As Halong Bay’s lesser-known twin, Lan Ha shares many similarities with Vietnam’s renowned UNESCO site – think karsts riddled with hidden caves that rise from emerald waters like hump-back sea monsters – but it has yet to be discovered by the tourist masses. Legend has it that Lan Ha was formed by the flick of a dragon’s tail, which shattered the limestone landscape into 300 islets. Remarkably, this ethereal waterscape remains largely unblemished by the tour boats that operate in Halong Bay to the north.
In Lan Ha, you’re more likely to sail past fishing vessels from the bay’s largest island, Cat Ba, than you are cruise ships. If you’re lucky, dolphins will play in your boat’s wake while you traverse Lan Ha’s smooth surface, passing floating villages where residents trawl the depths for pearls and molluscs and isolated waterways perfect for swimming. Over 100 remote beaches fringe Lan Ha’s steep karsts, which beg to be scaled by climbers, while kayakers paddle into the dark mouths of guano-tinged caves where bats and seabirds roost.
Lan Ha tours are the ideal complement to Halong Bay trips, talk to our Vietnam team about booking an eco-friendly cruise to help preserve this pristine bay.