A small port town shaped as a "T": the main road along Van Don island, and the road to the port.
Get in and out
Buses frequently depart to and from Baichay Bus Station in Halong City from the 'T'-intersection at the center of town. Inbound, you can also get local buses from near the market in Cửa Ông, the nearby mainland town at the intersection of the road to Cái Rồng and the rest of Van Don island.
The town is walkable.
There's a climbable mountain near the port with some pagodas.
Either hang around the port and watch the local fisherpeople do their thing, or get a boat and see some of the fantastic ocean karst topography of the Halong Bay region; smug in the knowledge that you are avoiding the five hour long tourist hard-sell that production lines of clueless tourists are going through just an hour away to the southwest!
The most popular destination is Quan Lạn island.
There are two types of ferries available: long passenger speedboats with near-exclusively internal seating, and slower ferries that carry both small amounts of cargo and supplies along with passengers and have roof and outdoor areas. The slower ferries are not necessarily much cheaper, but are far more interesting if you have the time and the weather is bearable.
The basic route is around the top of Ban Sen island, south along Cao Lo island to Quan Lạn island. The main port of Quan Lạn is at the northernmost tip of the island, and is also the first one you reach (an hour by fast boat, nearly two by slow boat). A second port of some small-scale industrial purpose lies about half-way down the island on the western side, though the ferry may first visit some minor points of habitation (no roads, shops, hotels, etc. at any of them) on the opposite Ban Sen island before kicking you off here. Count on two and a half hours if you get off here.
Ferries from Cai Rong to the north tip of Quan Lanh:
Ferries from the north tip of Quan Lanh to Cai Rong:
There's a market near the middle of town, though it's much smaller than that in nearby Cửa Ông.
Eat and Drink
A few eateries exist through the town and near the port. Standard Vietnamese fare.
A decent range of hotels exist near the port, including one very modern hotel that will be immediately apparent. Smaller hotels are around 200,000 dong per day, if you want to spend a half day (eg: five hours waiting for a boat) then you might be able to convince them to give you a discount.