LAN HA BAY INTRODUCTION
Lan Ha Bay is an extension of Ha Long Bay and lies to the south and east of Cat Ba Island. It has all the allure of Ha Long Bay, with the dramatic karst and clear blue waters but with the added bonus of blissful sandy beaches and fewer tourists. The only thing separating Lan Ha Bay from neighbouring Ha Long Bay is that each one belongs to a different province.
View of Lan Ha Bay from Cat Ba Island
Being in the shadow of Ha Long Bay has been a blessing in disguise for Lan Ha Bay, as it has managed to avoid the overdevelopment and overcrowding of Ha Long Bay. The natural beauty of the area has not yet been dulled by tourism, and the area has been able to retain its authenticity.
Lan Ha Bay features some stunning remote beaches
Cat Ba Island, the largest of all of the islands, sits in Lan Ha Bay, and many people choose to combine their visit to the bay with some time exploring the island. Cat Ba has a thickly forested national park which is great for trekking, numerous sandy white beaches, great rock climbing and several historical monuments.
A multi-day cruise is the best way to experience the bay
Another popular island in Lan Ha Bay is Monkey Island, named for the tribe of monkeys who roam freely on the beach and across the island. The bay is also home to some fascinating wildlife, with hundreds of different species of fish and shellfish. Dolphins and seals can also be seen swimming in the bay, favouring the cleaner, more peaceful waters.
Floating villages and markets are among the highlights for visitors to the bay
Although the journey to Lan Ha Bay takes longer as it is accessed via Cat Ba Island, it is well worth it to avoid the crowds of tourists in Ha Long Bay. Boats run daily from Hai Phong to Cat Ba, and as in Ha Long Bay, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to finding the right tour.
You can see the highlights of the bay in a small amount of time and with a few activities on a day trip, or you can choose to have more time exploring with an extended trip in the bay, sleeping on board the boat. Most trips have the option of kayaking, swimming and visiting one of the floating villages.