Just by chance rather than good planning, my friends and I got the last available booking at Van Hai Resort which is located on a wild hidden beach on Quan Lan Island. The recent public holidays joined to the weekend created the perfect opportunity for a break from life in the chaotic capital. And the atmosphere on Quan Lan Island is about as relaxing as you’ll get. The simple accommodation offered by the Van Hai Resort was fitting too.
With rooms in stilt houses looking through the conifer trees and down the sand dunes onto the sea, we settled down for a five day stay. The cold shower bathrooms and fan rooms may not be everyone’s cup of tea but the sheets and towels were replaced daily and the beer was delivered cold in a polystyrene box full of ice. We sat on our long balcony with our feet on the rails, beers in hand, forgetting the pressures of city life.
The complex is owned by Viglacera, a government owned company which makes porcelain basins and toilet bowls. Ironically, this company is also responsible for the sand mining one beach around from their resort! Mr. Ngoc, the deputy manager, says the resort has recently been renovated but has been operating for three years. The surrounding foreshore is largely untouched and uninhabited – no more resorts on the drawing boards as yet, which is a good thing.
The only criticism is the difficulty getting fed. There are several little stalls run by local women within the resort grounds but there’s not much on offer apart from steamed squid, grilled dried squid and instant noodles with egg. There is a restaurant, too – though it has no menus and, anything that can be eaten there needs to be ordered in advance in the morning at highly inflated prices. One night, we had a set menu meal there, the dessert for which was one orange on a plate to be split between six people! Go to town for meals is the lesson here!
But we were not there for the food. As an escape, to see a bit of my country where development is happening slowly, to be the only one walking along the entire beach – these are the reasons to visit Quan Lan Island. And, with sunrise views over the sea, Van Hai Resort is the accommodation of choice.
Van Hai Resort
Son Hao - Quan Lan
Van Don - Quang Ninh
Tel : (84).(33).877316