Lan Ha Bay – a forgotten paradise

There are a few scenic places that any visitors would love to see when joining Indochina travel Vietnam including Halong Bay cruise trip in the North journey besides Hanoi, Sapa or Ninh Binh. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994 for its special values of natural and cultural, Halong Bay is really a stunning destination that should not be missed.However, due to the fact that Halong Bay is the most popular tourist attraction in Vietnam, the huge number of tourists and junk boats makes this beautiful bay a very busy area that will not be an ideal place for anyone to seek for peaceful and relaxing area with your travel mates, specially for tourists who have been to Halong Bay and come back to find the other twin of Halong Bay. Thus, I am writing this article to introduce about the forgotten paradise, a new destination for beach lovers in North Vietnam: Lan Ha Bay in Cat Ba Island.

A glance of Lan Ha Bay
A glance of Lan Ha Bay- source: internet
  1. What is interesting about Lan Ha Bay?

Lying at the southern edge of Halong Bay, owning more than 300 karst islands and limestone outcrops, Lan Ha Bay is just as beautiful as Halong Bay with emerald water and this bay is proud to have plenty of white-sand beaches that attracts beach lovers but receives very few visitors comparing to Halong Bay. Due to being far away from Halong City and Cat Ba Town, there are not many boats venture here so this paradise is taking the priority to remain the truly experience, natural environment and local culture and is becoming an excellent alternative to Halong Bay. Thus, now you can totally choose to enjoy Halong Bay with the combination of Lan Ha Bay by the itinerary of 1 night or 2 nights depending on your timeframe.

Having a fresh climate, Lan Ha Bay is suitable to visit all year round. However, to avoid the peak season of domestic travel in summer from May to September, foreigners can choose to visit Lan Ha in the autumn and winter but to have the most relaxing time by the beach, I highly suggest that you travel between August and October to enjoy the most pleasant and cool weather.

Lan Ha Bay in autumn, the most beautiful time of the year
Lan Ha Bay in autumn, the most beautiful time of the year- source: internet

Located adjacent to Halong bay, Lan Ha Bay has its own beauty that is totally different from Halong with 139 small golden and pristine sands alluring tourists to explore. The most famous touristic sites for you are Dark & Bright Cave & Lagoon, Luon Cave, Viet Hai Fishing Village, Nam Cat Island, Monkey Island, Van Boi Beach, Ba Trai Dao Beach and Tien Ong Cave.

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  1. Are there any cruise trips from Hanoi to Lan Ha Bay?

Yes, along with the discovery of the new route just beside the classic HaLong Bay, there will be supply to meet tourists’ demand. If you only have 2 days & 1 night,  you can still embark on this cruise trip to the untouched Lan Ha Bay from Hanoi.

One of the biggest advantages of choosing these cruise is reducing half of the transfer time from Hanoi Normally, from Hanoi to Halong Bay in Quang Ninh Province, it takes you around 4 hours by shuttle or by van. However, the transfer from Hanoi to Hai Phong City is only 2 hours and from here, you can easily be transferred by tender from the port to your chosen cruise. I think this is the best way to save your transfer time and lengthen your cruise trip.

Here is the list of the newest cruises sailing you to Lan Ha Bay in which you can choose from budget cruises to luxury ones that is certain to match your needs:

  • 3-star cruises: Emerald Cruise
  • 4-star cruises: Maya Cruise, Azalea
  • 5-star cruises: Bhaya Cruise (departing from Tuan Chau Harbour in Quang Ninh), Orchid Cruise, Era Cruise & Mon Cheri Cruise (launching in 2018)

And this is the sample itinerary that you will enjoy while cruising to Lan Ha Bay but the itinerary will vary among specific cruises and depending on the weather condition so please refer to your favorite cruise to have the itinerary that suits you the most:

orchid-Itinerary-Map- source: internet

Day 1 : Hanoi – Haiphong – Halong Bay – Lan Ha Bay (Lunch + Dinner)

09h00 : You will be collected from Hanoi Old Quarter to take the highway to Dinh Vu Port, Haiphong where we arrive at around 11h30. You can take special tea at cruise lounge warm welcome.

12h00: Transfer by tender to the Orchid Cruise Halong. On the way to the main boat, you will have a chance to see Cai Trap canal.

12h15: We welcome our guests onboard the cruise and then check in, enjoy Welcome Drink, receive cruise brief and safety instruction by the crew member and Cruise Manager, anchored in the south of Halong Bay, one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of Nature’ in a worldwide survey. Halong Bay is steeped in culture from hundreds of years ago. The bay has remained unchanged for centuries, with beautiful seas and impressive islands.

12h40: Your Halong Bay Cruise boat proceeds to Da Chong islet, where you can see a lighthouse built by the French over 100 years ago. We have lunch before continuing our journey via the islets of Con Vit and Gia Luan. These amazing limestone karst formations rise up out of the sea in an impressive manner. This area is untouched, as not many cruise ships use the route via the Cat Ba Island – Thoi Quyt area – Coc Ngoi islet – through Cua Van to Ba Trai Dao area.

14h45: We progress to Ba Trai Dao beach area of Lan Ha Bay a separate part of Halong Bay. This is a quiet tourist paradise in Vietnam. The region is known for its pristine beaches and spectacular beauty, having about 400 fascinating islands. Unlike the main, Ha Long Bay, the islands of Lan Ha Bay are forested, and most are small in stature.

15h00: We take you for a trip in the small coracles, used by fishermen for centuries. You will learn how they go about their trade, casting the nets, whilst navigating the waters in their tiny craft.

Alternatively, you may prefer to try your hand at kayaking or simply just enjoy a swim. This is a great experience, immersed in the crystal clear waters of the bay, in the Ba Trai Dao area (this program applies between the months of April and November).

In the winter months, (December to March) Tourists instead, may visit Viet Hai village with guide. You will take the bicycle trip along the village path and go through rainforests and dark tunnel. Enjoy the stunning scenery of rice fields on the way. Stop at the village to relax. Visit an ancient local house, made from straw, mud, bamboo…you will have the chance to see the local life on a valley of local people. Optional electric cart service is available (at an extra cost).

17h45: Returning your Halong Bay Cruise boat you can watch the magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. Onboard you may join a traditional cooking class. Our chef will instruct you in the making of some Vietnam dishes. In the early evening, the boat has its Happy Hour deal.

19:30: Dinner is served. Enjoy delicious local food prepared and served for you by our wonderful onboard catering staff. This is a delightful meal in an intimate romantic setting.

21h30: Enjoy the landscape of the bay at night up on the top deck. Relax whilst enjoying drinks from the bar. Try your hand at night squid fishing, watching a movie in the restaurant or register for our massage services. Overnight on Cruise.

Day 2 : Halong Bay – Hanoi (Breakfast + Lunch)

06h00: Why not rise early to witness the bay at its very best whilst enjoying an invigorating Tai Chi session on the sundeck; after which we serve breakfast. Upon completing breakfast continue our journey and head out in canoes to explore the bay in the area where the Toi Sang cave is situated.

9h45: Visitors then return to your Halong Bay boat for check-out procedures.

10h15: Whilst cruising back you can enjoy a delightful brunch.

11h45: We return to the quay side in the south of the bay, where our visitors disembark.

12h10: We bid farewell at Dinh Vu port, this is the end of the program. We hope you have enjoyed your time with us and wish you a safe onward journey.

15h00: Back to your drop-off point in Hanoi.

Happy Traveling!


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