Thanh An Island has long been known as a pristine small island near the magnificent Ho Chi Minh City. The island is one of the best places to escape from Ho Chi Minh City where you can experience the pure beauty and find a surprisingly peaceful spot not far from Saigon.
Thanh An Island is also an ideal destination for those who want to truly escape from the hustle and bustle life of the city. This island not only has a peaceful natural area, but also hospitable fishing villagers and delicious seafood to make you have an unforgettable experience.
Introduction to Thanh An Island
Thanh An Island is an island in Thanh An Island Commune, which is part of Can Gio District, Ho Chi Minh City. This small island is located about 70 km east from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). As the distance is not that long, you can absolutely make a weekend trip to Thanh An Island to enjoy the sun, sea breeze and peaceful life of locals.
The area of Thanh An Island is more than about 131 square kilometers and it’s surrounded mainly by mangrove forests. Currently, there are more than 5,000 residents on the island.
Although the island has not been promoted big for tourism, recently, the island commune started to attract more tourists to explore the charming beauty of its peaceful scenery.
Best time to visit Thanh An Island
You can visit Thanh An Island at any time of the year. However, you should avoid going there on rainy days, because boats to Thanh An Island are traditional wooden boats and it can be not safe to travel during the rainy season.
On a sunny day, you can easily travel there. However, expect to have more locals to come for relaxing on weekends.
How to get to Thanh An Island
The distance from Ho Chi Minh City to Thanh An island is only about 70 km, so it is very easy to travel there. The island is isolated from Can Gio district so the only way to get there is by boat. You need to get to the ferry terminal to catch a boat to the island first and there are many ways to travel there. You can choose various transportation options such as cars, motorbikes, or buses to get from Ho Chi Minh City to Thanh An island ferry terminal.
By motorbike or private car
The easiest way to travel to Thanh An Island and fully enjoy the journey is by private transportation, especially, if you are the type of person who wants to explore the area by yourself and not to depend on anyone.
Route from Ho Chi Minh City to Thanh An Island ferry terminal
From Ho Chi Minh City, find the way to Ben Thanh Market and then follow Nha Be direction, going all the way to Huynh Tan Phat and you will reach Binh Khanh ferry terminal. The ferry ticket price varies depending on the vehicle. If you will be riding a motorbike, it should cost about 5,000 VND. Get on the ferry. First 20 km are pretty easy.
After crossing the ferry, continue straight on Rung Sac road then turn left to Duyen Hai Street to the center of Can Gio. In Can Gio, you will need to find Coopmart Can Gio, which is located next to Thanh An ferry terminal. The distance from Binh Khanh ferry terminal to Coopmart Can Gio is quite long, about 40 km, and very few people passing by. If you go early in the morning or in the evening, be extra careful.
After arriving at Thanh An ferry terminal, you can park your motorbike or car at the pier or supermarket near the pier. If you want to bring your motorbike or car to the island, it is also possible.
By public bus
There are 2 bus routes that can be used for getting from Ho Chi Minh City to Thanh An Island.
Saigon Bus No. 20
Route: Ben Thanh Bus station – Nha Be
Operating time: 4:20 – 20:00
Bus frequency: every 5 – 20 minutes
Travel duration: 50 minutes
Bus ticket price: 6,000 VND per person
From Ben Thanh Bus Station, take a public bus No. 20 to Binh Khanh ferry terminal. Buy a ferry ticket there and cross the river. After crossing the ferry, continue your trip by taking public bus No. 90 (the only bus route from there to Can Gio). Remember to tell the conductor that you will drop off at Thanh An ferry pier.
Saigon Bus No. 75
From 23/9 Park, take a public bus No. 75 to go all the way to Can Thanh Bus Station, which is located in the heart of Can Gio town.
Bus route: 23/9 Park – Le Lai – Ben Thanh Market – Tran Hung Dao – Pham Ngu Lao – Yersin – Tran Hung Dao – Ham Nghi – Ho Tung Mau – Nguyen Tat Thanh – Huynh Tan Phat – Rung Sat – Duyen Hai – Dao Cu and finally, stop at Can Thanh Bus Station in Can Gio.
Bus frequency: This bus is less frequent and there are very few trips a day.
Travel duration: The travel time by public bus No. 75 is long, as it can take about 2-3 hours to the last stop.
Bus ticket price: 20,000 VND per person.
To be more flexible, choosing the public bus No. 20 from Ben Thanh station is recommended.
At Can Thanh station, you walk a little more to Coopmart Can Gio. On the opposite side of Coopmart Can Gio is ferry terminal (Bến đò Cơ Khí) to catch a boat to Thanh An Island.
The Latest Update: According to local’s information, the ferry terminal on the opposite side of Coopmart Can Gio (Bến đò Cơ Khí) is no longer used. You need to go to another ferry terminal called Bến đò Tắc Suất, which is about 1.5 km away. You can take a motorbike taxi for 10,000 VND to get from Can Thanh Bus Station to the ferry terminal.
