Ngoc Vung Island, a glowing pearl of Quang Ninh

Ha Long Bay is the most famous tourist destination in Quang Ninh Province, but a visit to the less well-known Ngoc Vung Island will surely prove more memorable.

Ngoc Vung Island, a glowing pearl of Quang Ninh
Ngoc Vung Island is known for its blue seawater and long white-sand beaches. — Photo

The small island in Van Don District has blue sea, white sand, friendly people, no noise and fresh and peaceful space.

Ngoc Vung Island is about 50km from Van Don harbour. Ngoc Vung means “glowing pearl” and it was named this as in the past, the island had many kinds of precious pearls.

Pearls here were famous for being beautiful and bright. It is said that at night, ships from afar often saw the island’s glow.

People in the area still look for pearls on the seabed, but the profession of raising mussels for pearls has also developed.

As one of the five island communes of Van Don District, Ngoc Vung has an area of ​​40km2, including eight land islands and hundreds of large and small rock islands, of which natural land area is 32,000ha. The commune has about 1,000 inhabitants, living in three villages.

Hoang Van Quang, chairman of Ngoc Vung Commune People’s Committee, said nearly 70 per cent of all households in the area make their living from the sea. Most people use the water surface area to raise aquatic products such as fish, oysters and geoducks.

Surprisingly, there’s even rice farming on the island thanks to local freshwater sources.

The island has 88.7ha of mangrove forest, creating a fresh nature. Under the canopy of this mangrove forest, there are hundreds of types of seafood. The island commune also has natural forests with rich vegetation, creating favourable conditions for ecotourism development.

The south of the island has a beach with white sand stretching nearly 3km and is still untouched. The beach is clear, with a comfortable slope and not too deep, so it is very suitable for swimming. From the centre of the island, it takes about 15 minutes to walk to the beach.

The beach is named Truong Chinh because in 1962, late Party General Secretary, chairman of Vietnam’s State Council (1907-1988), Truong Chinh visited the army and people on the island. To commemorate this event, people named the most beautiful beach on the island after him.

Ngoc Vung Island, a glowing pearl of Quang Ninh
A corner of Ngoc Vung Island. — Photo

From the centre of the island, visitors also can visit historical sites such as the Uncle Ho memorial area at the national flagpole.

The national flagpole is essentially a military area on the island, so you must get consent from border guards to explore it. The flag place more than 100m high flys like a landmark marking national sovereignty at sea.

You can also visit Cong Yen and Cong Hep Port in the northern area of ​​the island. They were the busiest and most important wharves of the Van Don trading port system from the Ly to Nguyen dynasties.

Perhaps, the most interesting activity is to cycle among the tall shady trees, visiting the forests along the coast.

You can order dinner at a homestay at an affordable price. The dinner can conclude a bowl of barnacles cooked with wild betel leaves, a plate of fish cooked with banana and stir-fried spinach for a simple yet delicious meal.

Ngoc Vung Island, a glowing pearl of Quang Ninh
Ngoc Vung Island seen from above. It has 88.7ha of mangrove forest. — Photo

Visitors can also enjoy the typical seafood dishes of Ngoc Vung Island. Clams, shrimp and squid, among others, are caught and sold the same day, so they are very fresh.

The island is an ideal destination for young people who love exploring and wild beauty.  VNS

Truc Lam