Tucked in the southwest of the iconic Ha Long Bay, the quieter Lan Ha Bay is best enjoyed on an overnight boat cruise. In addition to the quieter surroundings, the journey to Lan Ha Bay takes only 2 hours from central Hanoi instead of 4 hours to the more famous tourist spot of Halong Bay.
You will be able to enjoy a leisurely, insightful cruise whilst enjoying spectacular views of limestone karst formations and gliding across emerald waters. Lan Hay Bay is also famous for it’s lush limestone islands, pristine beaches, hidden caves and remote fishing villages.
An example itinerary of a typical cruise is shown below, although this is of course just a guideline and if you don’t fancy any activities then just sit back and enjoy the breath-taking scenery (different boats will vary and the cruise itinerary will be confirmed to you before departure or upon arrival at the pier);
Day 1: Hanoi to Hai Phong, Lan Ha Bay
Depart Hanoi in the morning to transfer to Hai Phong. Arrive at the pier for check in and board your boat at approximately 12:30pm for a welcome briefing about the boat, safety procedures and your itinerary for your cruise.
1:00pm – Enjoy a buffet lunch whilst your boat cruises into the bay. Proceed to Da Chong islet, where you can see a lighthouse built by the French over 100 years ago. Continue past the islets of Con Vit area. These amazing limestone karst formations rise up out of the sea in an impressive manner. This area is untouched, as not many cruise ships use the route via the Cat Ba Island – Thoi Quyt area – Coc Ngoi islet – through Gia Luan area.
3:30pm – Explore the bay in the area where Frog Lake is situated. Spend time kayaking at Ao Ech area to discover the hidden charm of Lan Ha Bay.
4:30pm – Enjoy time swimming in the cool green emerald waters.
5:00pm – Cooking lessons of traditional Vietnamese food by the onboard chef, time for relaxing on the deck or enjoy a massage in the spa if available. Follow this with a drink and a chance to take some stunning photographs of the bay as the sun sets (happy hour on most boats in the bay from 5:30pm).
7:30pm – Enjoy your dinner in the restaurant or on the top deck under the stars.
8:30pm – Evening relaxation – enjoy movies, a chat around the bar, board games, magazines or even some squid fishing on the back of the boat!
Day 2: Lan Ha Bay – Hanoi
6:15am – After a cup of tea or coffee to start your morning, enjoy an early morning Tai Chi demonstration on the sundeck.
7:00am – Enjoy a light breakfast as the boat cruises further into the bay. Proceed to Trung Trang cave on Cat Ba island which is located in the middle of Cat Ba National Park with Kim Giao forest around the cave.
10:00am – Check out of your cabin and enjoy a delicious full breakfast as the boat cruises back towards the harbour. Some boats also feature a fabulous Tea Ceremony where you will learn how to enjoy Vietnamese tea and Vietnamese culture – a wonderful way to end your cruise.
11:30am – Arrive back at Tuan Chau pier where you will disembark your cruise and return to Hanoi for your onward travel.