Photo: Hello An Binh, nice to meet you.

An Binh island

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Visible from Ly Son and just a 20-minute boat ride away, An Binh or Dao Be (“little island”) is more in line with what foreign travellers are looking for. Palm trees line beaches lapped by clear bright blue waters, the island awash with a quiet and laidback feel. The potential for this island could be enormous except the small island has a big ugly problem: rubbish.

There’s rubbish everywhere, especially on the beaches. Despite new bins around the island and signs beseeching visitors to place garbage in the bin and to not bring plastic bags in order to “save our island”, both visitors and locals are guilty of the mess and it doesn’t look like it will get better any time soon. There’s no waste management system. It’s off-putting and unfortunately makes a strong case for skipping both Ly Son and An Binh altogether.

Sheltering at An Binh Cove. Photo taken in or around An Binh island, Ly Son Island, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

Sheltering at An Binh Cove. Photo: Cindy Fan

If you’re already on Ly Son, then it’s still worth heading over for a day trip and a swim since Ly Son doesn’t have many good spots to do so. It’s less developed, with only a handful of people living there and it has some rural charms. The boat is cheap, and if lazing on the beach gets too boring, then An Binh takes an hour to walk around its entirety.

Golf carts and tuk-tuks await the arriving boat, ready to court and whisk the newly arrived around the island on a tour to photograph the highlights before settling into their restaurant—this is the most popular option with Vietnamese tourists, so often ever fearful of the sun and getting tanned.

Exploring the interior of An Binh Island. Photo taken in or around An Binh island, Ly Son Island, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

Exploring the interior of An Binh Island. Photo: Cindy Fan

The island is tiny and flat, easy to cover independently by foot in an hour. A suggested walk would be to walk straight from the pier and continue through the gardens of garlic to the other side of the island, where there are a few restaurants and an exposed, dramatic coast of black volcanic rock. Carefully walk to the right along the rock if you want to see a small cove, a tricky but doable scramble down.

Continue left for a paved path along the coast. There are beaches along here which unfortunately resembled a makeshift landfill.

Oh dear... Photo taken in or around An Binh island, Ly Son Island, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

Oh dear... Photo: Cindy Fan

The coastal path heads back into the village/central intersection. To the right of the pier (as you are walking from the boat to the island) is your best bet for beach. There’s a wide length of white sand, towering palms and black rock, a snapshot could look like Hawaii. That thing wrapped around your leg in the water is likely not a jelly fish, just a plastic bag.

In the dry season, vendors set up and sell drinks here at premium island prices. We also found advertisements for Athena Beach Camping, which offers camping on this beach, catering to Vietnamese tourists. We weren’t able to see the set-up or the tents because we were there off-season. The set up would be basic and we’re not sure about what they do for a toilet. See their Facebook page for more information.

Tourists fishing while waiting for the boat home. Photo taken in or around An Binh island, Ly Son Island, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

Tourists fishing while waiting for the boat home. Photo: Cindy Fan

Continue to the east coast of the island and there is a path along a sea wall which abruptly starts and ends.

Hidden underneath all that garbage is an island with great potential. Until then, it’s hard to see past all the junk.

How to get there
Tourist boats depart the Ly Son pier early in the morning. It’s best to show up to the pier between 07:00-07:30 and buy your ticket in the booth located right on the pier. Fast boats will depart when there are enough passengers, not a problem in the dry season. It costs 40,000 dong one-way, 50,000 dong round trip. When the seas are rough, only the slower wooden passenger/supply boat will make the journey. The same price applies and it is less comfortable.

The return time varies each day so ask/use charades to find out the time to be back at the pier. Our boat departed An Binh at 12:00 and we were told there would also be another boat at 15:00.

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Location map for An Binh island

Popular attractions in Ly Son Island

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Ly Son Island.

Best places to stay in Ly Son Island

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Ly Son Island.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ly Son Island.
 Read up on where to eat on Ly Son Island.
 Check out our listings of other things to do in and around Ly Son Island.
 Read up on how to get to Ly Son Island, or book your transport online with Baolau.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Ly Son Island? Please read this.
 Browse tours in Vietnam with Tourradar.

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