Lan Ha Bay Halong Bay
Located to the south of Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay, home of Cat Ba Island, spreads over an area of more than 7,000 ha, of which 5,400 ha are under the management of Cat Ba National Park. You can visit Lan Ha Bay during a Halong Bay overnight cruise, or rent a boat and start your journey from Cat Ba Island.
As one of two unspoiled neighboring bays offering the same stunning scenery as Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is just to the South but without the crowds, while Bai Tu Long Bay lies just to the East of Halong Bay. Cruising to Lan Ha Bay, you’ll feast your eye at the marvelous beauty of natural scenery with hundreds of imposing mountains in different sizes and shapes. Lan Ha Bay boasts numerous picturesque white sand beaches tucked into more than 400 islands.
Lan Ha Bay
The uniqueness of Lan Ha Bay
In comparison to Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is more tranquil and isolated from the rest of the world. The islands are covered with trees and vegetation; the small fishing villages are peacefully under the island clusters, and the sandy beaches stretch along the rocky mountain. All makes a fantastic alternative to Halong Bay for a good spot to swim, a private beach BBQ, or an overnight camp. So if you prefer an off-the-beaten-track destination, Lan Ha Bay is an ideally non-touristy option to unwind and get lost in nature.
Tranquil life in Lan Ha Bay
Thanks to the primitive magnificence and less-crowded attractions, Lan Ha Bay has gradually gained popularity in recent years. Just 30 minutes by boat from Cat Ba Island, you’ll be indulged in the colorful coral reef and the calm sea among the breath-taking landscapes of Lan Ha Bay. Among three bays in Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is considered to have the best water quality for diving and good conditions for rock-climbing. Here, lots of lagoons and caves haven’t been discovered yet. Cruising to Lan Ha Bay, you can visit many caves resting on the beach, such as Tung Gau Cave, Monkey Island (Cat Dua Island).
Things to do in Lan Ha Bay
- Enjoy an amazing swimming experience: You definitely shouldn’t miss the chance to go swimming at Lan Ha beaches. Immerse into the calm water and catching the magnificent beach sight will relieve your worry after a long day of sightseeing. Many cruise ships offer rafts and boats with stairs and rescue crews to guests while swimming around the boat.
- Explore beautiful caves: There’re plenty of beautiful caves for you to explore, but the most stunning grottos are Bright and Dark Cave, right on the border of Lan Ha Bay and Halong Bay. It’s possible to access through sea caves in the tall limestone cliffs. Hence, you’ll visit by kayak or by local bamboo boat.
Kayaking in Lan Ha Bay
- Go kayaking: Most of Lan Ha Bay cruise itineraries include kayaking in some popular areas like Ba Trai Dao Island and Ba Ham Lake. Due to the sheltered nature and beautiful scenery, you can get more privacy while exploring these places. Take your time to feel the clear water as well as marvel at coral reefs and seaweed below the paddle.
- Visit floating fishing villages: Depending on each cruise itinerary, you’ll visit Van Boi or Ben Beo (Cai Beo) fishing village nestled in the small islands of Lan Ha Bay. You’ll see how the locals live by fish farming, how they repair boats, how they catch seafood, and how their daily life goes on day by day.
Local life in the floating village
- Cycle in Viet Hai village: You will cycle to Viet Hai village, along the road talking you through a tunnel cave, the old tree covered the roots, the rice paddies, and the mountains. The village is located in Cat Ba National Park, surrounded by pristine limestone mountains. You can learn about the traditional process of making rice wine and even try some from the latest batch.
- Trek in Cat Ba National Park: The national park of Cat Ba Island covers more than 40 square miles, which is home to many endangered primates, including the gold-headed langur. There’s a variety of trekking routes but the most likely activity included in your cruise itinerary is a visit to Trung Trang Cave.
- Spend one or two nights on the luxury cruise in Lan Ha Bay: Many cruise lines offer Lan Ha Bay itineraries with splendid experiences. A range of activities await you to join: relax on the sundeck, admire the awe-inspiring views of the Bay, have luxury meals and exciting parties on board, participate in cooking class, do a Tai Chi session on the sundeck, and other more. It’s worth spending at least one night on the cruise and being awoken among the sea.
Cruise to Lan Ha Bay
Best time to visit Lan Ha Bay
The weather in Lan Ha Bay is similar to northern Vietnam’s weather in general and Halong Bay’s weather in particular. The summertime in Lan Ha Bay is wetter and warmer, with the highest chance of heavy rain and storms from June – August. The winter is much cooler and drier from December to February when it’s too cold to swim or take a boat.
Overall, the best time to visit Lan Ha Bay is in the autumn (September – November). This is a perfect time for both swimming, kayaking and hiking, cycling activities.
How to get to Lan Ha Bay
From Hanoi, you can go to Lan Ha Bay by car, shuttle bus, limousine privately, or bus arranged by your cruise company. It usually costs about $80 for a one-way private transfer between Hanoi and Lan Ha Bay. There’re two main harbors that Lan Ha Bay Cruises depart from Got Pier on Cat Hai Island and Tuan Chau Marina on Tuan Chau Island.