Halong Bay is one of the top attractions in Vietnam, and for good reason. It has breathtaking seascapes against a backdrop of karst limestone mountains. Lan Ha Bay, located just next to Halong Bay, has been called a “lost sanctuary,” a rugged jewel with hidden beauty. Determine which one is best for you based on your specific needs and preferences for your upcoming trip. Let’s delve in and find out what sets these two Northern Vietnam bays apart so you can make an informed decision.
What are the coordinates of Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay?
Halong Bay, a part of the Gulf of Tonkin, is found in the northeastern Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh, not far from Halong city.
The bay has a size of around 1553 km2 and comprises over 2000 islands and islets, which dot the bay like dragons landing, thus the mythology. Due to UNESCO’s joyful recognition of Halong Bay’s aesthetic worth in 1994 and archeological significance in 2000, this location is now renowned all over the globe and attracts countless tourists every year.
Located to the east of Cat Ba island in Hai Phong Province, which is Vietnam’s second-largest tourist archipelago after Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is a popular destination for visitors. The bay is home to several hundred stunning limestone islands of all sizes and forms. Despite being only 70 square kilometers in size, Lan Ha Bay was accepted into the Most Beautiful Bays in the World in May of 2020 because of its pristine and lyrical beauty.
Which bay, Halong or Lan Ha, is more convenient to visit?
Both Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay are easily accessible from Hanoi City, and many cruise itineraries include transportation from the city center.
Lan Ha Bay is easily accessible by Got Pier, which is around 130 kilometers from Hanoi’s downtown and 24 kilometers from Cat Bi Airport (Hai Phong). The trip to Got Pier from Hanoi takes around 2 hours, whereas the trip from Cat Bi takes about 40 minutes.
Another way, Tuan Chau Marina or Halong International Cruise Port (SunGroup) in Quang Ninh will deliver you to Halong Bay. Travel time is around 2.5 hours from Hanoi’s Old Quarter and over an hour from Van Don Airport (Quang Ninh). If you want to see Halong Bay but can only fly into Hai Phong, don’t worry; it’s only an hour’s drive from Tuan Chau.
What can you expect to find in Halong Bay or Lan Ha Bay?
Halong and Lan Ha Bay are both well gifted with a number of caves and grottos. However, Halong Bay is the superior choice for explorers interested in discovering massive caverns and learning about its impressive geological and archaeological significance. Some of the greatest caves that must be noted include Sung Sot (Surprising Cave) – the biggest cave in Halong Bay, Thien Cung (Heavenly Palace Cave), Trinh Nu (Virgin Cave), Me Cung (Maze cave), etc. Visitors may explore the cave’s interior and take in sights such as the sea-inspired wave ceiling, glittering stalactites, and a bird’s-eye view of the bay from the cave’s summit.
Lan Ha Bay, on the other hand, is home to a number of caverns, the majority of which are underwater and are not as large as those in Halong, but were developed millions of years ago and have stunning stalactites. You can’t go in on foot and go up to the top, but the cave and the lagoon it overlooks are well worth exploring by kayak or sampan. The most famous cave that you should not miss is Dark-Bright Cave.
If you’re looking for crowded beaches, travel to Halong Bay, while those seeking quieter, more secluded spots might visit Lan Ha Bay. Ba Trai Dao and Van Boi Beach are the two most stunning sandy beaches in Lan Ha Bay, comparable to Titov and Soi Sim in Halong Bay. Since Titov and Soi Sim are surrounded by several islands and own a wide dock for parking, all the big and small boats may access easily which makes the beach busier. However, it is absolutely worth seeing because of the smooth sandy beach and a stunning 360-degree panorama from the top of the island.
On the contrary, owing to the distance near the ocean gateway and being reachable by boats under favorable weather circumstances only, Lan Ha Bay’s beaches enable far fewer people to enter, hence more unspoiled and private than Halong Bay’s ones. White sand, crystal blue water, and a lack of crowds or noise make the beaches of Ba Trai Dao, Van Boi Beach, and many more in Lan Ha Bay ideal for swimming, kayaking, or just relaxing in the sun.
Floating fishing villages
In addition to their stunning natural beauty, Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay are popular tourist destinations because of the authentic local culture that can be experienced in their floating towns. If Halong Bay is recognized for Cua Van fishing village – one of the 16 most beautiful historic villages in the world by Journeyetc.com in 2012, Lan Ha Bay undoubtedly astonished you with Cai Beo village – one of the largest and most famous floating villages in Asia. You may also stop at other villages on Halong Bay, such as Ba Hang and Tung Sau. No matter which bay you arrive at, you will have a true glimpse of the local floating life of fishermen for decades with floating cottages protected by rugged mountains, wooden fishing boats – the means of life earning, bamboo boats – the major transit, and so on.
Due to the abundance of cruise alternatives and the widespread appeal of cruise vacations on both bays, vacationers may feel overwhelmed. Day boats, overnight boats, 3-star cruises, 5-star cruises, traditional-styled boats, and modern-styled boats are all available in both bays.
Halong Bay, which was discovered and visited by many before Lan Ha Bay, now has about 500 boats and an astounding number of tourists every year, whereas Lan Ha Bay has only a handful of overnight boats and a few day boats. If you enjoy the company of other tourists and would want to visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a wide range of sights and activities, Halong Bay will not disappoint you.
If you’d rather have a more private and tranquil vacation, then a visit to Lan Ha Bay, a less well-known bay with stunning natural beauty, will be the highlight of your life. Ultimately, everything comes down to personal preferences and priorities.
Conclusion There are five reasons Lan Ha Bay is superior to Halong Bay.
Less people are here.
Less pollution is present.
Numerous Activities are available.
Perhaps even MORE beautiful than that.
It is SO MUCH more tranquil.