One of the outlying islands of the Ha Long Bay region and technically in Bai Tu Long bay, Quan Lạn has been sparsely inhabited for quite some time. There are a few thousand residents and an influx of local tourists from Hanoi on weekends and holidays. The island itself is pretty sandy and has little in the way of forest, unlike others nearby such as Ban Sen. Today, ports exist both at the northern and southern tips of the island. It is a less developed and less touristy alternative to the more popular Cat Ba Island.
There are two larger villages on the island with some scattered houses and guesthouses on the roads in between. Minh Chau village is in the north and has a strip of hotels, guesthouses and cabanas along the white sand beach. Quan Lan village is in the center of the island with a street of guesthouses, restaurants, and karaoke venues. The Son Hau beach area has a few resorts and guesthouses near its white sand beach. The beaches of Minh Chau and Son Hau have been claimed to be some of the best in northern Vietnam, if not all of Vietnam, by locals and foreigners alike.