Travel Tips

Travel tips to Ly Son Island for backpackers 2020

In recent years, ​​Vietnam beaches have been more widely known to international tourists. The beaches such as Nha Trang, Mui Ne, Phu Quoc have become “must-see” destinations when you land in Vietnam. However, the potential of Vietnam’s sea tourism is enormous and unfulfilled. Such beaches as Quy Nhon, Phu Yen and especially the volcanic island of Ly Son – are still waiting for you to discover.

Why should you choose Ly Son?

Ly Son is probably the first choice of many young tourists due to various reason. Firstly, Vietjet air ticket from Hanoi to Chu Lai is much cheaper than Nha Trang or Quy Nhon. Secondly, blogs sharing experience make Ly Son known as the top summer destination in the period between 2015 and 2017.

I visited Ly Son in 2015 – when its name was heated on the internet, with the appellation “Jeju Island of Vietnam”. Two years ago, Ly Son began to show signs of its decrease in popularity. With the flocks of tourists, local authorities are very strict in the restructuring plan of accommodation, and sanitation on the island. Among them, the most obvious action is to prohibit tourists from climbing To Vo Gate. Through this article, I will share a little experience when traveling to Ly Son on a solo trip with a cheap price. It is not necessary to go on tours because of the small size of the island.

Geographic location and the ideal time to visit

Ly Son is the largest volcanic island in Vietnam. The island is located off the coast of Quang Ngai province, 20 km to the east and 140 km to the south of Hoi An, 400km to the north of Nha Trang.

Ly Son is located in Centra region, so the best time to visit is from May to September, the hottest months without storms.

Flights to Ly Son

There is no flight to Ly Son. The shortest and cheapest way to reach Ly Son land is by Vietjet or Jetstar flights to Chu Lai airport in Quang Nam province. Then you can take a taxi to Sa Ky port in Quang Ngai province. Airfare is $600/way, with 2 to 3 flights each week. Taxi fare costs you around $25/way. Vietnam Airlines has canceled the flights from Hanoi to Chu Lai.

To save money, when arriving at the airport, you do not need to take a taxi. Instead, you can get on the free buses at the airport. However, the bus does not go directly to Sa Ky Port but stops in Quang Ngai. Hence, then you have to catch a taxi to go on. In addition, you can share a car with the young Vietnamese. Taking flights to Chu Lai, you will meet many Vietnamese young people, who are very friendly and good at English speaking.

Cruises to Ly Son Island

Sa Ky port is located near My Khe Beach in Quang Ngai, which has the same name as Da Nang’s largest beach but smaller and more desolate. If you have time, you can stop to enjoy one day on My Khe Beach, and then after going to Ly Son. Ticket fare to Ly Son Island is about 10 dollars/way. Each day there are 6 flights: start at around 7.30 in the morning and ends the trip at around 3.30pm. Ships to Ly Son Island are really big and quite modern but almost everyone will suffer from seasickness. It is possible to take medicine to help to release it but not completely.

Traveling on the island: taxi, tuk-tuk, rent a motorbike.

Accommodation

Ly Son provides many choices for budget accommodation. The hostels are often located in the western part of the island, close to the wharf, costing $10 to $15 per night. The best hotel is Muong Thanh Ly Son, a 3-star hotel but it is located far from the center. Many blogs have recommended Hoa Bien, situated on the east side of the island. However, the eastern part of the island is quite isolated at night because the western part is the main attraction with many seafood and souvenirs. Furthermore, it’s also more convenient to buy train tickets to An Binh little Island or back to the land. When you visit the island, you can stroll around and ask for rooms, expenses and then ask to check the room.

– The locals on the island speak English not very well, it will be better to ask for advice from the youth. They are very friendly and lovely.

– On Ly Son Island, electricity and clean water are provided. The Internet is not so stable but you can still access facebook and google.

Itinerary

Visit the island from the west to the east. There is no need to visit all the destinations that are suggested on the website, it’s enough to consider the places that I mention in the list below.

Day 1: Arrival – To Vo Gate – Duc Pagoda

To Vo Gate is now forbidden to climb because of the government’s fear that it will collapse as a famous Rock Arch did in Malta in 2017. The Gate is a small rocky arch with nothing impressive so tourists will feel somehow disappointed. The pagoda is located on a cliff, facing the mainland and boasting a very romantic scenery.

Travel tips to Ly Son Island for backpackers
To Vo Gate in Ly Son Island

Day 2: Thoi Loi peak – Hang Cau

Thoi Loi is the peak of an inactive volcano, where you can witness spectacular ocean scenery. Spending about 1 hour, you can capture a whole bunch of beautiful picture. If you go a bit far to the east, there are many garlic fields for you to take pretty photos. When we came here, it was at the end of the garlic season. Hence, the locals switched to cultivate onions but it was hardly possible to distinguish between the two. On the roads around the island, you can see many beautiful small pagodas nestling under the leaves canopy. This is the shelter for the soul of Ly Son islanders, fighting against stormy as well as sunny days all day and night.

Travel tips to Ly Son Island for backpackers
Thoi Loi peak in Ly Son Island

Hang Cau is a pretty volcanic rocky cliff, which is quite similar to the seashore of England. Nonetheless, it is not an ideal place for swimming because the beach has little sand, but full of rocks. Therefore, you should be careful in order not to be hurt by the coral or reefs.

Day 3: An Binh – Little Island

The beach on Little Island is much cleaner compared to that on the big island. There is also solar power funded by Japan, so you don’t have to worry that there is no electricity on the island. To go around the island, you can rent a car for a ride, costing only $1. On the Little Island, houses are sparse and tiny, of which fences are volcanic rocks piled on top of each other, looking extremely cute. The whole island is full of black rocks, scattering along the coast with various forms. At this point, you probably find out the most special features of Ly Son that few islands of Vietnam can possess.

Travel tips to Ly Son Island for backpackers
Little Island in Ly Son

Fairy beach is the beach with many lovely baskets which people enjoy taking pictures. Here you can rent a boat for snorkeling or swimming. The beach is small with smooth white sand and it is more gently sloped than in Hang Cau. However, eating on the island seems not only expensive but also not as diversified and delicious as on Ly Son Island. For this reason, I should not spend the night on the little island but on Ly Son.

Day 4: Back to the mainland – My Khe Beach

Arriving in My Khe, we chose a popular motel on the coast. The prices are the same and there are only about a couple of dozen houses. Every motel has a nice view of My Khe beach, which is extremely alluring. My Khe Beach is the local people’s beach. In the afternoon, you can see the majority of people who go for a swim are local people, and tourists are very few.

Travel tips to Ly Son Island for backpackers
My Khe beach in Quang Nam

What to eat at Ly Son?

– Ly Son is a gastronomic paradise. Local dishes such as rice noodles, rice cakes, beef noodle… which are both cheaply priced and delicious. Seafood is abundant, fresh and wholesome, and it costs half the price on land.

– Drinks: jelly with very special ginger juice. This is a good chance for you to try such cheap and fresh seafood.

The downside of Ly Son

What I am most dissatisfied with Ly Son is probably the rubbish. The island is filled with garbage: water bottles, boxes, and plastic bags. Even though the majority of tourists are young people, who are knowledgeable about environmental issues, the situation is not still improved. In just a few years, Ly Son will lose its popularity. As a result, people will go to find a new island to litter, but what they throw away will still exist for hundreds of years.

It is generally easy and cheap for you to spend your vacation on Ly Son Island. I hope that you will have a cool summer in Vietnam with blue sea and white sand, just like in the advertising catalog.

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