Whoever has ever fallen in love with the beauty of any bay scene of Vietnam, should once visit Lan Ha Bay – a hidden gorgeous of Vietnam bay system located in the northern east of Cat Ba island. Being a neighborhood with such a fame like Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay is just like a exquisite young lady who decides to live a pure and peaceful life. With all of her poetry elegance and picturesque features, she seems to be awaiting your kiss to wake her up and shine for life.
A hidden paradiso
Even though the bay has not yet been discovered by many travellers, anyone ever visiting Lan Ha confirms this is one of the most beautiful bays of Vietnam. When autumn comes to the bay, Lan Ha is shining bright with lissom sunlight, cool oceanic breeze. From here take an overview look towards Van bay gate, your eyes are like drawing a sketch of about 400 limestone islands, delicately arranged in a shape of archwise nature-made embossment.
The condensity of limestone island here is high, which separate the water surface into smaller bays. Many of them haven’t been discovered yet actually. This time use your imagination to talk about bay mountains, since they are commonly named after their thing-look-alike shapes: Shoes islet, Bat islet… etc. Unlike Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha bay has up to 139 sandbanks to welcome adventurers.
Why Lan Ha Bay?
The most frequent question of all time here: Why it must be Lan Ha bay, not Ha Long bay or Bai Tu Long bay, because those three are nearby each other and from Hanoi, it’s almost the same way for you to go there, and last but not least, why we have to select the one with less information than the World Heritage one?. There are reasons, of course
- Lan Ha bay is well-preserved in natural scene. The effort to keep this bay pristine like its original form is worth our appreciation. Meanwhile, sadly but truly to be told, Ha Long Bay nowadays has been being exploited by hospitality & tourism industry due to its glamorous world heritage recognition. If you don’t mind about the reputation, then please proceed to Lan Ha Bay
- Lan Ha bay is quieter and cleaner than Ha Long bay.
- Whichever activities in Ha Long bay, Lan Ha bay has it all: kayaking, cruising, fishing, village biking, local cuisines discovery
If you are adventurer, enjoying the off-the-beaten-track, then Lan Ha bay is the one you should head to instead of push yourself towards a crowd in a touristy Ha Long bay.
Best time to travel Lan Ha Bay
You can visit this masterpiece anytime in a year because of its always cool and fresh weather. However, domestic visitor often go from April to October, international visitors often go from November to March. An important note here is that storm will occur in the bay around August to October so you should consider this time not a prior time.
How to go there?
The suggestion is from Hanoi, as it’s commonly your first destination if you want to visit the North of Vietnam. From Hanoi, you can go by sleeping bus to Bến Bính (Ben Binh dock) of Hai Phong. From there, buy a canoe ticket to go to Cat Ba island. A small note here is that the time for departure from Ben Binh dock to Cat Ba island is at 9AM. From the centre of Cat Ba island, go to Bến Bèo dock, buy bay sightseeing ticket, then rent a ship to go. If you don’t want to travel far or just around the bay, you can rent motor-boat of locals. Or you can book a cruise package. Some cruise options here for you are: Ginger cruise, Orchid cruise, Maya cruise, Era cruise which offer you either day trip, 2D1N trip or 3D2N trip packages.
Where to visit in the bay
Lying near Ha Long Bay, also being in the same bay system of Northern Vietnam Bays, however Lan Ha Bay has its own identity. You can travel to both of the bays easily in a relatively short time of your journey. Below are some recommended spots in Lan Ha Bay for visitors to check out.
Hang Luồn (Luon cave)
Luon cave is located on Bo Hon island, in front of the cave there is Turtle islet, to the right there is Heaven Gate. Throughout four seasons of the year, water in the cave is incredibly sapphire look-alike, like a mother nature mirror beneath limestone cliff of the cave.
Hang Sáng – Hang Tối (Light cave – Dark cave)
The caves belong to the protected part of national park on Cat Ba island. Inside the Light cave, your eyes will be feasted by a dazzling show of stalactite. The cave is also a shelter for fisherman when storms come. After passing by Light cave, you will enter Dark cave. A small note here is that do consider the water level since it’s only possible to visit the dark cave if the water level is low and not covering the entrance of the cave.
