Located off the coast of Quang Ngai province, Ly Son Island is a growing destination for both Vietnamese and foreign traveler.
About Ly Son Island
Ly Son Island which was a formal volcanic field is located in Quang Ngai province in the Centre of Vietnam. Just getting popular in recent years, Ly Son has the potential to be one of the top destinations of the country thanks to its stunning, exotic and untouched beach and lush valley on the volcanic soil. So if you are looking for an off the beaten path location in South East Asia, Ly Son Island is just the place for you.
When to travel?
Ly Son is a gorgeous island that can be visited anytime throughout the year. However, to get the most out of your trip to Ly Son, it is recommended to book cheap flights to Vietnam during:
- Summer: From June to September, sunny weather is excellent for going to the beach.
- Garlic season: Garlic is grown in September and harvested in early December. Going to Ly Son during this time, you will have an opportunity to enjoy many yummy and special garlic dishes. Remember to check the weather forecast carefully before you go because September to December is also the hurricane season.
How to get there?
Sa Ky Habour (Photo by DvvQ)
From Quang Ngai City, visitors will have to get to Sa Ky Harbour 20 km away by taxi, motorbike or public transport before getting to Ly Son Island, 15 nautical miles to the north of Sa Ky harbor, by taking conventional ships (2 hours) or speedboats (45 minutes to one hour). Tourists often take speed boat, which costs 115,000 VND/turn per person, 50,000 VND for motorbike and 40,000 VND for loading on the ship.
You should try to buy tickets as early as possible but in case it is sold out, you can pay 100,000 VND to enter the ferry without a seat.
Where to Stay?
As a new travel site, there are not many hotels on the island. Central Ly Son Hotel and Muong Thanh Hotel are the two best hotels here, both are 3-stars hotels. The others are mini-hotels or guest-houses with basic facilities and services.
What to see and do in Ly Son Island?
Mount Thoi Loi
Mount Thoi Loi is the highest point of the island. The road up to the mountain is on the eastern side of the mountain: go to the eastern village Thon Dong, then head towards the north coast on the road along the foot of the mountain. There’s a signposted path for “Mount Thoi Loi and National Flag Tower”—turn left and follow the extremely steep road up. At the very top of the mountain is a base of Vietnamese military and it’s strictly off limits. The National Flag Tower near the base has a sensational panoramic view of the rugged, undeveloped northern coast, the dark volcanic rock contrasting with the vibrant green foliage, white sand, and turquoise water.
To Vo Gate
To Vo Gate at Sunset (Photo by MR LOE)
This is the best selfie spot on the island, especially at the sunset. You can easily see a lot of people crawl all over the natural stone archway trying to get a memorable shot of the arch framing the sun. Follow the concrete break wall which shelters a harbor to the end where vendors have set up. There is a sign showing a short path that puts you on top of the arch.
There are more than 50 ancient pagodas, temples, and relics in Ly Son such as:
-Hang Pagoda: the pagoda was built in the 16th century using a natural cave. It’s flanked by the ocean on either side; at low tide, it’s possible to walk a bit along the coast and see the beautifully striated wall of rock.
Hang Pagoda (Photo by Minh Ha Nguyen)
-Duc Pagoda: Duc Pagoda was built on a mountain and is famous for its enormous white statue of Quan Am, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, facing the sea.
-Am Linh Temple: Am Linh Temple was dedicated to the dead, especially soldiers who fought and sacrificed their lives for the disputed Paracel (Hoang Sa) and Spratly (Truong Sa) Islands.
Beautiful beach of Dao Be (Photo by Jason Tran)
Unfortunately, most of the beaches on Ly Son island a rocky and not really ideal for swimming. Do not accuse me of fault advertising just yet, be a little more patient and save your beach time for “Dao Be” (little island). Quiet, laid back “Dao Be” is just like a tropical island advertisement with palm-lined beaches lapped by clear blue waters. The beaches here are also excellent spots for camping.
Enjoy seafood and local speciality
The garlic of Ly Son Island is very famous among Vietnamese, especially the “lonely garlic” (one clove garlic) which is not only delicious but also believed to have many medicinal qualities. If you like garlic, you definitely should try the garlic salad, a famous local dish where the special garlic is boiled or steamed, tossed in a dressing and topped with peanuts.
Ly Son Garlic Salad (Photo by Quang Nguyen)
You can find all kind of seafood in Ly Son, all fresh and with very reasonable price. You can handpick the seafood you want and how you want it prepared, whether barbecue, fried, steamed or most popularly, in a hot pot (lau).
Finally, for a snack on the go, try another Ly Son specialty: “banh it la gai”, a kind of sticky rice cake made with rice flour, gai leaves and filled with ground green bean or coconut.
Note: There’s only one ATM on the island. Find Agribank in Thon Tay, the village in the middle of the southern coast. The network includes Visa and Mastercard.
If you’re looking for something a little off-the-beaten path, something natural and undiscovered, you should definitely pay a visit to Ly Son Island of Vietnam.
About writer- Jason Tran
Since I’m in my 20s, the passion for traveling has taken me to every corner of South East Asia and many other places around the world. I love wandering around the world and sharing my experience with all fellow travelers. You guys can check out some of my articles to learn how to travel cheaper and better.