Lan Ha Bay or Halong Bay? Which one is better?

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Lan Ha Bay or Halong Bay? Which one do you choose? In the northwest region of Vietnam, there is an increase in a new destination – Lan Ha Bay appealing lots of visitors. It can be seen that Lan Ha Bay makes tourists feel exactly like globally acclaimed Halong Bay yet without a large number of visitors who have blemished the experiences of its magnificent sceneries. Halong Bay, undeniably, is always lied on the list of every Vietnam’s travel itinerary because of its natural beauty. On the other hand, there is no denying that Lan Ha Bay is highly recommended to be a “must-visit attraction” by many visitors as well as travel bloggers. Probably, you find it hard to decide which place you’ll go on a holiday. 

In this article, Heritage Cruises will help you to list out all of the necessary information of Lan Ha Bay and Halong Bay regarding geographical features, how to get to the destination and some differences between the two as well so that you can decide by your own, which one is better. 

  • Geographical features 

It can be true that Lan Ha Bay belongs to the same area with Halong Bay so both of them share similar geographical features and the climate condition. Despite some similarities, there are absolutely different topographies. 

* Halong Bay 

Situated in the northeast region of Vietnam, Quang Ninh Province, Halong Bay is a part of the Gulf of Tonkin. It covers a total area of around 1,553 km2, with 1,969 islands of varied sizes and shapes, including 989 of which have been given names. There are two main kinds of islands which possess different types of topography: limestones and schists. The average age of topography on this island is between 250 and 280 million years old. 

The dense concentration of limestone islands, caves and grottos, magnificent sceneries creates the central area of Halong Bay, one of the World Heritage Sites recognized by UNESCO. The area of 434 km2 including 775 beautiful islands is put under protection. 

* Lan Ha Bay 

Lan Ha Bay is situated in the east of Cat Ba Island (Hai Phong Province), the south of Halong Bay and has around 400 karst limestones island surrounded by evergreen charm and vegetation. By going around this bay, you’ll a have chance to contemplate many islets with small and untouched beaches. Lan Ha Bay is the home of lots of mountains with different names depending on the imagination of tourists, for example, Hon Quoc Islet (Wooden Shoe islet), Dao Khi – Monkey Island and etc. Lan Ha Bay possesses about 139 beautiful sandy beaches and spreads over 7,000 ha including that the area of 5,400 ha is under-managed by The Biosphere Reserve recognized by UNESCO – Cat Ba National Park. 

Geographically and aesthetically, there is no difference between Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay. Both of them possess thousands of limestone karsts, magnificent islands, plenty of beaches and spectacular landscapes and seascapes. It can be true that Halong Bay has a high level of the density of the islands compared to Lan Ha Bay in which the islands are scattered along the bay. On one hand, Halong Bay is recognized as one of the New Seven Wonders in the world; therefore, it has been opening the gate for tourist visitations and tourism development from the very first time. On the other hand, Lan Ha Bay still keeps its pristine beauty, even unique and attractive ones. Thereby, tourists truly enjoy the beautiful sceneries and immerse themselves in Lan Ha Bay. 

2. How to get there 

2.1 How to get to Halong Bay 

  • From Hanoi: around 174 km from Hanoi City. Due to the new highway, taking 2h50 mins. There are several options below helping tourists to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay.
  • By road: Coach from My Dinh Station or Gia Lam Station (Hanoi) to Bai Chay Station (Halong City). Ticket fee: VND 100,000 to VND 250,000/person/one way. From Bai Chay Station, you can take a taxi to get Halong Bay, 40 mins. 
  • The shuttle bus is offered by Hanoi local tour operator. Tourists can be picked up and dropped off tourists around the Old Quarter area. Then it transfers the guest to arrive in Halong Bay. Ticket fee: USD 10 – 20/person/ 1 way. It can be included if you book a Halong Bay tour or an overnight cruise. 
  • Going by a private car takes 1.5 hours. It’s more convenient and suitable for a family with kids. 
  • By air: You’ll take a seaplane at Noi Bai International Airport, from Hanoi to Tuan Chau Port (Halong City), only 45 mins. Besides, you’ll have 15 mins to look over Halong Bay from the seaplane. Hai Au Aviation is the only seaplane service-provider in Vietnam up to now. The price is about VND 9,300,000/adult/1 way.  
  • From other places like Ho Chi Minh City, Danang City or Buon Ma Thuot, etc. You can take an airplane directly to Van Don International Airport (Quang Ninh Province). 

