Comfortable journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay and the return

April 28, 2022 By Blog, Blog Comments Off

Xin chào

My name is Huong Pham, operations manager of Lux Cruises (Emperor Cruises and Heritage Cruises) in Hanoi. I would like to confirm for you that our Dcar Limousine will come and pick you up ataround 8:00 to 8:30 am at your given hotel address.

Mr. Tuan Nguyen will be your chauffeur driver for the comfortable journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay and the return (his cell phone number is 0944 768 833). This is a shared van for 9 guests so he may pick up some other passengers before heading to highway 5B to Halong Bay in Quang Ninh Province to the East of Hanoi. Upon arrival at the Tuan Chau harbor in Halong Bay, our cruise manager will be ready to welcome you aboard the cruise.

I would like to give you some brief information about the road journey. It takes about 2 and a half hours to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi on highway 5B for a distance of 180km from the destination. Halfway there, Mr. Tuan Nguyen will stop at the rest stop for refreshments. You will spend about 15 minutes there and you can get refreshments or take a bathroom break before getting back into the van.

At around 11:00 am, we will arrive at our Lux Cruises Lounge at slot number 28 in Tuan Chau International Passengers Port, and you will be met and greeted at our Lounge for refreshments before being transferred by our speedboat to reach the Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan or Emperor Cruises from 12 to 12:30pm . On board, fresh welcome drinks will be served, and the cruise manager will give you safety information, instructions, and the full itinerary for your cruise trip. Lunch will be served at around 1:00 to 1:30 pm.

In our van, for your comfort, we offer you complimentary wifi, water, wet tissues and an umbrella. For your entertainment, we have music, magazines and books. Mr. Tuan Nguyen will drive at an average of 80km per hour, and the air conditioning is set to a comfortable temperature by default. Feel free to ask him to adjust it to your preference.

During the journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay, if you have any questions or if you want to change the drop off hotel address in Hanoi, don’t hesitate to ask Mr. Tuan – he can speak a little bit of English. You can call me at +84-886-039-009 around the clock if you need further assistance or information.

Once again, thank you very much for choosing our Lux Cruises and traveling with us today, and our team and I wish you a safe and pleasant road journey to the paradise that is Halong and Lan Ha Bays.

Enjoy your transfer and cruising experience!

Xin cảm ơn!

Hường Phạm
Operations Manager
Lux Cruises
www.lux-cruises.com

CEO Pham Ha – Leading is serving

Mr. Pham Ha founded Lux Group with a modest capital of 1,000 USD. From his own strength, his optimistic spirit and profound philosophy, he has turned Lux ​​Group into a large corporation focusing on luxury tourism with Luxury Travel and two brands Emperor Cruises and Heritage Cruises. Destination Review had a talk with him to listen to the thoughts and values ​​this “captain” wants to spread.

Mr. Pham Ha founded Lux Group with a modest capital of 1,000 USD. From his own strength, his optimistic spirit and profound philosophy, he has turned Lux ​​Group into a large corporation focusing on luxury tourism with Luxury Travel and two brands Emperor Cruises and Heritage Cruises. Destination Review had a talk with him to listen to the thoughts and values ​​this “captain” wants to spread.

Lux Group and I focus on bringing special experiences and emotions to our customers. As the experiences in each place vary, we have to create different products.

The Emperor Cruises brand was founded with inspiration from Bao Dai King, who owned countless palaces across Vietnam, so the Emperor brand focuses on the royal-life experiences, offering guests comprehensive first-class luxury services. Emperor Nha Trang, for example, has itineraries for 60 guests like Day Cruise with activities such as diving, swimming and visiting the fishing village, or the Sunset cruise with activities like watching the sunset, enjoying dinner and cocktail party on the cruise. Emperor Bai Tu Long in Ha Long, on the other hand, offers 1- to 3-night stay on the yacht.

For those travelers who accept to pay more handsomely to get all-inclusive services onboard from wine and food to spa, Emperor offers unique experiences to satisfy travelers in this top high-end segment. It is also suitable for travelers who would like the highest level of privacy, personalization and authenticity in their experiences.

