TUAN CHAU ISLAND
Amongst 1,969 islands and islets in Halong Bay - has twice been designated a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO, Tuan Chau is one of the most beautiful islands and it is the only one that is inhabited.
With a total land area of 710 hectares, and a population of about 2000 people, the island is convenient for both transportation on road and by sea. Besides the very easy access to the famous World Heritage Halong Bay by boat, to get to Hanoi, it only takes 3 hour by car (highway 18A linking Hanoi, Hai Phong and Quang Ninh) or 2 hour by car (new highway Bac Ninh Pha Lai). To get to the bustling trading border province of Mong Cai, it only takes 4 hour by car or 2 hour by hydrofoil. From Tuan Chau to Hai Phong, the important seaport city of the north, it only takes 1 hour by hydrofoil or 1hour and a half by car.
Tuan Chau Islands name is derived from the two words linh tuan (the patrol man) and tri chau (district chief) since in the feudal times the royal army set up a guard station here to patrol and defend the borderland. Prior to 1999, the Islands residents suffered from a very modest living standard. There was no power network and no clean water. Roads were only trails and there were no mechanical means of transportation. Tuan Chau was a very poor town where fishing with very rudimentary tools was the primary means of making a living.
Investment by the Au Lac Company has changed the character of Tuan Chau and improved the living conditions of its residents. Tuan Chau Island has been transformed into international tourism center with deluxe villas dotting the hillside, dolphin, seal and sea lion show, water dance and laser light shows, a 36-hole golf course, ship wharf and tourist ferry station.