Lan Ha Bay

Cat Ba, Hai Phong, Vietnam
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Overview

While Halong Bay has been renowned worldwide for years, Lan Ha Bay has recently become a hot tourist spot in Vietnam. However, Lan Ha Bay is no less charming thanks to thousands of limestone islands, many untouched white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and the tranquil scenery of local villages. Impressing tourists with its pristine beauty and high privacy, Lan Ha Bay is unmissable for every traveler coming to Vietnam.

Location

Lan Ha Bay sits on the Gulf of Tonkin and is in the city of Hai Phong. It is just 30 km from the center of Hai Phong city and adjacent to Halong Bay. This emerging tourist destination spans over 7000 hectares and has a relatively pristine archipelago of 400 densely packed islands that form a massive image of fantastical beauty.

Weather

The average temperature here is between 25 and 28 degrees Celsius. Summer temperatures can exceed 30 degrees Celsius, and storms can occur towards the end of the season, while winter temperatures range from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius and there might be strong winds. You should avoid visiting here from August to October when there is a lot of rain and storms.

The period from October to April usually welcomes a wave of international tourists who flock to warmer countries, including Vietnam, on their winter vacations. Although the likelihood of storms hitting Lan Ha Bay during this time of the year is very low, the weather is usually wet and gloomy, especially from February to April. Therefore, the best time to visit Lan Ha Bay is from April to July, when the weather is pleasant and sunny, making it ideal for swimming and other leisure activities.

Transportation

  • Ha Noi - Cat Ba Island - Lan Ha Bay

The journey to Cat Ba Island is relatively convenient, with various expressways to cut travel time. There are plenty of buses between Ha Noi and Cat Ba Island running from early morning to late night with prices ranging from VND 250.000 - VND 300.000 (USD 8 - USD 11). The ride usually takes 3 to 4 hours depending on traffic conditions. The bus goes from Hanoi to Got Wharf (Phà Gót) in Hai Phong city, then you will get off the bus and get on a boat heading towards Cat Ba island (included in the bus ticket). Upon arrival on Cat Ba Island, there is another bus waiting to take you to your hotel/hostel.

  • Cat Ba Island - Lan Ha Bay

Upon arrival at the Cai Beo Wharf on Cat Ba Island, you will need to buy a boat ticket for VND 80.000 (USD 3,5).

Attractions - Activities

  • Cua Van floating village

Cua Van floating village was named one of the world's 16 most beautiful villages in 2012 by Journeyetc, one of the world's most recognised travel magazines. This oasis, which draws both local and foreign visitors, comprises more than 300 households that live on the water and make a livelihood by fishing. You can learn more about the local way of life as well as their business activities here.

  • Cai Beo floating market

Cai Beo fishing village is a one-of-a-kind tourist site in Lan Ha Bay, inhabited by fishermen for many years and the largest-scale floating fishing hamlet in Vietnam. The boat ride to the bay will take you through the fishing town, where you will witness hundreds of crammed floating cottages, lively activity, and enormous caged fish-growing facilities. You will not stop at a houseboat but will get the opportunity to go around the fishing town and witness the people's distinctive culture.

  • Dao Khi (Monkey Island)

Dao Khi (Monkey Island) features two crystal clear beaches, Cat Dua 1 and Cat Dua 2. Visitors may climb to the mountain's summit and experience a panoramic picture of Lan Ha Bay. Not only can you swim in the stunning blue beaches, but you can also play with mischievous yet friendly monkeys on this island.

  • Hang Sang - Hang Toi (Bright Cave - Dark Cave)

These two caves, located between the boundaries of Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay, are a unique geological feature built thousands of years ago. The boat will slowly transport you under the cave's arch to observe a really magnificent geological space, then open to a lagoon region that seems like a vast, pure blue lake surrounded by limestone islands. The experience of riding a bamboo boat or kayaking inside the Bright Cave while listening to the sounds of gorgeous nature will undoubtedly be unforgettable. For safety reasons, access to Dark Cave is impossible.

  • Kayaking 

Kayaking is a unique island experience that allows you to paddle while taking in the sights. There are already several sites in Lan Ha Bay where you may hire kayaks at extremely low costs. You can rent kayaks directly from shops at Cai Beo Wharf. This type of rental is only 50,000 to 100,000 VND (USD 2 - USD 5)/kayak/person and has no time limit.

If you have taken a boat or canoe out to the islands and wish to go kayaking, you may still do so. For example, on Monkey Island, there are various raft houses where the price is lower (50,000 VND ~ USD 2 / boat / 2 persons) and the comfort is endless.

