Forbiden island: Three documents a foreigner needs for a vacation in Co To

By Pham Van   June 11, 2016 | 05:28 pm GMT+7

Co To is a rare island in northern Vietnam that offers real oceanic experience thanks to its offshore location. However, the crystal clear water there is almost exclusive for those with Vietnamese citizenship. VnExpress parts the sea and brings the island closer to you.

Being a lovely island places Co To on travelers’ radar, but its proximity to the border has put it under authorities’ strict control. Any attempt to reach the beauty by foreigners is met with paperwork that turns the preconception of easy traveling in a country like Vietnam upside down. However, the reward is worth a try, and with a little attention, it's not that big of a hassle.

Tour operators have turned down many requests for a trip to Co To by foreign tourists, but fortunately, the gate is still ajar for those working in Vietnam. You just need to prove you have a job here and “allez hop”. Here's the list of required documents:

Company’s stamp verification 

Business registration

Employment confirmation letter from your boss

All these papers are easy to acquire at your workplace, only notarized copies are accepted. You also need to fill out a form to request for access to restricted area and borderland. (Download it here)

The papers go to the immigration office of Quang Ninh Province in exchange for an approval to visit the island.

If all of the above still sounds alien to you, some tourism agencies offer the service at a price of $100, while an actual tour to Co To costs you only around $80.

Now take a look at the land to see if it’s really worth your time and patience.

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