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Ly Son Island is a beautiful island off the coast of Quang Ngai Province, just a one-hour flight from either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Known mostly for the “Lonely Garlic”, the island’s specialty, Ly Son Island has not been a popular holiday destination to Vietnamese and foreign tourists alike until recent years. Because it is still mostly untouched, Ly Son Island is a perfect getaway for travellers who want experiences beyond the usual tourist attractions. Tourists who come to Ly Son Island will experience the “authentic Vietnam” – crystal-clear beaches, savory seafood and overwhelming hospitality from the local people.

Ly Son Island
Source: blogspot.com

I. WHEN TO VISIT LY SON ISLAND, VIETNAM?

1. General weather in Ly Son Island, Vietnam

Like most places in Central Vietnam, the general weather in Ly Son Island is warm all year long. There is little rain throughout the year and the temperatures vary little from winter to summer. For a tourist island, this type of climate is ideal for visitors to enjoy the sun and have no worry of tropical rain. The hottest months of Ly Son Island are May, June and July, when the temperatures reach highest at around 33.8°C (92.9°F) during noon and drop lowest around 26.6°C (79.8°F) at night.

Ly Son Island
Source: christinas.vn

Despite having a generally mild climate, Ly Son Island is sometimes struck with tropical storms coming from the South China Sea. There have been incidents where the island is cut off from mainland due to heavy rain and strong waves. The storms usually hit Ly Son Island around October, November and December, so tourists are highly advised to avoid these months when travelling to Ly Son Island.

2. Best time to visit Ly Son Island, Vietnam

a. From May to August – The ideal summertime

This is the most beautiful time to travel to Ly Son Island. At this time, the weather is the hottest but still enjoyable. Past travellers have praised this season to be the most suitable for sunbathing, swimming, hiking, and exploring the island’s untouched treasures. However, this is the peak tourist season so there will be more people travelling to Ly Son Island. If you prefer travelling when there are fewer people, beginning of September is the time for you.

Ly Son Island
Source: pinterest

b. From September to early December – The garlic harvest time

During this season, you will have first-hand experience seeing the local specialty – “Lonely Garlic” – planted and harvested. Local farmers will grow garlic everywhere on the island, and the beauty of Ly Son Island during garlic season will be revealed. However, the weather during these months is quite cold and stormy, so you should pay attention to weather reports when travelling to Ly Son Island this season.

II. HOW TO GET TO LY SON ISLAND, VIETNAM?

To get to Ly Son Island, you need to get to Quang Ngai Province by either plane, bus or train. After that, you can take a taxi or a bus to Sa Ky Port and ride a speedboat to Ly Son Island.

1. Getting to Ly Son Island, Vietnam from Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City by plane

Get to Ly Son Island
Source: vir.com.vn

Quang Ngai’s only airport is the Chu Lai Airport. There are approximately 3 daily flights from the Hanoi (Noi Bai International Airport) to Chu Lai Airport, and 11 daily flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Chu Lai Airport. The flight lasts around 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. Depending on the time of the year, a two-way plane tickets can cost from VND 1,500,000 – VND 4,000,000.

There is a free shuttle bus service from Chu Lai Airport to Quang Ngai bus station, or you can take a taxi for VND 250,000.

You can take a bus to Sa Ky Port and ride a boat to Ly Son Island. Look out for a green Mai Linh bus #3. From Quang Ngai Bus Station, it departs at 05:30; 06:30; 07:45; 09:30; 10:45; 12:00; 13:30; 15:00; 16:15 and 17:30. The ride lasts for 1 hour and only costs VND 13,000. If you want to catch the early boat to Ly Son Island, take the 05:30 bus.

Another option to reach Sa Ky Port is by taxi. The most famous taxi brand in Quang Ngai is Mai Linh. Look out for a green taxi on the street or call the office. Here are some other brands’ contact in Quang Ngai:

Brand Tel Website
Mai Linh Taxi (+84) 255 363 6363
(+84) 255 383 8383
mailinh.vn
Quang Ngai Taxi (+84) 255 372 0720 quangngaitourist.com.vn
Sun Taxi (+84) 255 3535 3535 suntaxi.vn
Manh Thuy Taxi (+84) 255 3630 630 N/A

There are 2-4 returning speedboats to Ly Son Island everyday, depending on demands. The boat departs at 07:30, 09:30, 13:30 and 15:30. It takes roughly 1 hour to reach Ly Son Island and costs VND 115,000 for a one-way ticket. Foreigners must present their passports upon purchase and each person can only buy 2 tickets. As of 2016, tourists with China and Hong Kong passports are not allowed to visit Ly Son.

