Located 50 km from Ha Long city, the island district of Van Don, consisting of more than 600 islands and islets, owns a cultural heritage treasure - traces of prehistoric man – as well as regional cultural heritage, and national historical and cultural relics.

Among them is Van Don commercial port – one of the starting points of the Silk Road at sea.

The port has played an important role in Vietnam ’s development history, particularly for Quang Ninh. Exchange activities inside and outside the country have transformed the island into a crowded and wealthy residential area. With a large and significant volume of goods traded, the port has created an impetus for Vietnam ’s socio-economic and cultural development, and integration into the world.

Together with the trading vestiges, the historic Van Don commercial port contains hallmarks from the Tran Dynasty and its victorious battles against Yuan invaders on the Mang River (Quan Lan) in 1288. The port was established in 1149 during the Ly Dynasty and prospered in the Tran Dynasty. Today the old Van Don commercial port finds its name on the list of national relics.

In addition to the ancient commercial port, Van Don boasts religious architectural works imbued with national cultural identities. Examples include Quan Lan Pagoda, Tran Khanh Du Temple, Van Hai and Quan Lan Communal Houses. These cultural and religious reminders have resided in parallel with the commercial port’s historical development, serving the spiritual need of local residents. They are sacred and invaluable to the islanders.

There are many historical relics that permeate the cultural characteristics of ancient Vietnamese people. Vestiges connected to struggles fought by the army and people during the 13 th century all the way to the resistance war against the US in the 20 th century exist at Soi Nhu, Ha Giat and Dau Dong Quan caves.

The historical value of Van Don commercial port and the system of cultural relics and festivals on the Van Hai archipelago, as well as temples and pagodas on the Cai Bau archipelago, are foundations for the establishment of cultural and ecological tours on the islands, a step towards tourism diversification in the Van Don island district.

To meet the area’s tourism potential, the district has encouraged investment to developing resorts, tourism products and services. There are 17 large-scale projects currently in progress.

At a conference to promote investment in Quang Ninh earlier this year, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung asked the province to prioritise maritime economy development, large-scale ecological resorts and entertainment centres in Van Don. An airport and casino of international standards will also be constructed in the island district./.VNA