Located slightly to the south of its famous neighbour, Lan Ha Bay is part of the larger Halong Bay region. The entire area encompasses some 1,996 islands and islets; the largest of which is Cat Ba Island. About 10 km to the southeast you’ll find Lan Ha Bay.
Lan Ha Bay has about 400 of the karst formations standing proudly in the clear blue waters, offering tourists a different view from every angle. This part of the main bay is less touristic, less inhabited, cleaner, and just as beautiful as Halong Bay itself.
Best Place to Base Your Lan Ha Bay Adventure From
To be more specific, Lan Ha Bay belongs to the Cat Ba archipelago, the largest island of which is Cat Ba Island (it is, in fact, the largest island in all of Halong Bay) and thanks to its close proximity to Lan Ha Bay, it’s the perfect base to use for exploring the area.
It’s easy to take a trip from here to the local fishing villages, or hire a bicycle and pedal through the calm of the countryside. Lan Ha Bay is also easily reached by kayak or sailboat, and there are plenty of tour operators in the area to set up a trip for you.
What to Expect in Lan Ha Bay
Because of its distance from Halong City and the main tourist wharf, Lan Ha Bay is a relatively quiet part of the region – meaning plenty of chances to find isolated areas, clean white beaches and pristine waters. With no less than 139 beaches, it isn’t hard to find your own perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, and (for the more adventurous among us) climbing up the cliff faces to jump into the water.
Many of the beaches are nestled between 2 of the towering limestone mountains, which serve not just to provide shelter, but also to give the spots a sense of isolation, of having found a place away from the thick of the crowds that is just for you. On some of the larger beaches, tourists will find ample opportunity to stay overnight in one of the beach huts that have been built and invested in by the local people- see our “Where to Stay in Lan Ha Bay” section below to find out where these areas are.
For lovers of wildlife, the waters of the bay offer quite special diving and snorkeling experiences. There are 400 species of arthropods, 200 fish species, 500 types of mollusks and some of Asia’s rarest types of coral- if you are lucky, you might even catch sight of a couple of seals or dolphins.
- Kayaking is surely one of the best ways to explore Lan Ha Bay and the surrounding areas; you’ll have the chance to explore the waters and coastal areas at your own speed and access some of the harder to reach areas where the tours won’t be able to get to. Kayak rentals are easy to come by at the waterside.
- Swimming at any one of the 139 gorgeous beaches is the perfect way to take advantage of the warm, tropical surroundings.
- If you make your way to Cat Ba Island, you’ll find their fully-equipped rock climbing center, where you can enjoy a full or half day of climbing.
- Located in the Cat Ba National Park, visitors will find the Viet Hai fishing village, one of Lan Ha Bay’s top attractions.
- Visiting a floating village is a must when visiting this part of the world, and the nearby Cai Beo floating village is a perfect place to stop off and gain some knowledge about Lan Ha Bay’s deep-rooted culture and traditions – it also makes for a great photo op!
Lan Ha Bay’s diversity is what makes it so special; no matter what kind of traveler you are, you’re bound to find something you’ll love. Enjoy kayaking, swimming, diving, rock climbing, beach volleyball, football or any one of a number of activities.
Where to Stay in Lan Ha Bay
If travelers are looking to kick back in one of Lan Ha Bay’s private beach huts, the likes of Sandy Beach Resort, Castaway Bungalow, and Cove Beach Bungalow will all serve nicely; Monkey Island Resort is also a crowd favourite.
A popular place to spend the night is Monkey Island, so called after the tribe of monkeys that inhabit the area. It makes for a great spot to take a load off and kick back on the beach for some sundown cocktails; the nearby Van Boi Con Island has a delightful beach and is one of the best spots for swimming.
Cruises that Visit Lan Ha Bay
Halong Bay Orchid Cruise and Azalea Halong Cruise offer an exclusive route to Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay. Other cruises that also include Lan Ha Bay in their programs: Alisa Cruise Halong Cruise, Au Co Cruise Halong, Bhaya Classic Cruise Halong.
For a budget cruise tour, Rosa Cruise Halong may be what you are looking for.