Located on the eastern part of Cat Ba Island and just next to Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is another beautiful Vietnamese area that doesn’t get enough attention from the media. This is a peaceful and less touristy place with about 400 islands of different sizes which are all covered in rich green vegetation.
While Lan Ha Bay is not as popular as Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay, there’s no doubt that it is one of the most beautiful islands in Vietnam.
The best time to visit the area is probably in autumn when the weather is perfect. It is when you can enjoy beautiful sunshine, blue sky, breezy evening, and a just a perfect dose of sunshine.
Lan Ha Bay boasts 139 deserted grains of sand that attract tourists from different parts of the country and the world. Luon Cave, Nam Cat Island, Van Gia Floating Fishing Villa, Rua Island, and Monkey Island are only some of the best attractions the area has to offer.
By spending some time in Lan Ha Bay, you’ll have the chance to experience some of the amazing activities that will make your trip more unforgettable. There are a lot of beautiful beaches stretching between the beautiful mountain ranges. Small beaches like Van Ha Beach and Van Boi Beach are becoming more and more popular among vacationers. They are the perfect spot for diving and snorkeling.
How to Get There
Cát Bà, which is the biggest island in the region is going to be your access point going to Lan Ha Bay. This means that going there would be the first step. Although you can start your trip from Ha Long Bay or Bai Chay, Hai Phong would be the most convenient place to start.
You can buy a combination of tickets of bus and ferry from Hanoi, which connects to the closest land point to the island. Once you get to Hai Phong you must get on a taxi to the bus station. Alternatively, you are able get on a fast ferry from Ben Binh pier in Hai Phong, which takes approximately 45 minutes and brings you to Cat Ba town.
When going or getting out of the island, make sure to check the schedule first as it might be hard for you to get a seat during peak season. Also, beware of the scams and make sure you are paying just the right amount fee.
Why Should You Not Miss Land Ha Bay?
Well in comparison to some overhyped places like Halong Bay, there are definitely a lot of reasons why should you spend some time in Lan Ha Bay. Here are some of those.
- It is not crowded with boats and tourists, so you can enjoy more peace and photo ops.
- It also has the same karst limestone ridges as Halong Bay has.
- It has white beaches.
- It is not difficult to reach
- It is not polluted
What to See in Lan Ha Bay
Even though Lan Ha Bay is located just next to Halong Bay, you will be surprised how the two are different from each other. If you ever had to the spectacular decision of going to Lan Ha Bay, here are some places you will be able to enjoy.
Luon Cave Located on Bo Hon Island, and surrounded by Cong Troi and Hon Con Rua, Luon Cave is a great destination to go if you want to enjoy the sight of stiff cliffs and deep blue water.
This cave attracts many people all year round not only due to its beautiful shape but also because of its harmony and attractive natural scenery.
Nam Cat Island
Another place worth checking out is the Nam Cat Island. This place attracts tourists due to its wild characters with four faces of nature, strikingly attractive forests and surrounding waters.
From Ben Beo, you can get to Nam Cat Island in 15 minutes by boat. Because of the remoteness of the place, this is a perfect place to go if you are looking for some tranquility.
With only three big wooden stilt houses and six motels that are made from bamboo, you can assure that spending your time here will let you submerge yourself with nature. On top, if that, the island has a different type of services for tourists to enjoy, from snorkeling, fishing, scuba diving, and kayaking to campfire activities and others.
From Ben Beo and through Cai Beo fishing village, tourists usually take a boat that takes about 10 minutes to reach Monkey Island.
Monkey Island used to be called Cat Dua Island due to the number of inedible wild pandanus trees on the island. Today, the island popularly known as Monkey Island. This is because there are more than 30 types of monkey species brought by the National Park Cat Ba rangers on the island. This means you will see a lot of them lurking around the island ready to play in exchange for some foods.
Van Boi Beach
If you love doing water activities, then this probably is the place for you. This is a perfect place for those who love the idea of adding swimming, kayaking, and finishing to their itinerary. This place is located in the peaceful part of the bay with deep blue water and gorgeous landscapes.
Rua Island is a small island situated in the Lan Ha Bay. This island is distinguished by its unique shape – like a turtle swimming on the surface of the water. This island is located not too far from the Ben Beo on the way to Viet Hai village.
Also known as But Island, Nen Island, and Bap Chuoi Island, Chuong Island is a little island located in between of Cua Van fishing village and Cat Ba Island.
Like the other aforementioned destinations, this island offers different water activities that will surely make your trip extra fun and wonderful.
Things to Do in Lan Ha Bay
As mentioned above, you will get a great opportunity to experience different water activities on the island. Those activities are the following.
Lan Ha Bay is a paradise for kayakers. With the hundreds of small sandy beaches and tiny islets located here, it’s really not surprising.
Even if you haven’t experienced kayaking before, you will be tempted to try it for the first time for its clean and calm water.
Some of the most popular places to kayak in Lan Ha Bay are Van Boi central area, Cai Beo floating village, Monkey Island, as well as the area of Ba Trai Dao.
Swimming in the bay will bring to you an interesting experience. There are a lot of small beaches in Lan Ha Bay for you to come to enjoy and swim. It is very lovely to swim at Van Boi Con Island or Monkey Island.
Cat Ba is well known for its international rock-climbing center. This means you are able to book a half or a full day of rock-climbing tour at Monkey island resort booking office.
Visiting Viet Hai Fishing Village
If you want to see how locals live in the area, then visiting Viet Hai Fishing Village should be in your itinerary. You are able to go to Viet Hai harbor from Lan Ha Bay and then ride a motorbike or even a bicycle for 6 kilometers to reach Viet Hai fishing village located in Cat Ba National Park.
Visiting Floating Village
Another thing to do if you want to submerge yourself to the local life is visit Cai Beo floating village. You will see people living in floating houses and children using boats as a means to get around and reach their school.
Playing and Staying at Private Beaches
If you are planning to visit Lan Ha Bay to relax and spend some time in tranquility, then you can just find a private beach and spend there for as long as you want. There are some private beaches that have bungalows for tourists to spend their nights in. You are able to book a package tour or just book a room when you get there, and you can enjoy having a little paradise of your own.
Most of the people coming to Hanoi usually end up visiting Ha Long Bay. Being a UNESCO world heritage site since 1994, as well as for the convenience of going there, this is not surprising. This being said, you can expect a huge crowd of boats and tourists there all year round. What many people oversee, however, is the fact that they are missing a precious gem in the form of island whenever they skip Lan Ha Bay and not include it in their itinerary.
Hopefully, this article has convinced you to give this bay a try. With its breathtaking features and out of this world beauty, Lan Ha Bay is definitely worth every kilometer you have to travel for. If you have more questions about Lan Ha Bay or suggestions on what we could add to make this article more informative, don’t hesitate to let us know by leaving a comment below. Also, make sure to spread the word by sharing this on your social media sites.