Ly Son Island
Source: englishvov.vn

Note that the speedboat approaches the big island only. Ly Son actually includes two island: the big one is Ly Son Island, and the smaller one is An Binh Island.

You should buy the speedboat tickets at least one hour before departure. However, if you cannot buy the tickets at the office on time, you can reserve the tickets in advance. Still, you will need to book the tickets in Vietnamese, since the office doesn’t speak English. Contact for the ticket office can be found below.

Speed boat office
Tel:
(+84) 255 362 6431
Email: dangkyve.csk@gmail.com

2. Getting to Ly Son Island, Vietnam from Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City by train

get to Ly Son Island
Source: spoonhotel.com

There are 5 daily trains from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Quang Ngai. Depending on the season, there might be more trains a day. If you’re travelling from Hanoi, pick an odd numbered train. For Ho Chi Minh City visitors, an even numbered train is for you.

Here are the trains’ schedules:

Station SE7 SE5 SE9 SE1 SE3
Hanoi 06:00 09:00 14:30 22:20 19:30
Quang Ngai 01:32 03:56 10:35 16:01 14:27
Price VND 399,000 – VND 1,185,000 VND 470,000 – VND 1,185,000 VND 387,000 – VND 1,126,000 VND 530,000 – VND 1,220,000 VND 530,000 – VND 1,211,000
Station SE8 SE6 SE10 SE2 SE4
Sai Gon 06:00 09:00 14:40 21:55 19:45
Quang Ngai 20:24 23:47 07:03 11:22 10:04
Price VND 343,000 – VND 988,000 VND 394,000 – VND 1,251,000 VND 333,000 – VND 1,409,000 VND 603,000 – VND 1,480,000 VND 472,000 – VND 1,115,000

Vietnam Railways
Tel:
(+84) 1900 6469
Email: support1@dsvn.vn / support2@dsvn.vn

Information on how to reach Ly Son Island from Quang Ngai can be found in the above section “Getting to Ly Son Island, Vietnam from Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City by plane”.

3. Getting to Ly Son Island, Vietnam from Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City by bus

There are many high-quality buses from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Quang Ngai. Hoang Long Asia is the primary bus brand for this route. From Hanoi, the trip takes about 18 hours and costs VND 460,000 – VND 530,000. From Ho Chi Minh City, it is 17 hours and 30 minutes and costs VND 330,000 – VND 400,000. Also, you can pick a night bus with comfortable beds to relax a little.

You should make reservations 2 – 5 days before hand in case of sold out tickets. You can find contact from Hoang Long Asia below.

Hoang Long Asia
Tel:
(+84) 225 3920920
Email: info@hoanglongasia.com

Information on how to reach Ly Son Island from Quang Ngai can be found in the above section “Getting to Ly Son Island, Vietnam from Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City by plane”.

III. WHERE TO STAY IN LY SON ISLAND, VIETNAM?

1. Homestays in Ly Son Island, Vietnam

Homestays in Ly Son Island
Source: zing.vn

Homestays in Ly Son Island are the go-to option for many Vietnamese tourists. They are cheap, comfortable and homey. The average price for one night is VND 50,000/person, or VND 200,000/room. You will stay with a local family in a separate room with complete furniture, bathroom and WiFi. Furthermore, the local people in Ly Son Island are particularly friendly. They are willing to lend you everything you need, from hair dryers to washing machine, completely off charge! Some homestays even offer lunch with the family and motorbike rental service.

Here are contacts of some popular homestays

Anh Minh Homestay
Address:  Hamlet Dong, An Vinh Commune, Ly Son Island, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 1663 457 219

Quang Nguyen Homestay
Address:  Hamlet Tay, An Vinh Commune, Ly Son Island, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam
Tel:  (+84) 1689 327 169

Ly Son Athena Homestay Camping
Address:  Hamlet Tay, An Vinh Commune, Ly Son Island, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam
Tel:  (+84) 1694 465 389[/su_list]

2. Guesthouses in Ly Son Island, Vietnam

a. Thien Tri Guesthouse – 2 star accommodation

Thien Tri Guesthouse in Ly Son Island features over 10 rooms with a kitchen and a private bathroom. Inside each room are air conditioning, a satellite TV, free toiletries, a hot tub and a coffee machine. The accommodation features many services and benefits, which include airport transfers, bicycle rental service and a terrace.