Cua Van floating village
Cua Van floating village is a traditionally well-preserved village with about 200 household staying in, commonly making a living by fishery. They build their houses on raft-base, alongside the rock islets. They live such a simple yet vivid life with their own folk rymth on the bay.
Coming to visit Cua Van village, we are effortlessly attracted by the surrounding, with ships and bamboo basket boat hung in front of the houses; houses connected to each other to protect themselves from heavy storms; with fisherman who are tan, smiley and extremely hospitable; with those tiny kids who always make funny Vietnamese accent when they see any “strangers”.
Nam Cat island
Nam Cat island is well-known for tourists thanks to its charming wildness and combination of jungle and oceanic landscape. From Ben Beo dock, it only takes you about 15 minutes to reach there. The interference of human to the landscape had been limited to the minimum, thus it results in the island’s pristine nature value nowadays. On the island, there are 3 wooden houses on stilt and 6 bamboo guesthouses for visitors. Not only do they follow the sustainable commitment, they are also blended so well into the whole blue and green scenery, making anyone who stay there feel absolutely fresh, wild and peaceful. Don’t worry there is no tourist service on the island. There are, from daytime outdoor activities such as kayaking, scuba-diving to enjoy unique coral reef system, fishing… to night time activities such as camping, camp fire, game hosting…
Hòn Chuông (Bell islet)
There are various names for this islet: hòn Bút (Pen islet), hòn Nến (Candle islet), hòn Bắp Chuối (Banana flower islet). You can visit this islet on the way from Ca Ba island to Cua Van fishing village Bãi tắm Vạn Bội (Van Boi beach) This is a popular place to be chosen for kayaking as well as swimming because it lies in a waveless zone of the bay and it has such a greenery water and scenery.
Hòn Rùa (Turtle islet)
This is a small islet in the group of Lan Ha bay with the shape of floating turtle. It can be reached near your way to Viet Hai village from Ben Beo dock.
Đảo Khỉ (Monkey island)
To visit there, normally it takes you around 10 minutes to go from Ben Beo dock by ship, passing by Cai Beo fishing village and some small islets. Monkey island also has an other name as Cat Dua (Pandanus island) island, because previously on the island there were many wild pandanus. Nowadays it’s commonly called Monkey island thanks to 20 lovely monkeys in Cat Ba national park. You actually can play with them also! They are funny, playful and mischievous!
Suggestion for day tour itinerary
See mini fish farm of Vietnamese Navy & visit floating village
The starting point is Ben Beo dock. Go on a ship and let it take you pass by Cai Beo fishing village. Then continue to Nam Cat island, Bai Boi, and stop at Van Boi to get yourself into the cool waves. Next, you can visit mini fish farm of Vietnamese Navy force. People say fish there are big, yes no wonder because they are raised by army force! Later, head on ship and in about 20 minutes you will reach Cua Van floating village. This village has a history of hundred years. Student in the area row a raft to go to school since they were six! Indeed, it’s really harsh and difficult to maintain life here. Every daily activities are watery-friendly, thus the only way to make a living is fishery and aquaculture.
You can go kayaking for discovering the village here, then you can visit the dark cave and light cave while kayaking on the bay. Try climbing on Thap Ngieng island’s group of mountain if you are adventurous and if time allows.
Explore the traditional village and immerse yourself into greenery water!
After kayaking, return to your ship and back to Viet Hai dock. You can rent bike or motorbike to discover the village. Slowly riding let you enjoy peaceful and cool ambient in the village. Along the road there are many old traditional houses and paddy fields. There is a small cave in the village to check out.
After Viet Hai village, you can return to your ship and yes, let’s go swimming on Monkey island! The water there is transparent and you can also trek the mountain on the island to have an overview of the bay!
That is the suggestion, but you are unique, aren’t you? Contact us now to seize all what you want for your one and only Lan Ha Bay vacation!