all of Vietnam.
8. Phu Quy Island
Located 120 Kilometres (75 miles) from Phan Thiet, Phu Quy Island houses some dunes, hills, and knolls creating the illusion of a giant whale from a distance. Most visitors choose to rent a motorbike to explore the island of 27,000 inhabitants on their own.
The majority of residents make a living from fishing, which means you can have an unlimited supply of King Crabs, fish, and anything else you can imagine. And all of this is for a very affordable price. Beaches are clean, and the sea is warm making it an excellent place for a few hours of sunbathing or for a refreshing dip into the water. Some of the more unique attractions are the lighthouse, giant wind turbines, and the display of Vietnam’s largest whale skeleton. Other popular activities include taking a boat trip and island hopping around the various islets and wildlife spotting.
The easiest way to get here is to take the ferry from Phan Thiet, which takes about 2.5 hours on the high-speed ferry or 3.5 hours on the medium speed vessel. If you want to spend a night or two on the island, cheap accommodation such as hostels, motels and homestays are the only options. Unfortunately, the luxurious resorts found in other parts of Vietnam are yet to sprout up on Phu Quy Island.
Best Island Resorts
1. Salinda Resort Phu Quoc
Located about 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) from Phu Quoc International Airport, Salinda Resort is one of the best beach resorts in Vietnam along the shores of Long Beach. Phu Quoc is one of the best Vietnam islands for families looking for a relaxing getaway. Well-known for their Thai spas, this is a great place to treat yourself and get a little relaxation and recuperation.
Salinda is a favourite retreat for locals and expats in busy, noisy, and stressful Ho Chi Minh City. It's also an excellent place to bring the family where the children can enjoy the various family-friendly facilities including the Kids Club and the swimming pool. Babysitting services are also available for parents with younger children, which gives you more of an opportunity for relaxation.
2. Hotel La Veranda Resort, Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc is famous for having some high-end Vietnam beach hotels, and La Veranda Resort is no exception. Located less than two kilometres away from Salinda, you can book the private island of Gam Ghi to have just for yourself all day. A world-class chef will spend the day preparing your meals while you soak up the atmosphere and serenity of the surrounding views. Though, expect this luxury to come with a hefty price tag.
3. Paolo Condor Boutique and Spa, Con Son (Con Dao)
Paolo Condor is the place to be for nature lovers. This non-touristy island on the Con Dao archipelago is a perfect getaway for anyone who wants to spend their time surrounded by a tropical forest. The resort has a colonial-style design and is entirely surrounded by nature. You can wake up in the morning to the bird’s songs and start your day watching the squirrels run around. Many visitors tend to rent a motorbike to explore the island, which is available from the resort.
4. Six Sense Con Dao
Located just under nine kilometres (less than 5.6 miles) from Con Son Airport is another tropical paradise for nature lovers. Despite the beautiful coastline, jet skiing isn’t a favourite activity. Instead, you can go stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, and snorkelling or even go diving on the night. The resort also offers a range of tours around the island into the jungles and to visit the prison as well as scuba diving for non-certified divers. A variety of activities for young children, including arts and crafts and cooking lessons to a games room are available to keep the little ones entertained.
5. Whale Island Resort, Nha Trang
While this isn’t a 5-star spa resort, it’s worth mentioning as one of the best Vietnam beach hotels. The beach-side bungalows are very affordable, and visitors have a range of activities to keep them busy. The resort offers transfers, helps arrange excursions, and provides tourists with a plethora of water sports. Divers and snorkelers also fall in love with the crystal clear waters and abundance of marine life.
The only way to get to this island is by using their speedboat service from the resort’s jetty on Hom Gom peninsular, which you can reach with a taxi or motorbike from Dai Lanh Village. It’s advisable to read about this resort before committing to staying here as it’s quite difficult to reach. However, if you do visit, you’ll find that you have all the privacy you need in a quiet and relaxing environment.
The Best Islands and Island Resorts in Vietnam
Vietnam’s islands cater for tourists from those looking for their very own private island to budget travellers and day trippers. Whichever you choose, make sure you check the location, the prices, and how to get there before making any booking. Now that you know the best Vietnam Islands and island resorts, it’s time to start planning your perfect holiday in paradise.