ISLANDS AND ARCHIPELAGOS OF VIET NAM 4

Co To Island
In fact Co To is an archipelago east of the Van Don Island district of Quang Ninh province. In terms of territorial administration, Co To archipelago is Co To district: area 46.2 km2; population over 33,900 people.
The ancient name of Co To is Chang Son (Chang Mountain). In ancient times near Chang Mountain there was a wharf for the boats of fishermen in the northeastern region of North Viet Nam. The main terrain of Co To is largely mountains and hills. On Thanh Lan Island there is a mountain peak 210 meters in height. The meteorological station on Co To Island is located at the altitude of over 160 meters in height. The central part of the islands is elevated and surrounded by low mountains, hills and narrow fields. At the margin of the islands are located small sand grounds and harbors. The land mainly is composed of feralite soil lying on stone sand. Forests comprise 2,200 hectares. Agricultural land consists of 771 hectares (occupying 20% of the natural land area), half of which may be used for rice and other crops. The other half may be used for fruit trees and grazing cattle.
Co To has few rivers and streams so people have built 11 small artificial lakes on the islands. There are underground streams with abundant clean water. Flora species on the islands are rather diversified. Natural forests are various with many kinds of precious wood. There is plenty of rattan. The main trees in the planted forests are eucalyptus, casuarinas and horsetail pine. The oranges, mandarins and bananas of Thanh Lan Island are famous across the whole province. There are lots of valuable herbs such as ocimum gratissmum linn, ruellia tuberosa l and ricinus communis l. In the old times there were many forest animals. Now on Thanh Lan Island live a shoal of nearly 100 yellow monkeys and lots of other valuable animals.
Tran Island
It is located in the territory of Co To district, about 30 kilometers from the coastline of Quang Ninh province. Area: 4.465 km2. This island adopts a very important strategic position in Bac Bo Gulf and is an outpost in the northeast region of North Viet Nam.
The climate is tropical, monsoon and oceanic. The northern monsoon has much influence on the geographical location and natural conditions of this island. However, sudden storms and great winds (accompanied by much rain) often occur, seriously harming the forest ecology and coral reefs of the island. Though now people do not live officially on the island, hundreds of residents who are soldiers, workers and fishermen are frequently present on it.
Tran Island is small. The part of coral reefs around the island is narrow, so solid coral is available only at the depth of 5 meters of the sea. The coral part in the north of the island is still preserved intact and constitutes 87.5% of the total coral of the island. Halophila ovalis and Cymodocea rotunda are the two most predominant sea grass types. The pearl in the sea of Tran Island should be protected because it is listed in the Red Book. Land flora and fauna comprise 241 species, including 182 plant species (of 166 genera and 86 families) and 59 animal species (of four classes).
In 1999, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment proposed that Tran Island be one of the sea conservation areas of Viet Nam to be managed by the Ministry of Fisheries. As reported, the conservation area of Tran Island is divided into two zones (the core zone and buffer zone). The core zone embraces the entire island and the surrounding water area of six meters in width. The buffer zone, 452 hectares in area, is located at the edge of the core zone. Thus, functional bodies, levels and branches should provide guidelines to protect the ecosystems and natural resources of Tran Island.
Tuan Chau Island
Tuan Chau is the single island located in the Ha Long Heritage Zone. It is not only a scenic spot, but also a historical spot of Viet Nam. President Ho Chf Minh had chosen Tuan Chau as a resting place for himself and other high-ranking leaders of the state and government during his visit to the island in 1959.
The area of Tuan Chau is about 400 hectares. But in accordance with planning it will be expanded to 675 hectares. Tuan Chau is located on very favorable waterways and land routes; two kilometers from the 18 A National Highway which is an important artery in the “triangle of economic development” with Hanoi City, Hai Phong City and Quang Ninh province as the three apex points.
The name Tuan Chau means “guarded by the district governors soldiers”. In feudal times on this island there was a post of military guards of a governor who patrolled and protected the sea boundary area. Before 1999, the infrastructure on the island was very obsolete and poor: there was no electricity, no clean water and mechanized transport. There were only old tracks on the island. Tuan Chau barely was a poor island commune managed by Ha Long city, where people were mostly living on fishing with very primitive fishing means. The cultural and spiritual life of the people therefore was low.
Tuan Chau now is famous in Viet Nam and abroad for the projects that are the inevitable characteristics of tourist tours. Such projects are: the club of seals, dolphins and sea lions; sites for song and dance performances and fashion shows; the club of crocodiles; artificial beaches; the zone of Vietnamese culinary establishments; private residences; 5-star hotels; the zone of water entertainments like parasailing and jet ski; the park of water music with laser lights; movies with water screen, first shown in Viet Nam. Tuan Chau also provides ship, canoe and helicopter services for tourist tours to Ha Long Bay.
Bach Long Vi Island
Bach Long Vi Island belongs to Bach Long Vi Island district of Hai Phong City. Area: nearly 2.5 km2 at high tide and 4 km2 at low tide. It runs in a northeast-southwest direction. Bach Long Vi Island plays an important role in sea demarcation in Bac Bo Gulf. Moreover, it is located in one of the eight largest fisheries of Bac Bo Gulf So it plays a significant role in the sea economy and national defense of Viet Nam, especially in Bac Bo Gulf.

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