Halong Bay is of course the magnificent 1550 square kilometre area in the north east of Vietnam that provides exciting tour opportunities for millions of visitors. At the heart of the bay, visitors can explore the interesting beauty of Titov Island. The island is situated just 8 kilometres to the Southeast of Bai Chay Harbour. It is regarded as one of the most picturesque islands in the bay and is well visited by both domestic and international tourists.
Titov differs from other popular tourist sites in Halong Bay. It offers breathtaking romantic landscapes, which can be viewed from a superb vantage point high up, in the centre of the island. Attempting to service the increasing number of tourists, numerous high-end resorts, hotels, restaurants and bars have been constructed here.
The Story Behind The Island’s Name
How this tiny outcrop of land became to be called so, is as surprising as the bay itself. Formerly called Cat Nang Island, it is named after the Russian Cosmonaut Gherman Titov, who, in 1961 boarded the spaceship Vostok 2 and became the second man to orbit the Earth, after fellow Russian Yuri Gagarin who beat him by just a few months.
Titov visited Halong Bay some months later in 1962 and toured the area with Vietnam’s revered leader Ho Chi Minh. Uncle Ho consulted with the people on the island and, in a gesture of friendship between Vietnam and Russia, named the island in honour of the brave cosmonaut. Gherman Titov returned to the island in 1997 for an emotional visit. In the visitors book of Halong Bay’s management, he wrote “Thanks that God gave me a chance to return to this island”
Titov was also conferred with the Order Of Ho Chi Minh, one of the highest honours the country can bestow. It is given to individuals who “have rendered great meritorious services, recorded numerous outstanding achievements in one of the political, economic, social, literature, art, scientific, technological, defense, security, diplomatic or other domains.”
In September 2015 The People’s Committee of Northern Quang Ninh Province proudly unveiled a statue of Titov on the island.
The island is also known by locals as “Cemetery Island ”. In 1905 a French cargo ship was unable to safely navigate its way through the waters here. It floundered on the rocks with the loss of all hands. They are buried here and so the name caught on.
What does Titov Island Offer?
Apart from amazing panoramic views of the bay, the island is home to a delightful, pretty beach of the same name. This is perfectly for all beach activities, swimming, sunbathing and barbecues etc. It is only a small beach but one that benefits from smooth white sand, beautiful clean water and fresh air. The excellent ambience that this creates draws visitors throughout the year.
Things to do here include shopping for souvenirs shops, kayaking, swimming, snorkelling and other popular beach and water based activities. The aforementioned viewing spot on the island, is accessed by climbing 427 stone steps. Upon reaching the summit, there is a small gazebo, which provides shade from the sometimes fierce sun, as you take in the awesome views.
Titov island can be visited as a stand alone day trip in the bay or can be part of a tour on one of the superb Cruise boats that ply their trade in Halong Bay. Being so close to the harbour at Bai Chay makes it very easy to get to.