Lan Ha Bay vs Halong Bay: Which One to Choose?

Halong Bay Overview

While Halong Bay is one of the world's most recognized natural marvels, Lan Ha Bay is compared to beauty without a title. Halong Bay vs Lan Ha Bay in reality has geographical and natural landscape similarities. In both of these bays, tourists may find thousands of limestone mountains, white sandy beaches, and golden sunshine. In the article below, Paradise Vietnam will analyze the differences between Lan Ha Bay vs Halong Bay, assisting you in deciding which is a better choice to visit.

Lan Ha Bay Ha Long Bay
✅ Quieter, stunning karsts ⭐ Iconic, larger area
✅ Great for kayaking            ⭐ Popular for cruises
✅ Less touristy, secluded  ⭐ More visited, accessible

About Halong Bay

Halong Bay is regarded as Vietnam's most beautiful bay. The bay is located in the Ha Long city of Quang Ninh province, is a place that attracts a large number of tourists each year. With its economic worth and tourist potential, Ha Long Bay is compared to a natural pearl bestowed upon this region.

Halong Bay is regarded as Vietnam's most beautiful bay

Halong Bay is regarded as Vietnam's most beautiful bay

Halong Bay is a complex with several various large and small islands covering an area of around 1553 km2. The movement of the continental shelf has formed a Ha Long Bay with highly distinctive and stunning scenery. Halong Bay is not only a gorgeous natural landscape, but it also has a lengthy history and buried artifacts of prehistoric humans. Because of these unique values, Ha Long Bay has been recognized by UNESCO as a global natural heritage site on many occasions.

Read More: What about Ha Long Bay? Experience traveling to Ha Long

About Lan Ha Bay

Lan Ha Bay belongs to the Cat Ba Island District which is located south of Ha Long Bay and east of Cat Ba Island. The name "Lan Ha" implies as the orchid was sent down to earth to beautify life. Because of the similarities in topography and geology, Lan Ha Bay vs Halong Bay is frequently compared. However, contrasting to the hustle of Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay impresses visitors with its tranquil beauty.

Lan Ha Bay has an area of approximately 7000 hectares, including a relatively pristine archipelago of over 400 tightly densely large and small islands that form a vast, fantastical image. Lan Ha Bay features 139 small, lovely, deserted golden sand beaches called "blue straits". Lan Ha Bay was recognized as one of the world's most beautiful bays by the Association of the World's Most Beautiful Bays Club in May 2020.

Lan Ha Bay

Lan Ha Bay

Find out more: Best Time To Visit Halong Bay: A Guide For First-Timers

Differences between Lan Ha Bay and Halong Bay

Lan Ha Bay and Halong Bay are two of the most beautiful natural attractions in Vietnam, and while they share some similarities, they also have distinct differences.

Landscape differences

Despite their geological similarities, Ha Long Bay vs Lan Ha Bay has their own distinct geographical features. Halong Bay has a significantly larger area and a far greater number of islands than Lan Ha Bay. The islands of Lan Ha Bay, on the other hand, are covered in green, producing a wild and beautiful grandeur.

The caverns are another distinction between Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay. The caves at Ha Long Bay formed millions of years ago with gorgeous stalactites and are connected with strange stories. Halong Bay has more caves than Lan Ha Bay, with the most notable being Sung Sot Cave, Thien Cung and Trinh Nu Caves, and Dau Go Cave

Read more: Cat Ba to Halong Bay: Embracing the Tranquil Beauty of Vietnam

Landscape in Ha Long Bay

Landscape in Ha Long Bay

In contrast, the majority of Lan Ha Bay's caves are centered solely on Cat Ba Island and are primarily underwater caverns. Lan Ha Bay is home to several famous caverns, including Dark and Light Cave and Quan Y Cave. To explore the cave at Lan Ha Bay and observe the wonderful surroundings, you must go kayaking.

Explore the cave at Lan Ha Bay

Explore the cave at Lan Ha Bay

The beaches in Halong Bay vs Lan Ha Bay also have their distinct features. Halong Bay's beautiful beaches are surrounded by steep limestone cliffs. Only a few beaches in Ha Long Bay have been allowed for tourism and exploration, including Ti Top Beach, Tuan Chau Beach, and Bai Chay Beach. 