As for Heritage, it leans towards expressing Vietnamese cultural, historical, artistic and social values and is ​​inspired by the “King of Ship” Bach Thai Buoi. Heritage has a boutique concept and targets the 4-5-star segment, which helps it reach a wider range of customers compared to Emperor. Heritage has 20 rooms and can accommodate up to 60 guests. The Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan Cruise was also built to commemorate Bach Thai Buoi as indicated by its name “Binh Chuan”, one of his old ships. There is a bronze statue of him and 100 paintings commemorating the 100th anniversary of Binh Chuan first sailing onboard. In addition, we also collect and display ancient postcards of the original ship. With Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan, voyagers can enjoy a heritage space on board while “floating” among the natural heritage of Cat Ba Bay.

The division into many products makes it possible for us to meet demands from many segments in different markets. In addition, the two cruise brands exhibit different values ​​and offer different experiences.

To answer this, it can first start with my great love for artworks and collecting paintings has been a hobby of mine. Vietnamese Fine Arts contributes to the art world with lacquer paintings and silk paintings, which are also the main types of Pham Luc’s paintings. He is the artist whose artwork I adore and collect with very special sack paintings to describe the Vietnam War.

From this hobby, I realized that paintings and art in general can be the great assets of the country as they reflect national culture and history. Through paintings, we can understand more about the past and the present, the war, the heritage as well as the life of the Vietnamese people. They are all great features to introduce both Vietnamese and foreign visitors to our art, history and culture and that is why I choose to include these heritage values ​​on my cruises.

Besides paintings, the cruise also presents traditional Vietnamese costumes in the 30s, from royal attires to traditional ao dai. All of the above when converged on the Heritage Cruise Binh Chuan creates a “floating” cultural touch in the middle of the bay.

Visitors have a lot of time in their voyage, so they can experience and also learn more about the stories with ethnic values behind those very experiences. Instead of choosing to build the majestic Western-style ships, Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan chooses a true story to explore and express Vietnamese values ​​of art, history, culture, cuisine. This can be considered a continuation of patriotism from Bach Thai Buoi. Since Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan was deployed, many customers have rated their satisfaction level of 6-7 stars on 7-star scale, which marks a remarkable recognition for a product created by Lux Group.

In general, it can be said that tourism and travel has changed my whole life. I have worked in various fields but since I worked in tourism, I am truly happy. I realize that travel is my biggest passion and as I am happy with what I am doing, I can spread it to the entire Lux Group and to the member companies as well. All our teams see customer experience and satisfaction as their ultimate goal in work. Passion is also highlighted in Lux Group’s 5P guiding principles, which are Passion, Purpose, People, Planet and Profit.

In my opinion, in the tourism and service industry, making customers happy can lead to self-happiness, so I call this a happy career. If you want to be happy, you must do it from the bottom of your heart, make it the way you wish to experience, towards the customer and put the customer’s needs first. Therefore, the core value I orient to my team is always “delivering happiness”.

Only by perceiving customers as the biggest “boss” that keeps business running and helps the business pay for its employees, all of my teams are customer-centric, working for customers, and thus, contributing to Lux Group’s success over the past 15 years. After years of experience, “delivering happiness” has always been and will always be the company’s core value.

I think that to be a leader is also to serve: serve your people, your team and your customers to create the company’s revenue. With the same mindset, we can easily and harmoniously join hands in creating new generations of businesspeople who share the same thought. To me, “delivering happiness” means to deliver happiness for myself first, then for my employees, for my customers, for social communities and finally for company profits.

Before Covid, Lux Group mainly focused on inbound tourists. The global outbreak meant there were no longer international visitors, so the company quickly turned to domestic travelers, targeting the luxury customers of the domestic market. Conversion is a difficult decision as we have to retrain our employees to recaptivate the new target customers to understand them. Only after understanding them can we serve them better. It took us about a month to implement all the new changes after considering carefully between the two options – to close down or to adapt. Fortunately, everyone agreed to adapt to serve the domestic market. And once the decision has been made, everyone was very proactive in learning, training, and holding daily briefing sessions to create new products based on customer profiles and their consumption habits.