Day trip

Many visitors to Lan Ha Bay would like to opt for a day trip because of the conveniences it offers. First, everything, from transportation and food to entertainment activities and visits to floating villages, is planned for you. Second, going on a day tour is one of the most cost-efficient ways to do water sports, including kayaking and snorkeling, as these activities are also included in the price you pay for the tour. Also, the cruise will take you to the most beautiful spots of the bay to go kayaking.

Lan Ha Premium Serenity Cruise

This is a 1-day Lan Ha Bay experience excursion with many unique adventures, departing from Cat Ba town (Hai Phong). Visitors from Hanoi are welcome to attend, although the departure time from Hanoi is fairly early (at 4:45 am). The tour provides good service at a reasonable price, starting from VND 700.000 (USD 39). Some of the activities included are:

  • Kayaking and swimming at Ba Trai Dao beach
  • Visiting Cai Beo floating village, the oldest one on the Gulf of Tonkin.
  • Snorkelling
  • Exploring Monkey Island.

Catamaran Cruise

Lan Ha 1-day vacation on a 5-star Catamaran cruise with premium service and luxurious facilities. The excursion, which costs more than other typical tours, is appropriate for travelers from Hanoi or Tuan Chau International Cruise Port.

  • An 8-hour ride around Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay.
  • Unique food, luxury restaurant and bar
  • Thrilling activities along the way, including the most unusual water slide in the midst of Lan Ha Bay, powered by a high-speed water engine.
  • Swimming at Lan Ha Bay's most gorgeous natural beach.

Jadesails

Jadesails is another upscale option for a day trip to Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay. Apart from water sports, it also features a cooking demonstration where you can learn how to make Vietnamese traditional spring rolls with the chefs.

  • Visiting Floating village and Lunch onboard
  • Visiting Light Cave by bamboo boat
  • Swimming and Kayaking
  • Cooking Demonstration
  • Sunset party

Hotels & resorts

There are very few hotels and resorts in Lan Ha Bay. However, there are a wide variety of options for accommodation on Cat Ba Island, from budget to luxury.

Hôtel Perle D’Orient Cat Ba - MGallery

This list kicks off with one of the finest hotels on Cat Ba Island. MGallery, an Accor brand, has always been well-known for its world-class service and appealing designs. This 5-star hotel has a lot to offer, from food to entertainment. It also boasts the beautiful Cat Co 3 beach where you can immerse yourself in crystal-clear water.

Cat Ba Island Resort and Spa

Your Lan Ha Bay holiday can begin in one of 165 spacious guest rooms and suites of Cat Ba Island Resort & Spa. Rooms and suites provide a refuge with contemporary conveniences and elegant decor inspired by the island. In addition to comfy beds, LCD TV, and complimentary fast wireless internet access, many of the rooms come with private balconies overlooking the ocean or the mountain greens.

Just steps from your door, you can soak up the golden rays of the Cat Ba Coast on our 300-foot golden sand beach or relax on the deck chairs that surround our two beachfront swimming pools, which are open year-round and include separate family and adult pools, as well as a spa Jacuzzi.

Cat Ba Paradise Hotel

Cat Ba Paradise Hotel might be a good option if you do not care about upscale service. This 3-star hotel offers quality bedrooms and up to three in-house restaurants and one swimming pool. With prices hovering around VND  1.200.000 (USD 45), this is one of the best hotels at this price.

Brief conclusion and tips

In a nutshell, Lan Ha Bay is a destination you should include on your bucket list if you have some spare time in Vietnam. As the journey to Lan Ha Bay might be a bit confusing, do not hesitate to ask locals for help. They are usually willing to extend a helping hand if they can speak English. Also, do not forget to wear a life jacket so that you can safely explore Lan Ha Bay.

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Cruise trips that visit Lan Ha Bay

Peony Cruise 1362

Peony Cruise

9.8 Excellent | 176 reviews
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JadeSails Cruise 64

JadeSails Cruise

Destinations: Lan Ha Bay Dark and Bright Cave Frog Pond Area
FROM $98
Capella Cruise 1056

Capella Cruise

9.8 Excellent | 142 reviews
Destinations: Lan Ha Bay Dark and Bright Cave
FROM $195
Genesis Luxury Regal Cruise 1280

Genesis Luxury Regal Cruise

9.7 Excellent | 106 reviews
Destinations: Halong Bay Lan Ha Bay Dark and Bright Cave
FROM $145
Scarlet Pearl Cruise 589

Scarlet Pearl Cruise

9.5 Excellent | 131 reviews
Destinations: Lan Ha Bay Dark and Bright Cave
FROM $175
Heritage Cruise Binh Chuan 768

Heritage Cruise Binh Chuan

9.7 Excellent | 166 reviews
Destinations: Lan Ha Bay Dark and Bright Cave
FROM $180

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