Boat to Thanh An island
Boat to Thanh An Island departs from Bến đò Tắc Suất.
Boat departures from the mainland to the island: 6:30, 9:00, 10:30, 12:00, 14:00, 17:00.
Boat departures from the island to the mainland: 6:30, 7:30, 10:30, 12:00, 14:00 and 17:00.
There are many daily boats that take passengers from the mainland to Thanh An Island and vice versa. However, the schedule can be changed depending on the weather and demand. Recently, due to the increasing numbers of tourists visiting Thanh An Island, there were plans to add extra boat trips to the island on weekends.
Boat ticket to Thanh An Island
Boat ticket for a one-way journey to Thanh An Island costs 10,000 VND per person.
Travel time to Thanh An Island
It only takes from 45 minutes to 1 hour to travel by boat from the mainland to Thanh An island.
At the ferry terminal, there are boats departing not only to Thanh An Island but also Saigon and Vung Tau so be sure to get on the right boat.
From Thanh An Island to the mainland, the last boat is at 17:00, and you can still catch the bus to go to the center of Ho Chi Minh City.
You should arrive at least 20 to 30 minutes before the boat departure time, especially during weekends when it can get very crowded. If the boat gets full, you will need to wait for the next boat and it can take quite long.
Those who suffer from motion sickness should prepare medicines in advance.
Activities on Thanh An Island
What to do on Thanh An Island? Is there anything special on Thanh An Island? These might be your questions.
The most attractive feature of Thanh An Island is the peaceful, rustic space characterized by the sea far from the mainland. Therefore, if you want to find a quiet place with the village atmosphere to rest, this is the right choice. When coming to Thanh An Island in Can Gio, you can experience many activities.
1. Stroll by the seaside
Compared to the mainland, the sea water on the island is greener and more attractive due to no pollution. The seaside on Thanh An Island is not only the place where young people come to spend time but also the place where couples choose to take wedding photos.
Thanh An island’s most prominent place is probably the breakwater and the stone path connecting the embankment to the sea. This place is chosen by many young people to take photos when coming to the island.
2. Explore local life on the island
In general, the island is not well developed for tourism, so this is a special opportunity for you to fully explore the life of locals and fishermen as most of them live on fishing. Wandering into the residential area, you can chat with friendly people, buy some specialty items from them and explore daily activities of people. Locals are always optimistic, love their life and always welcome visitors.
3. Watch the sunrise and sunset
These are the two most beautiful times of the day on Thanh An Island. Usually most people leave the island during the day so rarely admire the beauty of these two time frames. To experience all the life on the island, you should stay overnight for getting an opportunity to see the sunset and sunrise.
4. Join the mangrove ecosystem activities
Thanh An Island is surrounded by mangrove forests so you can experience activities such as kayaking, returning to nature to learn about the mangrove ecosystem here.
5. Visit salt field
In addition to the main occupation of fishing, people of Thanh An Island are also working for salt making. When traveling here, sometimes you will encounter many salt fields. You can just come to take photos and learn about salt making process.
What to eat on Thanh An Island
Traveling to Thanh An Island and not enjoying local seafood would be a pity. Because it is the coastal area, lots of extremely fresh seafood can be found on the island. If you go early in the morning, you can buy seafood directly from fishermen who just come back from fishing, so seafood would be very fresh and the price would be really low. If you want to enjoy your seafood on the spot, you can ask local restaurant to cook for you and then pay them a little more money or make it by yourself at the homestay you rent.
Prices of seafood on Thanh An are as follows:
- Crabs: 250,000 VND for 1 kg
- Octopuses: 120,000 VND for 1 kg
- Shrimps: 130,000-250,000 VND for 1 kg
- Oysters: 40,000 VND for 1 kg
At present, there are more shops on Thanh An Island than before. Most of the shops are scattered along the main road through residential areas on the island selling many kinds of fresh and cheap seafood.
In addition to seafood dishes, you can find restaurants serving many different dishes such as Pho, Banh Canh, skewers, grilled rice paper, grilled bananas, stir-fried noodles, and vermicelli noodles at low prices.
There are also grocery stores, if you want to buy soft drinks, beer and snacks.
Where to stay on Thanh An Island
Currently, there are no resorts or hotels on Thanh An Island. However, because of the increasing number of visitors, many locals have opened room rental services, forming motels and homestays that are quite cheap and meet minimal needs of guests. If you will be staying in a homestay, you can ask them to prepare cookware for you, but remember not to use it for free. The cost for staying in a homestay on Thanh An Island can be as low as 20,000-30,000 VND per person per night.
Another way to stay overnight on Thanh An Island, is bringing your own tent to sleep by the sea.
Southwestern region of Vietnam attracts visitors by its rustic atmosphere, simplicity and warmth of the river, so you can easily escape from Ho Chi Minh City to the peaceful Mekong Delta. Our journey exploring it: Mekong Delta Day Trip from Ho Chi Minh City [Review].