Price: VND 327,000 /night/room/2 adults
Address: Hamlet Tay, An Vinh Commune, Ly Son Island, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 969 784 605

b. Phuoc Loc Guesthouse – Hamlet Dong’s best guesthouse

Guest house in Ly Son Island
Source: booking.com

Phuoc Loc Guesthouse is another solid choice for guests coming to Ly Son Island. The guesthouse provides quality rooms with air conditioning, balcony, WiFi, spacious bathrooms and flat-screen TVs. Additionally, there are motorbikes for rent and on-demand meals at the guesthouse. Despite not speaking English, the owner is very nice and tries her best to guide guests to many tourist sights.

Price: VND 200,000 – VND 350,000 /night/room/2 adults
Address: Hamlet Dong, An Hai commune, Ly Son Island, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 169 887 4224

c. Guesthouse Dinh Sau Ly Son – Lovely port view

Guest house in Ly Son Island
Source: booking.com

Guesthouse Dinh Sau Ly Son is an ideal place to stay if you love the sea. Not only is it near the piers, the guesthouse is also very close to the local market where you can buy fresh seafood. Guesthouse Dinh Sau Ly Son features free WiFi and a 24-hour front desk. At the guest house, each room is equipped with necessary amenities including a desk and a flat-screen TV.

Price: VND 275,000 – VND 482,000 /night/room/2 adults
Address: Hamlet Tay, An Vinh Commune, Ly Son Island, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 90 304 2206

d. Dai Hang Ly Son Guesthouse – Restaurant and free shuttle service

Dai Hang Ly Son Guesthouse features a terrace, free shuttle service and a restaurant. All rooms are fitted with a flat-screen TV with cable channels, en-suite bathroom and a hair dryer. It is a 12 minutes walk from the beach from the guesthouse. For more information on nearby tourist sights, you can ask the front-desk who will be delighted to help you.

Price: VND 593,000/night/room/2 adults
Address: Town 5, Hamlet Tay, An Vinh Commune, Ly Son Island, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam
Tel:  (+84) 94 139 0279

3. Hotels in Ly Son Island, Vietnam

a. Muong Thanh Holiday Ly Son – The only luxury property in town

Hotels in Ly Son Island
Source: booking.com

The four-star Muong Thanh Holiday Ly Son is miles above any other accommodation in terms of amenities. Muong Thanh Holiday Ly Son in Ly Son features a fitness center, a bar, an outdoor pool, restaurants and many more recreational facilities. Rooms are decorated in typical Muong Thanh fashion with contemporary furnishings including fridge, shower, free toiletries, luggage rack and desk/vanity. Staff on site can arrange a shuttle service and speak serviceable English.

Review rate:

Source Tripadvisor.com Agoda.com Booking.com Expedia.com
Rate 4/5 7.9/10 7.6/10 3.4/5

Price: VND 900,000 – VND 2,500,000/night/room/2 adults
Address: Hamlet Dong, An Vinh Commune, Ly Son Island, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam
Tel:  (+84) 25 5386 7333

b. Khai Hoan Hotel – Well-rounded one-star hotel in Ly Son

Khai Hoan Hotel in Ly Son is a four-story one-star hotel with a bar and a restaurant. A buffet breakfast is available daily. Services provided are free bikes, 24-hour front desk and free WiFi. It is a short walk to the hiking area in Thoi Loi Mountain.

Price: VND 500,000 /night/room/2 adults
Address: Hamlet Tay, An Vinh Commune, Ly Son Island, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 93 391 9176

c. Phuc Hau Hotel – A family friendly hotel

Hotels in Ly Son Island
Source: agoda.com

Phuc Hau Hotel – Ly Son provides guests with free WiFi, free shuttle service and a shared lounge. All rooms come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV and a fridge. Some rooms even have a balcony. Furthermore, Phuc Hau Hotel – Ly Son offers a children’s playground. The nearby area is ideal for cycling and hiking.