2.2 How to get to Lan Ha Bay

  • From Hanoi:  around 134 km from Hanoi City, nearly 2 hours due to the new highway. Common route: Hanoi – Haiphong City (by road) – Cat Ba Island (by speedboat or ferry or cruise) – Lan Ha Bay. Unlike Halong Bay, you can visit right away in Halong City; however, to go to Lan Ha Bay, you have to access to Cat Ba Island by speedboat or ferry. Then you can continue Lan Ha Bay trip. Like Halong Bay, there are also some options to get Lan Ha Bay for the guests to choose: 

By road

  • By sharing tourist bus/a shuttle bus to Dinh Vu Port offered by some companies such as Good morning Cat Ba (VND 340,000/person/1 way). Cat Ba Express (VND 590,000/person/ roundtrip including bus + speedboat); Hoang Long (VND 225,000/person/1 way), Inter Bus Lines (VND 150,000/person/1 way). It can pick up tourists at hotels in the Old Quarter and drops off at hotels in Cat Ba Island. Then get on a speedboat to Cai Vieng Port on Cat Ba Island from Dinh Vu Port, 30 mins. This way costs 3.5 hours.  
  • By private van: taking around 2h. This is highly recommended for a big group of travelers or a family with children. When you reach Got Harbour, following the rest of the route by speedboat to get to Cai Vieng Port on Cat Ba Island. If you rent a private van, it will take VND 2,600,000/one way. 

By air: You can get Cat Ba Island from Cat Ba International Airport. The route is that Cat Bi Airport (Haiphong) – Binh Harbour (by road, 35 mins) – Cai Vieng Pier on Cat Ba Island (by speedboat, 10 mins) – Cat Ba Town (by bus, 40 mins) – Lan Ha Bay. 

By cruise: Hai Phong city – Got Harbour (by road, 45 mins). From Got Harbour, Heritage Cruises offer distinctive tour itineraries to discover Cat Ba Island and Lan Ha Bay. 

  • From other places: Tourists can take a plane to Cat Bi International Airport. Then, you look through common routes mentioned above on how to get to Lan Ha Bay. 

Generally, there are several ways to reach Halong Bay as well as Lan Ha Bay. Those ways are quite convenient and easier to find. 

3. Differences 

3.1 Must-visit attractions 

There is no denying that for quantity, at least Lan Ha Bay matches with Halong Bay regarding the top destinations and unmissable features of each itinerary visiting the gulf. The quality, however, modifies significantly. 

  • Halong Bay 

Titop Island, Soi Sim Beach, Tuan Chau Beach, and Bai Chay Beach are considered as one of the most attractive beaches in Halong Bay. Titop Island has a beach which is the most accessible for guests, so this place can get serious congestion in the peak season. Besides, Soi Sim Beach can offer a panoramic view from the top but it’s in the development process. The beach remains its mystery, probably due mostly to the very recent development and the appearance of the appealing of thatched-roof umbrellas that create plentiful shapes. 

Sung Sot Cave is the masterpiece of uniqueness and natural beauty for its large cavernous areas featured by stalactites and stalagmites. Thien Cung and Trinh Nu are also known for their magnificent beauty. For history, Dau Go (Cave of the Wooden Stakes) brings itself lots of historical proofs, which serves as a vital place to store the wood that would finish preventing Mongol invasion in the 13th century. 

Cua Van Fishing Village still remains its ancient, grace, and retain a distinctive traditional culture. In 2012, It has been listed on the Journeyetc.com tourist website as one of the 16 most beautiful ancient villages in the world. 

  • Lan Ha Bay 

Lan Ha Bay also has amazing destinations to attract visitors to this area. There are  139 beaches lying scattered throughout Lan Ha Bay, which allows tourists to contemplate from the cruises. The trio of Cat Co 1,2 and 3 Beach, Van Boi Beach, Ba Trai Dao Beach (Three Peaches Beach) and Tung Thu Beach are known as one of the most appealing beaches in Lan Ha Bay. Ba Trai Dao Beach has attracted tourists by not only its charming beauty but an interesting myth to explain the appearance of the three rocks that give the islet its name as well. Tung Thu is another attractive one offering on the south coast of Cat Ba Island, while Van Boi offers the chance to engage in scuba-diving to watch the colorful coral reefs underwater. It’s true that Lan Ha Bay has remained more tranquil and pristine beaches than Halong Bay. 

