Far away from the boat crowd, right at the southern part of famous Halong Bay, lying south and east of Cat Ba Island, Lan Ha Bay is known as the twin of Halong with an intense concentration of limestone mountains and have the additional attraction of numerous white sandy beaches.
The density of limestone mountains here is quite thick and they are still very primitive, dividing sea surface into small bays and gulfs. Lots of bays, caves, and beaches have not been discovered yet.
Lan Ha Bay is about 134 kilometers from Hanoi. Its access point is Cat Ba, the largest island of the region. Therefore, to visit Lan Ha Bay, the first step is getting there, and there are some options for transportation if you start from Hanoi (kindly read this for details).
Getting from Hanoi to Cat Ba island
Sharing tourist bus (~4 hours)
The most popular and easiest way is to book a bus from Hanoi. A recommended company is Good Morning Cat Ba bus.
Public bus (~4.5 hours)
Book ticket with Cat Ba Express (~340.000vnd), Hoang Long (~225.000vnd/way), or with local tour operators to Dinh Vu port. Then get on a speedboat (hydrofoil) to Cai Vieng port on Cat Ba Island (~30 minutes).
Take you only ~2 hours thanks to Hanoi – Hai Phong Expressway. This is a recommended option for a big group or family with kids. ~2.600.000VND/way (16 seat van)
Getting to Cat Ba from Cat Bi (Hai Phong) Airport
If you begin from Cat Bi airport, you should take a taxi (~100.000VND on the meter) or motorbike taxi (~80.000VND) to Ben Binh pier (45 minutes – 1 hour). From Ben Binh, take either the Hydrofoil or the Hadeco boat. The fastest from Ben Binh is Hoang Yen Hydrofoil.
Visit Lan Ha Bay from Cat Ba island
Cruise tours & duration
- Day cruise ( 4 hours)
- 2 day 1-night cruise
- 3 day 2-night cruise
- Cai Beo fishing village
- Van Boi beach
- Ba Trai Dao beach
- Van Gia floating village
- Dark Cave
- Viet Hai village
- Monkey Island
- Tra Bau area
- Bright cave
Day cruise to explore Lan Ha Bay from Cat Ba island
For visitors who are not interested in adventure, going to Beo pier from the center of the island, renting a boat to visit Lan Ha in about an hour, then relaxing on the beach at Monkey island (Cat Dua island) is an ideal trip.
- Renting a boat costs 1,200,000 VND – 1,500,000 VND / boat together with the entrance fee of 30,000VND / person.
The total time is about 3 hours and you will have a general view of Lan Ha Bay with beautiful small islands, gorgeous sandy beaches. Visitors can also stop by Van Gia fishing village which is about 45-minute boating from Cat Ba town.
Following the 1 day tour, after passing Cai Beo fishing village, you board a boat down Nam Cat island and enjoy swimming in Van Boi beach. Next, the boat will take you to Ba Trai Dao area to kayak, take pictures, etc. and then Van Gia floating village after 20 minutes of sailing.
Van Gia is an ancient village located in the middle of the sea with hundreds of families living. People here live on fishing and aquaculture. Their life is difficult therefore six-year-olds in this village have to go to school on a raft by themselves.
Here you can do kayaking to explore the village, then Dark cave (if the sea level does not cover the cave entrance) and Bright cave (like a lake surrounded by mountains).
A more exciting activity is visiting Viet Hai village. The boat takes you to Viet Hai port, here you rent a bicycle to discover the village. On the way, you bike through a 30m-wide tunnel, pass by an original mangrove forest, the air is so fresh just like getting into a different world. Going around the village, you will see old houses staying calm in a quiet space of green rice fields.
After that, get back to the boat to go to Monkey Island to enjoy swimming, watching the monkeys playing on the beach. This is an island owning the most beautiful beach in Cat Ba because the water here is very clear.
Overnight cruise to visit Lan Ha Bay
Day cruise to Lan Ha Bay used to be an only option for those who want to visit the bay. Renting small sounds cheap and somewhat enable privacy; however, in recent years, visiting Lan Ha Bay is not only limited in a day cruise but also on an overnight cruise. From the very first step, taking an overnight cruise, you don’t need to worry about how to get a transfer to the port, how to take a ferry or speedboat to Cat Ba island and how to rent a small boat to explore the bay. Joining Perla Dawn Sails, a 5* boat in Lan Ha Bay, you will be treated with a luxury service served by a professional and friendly crew team.
The boat offers you unique cruise routes to the farthest points of the bay such as Tra Bau area, Ba Ham lake where are believed to be heavens for kayaking and swimming, trekking and biking in Viet Hai village, visiting a fishing farm where stays a fishermen family whose life sticks with the sea. You will have the chance to talk to them, to know more about how they live on the sea, how they earn their livings. On a bamboo boat, you explore the Bright cave, a serene round lake encompassed by rich trees and high risky stone walls.
A dinner served to you on the top deck of the Perla Dawn Sails will be a memorable experience in your trip. You enjoy your delicious meals in an open space of the bay at night, with a panoramic view, surrounded by sparkling candle lights. During the dinner, Perla Dawn Sails’ staffs will perform a traditional music mini show with national musical instruments and songs, which promises to bring you the best dinner ever.
Lan Ha Bay is always covered by a green color of vegetation. It is most beautiful in Autumn. When the water is clear, the temperature is not very hot, being relaxed on the boat watching the bay is a great experience that everyone should try once.