Destinations of Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay in the Cat Archipelago

Halong Bay is one of Vietnam’s most stunning attrations – there is no way to describe Halong Bay other than as purely breathtaking. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site and natural wonder of the world, the bay features thousands of limestone islands and cliffs emerging from the turquoise sea.

Halong Bay sits off Vietnam’s northeastern coast, 165km from the capital, Hanoi, and it has incredibly serene emerald waters that are home to multiple small limestone islands covered by rainforest. It is a popular spot for boat tours, both day trips and overnight cruises, cave exploration, booze cruises, and kayaking and no trip to Vietnam would be complete without visiting it.

The name translates into “where the dragon descends”, and according to the local legend, the bay’s islands were formed when a dragon charged from the mountains towards to the coast, its tail carving out valleys and crevasses, until the dragon hit the water, flooding the area and leaving nothing but the peaks visible.

Halong Bay is understandably popular, but if you want to come here alone without other tourists, be sure to book our private charter boat to sail where you want, cruising on your own itinerary deep into the bay, exploring the caves and grottoes, heading over to Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay, trekking in Cat Ba National Park, rock climbing, kayaking, and watching some of the most amazing sunsets that you’ll ever set eyes on.

Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay in the Cat Archipelago

A large number of on-board activities are available throughout your cruise: cookery class, library, gym, massage and spa services, squid fishing, board games, music, movies, etc. Ask your Reception for further information and arrangements.

Halong Bay covers an area of approximately 1,553 km², including 1,969 islets, most of which are limestone topped with thick jungle vegetation rising from the ocean.

Cat Ba Island is the largest of 367 islands in the archipelago, which makes up the south-eastern edge of Halong Bay in northern Vietnam. About half of the island is covered by a national park, home to endangered species, but also with beaches, lagoons, coves, tropical forests, and lakes ideal for swimming, kayaking, squid fishing, and snorkelling.

Ba Trai Dao Island

Ba Trai Dao Island is located 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.

Viet Hai Village

Located right by the sea, surrounded by the high mountains and ancient forests of Cat Ba National Park, Viet Hai fishing village belongs to Cat Hai island district, Haiphong. You will be charmed by the peace and quiet of this picturesque village and the jungle-clad mountains, which are a backdrop to the village, will leave an indelible memory of your visit.

Ba Ham Lake

Ba Ham Lake, which consists of three large lakes connected by three cave gates (Ham), still retains a mysterious and untouched beauty. If you want to explore Ho Ba Ham, you have to go by sampan or kayak at low tide, when it is possible to pass through the caves to reach the lakes.

Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island is considered to be one of the largest and most visited destinations in the north of Vietnam, together with Halong Bay. This island is 350 km² in area and consists of around 367 beautiful islets, both small and large, with a rich biodiversity and a variety of ecosystems.

Cannon Fort

Many people come to Cannon Fort on Cat Ba Island to feel close to nature, enjoy the panoramic views of the limestone islets stretching out into the bay as well as the town and the colorful fishing boats. The gun emplacements were used by the French and the Vietnamese during times of conflict in the 20th century to defend the port of Haiphong.

Dark and Bright Cave

The Dark and Bright Cave is located in the area bordering Lan Ha Bay and Halong Bay, which belongs to the protected area of Cat Ba archipelago. An ideal destination for those who are keen on kayaking as this is the best way to access the caves and the pristine lake, which is surrounded by cliffs covered in trees and colorful flowers.

When Is The Best Time to Visit?

Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay can be visited all year round. The best time to visit is September to April. Expect hot weather and some tropical rain in the summer from May to August, but the sun and blue skies reappear after the rain before a magical sunset and the moon rising high into the night sky. Be a King for a night with us on board Emperor Cruises where our team ensures you enjoy every experience whatever the weather conditions.

How to Get There?

Self-drive car hire is not available for short-term visitors to Vietnam so most travelers to Halong Bay usually book a cruise package, which includes a private car with chauffeur driver or shuttle bus (3,5 hours). Helicopter or seaplane transfers are also available to the bay from Hanoi (1hour).

To ensure total comfort on your journey from Hanoi, we offer a daily limousine transfer service for pick-up and drop-off services from your hotel in Hanoi or Halong city.

Where is it?

The best way to appreciate this magical scenery is from our Lux Cruises, cruising between karst cliffs which loom up like fairytale castles, complete with rocky spires and hidden caves.

Our cruises operate in Halong Bay & Lan Ha Bay on a daily basis and Halong Bay on a 2- night program and, whether you choose the day trip or overnight option, we ensure your experiences are exclusive, all inclusive, intimate, memorable and safe.

What are the cruising options?

In Bai Tu Long Bay we operate one-day cruises, two-day cruises and the option of cruising both Lan Ha Bay and Halong Bay in a three-day program. Party cruises and private charters are available upon request.