Hanoi – In recent years, Co To island in the northern province of Quang Ninh has become a top choice for travel lovers who want to go to beautiful and pristine beaches with unique “check-in” corners and hospitality of local residents.
Extremely important position in security-defence
Almost all islands in Vietnam hold an extremely important position in defence and security; however, Co To has its own characteristics which are a rich floral ecosystem, beautiful natural landscapes and locals’ cultural identities.
Co To is formerly known as Chang Son (Chang Mountain) or “Cau Dau” in some old books which means a place with many mountains gathering at the middle of the sea.
The island district has an area of 46.2sq.km with about 50 islands, in which Big Co To and Small Co To are the two most famous islands with pristine beaches and landscapes.
At present, Big Co To has primeval forests with an area of 10ha. Many streets on the island are lined with trees, mainly casuarina and pines.
The best attraction for tourists is the long beaches with white and smooth sand in the island, such as Hong Van and Van Chay. From Big Co To, tourists can go to Small Co To and Thanh Lan islands to discover untouched beaches.
The flora on the islands is quite plentiful and diverse. The natural forest has diverse types of wood. Planted forests are mostly casuarina, eucalyptus and pine.
Thanh Lan island also has orange, tangerine and banana which have been popular in the province for many years, and a 100-strong troop of yellow monkeys, pythons, geckos. There are many kinds of rare medicinal herbs such as holy basil, Panax pseudoginseng, Ricinus communis on every island.
Co To is said to have the richest biodiversity in Vietnam with the presence of many typical ecosystems of tropical waters, including concentrated coral reef ecosystems. The island is also home to rare seafood types with high values.
With its special position, security – defence is considered as Co To’s top priority. Since 2017, the “Coast Guard accompanying fishermen” model has been implemented by the Vietnam Coast Guard Command and expanded to remote island districts and communes.
Through many activities, the model has helped increase fishermen’s awareness of sea and island strategies and the importance of sea and islands to socio-economic development, national defence and security, thus contributing to successfully implementing the Party and State’s policies.
Outstanding tourist spots
Some tourist spots that visitors must not miss in Co To include Mong Rong (Dragon Claw) Rock Area with special sediments forming thousands of years ago, which is also the most ideal place for watching sunrise on the island, the road of love with casuarina trees along the two sides, and a wooden bridge at sea– a new attractive check-in spot for young people.
The Co To lighthouse, built in the nineteenth century, is also a must-go destination. It is one of more than 30 “night sea eyes” operating in the territorial waters of Vietnam.
At the district’s centre, tourists can visit President Ho Chi Minh relic site. The President visited Co To island in 1961, and in 1962, when he made a visit to the Northeast region, Hai Ninh Provincial Administration asked for his permission to build a statue of him on Co To Island, and build memorial houses and steles at places where he visited. This is the only place President Ho Chi Minh agreed to have his statue erected when he was still alive.
Cau My rock area has a sedimentary rock system that has been eroded over thousands of years by sea water, creating a real wonder with beautiful landscape and geological research value.
Meanwhile, Small Co To island is 7km away from Co To town. It has a primeval forest with many rare and precious animal species, and many beautiful coral reefs in the sea bed.
Turning Co To into a high-class marine eco-tourism site
Currently, Co To island district is building a tourism development plan, with the aim to turn Co To into a sea and island tourist destination in the northeastern region.
Until 2025, Co To is determined to develop into a high-class island eco-tourism area with a variety of types of tourism, sports and entertainment both at sea and on islands.
At the same time, Co To will become a destination in the tourist complex of Cat Ba-Ha Long-Van Don-Co To-Mong Cai-Tra Co.
The island district is focusing on calling for investment in building 3-4 star accommodation facilities. Co To has to date had over 226 accommodation establishments with over 2,800 rooms, 35 dining establishments and 32 entertainment venues.
The poetic beauty of Co To, its fresh air and the friendliness and kindness of locals have created a strong attraction for Co To tourism./.