The Tuan Chau beaches in Halong Bay

The Tuan Chau beaches in Halong Bay

Lan Ha Bay is an attractive destination for travelers on an overnight cruise to view the natural beauty of 139 beaches. Lan Ha stands out with several clean and pure beaches, including Cat Co 1, 2, and 3 beaches, Van Boi Beach, Ba Trai Dao Island, and Tung Thu Beach. When contrasted to Ha Long Bay, it is not denied that Lan Ha Bay preserves its natural and serene appeal.

Crowd differences

Halong Bay was noteworthy for its geographical, geomorphological, and cultural qualities. As a result, in 1994, Halong Bay was recognized as one of the world's seven natural wonders, a title it has held ever since. Halong Bay draws both domestic and international visitors because of its reputation. Therefore, tourism in Halong Bay is constantly crowded and animated. Lan Ha Bay, on the other hand, is a famous tourist destination due to its wild beauty. Lan Ha Bay boasts a dense concentration of limestone islands, most of which are still pristine.

Learn more: Exploring the Beauty of World Natural Heritage: How Long To Stay in Ha Long Bay?

Activities available

The beautiful natural landscape of both Lan Ha Bay and Ha Long Bay is suitable for many water sports activities such as swimming, kayaking, rock climbing, fishing, and snorkeling. 

Rock Climb in Halong Bay 

Rock Climb in Halong Bay 

Other activities available at Ha Long Bay include canoeing, diving, and cruising overnight. On the contrary, at Lan Ha Bay, you may participate in activities not available in Ha Long Bay such as trekking, and staying in bungalows.


Lan Ha Bay and Ha Long Bay are located in the same region in Northern Vietnam and are accessible from the city of Ha Long. The most common way to reach both bays is by taking a bus or private car from Hanoi. From Ha Long City, there are various options to visit both bays, such as taking a day trip on a traditional junk boat or a luxury cruise, staying overnight on a boat or in one of the many hotels or guesthouses, or joining various tours and activities.

Read More: Taking A Train From Hanoi To Ha Long Bay: Experience The Authentic Route

Weather and Climate Comparison

Located in the same area of Northern Vietnam as Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay also experiences a similar climate. Both bays experience hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters due to the tropical monsoon environment.

The best time to visit both bays is during the dry season, which runs from October to April when the weather is cooler and less humid. During this period, visitors can enjoy clear skies, sunny days, and pleasant temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as swimming, kayaking, and hiking. 

The best time to visit both bays is during the dry season

The best time to visit both bays is during the dry season

In terms of temperature, both bays have similar year-round averages, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C. However, the water temperature in Lan Ha Bay is slightly cooler than in Ha Long Bay, making it more comfortable for swimming during the hot summer months.

Cruise Options in Halong Bay

Paradise Vietnam offers many cruise options to explore the stunning limestone formations and crystal-clear waters of Ha Long Bay

Paradise Elegance

Paradise Elegance is a luxurious neoclassical cruise ship that offers a deep 2-day-1-night journey to explore HaLong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay. It features 31 cabins, each with its own private balcony and high-end amenities such as the Paradise Dreambed®. The sundeck boasts a modern jacuzzi, the Le Marin Restaurant serves a Western set menu and Eurasian buffet, and the Lavish bar features live music by a Philippines band. The cruise also has a Le Parfum Spa with exceptional treatments. With its top-notch facilities, exceptional service, and stunning views of the bay, guests are sure to have a memorable and unforgettable journey on board.

Explore further: How to choose Halong Bay cruise for your perfect trip?

Paradise Elegance

Paradise Elegance

Paradise Sails

Paradise Sails is a luxurious boutique cruise ship that revolutionized tourism in Ha Long Bay. It has 16 cabins, divided into three categories: Deluxe Cabins, Deluxe Balcony Cabins, and Terrace Suites. The restaurant offers a fusion menu with dishes inspired by both Vietnamese and international cuisines. The ship also features a Le Parfum Spa, a sundeck, and exceptional service. Paradise Sails is the perfect choice for travelers seeking a luxurious and intimate cruise experience in Ha Long Bay.