Light and Dark Caves which are the two opposing ones, as their names, show the difference in the amount of light entering from outside. The Dark Cave is longer, so it’s necessary to require torches for discovering meanwhile, the Light Cave has a short corridor opening up into an amazing lake covered by stretching limestone cliffs. 

Hospital Cave is the most interesting cave in terms of historical value since its large grottos made it an ideal place for taking care of and hiding the injured Viet Cong soldiers during the war against the American. Moreover, it’s hard to find the Hospital Cave from the ground and the air, making it perfect to rest up the troops and form attacking plans. 

Viet Hai Fishing Village, which is ecological attractions, appeals to tourists by tranquil and peaceful landscapes as well as hidden charm villages of local people and their lifestyles. 

3.2 Tourism activities

The natural landscapes of both bays make them perfect for some water sport activities, especially kayaking is the most popular activity. Undoubtedly, every itinerary visiting Lan Ha Bay or Halong Bay includes kayaking activity around the gulf, including the day trip. Tourists can realize the importance of being closer to the natural environment from a plastic canoe. 

On one hand, there are many places in Halong Bay for going kayaking such as Cua Van Fishing Village, Luon Cave which can provide the guests with some of the most magnificent and unique views in Halong Bay. Ho Dong Tien offers the tranquility that tourists are supposed to be totally got lost amongst the beautiful landscapes during a 30-minute kayaking session. 

Like Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay also possesses plenty of spots for tourists to go kayaking, for example, Ba Trai Dao Beach, Tra Bau, and Viet Hai Village. Paddling around Ba Trai Dao Island will be absolutely an awe-inspiring activity. A peaceful area where big kite birds fly above and mountains slope high out of the pristine water in Tra Bau is also an ideal place for kayaking. It can be seen that Viet Hai Fishing Village on Cat Ba Island – a historic community living closer to the water area provides a chance for tourists to get involved in kayaking activity. Undoubtedly, Lan Ha Bay or Halong Bay is an ideal attraction for kayaking activity after all.  

3.3 Numbers of tourists 

As mentioned before, due to the similarities of Lan Ha Bay or Halong Bay, tourists might find it hard to choose between two destinations for their trip. Actually, tourists regularly complain about the huge number of people coming to Halong Bay like them. As a result, some famous spots easily get crowded, especially Titop Island and Sung Sot Cave; however, the bay is extremely enormous so there still has enough space for the guests’ relaxation. 

Regarding Lan Ha Bay, its unique selling point is that it looks exactly the same as Halong Bay but it still keeps the pristine beauty compared to Halong Bay and not many tourists come to this beautiful island. Recently, there is a rising trend for tourists to shift visiting from Halong Bay to Lan Ha Bay. It’s also true since Quang Ninh Province stopped new firms from starting cruise ships in Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay; consequently, Lan Ha Bay becomes the only place in the Gulf of Tonkin to develop. Heritage Cruises is available to ensure the guests have a beautiful cruise trip around Lan Ha Bay and Cat Ba Island.

Which one should you visit? Some aspects of Halong Bay are better than Lan Ha Bay and vice versa. When deciding to choose between Halong Bay or Lan Ha Bay, it’s vital for you to consider what do you want for your trip. If you would like a wide range of tourism activities with many spots to visit, Halong Bay has something suitable for you. However, if you want to seek a peaceful and tranquil place and immerse yourself in pristine waterways in the Gulf of Tonkin, you should pick Lan Ha Bay with more secluded and authentic fishing villages. 

Three Peaches Islets

Many years ago, a young fairy fell in love with a poor fisherman. One day, she stole three peaches from Heaven for her lover so that he could have eternal life when he ate them, and they could be together forever. However, her father, the Jade Emperor, discovered the robbery and turned the peaches into three stone islands and compelled the young fairy to return home.

The Three Peaches (Ba Trai Dao) islets are to be found in Lan Ha Bay in the Cat Ba Archipelago. It is a truly pristine region with several small beaches and only a few cruise boats can reach this lost paradise. You can go swimming, kayaking or sunbathing on the beautiful beach or just do your own thing to unwind and relax, especially in the afternoon when there are few people around. Some months of the year, the tides are rather high, and it is only possible to swim from the beach for around 2-3 hours each day as the rest of the time the tide has engulfed it.

The Three Peaches islets are just off Cat Ba Island, not far from both Viet Hai village and Cai Beo floating village in Lan Ha Bay. A visit to this exquisite beach area is included in our cruise program en route between Halong and Cat Ba Island, frontier territory of Quang Ninh and Haiphong.