Price: VND 321,000 – VND 619,000/night/room/2 adults
Address: Hamlet Dong, An Vinh Commune, Ly Son Island, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 98 197 9815

IV. HOW TO GET AROUND LY SON ISLAND, VIETNAM?

1. Getting around Ly Son Island by motorbike

Get around Ly Son Island
Source: randomtravelblog.com

Renting a motorbike is the best option for exploring Ly Son Island. Most accommodation offers motorbike rental service for only VND 100,000 a day. Make sure to thoroughly inspect your motorbike, since the road can be rough with rocks and debris. Almost all places of interest can be reached by motorbike, excluding An Binh Island and Thoi Loi Mountain. However, if you are inexperienced in riding a motorbike, consider choosing other options like taxi or xe om.

2. Getting around Ly Son Island by taxi

Taxis are a very reliable and safe method of transportation around Ly Son Island. Despite their few number and limited English abilities, Tien Sa taxis are quite popular on the island. The yellow cabs are often seen parking around Muong Thanh Holiday Hotel and at the pier. The fares in Ly Son Island are slightly higher than in mainland, starting at VND 17,000 and VND 23,000 each subsequent kilometer.

Tien Sa Taxi
Tel: (+84) 2553 867 867

3. Getting around Ly Son Island by xe om

If you can’t ride a motorbike and want to save money, xe om is an excellent choice to move around Ly Son Island. Xe om is significantly cheaper and more exciting than taxi. Prices may vary, but it is reasonable to pay VND 15,000 per kilometer and lower. Xe om drivers often wait on the pier or around motels at the center of Ly Son Island. Even though they don’t speak English, the drivers are very nice and won’t raise the prices like in the mainland. If you’re lucky, your driver will even guide you to secret spots only locals know about!

4. Getting to An Binh Island by speedboat

get around Ly Son Island
Source: lysontrip.com

An Binh Island, or Dao Be, is a highly recommended tourist spot when visiting Ly Son Island. There are many boats from Ly Son Island to An Binh Island, so you don’t need to worry about the time. A round-trip ticket costs VND 80,000 dong and lasts only 10 minutes. However, the waves can be rough sometimes, so prepare for seasickness.

An Binh Island is relatively small with an area of only 0.69 square kilometers. You can explore the island on foot or bring along your motorbike for extra carrying fees. It is advised to spend 2 – 3 hours exploring this beauty of an island.

V. WHAT TO EAT IN LY SON ISLAND, VIETNAM?

Ly Son Island
Source: vietnamnet.vn

Often referred to as the Garlic Island by Vietnamese people, Ly Son island is famous not only for its amazing sceneries but also its exotic culinary. Many famous dishes of Ly Son Island use “Lonely Garlic” – the island’s number one specialty, and a wide range of local seafood.

1. Salads in Ly Son Island, Vietnam

Ly Son Garlic Salad is a beloved dish to all locals. This dish is made with steamed “Lonely Garlic” mixed various herbs and spices. Complete with chopped peanut, Ly Son Garlic Salad has an intriguing taste of spicy garlic.

Another popular salad is the Seaweed Salad. Although the key ingredient is seaweed, the garlic also plays a big part in the overall taste. The dish is served as a combination of seaweed, garlic, basil, lemon and seasoning spices.

2. Fresh Seafood in Ly Son Island, Vietnam

You can find fresh seafood in many restaurants around Ly Son Island. Another option is the night market where you can get not only seafood but also beer and hot pot. Here are some must-try seafood when coming to Ly Son Island.

a. Ta Ma fish (ghost fish)

Beyond being very delicious, this fish is particularly hard to catch, making it the most wanted food in Ly Son Island. Ta Ma fish is cooked in many ways. In the winter, the locals enjoy grilled Ta Ma. In the summer, tourists get to taste Ta Ma hot pot, Ta Ma porridge and Ta Ma soup. No matter how it is cooked, Ta Ma fish is loved for its distinctively rich sweetness and tight meat.

b. Spanner crab

what to eat in Ly Son Island
Source: wordpress

The Spanner crab is known in Vietnamese as the King of crab. A Spanner crab is as big as a male adult’s hand, with bright red shell and sharp pincers. A delicacy, the Spanner crab is unfortunately not available all year round. However, you should definitely try this crab if you can. Its sweet and nutritious meat cannot be matched.

c. Sea snail

What to eat in Ly Son Island
Source: baoquangngai.vn

Snails are eaten all over Vietnam, whether they are sea snails or freshwater snails. Sea snails in Ly Son Island are hard to catch, but the taste makes diving 10 meters underwater worth it. Snails can be cooked in various ways such as grilled, steamed or stir-fried. A dish of snails is often served with an accompanying sauce bowl.