Paradise Sails

Paradise Sails

Paradise Peak

Paradise Peak Cruise is the epitome of luxury and comfort on the waters of Halong Bay. It features 8 well-appointed cabins, each with its own private jacuzzi, separate dining area, and butler service. The cruise also offers top-end facilities such as a gym, outdoor bar, and library. Guests can enjoy a range of activities, including kayaking, swimming, and exploring the hidden caves and fishing villages of Halong Bay. The cruise also offers a free-flow experience, handcrafted wines, beers and cocktails. Overall, the Paradise Peak Cruise is the perfect choice for travelers seeking a 5-star experience in Halong Bay.

Paradise Peak cruise

Paradise Peak cruise

Cruise Options in Lan Ha Bay

Paradise Grand is a luxurious cruise ship that promises an unforgettable experience in Lan Ha Bay, a hidden gem in Vietnam. With 39 spacious cabins, guests can relax and enjoy the stunning scenery while enjoying the high-end amenities of Paradise Dreambed®. The La Espacia Restaurant on board is a unique feature of the cruise, offering a Western and Eurasian fusion menu that will satisfy even the most discerning palate. For guests who want to explore the bay more actively, Paradise Elegance, kayaking, and squid-fishing equipment are provided. 

Paradise Grand

The giant sundeck is the perfect spot to soak up the sun or enjoy a cocktail while watching the sunset. The cinema Piano Lounge by the sea is a one-of-a-kind feature of Paradise Grand, allowing guests to watch movies under the stars in an unforgettable setting. Finally, the Le Parfum Spa onboard offers exceptional treatments that will leave guests feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. Paradise Grand truly is the ultimate choice for those seeking a luxurious and unique experience in Lan Ha Bay.

Find out more: Making Tough Choices: Should Cruises Be Canceled in Halong Bay?

Transportation Options

Here's the information on transportation options for getting to Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay.

How to get to Halong Bay

The most important details in this text are the ways to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi, Vietnam. These include taking a coach from either My Dinh Station or Gia Lam Station in Hanoi to Bai Chay Station in Halong City, taking a shuttle bus from Hanoi to Halong Bay, taking a private car from Hanoi to Halong Bay, taking a seaplane from Hanoi to Tuan Chau Port in Halong City, and taking a direct flight from other cities in Vietnam to Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh Province. The journey takes around 2 hours and 50 minutes. The seaplane service is provided by Hai Au Aviation. Those coming from other cities in Vietnam can take a direct flight to Van Don International Airport.

How to get to Lan Ha Bay

To get to Lan Ha Bay, you will have to transfer to Cat Ba Island first. From Hanoi, you can take a tourist bus directly to Cat Ba, travel by train to Hai Phong and travel to Cat Ba from Hai Phong, and get to Halong and transfer to Cat Ba.

If you travel by tourist bus, it will take about 3,5 hours. There are many buses for you to choose from, such as Daiichi Bus, Cat Ba Express, Good Morning Cat Ba, etc. Whereas, if you decide to travel by train, it will take you more time, as you will have to transfer from the railway station to Pha Got Harbor and take a ferry, high-speed boat, or hydrofoil to Cat Ba. Another way to move from Hanoi to Cat Ba is through Tuan Chau Harbor in Ha Long. Once you get to Tuan Chau Harbor, you can take a boat or ferry to Cat Ba, which takes you about 30 minutes. 


In conclusion, both Halong Bay vs Lan Ha Bay are stunning destinations in Vietnam that offer breathtaking scenery and unique experiences. While Halong Bay is more popular and has a wider range of cruise options, Lan Ha Bay is a quieter and less crowded alternative with equally stunning views. Ultimately, the choice between the two destinations depends on individual preferences and travel styles. Whether you prefer a more laid-back and secluded atmosphere or a bustling and diverse tourist scene, both Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay are sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.

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