The island consists of three small hills, just 23m in height, and seen from afar they resemble three peaches. Around 22km from both Got Harbor and Cai Beo Seaport, it takes an hour to get there by Heritage Cruises or Heritage Express.

This place has become a destination on the bucket list of beaches to visit for many holidaymakers to the Halong Bay region because of its charming landscape and its connections to the romantic legend of the fairy and the poor fisherman.

Cai Beo Fishing Village in Lan Ha Bay

Lan Ha Bay, in the Cat Ba Archipelago, is covered by nearly 400 limestone mountains and has for centuries been a safe shelter for fishing boats when ferocious storms occur. There are approximately 300 households living in permanent floating villages in the bay and you have the chance to explore the intriguing life in these villages.

Cai Beo fishing village in Lan Ha Bay (commonly known as Lan Ha fishing village) is probably the largest and most famous floating village in Asia, where most people live largely by fishing and fish farming.

Cai Beo fishing village is only about 2km from Cat Ba town and just 10 minutes from Beo seaport. If you join our Heritage Expedition four-day program, you initially travel by van and then take a small boat or our speedboat or tender to visit the village.

Years ago, Lan Ha Bay had about 5,000 households farming Otter Snout clams in floating ponds using plastic baskets, but a disease wiped out the entire population and the fishermen lost their means of earning money and went bankrupt.

The farmers discarded all the baskets used to raise the clams and these sank to the bottom of Lan Ha Bay. Red algae started to grow on the baskets, polluting the water and creating a major problem for the fish living in the waters.

Many fishermen drag their nets across the sea bottom when fishing and some nets are torn by the discarded baskets, so the fishermen continually have to repair their nets. Now these baskets have been retrieved to help clean the water.

Although a fisherman’s life is hard and simple, they appear quite content with their lot in life. They have to start very early and finish very late doing lots of physical work. Fishermen live away from the mainland, but they can buy anything from the hawkers who sell supplies to the villagers from their boats. The fishermen do not have a huge variety of food available to them, like on the mainland, but they can catch fish to feed their families and they just need to buy vegetables, salt and fish sauce.

The scenery here is very beautiful with colorful floating houses nestled in the shelter of the islands, a stone backyard. The fishing village of Beo is spread across 18.000m2. The people who live in the Cai Beo settlement evolved from the Neolithic period and were hunter gatherers right through to the Bronze Age when their civilization evolved to become fishermen and also settled on the land to create agricultural settlements. The first indigenous people in Cai Beo are probably descendants of an ancient civilization from Hoa Binh – Bac Son, from around 12,000 years ago.

In early 2007, a team of specialist scientists undertook extensive excavations and 10 tombs were revealed with 137 stone artifacts and 1,424 pottery shards, all made from granite, ceramic, and twisted rope as well as fish bones, shells and oysters. Analysis indicated that Cai Beo is a site of archaeological importance and was the home of fishermen around 7,000 years ago, who lived mainly from fishing, scallops and oysters, a way of life that continued until around 4,500 years ago.

Guests taking part at Heritage Expeditions (4 days and 3 nights) will have the chance of visiting this unique historical site, and experience this community’s eccentric lifestyle.

The Famous Cat Hai Fish Sauce

If Phu Quoc fish sauce is considered to be the most well-known specialty of Phu Quoc Island (Kien Giang province), then Cat Hai fish sauce is one of the most famous products of Cat Hai Island (Haiphong). It has also been selected as one of Vietnam’s top condiments by the Vietnam Guinness Book of Records.

Fish sauce first appeared in Cat Hai in the 20th century and was originally called Van Van fish sauce. As soon as you set foot on the island, the first thing you will notice is the salty and fragrant smell of fish sauce being produced right across the island.

In the past, people in the north knew Cat Hai fish sauce under the Van Van brand, famous across Indochina because of its quality and rare flavour, with a protein content of around 15-40% per litre. In 1959, it was renamed Cat Hai fish sauce.

For locals, Cat Hai fish sauce is indispensable for the family meal and there is simply no substitute. The characteristic aroma of Cat Hai fish sauce stems from anchovy and squid, or Nham fish, combined with sea salt.

Each year, more than 7 million litres of Cat Hai fish sauce are supplied to the market with over 700 agents and outlets throughout 24 provinces across Vietnam. But it is not only for domestic consumption; Cat Hai fish sauce is also exported to many countries in Asia and to Eastern Europe.

