While Halong Bay is one of the most well-known natural wonders in the world, Lan Ha Bay is a stunning natural beauty without a name on the travel map. In actuality, Lan Ha Bay and Halong Bay have comparable geographic features. Tourists may find many limestone islands, pristine sandy beaches, and magical caverns in both bays. In the article below, we will compare the differences between Lan Ha Bay and Halong Bay to help you decide which is the better place to visit.
Should You Visit Halong Bay or Lan Ha Bay?
I. About Halong Bay
Located in the Ha Long city of Quang Ninh province, Halong Bay is said to be Vietnam's most picturesque bay and draws a lot of travelers each year. The famous bay is referred to a natural gem bestowed upon this region because of its economic value and tourist potential.
Halong Bay is not only a stunning natural setting with a variety of big and small islands covering an area of around 1553 km2, but it also has a rich history and ancient human artifacts buried beneath the ground. Because of these distinctive qualities, Halong Bay has been designated by UNESCO as a site of the world's natural heritage.
II. About Lan Ha Bay
Lan Ha Bay is a part of the Cat Ba Island District, which is located east of Cat Ba Island and south of Halong Bay. The meaning of the word "Lan Ha" is that the orchid was given to earth to enhance life. Lan Ha Bay, in contrast to the bustle of Halong Bay, dazzles tourists with its serene beauty.
Covering an area of over 7000 hectares, Lan Ha Bay is a comparatively pristine archipelago of about 400 densely packed big and tiny islands, which together make up a magnificent, fanciful vision. The "blue straits" It features 139 small, gorgeous, deserted beaches called the "blue straits". In addition, Lan Ha Bay was acknowledged as one of the most beautiful bays in May 2020 by the Association of the World's Most Beautiful Bays Club.
III. Differences between Lan Ha Bay and Halong Bay
Lan Ha Bay and Halong Bay are two of Vietnam's most stunning natural wonders, and while some certain similarities do exist, they still have definite distinctions.
1. Landscape differences
Compared to Lan Ha Bay, Halong Bay is significantly bigger and contains a lot more islands. On the other side, the islands of Lan Ha Bay are covered with greenery, giving them a wild and stunning grandeur.
Another contrast between the two bays is the caves. Sung Sot Cave, Thien Cung Cave, Trinh Nu Cave, and Dau Go Cave are some of the stunning stalactite-lined caverns in Halong Bay that originated millions of years ago and are linked by local legends. The bulk of the caves at Lan Ha Bay, in contrast, are entirely on Cat Ba Island. Examples include Trung Trang Cave, Hospital Cave, and some are exclusively underwater caverns, like Dark and Light Cave, which requires kayaking to explore.
The sand shores in Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay also have distant features. Halong Bay's delightful beaches are encircled by steep limestone cliffs. A couple of these have been allowed for tourism activities, including Titov Beach, Tuan Chau Beach, and Bai Chay Beach. Meanwhile, Lan Ha Bay is alluring visitors with the blue straits of 139 clean and pure beaches, including Cat Co 1, 2, and 3, Van Boi Beach, Ba Trai Dao Island, and Tung Thu Beach.
2. Crowd differences
Recognized as one of the world's seven natural wonders, Halong Bay draws millions of both domestic and worldwide guests coming to explore its grandeur. Hence, tourism in Halong Bay is always crowded and vivified. Lan Ha Bay, on the other hand, could be a celebrated traveler goal due to its wild excellence. Lan Ha Bay highlights a dense concentration of limestone islands, most of which are still unspoiled.
3. Activities available
The excellent characteristic scene of both Lan Ha Bay and Halong Bay is reasonable for numerous water sports exercises such as swimming, kayaking, fishing, rock climbing, and snorkeling.
Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay are situated in the same region of the Gulf of Tonkin and are accessible from Ha Long city. The best way for arriving at the two bays is to take a bus or private vehicle from Hanoi. From the city of Ha Long, there are different choices to visit, for example, taking a day cruise, staying overnight on a luxury cruise, booking one of the numerous hotels or guesthouses, or joining different tours and activities.
5. Weather and Climate Comparison
Located in the same region of Northern Vietnam, both bays experience a similar climate: hot, humid in summer and cold, dry in winter due to the effect of tropical monsoon. The year-round temperatures range from 20°C to 30°C.
The perfect time to visit these two destinations is during the dry season, from October to April when the climate conditions are cooler and less moist. Guests can appreciate clear skies, radiant days, and lovely temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor excursions like swimming, kayaking, and hiking.
6. Cruise Options in Halong Bay
Halong Bay offers many cruise options to explore the stunning limestone formations and crystal-clear waters of Halong Bay. The most favorite with best service are: Paradise Elegance, Ambassador Cruise, Hermes Cruise, Athena Luxury Cruise, Athena Royal Cruise, Paradise Sails Cruise, Alisa Cruise, Pelican Cruise.
7. Cruise Options in Lan Ha Bay
The best choices of Lan Ha Bay Cruises are: Elite of the Seas, Paradise Grand Cruise, Ambassador Signature Cruise, Stellar of the Seas, Capella Cruise, Scarlet Pearl Cruise, Orchid Trendy Cruise, Orchid Classic Cruise, Mon Cheri Cruise, Peony Cruise, Dora Cruise, Doris Cruise, Nostalgia Cruise, Orchid Premium Cruise, Sena Cruise.
8. Transportation Options
If you transfer by car, the traveling time will be:
- Noi Bai International Airport to Tuan Chau wharf: about 3.5 hours
- Hanoi Old Quarter to Tuan Chau wharf: 2.5 hours by the express highway
- Hai Phong Airport to Tuan Chau wharf: about 45 minutes
- Van Don Airport to Tuan Chau wharf: more than 1 hour
In case you travel by seaplane of Hai Au, the moving time from seaplane wharf to the pier to check in takes about 5-10 minutes. Most cruise ships of Lan Ha Bay or Halong Bay embark from Tuan Chau wharf, but there are a few ships doing check-in at SunGroup’s International Cruise Port.
If you visit Halong Bay, you’ll walk straight to the cruise ship, while for Lan Ha Bay tourists, you will be transferred to the vessel by speedboat taking about 20-45 minutes. Overnight cruises will anchor at Gia Luan wharf.
In conclusion, both Halong Bay vs Lan Ha Bay are majestic places of interest in Vietnam that offer breathtaking views and special experiences. The choice between the two bays depends much on personal preferences and travel styles. Whether you favor a more laid-back and hidden place or a bustling and vivid tourist scene, both Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay are beyond any doubt to take off you with exceptional recollections.