Remote Lan Ha Bay (Vịnh Lan Hạ), situated off the southeast coast of Cat Ba Island, is an idyllic spot and quieter alternative to the popular and often busy Halong Bay. The area features some 300 karst islands and limestone outcrops, as well as several white-sand beaches. Active travelers come here for swimming, rock climbing, hiking, and kayaking.
Those looking to venture off the beaten track will find a natural playground ripe for exploring in Lan Ha Bay. Like the rest of Halong Bay, the best way to get around Lan Ha Bay is by boat, and the startling turquoise waters are peppered with hundreds of karst islands and dozens of white-sand beaches. Day cruises to the area typically include a stop at Cat Ba Island, plus time for swimming in the waters of Lan Ha Bay. Overnight and multi-day itineraries afford more time for kayaking, swimming, or exploring the limestone Dark and Bright Cave.Things to Know Before You Go
- Lan Ha Bay offers a quieter and equally scenic alternative to popular Halong Bay.
- Cruises through Lan Ha Bay often include hotel pickup and drop-off in Hanoi.
- Don’t forget to pack a towel, bathing suit, and sun protection.
How to Get There
Most travelers to this more remote bay visit as part of an organized cruise departing from Cat Ba Town. Most cruises arrange for round-trip transportation from Hanoi as part of the cost.When to Get There
Since Lan Ha Bay tends to receive far fewer visitors than Halong Bay, it’s possible to enjoy an uncrowded visit just about anytime throughout the year, even during peak season in December and January. The best weather tends to fall between March and May or September and November.Snorkeling and Diving in Lan Ha Bay
The waters of this tranquil bay provide a habitat for some 400 species of arthropods, 500 types of mollusks, and 200 species of fish. It’s a special place for diving or snorkeling, offering a chance to see rare coral and perhaps even a dolphin or two.