VI. WHAT TO DO IN LY SON ISLAND, VIETNAM?

Ly Son Island
Source: vietnamtravel.org

1. Visit Duc Pagoda and the Quan Am Statue, Ly Son Island, Vietnam

Duc Pagoda sits on top of Mount Gieng Tien. Tourists will have to climb over 100 steps to reach this stunning pagoda. Waiting on top is a 27-meter-tall Quan Am statue overlooking the island. The other sections of the pagoda are craftly built into the caves, creating a cosmic balance between man and nature.

2. Hike up Thoi Loi Mountain, Ly Son Island, Vietnam

Things to do in Ly Son Island
Source: deskgram.org

Once an active volcano, Thoi Loi Mountain is now an attractive tourist destination with numerous places of interest. Backpackers who enjoy a panoramic view will love this peak. At the top of Thoi Loi Mountain, tourists can enjoy not only the exclusive scenery over the whole Island, but also the National flagpole.

To reach the peak, you should head towards the north coast from Thon Dong Village and follow the road. Upon reach a sign for “Mount Thoi Loi and National Flag Tower”, turn left and hike up the steep road. Turn right at the fork and remember not to approach the military base at the very top of the mountain.

3. Buy “Lonely Garlic” – the specialty of Ly Son Island

Things to do in Ly Son Island
Source: quadanang.com

As mentioned above, “Lonely Garlic” is Ly Son Island’s number one speciality. The bulb is small and there’s only one clove, but the aroma and taste make it the most coveted spice in Vietnam. You might not find many stores with “Lonely Garlic” on sale, but perhaps your accommodation has some in stock, so ask around. One kilogram of authentic “Lonely Garlic” is about VND 800,000.

VII. WHERE TO VISIT IN LY SON ISLAND, VIETNAM?

1. To Vo Gate, Ly Son Island, Vietnam – Naturally formed heaven arch

Ly Son Island
Source: tgvn.com.vn

To Vo gate is one of the most magnificent places to visit in Ly Son Island.The sunset watched from To Vo gate is the reason why photographers and couples flock to the place. Initially only a small lava ridge, sea water has turned this sighting into a beautiful natural arch.

You should visit this tourist attraction at dawn or at sunset. Turn left at the welcoming gate and walk along the road. You will see the arch near the beach with the most breathtaking sun.

2. Cau Cave, Ly Son Island, Vietnam – Unearthed gem inside the mountain

Ly Son Island
Source: journeyvietnam.com

This cave is one of the hidden beauties on Ly Son Island. The cave sits inside the mountain with one side facing the ocean and the other lying deep within. Guests have remarked upon its majestic landscape, wild atmosphere and the harmony between water and land.

The beach near Cau Cave is considered the best swimming spot on Ly Son Island by many tourists. There’s also a vendor nearby that sells many kinds of refreshments.

3. An Binh Island (Dao Be), Ly Son Island, Vietnam – Lovely place to swim

Ly Son Island
Source: englishvov.vn

An Binh Island is the uninhabited sibling of Ly Son Island. It features porcelain white sand and crystal-clear water. This is a perfect place for sunbathing and swimming. Explorers will have an amazing time here as well, for there is a sense of wilderness not found in the main island and impressive volcanoes and rock patterns.

VIII. MUST-KNOW TIPS FOR VISITING LY SON ISLAND, VIETNAM

  • Because Ly Son Island is an important military base as well as a tourist destination, foreign visitors should always keep their passports at hand.
  • The military base on top of Thoi Loi Mountain is strictly off limits, for security reasons.
  • As of 2016, tourists with Chinese or Hong Kong passports are not allowed into Ly Son Island.
  • Past travellers have noted rubbish and litter to be a serious problem of Ly Son Island.
  • If you have sensitive skin, consider skipping swimming in the beaches of Ly Son Island, despite the clear water.
  • If you fail to book speedboat tickets to Ly Son Island, you should try to visit some destinations in Quang Ngai before waiting for the next boat. Popular tourist spots are Son My Memorial, Duc Pho District, Kon Chu Rang Nature Reserve, etc.

With such amazing sceneries and friendly locals, Ly Son Island is attracting more and more domestic and international tourists every year. The government has also shown interest for tourism development in the island. For now, the island is still largely a hidden gem of the central sea. If you want not only a peaceful and quiet trip but also a thrilling nature exploration, give Ly Son Island a try!


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