A once bustling trading port during feudal times, Van Don Island District, is shedding its skin to become an emerging tourist magnet next to its famous neighbor, World Heritage-listed Ha Long Bay in northern Quang Ninh Province.
Just 50 kilometers from northern Ha Long City, Van Don Island District is the largest and most developed part of Bai Tu Long Bay, a long string of islands north of Vietnam’s most visited tourist site.
Bai Tu Long which was formed when the entire limestone plateau sank below sea level, is widely regarded to be as stunning as the nearby World Heritage site.
Van Don, one of the main highlights of the bay, comprises 600 islands in a 584 square kilometers area with Van Don Trading Port and Cai Rong Town at the heart of the district.
Endowed with unspoiled natural beauty, Van Don provides travelers a chance to step into a tropical paradise still unsullied by real estate developers.
As Vietnam’s first port for international trade, Van Don is home to an array of artifacts including ancient pots, fragments of ceramics and coins which marks the areas former seat as a centre of trade and commerce.
But time marches on. Today, most locals pursue the occupations their fathers’ handed down to them in fishing, forestry and sand exploitation.
In 2007, an economic zone was built in the district. The zone, covering an area of 2,171 square kilometers, will be developed into a luxury eco-tourism area as well as an economic hub to house some 150,000 residents by 2020.
Some 17 tourism projects are currently underway in Van Don, raising room supply from 100 in 2004 to 700 this year, Vietnam News Agency reported.
At present, Van Don receives about 30,000 visitors yearly, who come to enjoy the pristine beaches and explore a series of caves stretching along the coast.
Nguyen Trong Minh, Chairman of the district’s People’s Committee, said protecting Van Don’s valuable biodiversity was one of the priorities of local authorities in their strategic plan for tourism development.
Source: Tuoitre.com.vn - Vietnam Tourism