Amazing Lan Ha bay - Vietnam

(Updated: 1/29/2016 1:15:50 AM)

Lan ha bay is located in the south of Ha Long Bay. It belongs to Cat Ba islands area, Hai Phong city. Many people think that it is Halong bay area because it also has hundreds of islands like Halong bay. However, Lan Ha bay is different with hundreds of small beaches, this is paradise for tourists to go swimming, go kayaking or staying overnight in a bungalow...

Located to the south of Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay, home of Cat Ba Island, spreads over an area of more than 7,000 ha, of which 5,400 ha are under the management of Cat Ba National Park. You can visit Lan Ha Bay during a Halong Bay overnight cruise, or rent a boat and start your journey from Cat Ba Island. While the administrative boundaries place Lan Ha Bay within Hai Phong Province (not Quang Ninh Province, to which Halong Bay belongs), the similarity in its formations, with some 400 islets scattered over the area, means that locals and tourists alike mutually acknowledge it as a part of the vast Halong Bay zone.

Unlike its famous neighbour, Lan Ha Bay reserves a more pristine scenery with an intense concentration of limestone mountains which the sea surface has partitioned into smaller bays and gulfs. With over a hundred beautiful, small beaches lying at the feet of the mountains, there is no problem finding a good spot for swimming, or organizing a private beach BBQ or overnight camp. Just imagine, after a long day of exploration in caves and grottos, you can totally relax while bathing in the azure waters and breathing the salty sea breeze of Lan Ha Bay.

Lan Ha Bay has gradually gained popularity thanks to its unspoiled and magnificent natural beauty, and as people look for pristine, less crowded destinations. Just 30 minutes by boat from Cat Ba Island, you will be charmed by breath-taking views of the bay. A rock-climbing & deep water soloing or snorkelling & diving trip is also a great idea. Lan Ha Bay, among the three bays in Halong Bay zone, is considered to have the best water quality for diving and good conditions for rock-climbing (both on Cat Ba Island and on the bay). For overnight stays, Lan Ha Bay offers many options of hotels, hostels and bungalows on Cat Ba Island, Viet Hai Village and Monkey Island (Cat Dua Island), or you can choose to spend your night on a cruise or junk boat, surrounded by rock and water.

In comparison to the core Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is not as popular a travel option, and not many cruises from Halong City’s ports head to this amazing bay. Many travellers also worry they will miss out on Halong Bay's headline attractions like Sung Sot Cave, Pelican Cave or Titop Island, if they only visit Lan Ha Bay. You can leave this worry aside and enjoy both Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam with a 3 Day 2 Night journey on Indochina Classic Cruise. La Han Bay is the kid sister to UNESCO World Heritage Site Halong Bay. It’s smaller, but more local. Halong bay has gorgeous views crowded with tourists. La Han Bay is home to a community of fish farmers who live on the water. Families live in houses built on floating platforms made of wood. Each family raises fish and seafood they sell in the local market.

Lying south and east of Cat Ba Town, the 300 or so karst islands and limestone outcrops of Lan Ha are just as beautiful as those of Halong Bay and have the additional attraction of numerous white-sand beaches.

Due to being a fair way from Halong City, not so many tourist boats venture here, meaning Lan Ha Bay has a more isolated appeal. Sailing and kayak trips here are best organised in Cat Ba Town.
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Geologically, Lan Ha is an extension of Halong Bay but sits in a different province of Vietnam. Around 200 species of fish, 500 species of mollusc, 400 species of arthropod, and numerous hard and soft coral live in the waters here, while larger marine animals in the area include seals and three species of dolphin. The bay's admission fee is often incorporated into the cost of tours.

Lan Ha Bay has about 400 islets. Going by boat to cruise Lan Ha bay, you will see alot of islets with small beaches. The Bay is home to hundreds of mounts with different form depending on travelers' imagination like Hòn Guốc (Wooden Shoe islet), Hòn Dơi ( Bat grotto), etc.

Lan Ha bay has about 139 beautiful, small sandy beaches, many island has sandy beach lie between two stone mountains. Many tourists come to these beaches for swimming, kayaking, having sunbath or have a picnic lunch on the beach. Especially, in some big beaches, local people has invested to build some bungalows where you can come to stay overnight such as Monkey Island Resort, Sandy Beach Resort, Castaway bungalow, Cove Beach bungalow...

We had chance to stay overnight at Monkey Island Resort in Lan Ha bay. Seeing the sunset here is so beautiful and especially we really enjoy the romantic evening walking on the beach or lying on a long chair to see the moon on the sea. Breath in cool air from the ocean also give us a good health.

