Ti-Top Island: Halong Bay Treasure

The spirit of Halong Bay is something you can feel as soon as you begin drifting out on the bay aboard Paradise Vietnam. There’s no questioning that this beautiful ancient paradise has an inimitable quality to it that has attracted visitors from all over the world for decades. With recent conservation efforts by local authorities to maintain this pristine paradise, there’s never been a better time to experience this gem of Vietnam’s diverse natural wonders.
Every stop on the cruise takes you to a different place teeming with mystery and wonder. From the massive, incredible caves, to beautiful picture-perfect white-sand beaches and emerald water, to glimpses of the local way of life at floating villages that have existed for thousands of years, there’s no shortage of incredible sights here. But perhaps one of the most special places of all is Ti Tov Island, a small but incredible limestone island that offers visitors unparalleled 360-degree views of Halong Bay.


The origins of the island’s name (also called Ti Tov Island) are rooted in the Vietnamese revolution. Russian cosmonaut Gherman Stepanovich Ti Top was the second human ever to orbit the earth and the fourth person in space, but the very first to prove that humans could live and work in space, orbiting the Earth a total of 17 times. He also set records for space photography, being the first human to take manual photographs in space. He also remains the youngest person ever to fly in space, at only 25 years old. After his storied spaceflight career and time served in the Soviet Air Force, Ti Top became a Communist politician, and therefore closely aligned himself with the Vietnam Communist Party, which was only beginning to form at this pivotal point in Vietnam’s history.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, Ti Top became a friend of none other than Ho Chi Minh, the figurehead of the Vietnam Communist Party whose face is emblazoned on every bill in the local currency, as well as in portraits hung in every classroom, and commemorated in public places such as the famous statue on Saigon’s iconic Nguyen Hue walking street. Ho Chi Minh was chairman of the Vietnam Communist Party until 1965 due to health reasons and died in 1979 just before the end of the Vietnam-American War, which resulted in the realization of his life’s work of reunifying the country as an independent nation. His work as an early revolutionary and visionary enshrined him as Vietnam’s most beloved and revered historical figure, and his efforts are directly attributed to the success of the Communist Revolution that would eventually reunite a country that had been plagued by colonial rule for centuries. After the war, Vietnam’s southern hub Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in his honor.
Gherman Stepanovich Ti Top and Ho Chi Minh visited the island in 1962, drawn to its natural beauty, its pristine white sand beaches, and presumably, the opportunity to get a gorgeous view of the surrounding bay. This special moment in Titov and Ho Chi Minh’s friendship inspired Ho Chi Minh to name the island after his accomplished friend, to commemorate their time there, as well as the close political partnership that the Vietnam Communist Party and the Soviet Union had at the time.



The island itself is quite small, at a size of only 3.7 hectares (about 0.037 km2). It takes about 450 steps to reach the top of this island, with a halfway point where you can take a breather, relax and look out onto the bay for a few minutes before recharging and climbing the remaining steps. Many visitors may be satisfied with this view and choose instead to return to the crescent moon-shaped beach and relax with an ice-cold fresh coconut. You can order a lot of other drinks from the bar on this island as well, and they’ll rent lots of different kinds of equipment for you to swim and snorkel around the clear emerald green water. 
At the top of the island, you’ll reach a wooden gazebo with benches and vantage points for you to snap plenty of photos and panoramic shots. Take some time to soak in the view and feel a sense of calm and peace wash over you, as the magical stillness of the bay is punctuated by the occasional boat lazily drifting by. You’ll truly feel small here, swallowed up by the majestic grandeur of Halong Bay’s unique and expansive land and waterscape.
Though it may be arduous, the climb is absolutely worth this spectacular view. You can spend a lot of time here not only taking photos but sitting back and feeling the cool, gentle sea breeze. Despite this being one of the top tourist attractions in Halong Bay, you’ll find it isn’t too crowded, and you may even have the Gazebo all to yourself! 


Those who make the ascent can then return to the gorgeous beach and enjoy it for a while before returning to the Paradise Cruise. This unforgettable experience is surely one of the highlights of the Paradise Cruise itinerary, available on Paradise Sails, Elegance, and Peak cruises. Best of all, Le Parfum Spa is available on all Paradise Cruises, which means you can treat yourself to some much-needed pampering and relaxation after a physically challenging climb. Choose from a foot massage, or leg massage, or several full-body treatments for maximum satisfaction. You can also choose from a broad variety of luxurious facial treatments to soothe and rejuvenate your skin after enjoying your day out in the sun. This spa experience truly feels like a no-compromise treatment 
Unwind on the sun deck and enjoy a cocktail or two, or relax in your cabin on your private balcony and watch the beautiful limestone karst formations drift by as you remember seeing them from above. You’ll always treasure the memory of Ti Tov Island, a remarkable place in Halong Bay with a fascinating history, a beautiful picture-perfect beach, and of course, an incredible view like no other. It’s treasured like this beautiful island that keeps visitors coming back to Halong Bay again and again.

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