The method of production determines the quality of fish sauce and is still mainly manual. Fish sauce here is made from Ca Com (anchovies) and Nham, a species with a special taste, from the waters surrounding Cat Hai. The fish must be fresh and anything else will ruin the natural flavour of the final product.

The fish is cleaned before being mixed with salt and the mixture, called chướp, is then placed into containers like wooden barrels or concrete tanks. The top layer is pressed down with a bamboo net containing heavy stones. It is very important that “chướp” must be exposed to sunlight and has to be stirred constantly.

“Chướp” is brewed and sun-dried for between 12 and 24 months during the self-ripening process. After that, the fish have naturally reacted with the water and are totally hydrolyzed, yielding the salty, fishy liquid that has a very high protein content and a light amber color. No chemicals are used to create the smell or color.

When visiting Cat Hai, visitors should ensure they take the opportunity to observe the process of making fish sauce and enjoy its delicious taste.

About the Cat Ba Archipelago & Lan Ha Bay

Authenticity is the buzzword for Cat Ba Archipelago and Lan Ha Bay. Traveling to Cat Ba by road only takes 1.5 hours from Hanoi by the 5B Highway. Nowadays, travelers are switching from Halong Bay to Cat Ba and Lan Ha Bay in increasing numbers.

This place is now firmly in the development phase; everything is just getting started. Lan Ha is so small that you can rent a cruise boat to explore the bay by yourself. This is perfect for Cat Ba’s based travelers who are self-confident and experienced and want a whole new kind of adventure.

Cat Ba is the largest of the 366 islands spanning the 260km2 that comprise the Cat Ba Archipelago, which makes up the southeastern edge of Halong Bay in Northern Vietnam.

Cat Ba island has a surface area of 285km2 and retains the dramatic and rugged features of Halong Bay. This island belongs to Haiphong City – an important industrial city which, together with Hanoi and Halong, forms an important economic triangle in North Vietnam.

Approximately half of Cat Ba Island is covered by a national park, which is home to the highly endangered Cat Ba Langur.

The island has a wide variety of natural ecosystems, both marine and terrestrial, leading to incredibly high rates of biodiversity.

The types of natural habitats to be found in the Cat Ba Archipelago include limestone karsts, tropical limestone forests, coral reefs, mangrove and sea-grass beds, lagoons, beaches, caves, and willow swamp forests.

Cat Ba island is one of the only populated islands in Halong Bay, with roughly 13,000 inhabitants living in six different communes, and 4,000 more inhabitants living on floating fishing villages off the coast.

The majority of the population can be found in Cat Ba town, which is located at the southern tip of the island (15km south of the national park) and is the commercial center. Cat Ba’s fish sauce is particularly famous and one of the main industries on the island and travelers can visit the factory in Cat Ba town.

Halong Bay is understandably popular and crowded, but if you want to experience it without other tourists, be sure to book our private charter boat that will sail where you want, cruising on your own itinerary.

Go deep into the bay, explore the caves and grottoes, head over to Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay, trek in Cat Ba National Park, go rock climbing, kayaking, and watching some of the most amazing sunsets that you’ll ever set eyes on.

Heritage Cruises can help you to take up his challenge with three experiences: Dream Cruise for one day, Discover Cruise for two days, Explorer Cruise for three days and Expedition Cruise for four days. In addition, we arrange private charters for four or five day expeditions in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Discover Dong Hoa Cuong or Diamond Cave

Cat Ba Island is one of the main destinations of the Halong region. The island is famous for its many caves, both small and large, and prominent among them are Quan Y (historic Hospital Cave), Trung Trang, Dong Hoa Cuong and Thien Long caves, all with numerous impressive stalactites and stalagmites. Dong Hoa Cuong, or Diamond Cave, is one of the most amazing caves and you should make a point of seeing it if you join our Heritage Expedition four-day program.

Close to the village of Gia Luan one of the most beautiful and famous caves of the Cat Ba Islands, Hoa Cuong cave or Da Hoa cave, can be found. It has been named Hoa Cuong (Diamond) cave because of the interior’s iridescent sparkle, just like a diamond. The cave is located in a large mountain to the northeast of the village, at an altitude of 50 metres above sea level and 10 metres in height.

Reached through a large arched entrance, hidden by trees and bushes, the cave is wide and quiet, 25 metres in width and 100 metres long, with a pleasant temperature, perfect for a visit. In the Diamond Cave, there are many stalactites created in a variety of shapes by Mother Nature, many taking on the appearance of humans and animals. On the right-hand side of the cave is a giant curtain of stalactites, which inspired a local legend.

