Travel Planning to Halong Bay

Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay: Which One Should I Choose?

Halong Bay region is a world full of fascinating destinations and choosing the perfect place to visit can be a big challenge. With a summary of Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay below, this article will help you to find your suitable destination.


There is no denying that Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay, and Bai Tu Long Bay are attractive for its own features and favorable conditions. Thus, it is important to check out a bit of the background of those destinations before making a decision.

Geography and transportation

Halong Bay

Halong Bay is the most well-known tourist destination in northern Vietnam. The bay administratively belongs to the area of Halong City, Quang Ninh Province. It covers 1969 islets (most are limestone), spreading over 1553 sqm. There are several means of transportation to reach Halong Bay from Hanoi and Hai Phong City such as shuttle bus, private car (1.5 hours) and seaplane (45 minutes).

Lan Ha Bay

Covering nearly 400 islets, Lan Ha Bay is another sought-after attraction for both domestic and international travelers. Cat Ba Island is 16km away from the bay. From Hanoi, visitors can take a shuttle bus or car to reach the bay which takes around 2 hours. Meanwhile, a private car or taxi from Cat Bi international airport (Hai Phong) takes only 40 minutes. Most cruises to Lan Ha Bay start from Got Ferry.

Bai Tu Long Bay

30km to the east of Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay boasts 3000 craggy and towering islet on an area of 560sqm.

Transfer service to Bai Tu Long Bay is always available. From Hanoi city center, you can take a shuttle bus/car within 3h while passengers from Noi Bai international airport can choose a shuttle bus/car (3.5 hours). Bai Tu Long Bay is also accessible from Hai Phong, Cat Bi international airport with a 2-hour private car or taxi to Hon Gai pier for the cruise.

Attractions & activities

Halong Bay

Halong Bay brims with gorgeous landscapes at every turn, promising a new, laid-back cruise experience. The bay has plenty of staggering caves, lush islands and crystal clear beaches complemented with fun-filled activities. To illustrate, Surprise Cave is worth a visit and kayaking while TiTop Island is the best destination for swimming and trekking up to the top. Other thrilling activities are canoeing, diving, and BBQ on beaches.

Lan Ha Bay

Lan Ha Bay reserves more pristine attractions including lagoons, limestone mountains, and caves that make it hard to keep your bucket list stagnant. Amazing trip to Lan Ha Bay cannot complete without kayaking experience to Dark & Bright cave, swimming in Ba Trai Dao Islet, enjoying rowing boat in Viet Hai village, rock climbing and staying in bungalows on Cat Ba Island.

Bai Tu Long Bay

Unlike Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay offers more off-the-beaten-track attractions. There is much to see from this bay namely Bai Tu Long National Park, Thien Canh Son cave, Ban Chan beach, and Vung Vieng fishing village. Also, tones of activities including rock climbing, bouldering, cliff jumping, tuk-tuk riding, cycling and added extras keep you always entertained.

Which one you should choose?

Halong Bay

Needleless to say, Halong Bay with its important landmarks has become a must-to-go destination for any visitors to the Halong Bay area. The only downside is that Halong Bay is always jam-packed with flocks of tourists all year round making the destination less peaceful and pristine.

Lan Ha Bay

Similar to its neighbor, Lan Ha Bay is endowed with a range of breathtaking sceneries. However, the site is less touristy and has fewer boats operating than Halong Bay. This advantage offers better money value so you can have a chance to join more activities and stay in better accommodation without blowing your budget. More significantly, the highlight of the bay is Cat Ba Island with stunning nature and biking opportunities.

Bai Tu Long Bay

Geographically similar to its more famous cousin, Bai Tu Long Bay is much quieter and mostly untouched where visitors can find themselves away from the crowd. Thus, this is a hard-to-miss destination for those who are seeking for peace, relaxation, and tranquility in their cruise trip. The downside is the shortage of modern facilities onsite

Last updated: September 29, 2019

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