Lan Ha Bay is geographically an extension of Halong Bay, but it is located in a different province. Lan Ha Bay is a must-see for nature lovers thanks to the huge appeal of its spectacular limestone islands, pristine white-sand beaches, and charming fishing villages. The bay is undoubtedly a must-see for any Hai Phong tour.
1. Where is Lan Ha Bay? The best time to travel to Lan Ha Bay
1.1. Lan Ha Bay location
The Gulf of Tonkin, where Halong Bay is located, is home to three distinctive bays: Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, and Lan Ha Bay. They share the same geological characteristics, including the well-known spectacular landscape of limestone islands and karst cliffs.
Lan Ha Bay is the smallest among the three. It is located to the south of Halong Bay and to the east of Cat Ba Island. It only consists of more than 300 limestone islands and islets, yet just as appealing as its neighbor. If it were not for the glaring absence of tourists at Lan Ha Bay, visitors probably could not tell the two bays apart.
1.2. Lan Ha Bay weather
Generally, Lan Ha Bay has a fresh and pleasant climate. Here, the temperature ranges between 25 and 28 degrees Celsius on average. The temperature can reach 30 degrees Celsius in the summer but stays around just 15 to 20 degrees in the winter.
This place is great for a visit at any time of the year, but the best time to visit Lan Ha Bay is believed to be between March and June or between October and November. During these periods, it is sunny and not too hot. There is little rain, also.
In contrast, avoid traveling to Lan Ha Bay from late June to early October, as there is a high chance of rain and storm.
>>> Read more: Hai Phong weather - Essential information for your trip in 2023!
2. Which means of transportation to choose for your Lan Ha Bay tour?
To start a Lan Ha Bay tour from Hanoi, tourists must reach Hai Phong first. From there, you can go to Cat Ba Island as a starting point or take a Lan Ha Bay cruise directly to the bay.
Lan Ha Bay is also included in the itineraries of some cruises departing from Halong Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay.
2.1. Go to Hai Phong City
- By plane: This is the most favorable choice if your journey starts from faraway destinations. However, if you start your excursion from Hanoi to Lan Ha Bay, a plane is no longer the best choice. Because the distance between these destinations is only 120 kilometers. Thus, traveling by train, bus, or car will be more convenient.
- By train: Going by train from Hanoi to Hai Phong will take around 2.5 hours. It will allow you to admire the spectacular scenery of the northern countryside on the way. The train fare is only 80,000 VND.
- By bus: This is the fastest way to get to Hai Phong. You can easily catch a bus in Hanoi, which will cost around 120,000 VND. The journey will last for 1 - 1.5 hours.
2.2. Get to Lan Ha Bay
How to get to Lan Ha Bay? From Hai Phong, you can get on a ferry to travel to Cat Ba Island, where your Lan Ha Bay journey will start. Cat Ba is another must-stop destination in Hai Phong. After exploring the island, you can choose either to take a private boat to discover the bay or go on a Lan Ha Bay cruise from Cat Ba.
There are also Lan Ha Bay overnight cruises (for both 1 night and 2 nights) that start from Tuan Chau Harbor, Halong. These tours often have a shuttle service from Hanoi to Halong, so tourists will not need to worry about transferring.
3. The top not-to-be-missed tourist attractions at Lan Ha Bay
3.1. Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba Island, the largest island in Cat Ba Archipelago, is undoubtedly a must-visit destination near Lan Ha Bay. This island not only serves as the starting point of the Lan Ha Bay luxury cruise, it is also a fascinating land with breathtaking nature and vibrant life.
Traveling to Cat Ba, tourists may have a blast exploring Cat Ba's dense forests, pristine beaches, colorful coral reefs, and the local culture.
3.2. Cua Van Fishing Village
The fishing village of Cua Van is tucked away among the limestone mountains of Lan Ha Bay. The tranquil surroundings, the vibrant floating houses, and the rustic life of the locals altogether draw travelers to the place.
In addition to taking in the breathtaking scenery, you can participate in a variety of engaging experiences here. You will get a taste of what it is like to be a fisherman by observing their daily activities.
3.3. Nam Cat Island
This island is nestled around 5 kilometers to the southeast of Cat Ba Island. Nam Cat Island features a 500-meter-long beach and is encircled by other smaller islands. Nam Cat Island is a great place to get close to nature thanks to its expansive white sand stretch, crystal-clear water, and rugged terrain.
Moreover, the waves in this area are quite mild, making it ideal to kayak around the island and explore nearby islands like Sen Island, Cu Island, Doi Island, etc.
3.4. Monkey Island
Also known as Cat Dua Island, Monkey Island is well-known for both its monkey population and the stunning view of Lan Ha Bay. The island is included in many Lan Ha Bay cruise itineraries. It is also a popular destination for a Lan Ha Bay day tour from Cat Ba Island. A short hike from the beach will take you to the island's peak, which provides the most spectacular views of Lan Ha Bay.
3.5. Luon Cave
Luon Cave is one of the most renowned open caves in Lan Ha Bay. It is an arch-shaped entrance to a 1-square-kilometer-wide lake. The water here is shielded from the ocean's winds and waves by the tall mountains surrounding it, so it is rather calm. It is hence an alluring site for kayaking in Lan Ha Bay Vietnam.
3.6. Van Boi Beach
Van Boi Beach attracts tourists with its clear blue water, which allows them to see the multicolored coral reefs that are tucked away beneath each wave. Additionally, the water is shallow and still, making it ideal for swimming or snorkeling here. It is a must-stop for any beachgoers when visiting Lan Ha Bay.
4. Things to do during your getaway to Lan Ha Bay Hai Phong
- Swimming and snorkeling: Thanks to its several lovely beaches and extensive stretches of sand, Lan Ha Bay is perfect for cooling off in the ocean. The transparent water makes it easy to observe the coral, also.
- Kayaking Lan Ha Bay: It is wonderful paddling through the ravines and exploring the caverns. Luon Cave, Hang Sang, and Hang Toi are some popular spots for kayaking in Lan Ha Bay.
- Rock climbing: This is a must-try activity that thrill seekers should not miss out on in Lan Ha Bay. There are both low and steep cliffs here, suitable for adventurers of different levels.
- Enjoy fresh seafood: Do not leave Lan Ha Bay without trying the fresh seafood here. You can enjoy the freshly-caught seafood at Cua Van Fishing Village and Cat Ba Island, or a seafood buffet on a Lan Ha Bay cruise.
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The S-shaped country of Vietnam is also home to many appealing destinations that possess breathtaking natural settings and rich culture. Top Vietnam destinations like Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, Ha Long, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City have welcomed numerous tourists coming to explore their beauty.
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Adjacent to the world-famous Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay in Hai Phong features awe-inspiring seascapes with limestone islands, secluded sandy beaches, and crystal-clear water. It is the ideal place for those seeking a get-off-the-beaten-track vacation in Northern Vietnam.
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