In addition, most of the company’s activities are digitalized, making it possible for our employees to work from home, and for us to manage more easily. Thanks to digital transformation, we could collect data, analyze customer sentiments and predict travel trends so as to offer suitable products to meet customers’ expectations.

When the social quarantine ended on April 30, we decided to immediately implement new plans for constrained travel demand in the Vietnam travel market. Therefore, as soon as the product was launched, people welcomed it very enthusiastically, helping us to recognize the signs of success as soon as we redefined the target market. In May, we launched 5,000 vouchers and they were sold out within 15 days. Moreover, Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan is also one of the busiest cruises that voyaged almost non-stop since April 30. This is another signal to help us realize that we are on the right path to recover, to develop and to generate stable cash flow.

In fact, thanks to Covid, we have realized that the Vietnamese domestic market has great potential with a rapid growing population of nearly 100 million people and increasing strength in consumption. 2020 marked the year Vietnamese got to know about luxury cruise trips for the first time, a part of which resulted from our incentives targeting Vietnamese tourists. What we did bears some resemblance to the motto of Bach Thai Buoi, which is Vietnamese travel within Vietnam and use Vietnamese service providers. Just like foreign visitors, many Vietnamese also want to explore the beautiful islands and bays of Vietnam such as Ha Long Bay, Cat Ba Bay or Nha Trang Bay while attending interesting activities on the cruise. Thereby, we changed our direction to domestic middle to high-end customers last year and received certain successes.

From now on, I have decided to focus more on Vietnam high-end travel market and set up an office for domestic and outbound markets. To summarize, Lux Group will both retain the original target market and expand to other potential markets, which means approaching the inbound market along with the domestic market and outbound market. I think this will be a promising orientation and will invest wholeheartedly in the future.

Lux Group and I have planned to deploy the new project on Pu Luong. Pu Luong is a wonderful destination located in the middle of terraced fields, which are highly likely to attract both domestic and foreign tourists. Our team plans to launch a 35-room boutique resort to take advantage of nature and indigenous culture to target wellness travelers.

Regarding the cruises, the Emperor Cruises brand plans to add another 150-seat cruise to Nha Trang in 2021 and to bring more ships to Phu Quoc by 2022. With Heritage, we are currently inspecting and developing another ship named Bach Thai Buoi, which is expected to come into operation in 2022, following the success of Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan.

My deepest desire for the company is to conquer all rivers in the North and realize Heritage’s biggest mission: to sail along the coast of Vietnam – just like Bach Thai Buoi sailing from Hai Phong to Da Nang, Quy Nhon, Nha Trang and Saigon, then to Cambodia and other ports in Asian region. These are the upcoming plans and missions of Lux Group and Heritage Cruises brand.

Heritage cruising

Heritage Cruises derives inspiration from the heritage ships of the inspirational patriotic entrepreneur Bach Thai Buoi, who transformed transportation on the waterways of Tonkin in the north of Vietnam in the early 20th century.  By Pham Ha, CEO of Heritage Cruises brand.

 

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the launch of the Vietnamese Binh Chuan cruise, which in 1919 became the first ship to cruise along the coastline of Vietnam from Haiphong to Saigon.When I was 12, a few years after the reunification of North and South Vietnam, my father and I sailed from Haiphong to Saigon on a cruise ship donated by the Norwegian government.

My childhood memories of industrial Haiphong are of extensive damage following the war and workers cycling home from factories.

I savoured the incessant beauty of my country while sailing all the way down the coast. It was like a dream come true and it was then that I planned to build my own fleet of cruise ships.

I fell in love with Halong bay in 1995 and came to know every single island, camping on the isolated beaches and exploring by kayak. At that time, travelling the 175km to Halong bay took almost 10 hours. In 1997, I took a film crew to the bay to film ‘Vertical Ray of the Sun’, directed by Tran Anh Hung and filmed in Cua Van floating village between Halong Bay and the Cat Ba archipelago.

The scenes that I treasure most from the movie are those with local people and the images of the frangipani trees with their creamy flowers. The film is shown on board Heritage Cruises.