According to the legend, the King of Heaven found the climate here idyllic and the scenery charming, so he would take the princes and princesses to spend time together here in the cave. The stalactite curtain separated the boudoir of one of the princesses, guarded by two stone lions, where the princess rocked her baby to sleep on a magnificent bed, accompanied by a small fairy.

As you explore further into the cave you come across a luminous cool lake, the water so clear that you can see the white pebbles at the bottom. The people of Gia Luan believe that the women in this region have white skin as a result of bathing in the lake. Close by is a rock that looks like a boat belonging to a prince, giving the lake a romantic feeling and perpetuating the legend of the cave. When light floods into the cave, the lake shimmers and the reflections on the stalactites and stalagmites appear to be like flowers blooming, creating a sense of magic.

Archaeologists have excavated here and discovered the fossilized teeth of an ancient gibbon dating back tens of thousands of years, clearly demonstrating the existence of an ancient gibbon species living in Cat Ba Island.

Hoa Cuong cave is a particular favorite of both domestic and foreign visitors because of the pristine beauty of the area, the legends surrounding it, and the fascinating history revealed by the archaeologists. One not to be missed!

The legend of the islands and caves of Halong Bay

Halong Bay is the result of geological activity from plate tectonics processes over millions of years. However, in the mind of the Vietnamese people, it contains rich folklore, myth and imagination. Halong Bay was born out of legends and it makes it even more mysterious.

Halong Bay

The birth of Ha Long Bay was associated with legend about dragons. God sent the Mother Dragon and her Children to help the Vietnamese fight foreign invaders. The dragons sprayed out pearls that turned into thousands of stone islands in the sea, creating a solid wall to block the attack of enemy ships. The location where the Mother Dragon landed was Halong Bay.

The legend of the islands and caves is very much related to the history of the nation.

Dau Go Cave

The legend of Dau Go cave says that “In the war against Nguyen – Mong, Tran Hung Dao had put a lot of pointed wooden spikes in the Bach Dang River to guard against enemy ships. Because there were so many pieces of wood left,  the fisherman called it “Đầu Gỗ”,  meaning “Pieces of wood remaining”. Another legend tells that this is the place where Tran Hung Dao came to hide the pointed wooden spikes to prepare for the Bach Dang Battle , and the name “Dấu Gỗ” signifies “ a place to hide wood”. The Merveille de Monde book of France (World Wonders) was published in 1938 and it called Dau Go Cave, Grotte des merveilles (Cave of Wonders).

Virgin Cave

Unlike Dau Go, the legend of the Virgin cave was a tragic love story. Virgin cave is located on Bo Hon Island  along with Surprise Cave, Fairy Lake Cave and Luon Cave.

Legend has it that “Once upon a time, there was a beautiful young lady who lived in a poor family that worked as hired labor for the owner of a fishing vessel. The young girl was forced to become the concubine of the owner. The girl refused because she had a boyfriend, who was going out to sea to prepare for their wedding day. Because she didn’t agree, the owner exiled her to a deserted island. Hungry and exhausted, she turned into stone on a rainy night. Her lover went out to sea to find her but a storm caused his boat to break and it drifted to a deserted island. In the distance, he recognized the girl but his words were swept away by the wind. He used a rock to knock on the cliffs to let her know that he had come. Knocking until he was exhausted and his hands bled, he also turned into stone. The place where the petrified girl became Virgin Cave, and opposite lies Trong cave (Male Cave) where the young man turned into stone.”

Hanh Cave

Hanh cave is 9 km from Cam Pha, 20 km from Bai Chay Tourist Wharf. This is the longest cave in Halong Bay with a length of cave about 1,3 kilometer. Inside, there is a temple called Tam Co Temple (Three Girls Temple). It is said that there were three girls who came to this cave. Because the cave was so beautiful, they forgot the time and drowned as the tide rose and submerged them. They turned into gods of the sea, thus local people built this temple in order to comfort their souls.

Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Archipelago consists of 367 islands, including Cat Ba Island in the south of Halong Bay, off Hai Phong City. It is known as the pearl of the Gulf of Tonkin and is the largest island of the total 1969 islands in Halong Bay. According to local legend, Cat Ba stems from the name Cac Ba (meaning Missus). For a time, there was an old woman who inhabited the island. She grew vegetables and supplied food to the men who fought invaders on a neighboring called Cat Ong (Mister).