Vietnam has hundreds of islands along its approximate 3200km coastline. The islands varies a lot in sizes, from tiny uninhabited islands to those popular with tourists.
The most popular island of Vietnam is clearly Phu Quoc, located west of Vietnam and south of Cambodia. It has a great tourist infrastructure with lots of hotels (including some luxurious resorts), an international airport and quite a few beautiful beaches. However, for some the island might have become a bit too touristy.
Another beautiful island in the south is Con Dao. Con Dao actually comprises of 16 islands, of which only one is habited – Con Son. This island is very popular with Vietnamese tourists due to its history as former prison island of the French and the US. In addition of the historic sites it also offers some beautiful remote beaches, jungle and great diving. It is also far less touristy than Phu Quoc – which makes it to a great alternative destination.
Along the central coats there are number of interesting islands. So far I have only visited Cham Island near Hoi An, which offers a nice escape from busy Hoi An. The beaches there are rather beautiful as well. There are plenty of other islands along the central coats, like Binh Ba Island, but I still have to visit them.
Even in northern Vietnam will you find plenty of islands, especially around Halong Bay. The best known island is probably Cat Ba, which can be reached by ferry from Haiphong. There is good tourist infrastructure available, as well as tours out to Halong Bay. During a cruise you will also see some of the little uninhabited islands. I already covered the islands on the Halong Bay section.
So if you are looking for an island to visit you find plenty of opportunities in Vietnam. However, while the larger islands like Phu Quoc can be always visited, some smaller islands are off limit for foreign tourist, and some islands might require a permit. So if you plan to visit on of the smaller islands, double-check if you are allowed to visit them.