Things to do in Lan Ha bay:
01. Lan Ha bay - Kayaking paradise: as Lan Ha bay has hundreds of small sandy beaches and hundreds of small islets around, it is the paradise for those tourists want to kayak in a calm and clean water to discover the wild nature of Cat Ba islands. Some famous places for kayaking here is Cai Beo floating village, Van Boi center area in the middle of the bay, Ba Trai Dao area or Monkey Island area...

02. Swimming in Lan Ha bay: there are many small beaches in Lan Ha bay for you to come to swimm and it is lovely to swimm at Monkey Island or Van Boi Con island.

03. Rock climbing in Lan Ha bay: Catba has an international Rockclimbing center and you can book a half or full day rock climbing trip at Monkey Island Resort booking office.

04. Visit Viet Hai fishing village: from Lan Ha bay, you can come to Viet Hai harbour and then take motobike or bicycle to come 6 km to visit Viet Hai fishing village in the Catba national park.

05. Visit floating village: you can come to visit Cai Beo floating village where people have to stay in floating houses, children go to shool by boat.

06. Play and stay at a private beach: there are some private beach which has bungalows for you to stay overnight. You can book a package tour or just book a room here and you have alot of time for activities in those bungalows like kayaking, swimming, playing beach volleyball, beach football...
 

Cat Ba National Park
Cat Ba National Park is located 15km north - west of Cat Ba Town. It was established in 1986. It spans an area of 15,200ha, of which 9,800ha are forest, and contains lots of particularly interesting caves. The original tropical forest spans an area of 570ha, with extremely varied wildlife and vegetation.

CatBa National Park was founded in 1986, it covers 16.196,8 ha including 10.931,7 ha of kart island and 5.256,1 ha of marine ecosystems.
Cat Ba National Park is situated in Cat Ba Island and on several smaller islands nearby. The park currently comprises 98km2 of total land are, 54km2 of inshore waters. The National Park was Vietnam’s first national park to included both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. It is recognized nationally and internationally for its importance in biodiversity conservation, as it contains many different types of ecosystem and habitat. The Park has a great variety of plant and animal species. Catba National Park differs from other national parks in Vietnam because of the great variety of landscapes and ecosystems, including tropical evergeen forests, mangrove, freshwater lake and streams, isolated sandy beaches, coral reefs, caves and grottos. The Park is a tourist attraction to million of domestic and oversea visitors. Come to Catba, travelers not only can worship the beauty of landscapes, seascapes, relax on isolated beaches in Lanha Bay or visit primeval forest but also have chances to discover many unique, precious species of fauna, flora and local culture…

The golden–headed langur or Cat Ba langur is a rare and a precious animal and exists only in Cat Ba island. A special type of tree called “Cay Kim Giao” is unique to Cat Ba. In ancient times, kings and nobles would eat only with chopsticks made from this timber, as the light coloured wood was reputed to turn to black when it touched anything poisonous. There are 745 species of plants recorded on Cat Ba, including 118 timber species and 160 plants with medicinal value. The national park is home to 32 types of mammals and more than 70 species of birds have been sighted. There is a beautiful lake inside the national park called Frog Lake, with a water forest and amazing landscape.

How to come to Cat Ba national park:
If you travel from Halong bay, you will get on Gia Luan harbour ( going by boat or by Tuan Chau ferry) where you can take a taxi, mototaxi or rent a car to go 10 km to Catba national park main gate.

If you start from Catba town, it take you about 15 km to come. The road is good and you also can rent a motobike to go and then you can stop at some places on the way to take nice pictures.

Note: for going to Cat Ba island, you can see details information here at: How to come to Cat Ba town

Destinations around Catba national park:
From the Catba national park center, you can come to visit some places nearby like Trung Trang cave, Hospital cave, village garden or you go futher to Cat Ba town to visit Cat Ba market, Cat Ba Canon Fort. If you love to discover more, then you can visit Monkey Island for seeing monkeys, go swimming or take a cruise on Lan Ha bay, visit Viet Hai fishing village...

Note:
* From Cat Ba national park, you can make a trekking trip throught jungle 12 km to come to visit Viet Hai village. This way has no people living and you have to go with an experienced tour guide who will leads you go through a frog lake. Sometimes, he could help to find water from some kind of trees on the way. This must be very adventurous but it will give you impressed memory.

* You should spend some hours to rent a boat to visit Lan Ha bay: going kayaking, swimming, cruising on boat... as it is so beautiful sightseeing with many islets and sandy beaches on the way.

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