PASSION FOR CRUISING

I initially launched a fleet of cruises under the brand Emperor Cruises in Nha Trang bay, Bai Tu Long bay and in the Cat Ba archipelago and have now established Heritage Cruises on the Red river. I plan to develop longer trips from north to south Vietnam to fulfill my childhood dream.

My first project, Emperor Cruises, explored some of the world’s loveliest bays and beaches. The concept was inspired by the luxurious lifestyle of Emperor Bao Dai, the last monarch of the Nguyen Dynasty. He had six beautiful villas and palaces in the most exquisite destinations in Vietnam.

I was fortunate to meet the Hue Researcher, Nguyen Dac Xuan, and following an in-depth study of his life, I wrote a book about Emperor Bao Dai. On the Emperor Cruises boats, Vietnam’s first five-star all-inclusive cruise with butler and limousine services, our guests can enjoy the luxurious lifestyle of an emperor.

The soul of Tonkin inspired the design and décor of the Heritage Cruise boats, Vietnam’s first boutique cruise on the Red river and in the Gulf of Tonkin, that sails through the Cat Ba archipelago and Halong bay before connecting with the capital, Hanoi, and the Highlands via the Red river and its tributaries.

As a heritage-inspired designer cruise ship with a boutique concept, Heritage Cruises prioritises guest experience, offering upscale service with an artistic twist and a focus on local culture and arts.


For this personal project, I explored from Hoa Binh on the Black River, along the Clear River and the Red River, right down to the delta regions in Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh and Ha Nam. Along the way I met artisans, craftsmen, historians, researchers, artists, painters and overseas Vietnamese and learned their stories.

MOVING STORIES

One evening during the fall of 2017, I was chatting with three friends in the vintage Maxim’s Cafe on Dien Bien Phu street in Haiphong, when a French-speaking couple around 60-65 years of age and another Vietnamese couple of around 70-75 years entered the coffee shop.

The Viet Kieu gentleman approached me to seek help in a heavy accent. I knew he spoke French, so we started a conversation and I ended up becoming their interpreter. The man, Henri de Bollivier, shared his moving story with me.

Henri’s Vietnamese mother had married a French doctor working in Haiphong during the Indochina War. They both left Vietnam in 1954 after the defeat of France at Dien Bien Phu when the Geneva Peace Accord was signed.

Henri grew up on the island of French Reunion but his parents divorced and his mother moved to Paris. As she grew older she wanted to return to Vietnam but was too weak to travel so far. She wanted Henri to go back home on her behalf, find his roots and pay respect to his ancestors and homeland.

Henri had visited Haiphong on two occasions to find his family, but without success. The third time, with the help of a letter from Vietnam, he travelled to Haiphong with his French wife and was overjoyed to find his family.

Henri was delighted to show his wife colonial Haiphong and other sights. They tried famous local dishes, learned how to make the best nuoc nam (fish sauce) and discovered the quintessence of Tonkin. I was touched by their story and realised how important it is to trace your roots.

THE IMPORTANCE OF HERITAGE

Through the cruises I have met inspirational people, enriched my life with new experiences and started an ever-growing collection of old stamps, postcards, photos, paintings, and antiques. Heritage Cruises passengers can see this collection on board in the l’Art de l’Annam exhibition.

Heritage tourism is a niche market where guests personally encounter traditions, history, the arts and culture and visit communities whose residents tell their own story.

I admire the nationalist entrepreneur Bach Thai Buoi, his ethical business and start-up spirit; we have shared values as we both come from a poor background and started our working lives with French people. French is the first foreign language that I learned and my first trip abroad was to France at the age of 20.


It was my burning ambition to cruise from Haiphong to Saigon, emulating the first Vietnamese ship to do so on its maiden voyage in the early 20th century.THINK BIG AND DREAM BIG

A century later you can embark on a voyage through time on a Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan ship – a vessel designed and recreated from heritage designs and with impeccable service fit for the 1920-30s bourgeoisie.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci’s quote captures Heritage Cruises’ vision and philosophy perfectly: the key principle behind every project is a devotion to simplicity, heritage, boutique and product authenticity.

It is the total experience − the unique impression derived from the quality, quintessence and ambiance in a spectacular location − that makes a Heritage Cruise unforgettable.

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

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.